Danielle Steel Considers If Love Is Worth the Risk in ‘Nine Lives’ [REVIEW]

Formula one race car crossing finish line on race track
When someone has the need for speed, can they ever slow down enough to fall in love? (Photo courtesy Canva)

Her mom wants her to marry someone safe, but she has a penchant for bad boys with a need for speed. Will she be able to live up to her mother’s expectations, or will she open her heart to the one man she isn’t supposed to want? Find out in Danielle Steel’s engrossing new novel, Nine Lives.

Danielle Steel's NINE LIVES
Delacorte Press

When your father is a hunky Air Force pilot who loves to take chances, it is easy to see why an adoring daughter like little Mary Margaret Kelly would idolize her father. But after he quite literally goes down in flames, his death turns Maggie’s grieving mother into a bitter woman intent on building a safe cocoon around her family. As a result, she insists that Maggie stay away from daredevils and avoid risks at all costs.

That’s easier said than done, especially as Maggie grows into young adulthood and falls for her high school boyfriend who has traits just like her beloved dad. Unable to ignore her mother’s warnings though, she eventually marries a safe, dependable man who makes his living as an accountant. Together, they start a family and build a secure life in suburbia. But no amount of planning can prevent tragedy from striking yet again.

Newly widowed with a son at college, Maggie finally begins taking chances for the first time in her life. With constant prompting from a dear friend, she sets off on a trip to Rome, Paris, and Monaco. While abroad, she reconnects with the high school sweetheart she’s spent 30 years trying to forget. Will fear creep back in and prevent her from seizing happiness? Or will she finally be able to put her past traumas behind her and open her heart to life’s possibilities?

Nine Lives is Steel at her best. A mother of nine herself, she obviously understands the need to be brave but shrewd, to take risks and yet protect herself and her brood as much as possible from harm. She does a terrific job in this story showing that life is a highwire act for all of us. Sometimes, just getting up in the morning takes a certain amount of courage. But life is all about balance, no matter how you look at it. Therefore, there’s no reason to venture out above the crowd without a safety net below.

Maggie is a woman who is learning to find that balance. She’s her father’s daughter. She’s drawn to risk. She sees the excitement in it. And yet, she’s lost so much, it is understandable that she would withdraw from life, especially with a mother that did a 180-degree turn and dragged Maggie as far from danger as she possibly could. It’s a gut reaction on her mom’s part, and yet it is completely human and a totally realistic response. But as this novel points out, it is also no way to live. How can we fully exist without taking chances?

As we continue to live through one of the most dangerous time periods in recent history, we face the unknown every day, especially if we venture outside our homes and try to return to some semblance of normalcy. I can’t help but wonder if that thought was going through Steel’s mind as she wrote this story. Whether it was or not, Nine Lives is the perfect novel for our time, one which makes us examine our own tolerance for risk and whether or not we can mitigate it and still thrive.

Thoughtful and engaging, Nine Lives is a book full of heart, compassion, and empathy. On the other hand, it is also a lot of fun and makes us want to grab life by the lapels and bring it in for a great big smooch.

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Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world’s bestselling authors, with almost a billion copies of her novels sold.

Her many international bestsellers include Finding AshleyThe AffairNeighborsAll That GlittersRoyalDaddy’s GirlsThe Wedding Dressand other highly acclaimed novels.

She is also the author of His Bright Light, the story of her son Nick Traina’s life and death; A Gift of Hope, a memoir of her work with the homeless; Expect a Miracle, a book of her favorite quotations for inspiration and comfort; Pure Joy, about the dogs she and her family have loved; and the children’s books Pretty Minnie in Paris and Pretty Minnie in Hollywood.

For more information, visit her website at DanielleSteel.com and her blog at DanielleSteel.net, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Danielle Steel
Danielle Steel
(Photo by Brigitte Lacombe)

By Danielle Steel
272 pp. Delacorte Press. $28.99

Purchase Nine Lives direct from Jathan & Heather Books or from one of these other fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, Hudson Booksellers, IndieBound, Powell’s, Target, or Walmart.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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