cover image Wanderlust


Danielle Steel. Delacorte Press, $17.95 (382pp) ISBN 978-0-385-29463-8

Romance fans can expect to pick their way blindfolded along the familiar, rocky path to love in Steel's 18th novel, which begins in the 1930s. Audrey Driscoll often thinks that she might like to journey to exotic lands, but dutifully remains in San Francisco, keeping her wealthy grandfather's household running smoothly. But when her spoiled younger sister marries, Audrey indulges her whim by setting off for Europe. In Antibes, she falls hard for Charlie Parker-Scott, a well-known travel writer. Though torn by responsibility for her lonely grandfather, she throws caution to the winds and follows Charlie all the way to China. Despite his loving entreaties, she stubbornly remains there, trying to save a group of abandoned orphans. Finally returning to England, she finds that Charlie has married, angered by her defection. The lovers are later reunited only to be separated by World War II, until Audrey finds a way to combine their talents for the war effort. The book is largely unsatisfying, especially in its repetitious language. It seems that Steel has lost the spark that fueled Changes and Crossings. Major ad/promo; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club dual main selections. (August 1)