Friday, September 9, 2011

FAMILY TIES by Danielle Steel

Publisher: Bantam Dell
Date Published: June 2011
ISBN: 978-0-440-24519-3
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Lynne
Obtained via publisher.

Annie Ferguson is a bright, young architect with her whole future ahead of her. At the age of 26, the thought of anything happening to her sister and her husband, the parents of three young children, is the last thing Annie ever expects. But when tragedy strikes, Annie’s life changes forever when she suddenly finds herself parenting her sister’s children, whom she has agreed to care for in the event of anything ever happening to her.

Annie makes the best of things, despite her age, giving the three children, Liz, the eldest, Ted, and Katie, all the love she has to give, never once regretting the hand life has thrown her way. However, while juggling her career and raising three children, she has little time for romance or anything else. She has quickly learned that there are few men in the world who are willing to take on a ready-made family such as hers. But no matter. Annie loves her nieces and nephew and gives them the best of what she has to offer, eventually paying for Ted’s law school tuition and anything else she feels necessary for her family’s needs.

Unfortunately, the family soon discovers how difficult adulthood can be as Liz, Ted, and Katie run into difficulties with their own lives. Annie, too, is now faced with an “empty nest”, never realizing how hard that can be, even for an aunt who has alone managed to raise someone else’s children, while willingly putting aside her own personal dreams and desires for over fifteen years.

When chance eventually takes over, Liz, Ted, and Katie soon learn that making choices involves much more than gaining their independence. Each realize that being an adult is more difficult than they had ever imagined. And when Annie finally meets a man worthy of her and perfect for her in every way, her entire family become convinced more and more of how special their family ties really are, especially when life comes at them in ways none of them could have ever foreseen.

FAMILY TIES by Danielle Steel is a wonderful read. As usual, Ms. Steel never fails to disappoint. She has such a knack for plotting, characterization, and suspense. The reader cannot help but care for Annie and her nieces and nephews in this heartwarming story.

Annie, who has taken on such a heavy responsibility at such a young age, to care for her nieces and nephew who desperately need someone like her in their young lives, is very likeable. As the children mature, even then, Annie never resents them or the hand fate has dealt her. She is shown as an extremely loving, caring individual, who would gladly have done everything all over again. The children have put joy into Annie’s life that she might never have known otherwise.

Ms. Steel’s talents again kept me on the edge of my seat as I involved myself in FAMILY TIES. She is tremendously gifted at plotting and kept leading me in different directions as she tied in the lives of Annie and her three “children”. I grew to care for each of them and always wanted to see how things would turn out for Liz, Ted, and Katie as they struggled with their daily problems, some that were so extreme, my heart went out to them. And when Tom came into Annie’s life, it was the greatest thing. Knowing how wonderful and knowledgeable Tom is, I was rooting for him and Annie to get together permanently.

FAMILY TIES is another one of those escapism books that Ms. Steel is so good at writing. When I finished reading FAMILY TIES, I was instantly hoping to get my hands on another one of her books, they are that good. With 79 books already in print, it is no wonder that Ms. Steel is one of the most popular authors in the world. She takes us places that few would dare to go. When young Katie defies everyone’s advice and runs off to Iran with her boyfriend, you eventually feel the terror that overwhelms them when things go awry. Ms. Steel was genius at instilling that sense of fear into her writing, and she kept me guessing as to the outcome of that situation, eventually resolving it in a way that put me at ease.

Ms. Steel is good at injecting true reality into her books, and FAMILY TIES is no exception. I would recommend it to anyone, especially to all of Danielle Steel’s many fans. This one is indeed a winner. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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