Prather’s Pick: Danielle Steel’s latest novel
The titles of Danielle Steel’s books are listed on one of the front pages of this week’s featured book, her latest novel. There are 93of them, plus three nonfiction books and a book for children. “Prodigal Son” is published by Delacorte Press (2015).
The novel begins on October 8, 2008, in New York City. Peter McDowell is in his office at Whitman Broadbank, staring at the computer screen. The investment bank is going to close. Other banks have already closed their doors. Stock prices have been “plummeting” for the past five days, the worst stock market crash since the Great Depression.
Peter is a genius at investment. He started work at Whitman Broadbank when he was 25. Now he’s 46. Besides being famous for his work, he’s wealthy, too — until now, that is. Now everything that Peter’s family owns will have to be sold. That includes the house in the Hamptons, the penthouse on Fifth Avenue, the time share on a plane, his Ferrari, his wife Alana’s Bentley, and the new Rolls. It’s the end of private schools for their two sons, Ryan and Ben, too.
But Peter believes everything will be all right — eventually. What is to follow will be tricky, but he’ll rebuild. What’s important is that the family is together. However, when Peter arrives home with his six boxes of office belongings, he discovers that Alana has already made plans. Her father is a wealthy man, and he has offered to let them live in his guest house. He will support them if Peter wants to take it easy for a while or Peter can work for him. The boys can go to private school as now. Alana has missed her hometown of L.A.; she has longed to go back for a long time.
So they all head for L.A., but Peter doesn’t feel comfortable with the situation. So he heads back for New York, to sell the property and pack up things. One day, when he is driving to Boston for a business meeting, Peter finds himself close to the town of Ware, his hometown. He drives up to a cottage first, located on the beach. It was his family’s summer home, and when his mother died, she left it to Peter. He hasn’t been there in awhile, and since there’s not much else to do, Peter decides to fix up the house.
Peter is a twin. He and Michael were as different as night and day when they grew up. Peter was an angry boy, always in trouble, and he did not do well in school. He had dyslexia, which went undiagnosed until he was in college. Because of his condition, Peter could not seem to get approval from anyone, causing his anger. Michael was the opposite — good in school, even-tempered, and never in trouble. However, though their parents did not realize it, Michael often got Peter in trouble.
Once a professor figured out that Peter suffered from dyslexia, the young man thrived in college and went on to become a brilliant man. Michael took over their father’s family practice and became beloved in the town. He married Maggie, a young woman who was seriously injured in a skating accident. They have two children. Lisa is in high school, and Bill, who does not get along with his father, lives in London where he goes to school. Michael takes care of his invalid wife who spends most of her time upstairs in bed. Michael says she is getting Parkinson’s Disease.
The two men have not seen one another for years. One day, when Peter is running an errand in Ware, he is surprised to see Maggie. She’s sitting outside in a car, along on a shopping trip with Lisa. Maggie suggests the two brothers get together. They do and at first it seems great. But then the plot of the book takes a turn. Peter reads something alarming in one of his mother’s journals. It’s the beginning of a mystery that ends in a jury trial.
This is a can’t- wait-to-turn-the-page book. I think it’s one of Danielle Steel’s best! The book can be found at the Moffat County Library, in the new book section. It costs $28 in hardcover.
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