The Long Road Home

Danielle Steel, Author Delacorte Press $25.95 (408p) ISBN 978-0-385-31956-0
Scandal, betrayal and treachery do little to animate this dreary saga from the prolific Steel (The Ghost). By the time she's six, Gabriella Harrison has known nothing but torture at the hands of her battering mother, Eloise, a socialite who hates children--especially her own. Gabbie's alcoholic father is incapable of dealing with the madness that rules the mansion and soon escapes with another woman. Then Eloise decides she's tired of mothering and abandons 10-year-old Gabbie at St. Matthew's convent. Gabbie blossoms at the nunnery, where she finds unconditional love from the sisters, a talent for writing and, later, illicit passion in the arms of a priest. When discovered, the affair leads to the priest's suicide and Gabbie's eviction from the convent. Always one to make lemonade of life's lemons, however, Gabbie assuages her grief with new friends, a new lover and her burgeoning talent as a writer. Still, tragedy tails her like a lost puppy, and her monstrous mother casts a long shadow over her triumphs. Steel's latest attempt at a redemption story falls flat because of repetitious prose and two-dimensional characters. The inevitable happy ending, when it finally arrives, can't make up for a plodding narrative lacking in any real suspense. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/30/1998
Release date: 04/01/1998
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