10 July 2017

Review #624: Against All Odds by Danielle Steel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“The only love that I really believe in is a mother’s love for her children.”

----Karl Lagerfeld

Danielle Steel, the #1 bestselling author, is back with her new adult fiction book called, Against All Odds that unravels the story of a widowed mother and her four children, who are now adults, and whose terrible life's choices land them up in a mucky situation, yet the mother, who already warned them against their decisions, stands strongly by their side, and fights for them against all odds, even though her own personal life goes haywire. A story that vividly portrays the parent's undying support for their children, no matter what.


Kate Madison’s stylish second-hand clothing shop has been a big success in New York, supporting her and her four kids since her husband’s untimely death. Now her children have grown up, they are ready to forge lives of their own. They all choose to play against the odds, much to their mother’s dismay.

Isabelle, a dedicated attorney, is in line to make partner at her Wall Street firm, when she falls for a client she represents in a criminal case. She tells herself she can make a life with him – but can she? Julie, a young designer, meets a man who seems too good to be true and falls under his spell. She marries him quickly, gives up her job, moves to LA to be at his side – is all what it seems? Justin is a struggling writer who pushes for children with his partner before they’re financially or emotionally ready. Will the strain on the relationship take too high a toll? Willie, the youngest, a tech expert, makes a choice that shocks them all, with a woman fifteen years older.

Kate – loving, supportive and outspoken – can’t keep her children from playing against the odds.

Can the odds be beaten?

Kate Madison, a successful, widowed mother of four, whose husband died when her children were very young, and she raised them up all by herself all the while establishing a successful career for herself and supported their education and well being in an affluent manner despite of all the odds. Now that her four children have all grown up, and have their own established careers, yet Kate supports them strongly. But lately, her children are taking all wrong decisions, that Kate's children aren't aware of, but Kate is, and despite of her warnings, she stands by them. Like, her eldest daughter, Isabelle, who is a successful attorney, decides to settle down with a man with no career goals and a former convict, out of love, and Kate is sure that Izzy, a.k.a, Isabelle's relationship would not end well. Her other daughter, Julie, who is gradually building her own career in the world of fashion, decides to settle down with a man, Peter, in a different city out of the blue, and without knowing anything about his past or his background and Kate is dubious about Peter's background or about his way too goody nature. Kate's son, Justin, who is gay and lives with his partner, Richard, pushes him to have a kid through surrogacy, even though they are not ready mentally or financially, and even though Kate understands the gravity of their situation and knows in her heart that they will fall apart, yet she stays strongly by their side. Kate's youngest son, Willie falls for an older woman, whom Kate doesn't approve of, yet she supports him of his choices.

A mother's love is so deep and pure that can't be matched with anything in nature or in this world, that has author arrested strikingly in her new family drama book, that is both poignant and enlightening to read about. The author portrays a mother's love in an authentic and most realistic manner and not only that, the book is very much character-driven, hence every other characters are quite layered and grow through out the story line. Thus the story is very much relatable to any mother or father, especially for single mothers, who even though harbor a lot of insecurities and worries about their children, yet they can't do anything about it, but to stay strong by their sides. Right from the very first page itself, the story sucked me in, as the author develops the life of each character with intensity, passion and emotions.

The author's writing style is brilliant and is laced with evocative emotions that holds a power to deeply move its readers. The prose is eloquent and the plot line will only provoke the thoughts of its readers. Not only that, the story is very inspiring, as the author genuinely and sensitively resolves the trouble faced by Kate's children, which can be a lesson for many. The dialogues are free flowing and quite articulate and are easily comprehensible by the readers. The pacing is smooth and fast, as there are quite a few unpredictable turns that will keep the readers glued to the pages of this book till the very end. Although the only downside will be some cliched moments included in the lives of the characters, that could have been easily avoided.

The characters in this book are very much well developed, fleshed out with a realistic demeanor, that will compel the readers to stick with their stories. The main character, Kate, is one hell of a super mom, who puts her children and their wishes above everything else. Her priorities have always been her own children, even though they have grown up and have their own separate lives, yet Kate manages to keep them all unite with her constant support and undeniable motherly love. Kate is an ideal character, an epitome, who will motivate and enlighten many mothers around the world with her touching and profound journey. But not only Kate's children faces their own demons and bad choices, even Kate makes some terrible choices, that leaves her heart broken. Yet Kate manages to pick up the piece and move on from it, for the sake of her children. The children's personalities are equally real, multi dimensional and so their behavior and actions. The supporting cast is also quite interesting to read about.

In a nutshell, this is a must read book for one and all, especially the author vividly depicts the true value of a family through a very captivating and intriguing manner.

Verdict: A must read page turning, realistic family drama.


Author Info:
Since 1981, Ms. Steel has been a permanent fixture on the New York Times hardcover and paperback bestseller lists. In 1989, she was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having at least one of her books on the Times bestseller list for 381 consecutive weeks. But Guinness was premature. The fact is that one or more of Ms. Steel's novels have been on the New York Times bestseller list for over 390 consecutive weeks.
Twenty-one of Ms. Steel's novels have been adapted for television, each earning high ratings and critical acclaim, including two Golden Globe nominations for JEWELS, a four-hour mini-series that starred Anthony Andrews.
In addition, Ms. Steel is the author of the "Max and Martha" series of books for young readers. They are ten illustrated storybooks written to comfort the young as they face problems, such as a new stepfather, new baby, new school, loss of a grandparent, and other crucial dilemmas in a child's life. She has also written the "Freddie" books, four of them, about real-life situations in children's lives, like a visit to the doctor and the first night away from home. Ms. Steel has also written nonfiction, HIS BRIGHT LIGHT, about the life and death of her son Nicholas Traina, released by Delacorte Press in September 1998 and immediately jumped to the New York Times Non-Fiction bestseller list and "Having a Baby." She has also written a book of poetry entitled LOVE: POEMS BY DANIELLE STEEL.
In 2002, Ms. Steel was decorated by the French government as an "Officier" of the distinguished Order of Arts and Letters, for her lifetime contribution to world culture. She was awarded the second highest rank of the Order.
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