The Lives of Danielle Steel: The Unauthorized Biograpy of America's #1 Best-Selling Author

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9780312112578: The Lives of Danielle Steel: The Unauthorized Biograpy of America's #1 Best-Selling Author
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Two People Magazine staff reporters reveal the multimillionaire author's story, from her aristocratic childhood, to her four husbands (including a bank robber) and nine children, to her best-selling novels. National ad/promo. Tour.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Danielle's dirty linen. A lot of this unauthorized biography is about legal wrangling, much of it to do with child custody. It's a good story, but Steel could have told it better. Bane and Benet, People magazine staff reporters, follow up on their Steel expos‚ of 1992 (written with Paula Chin) with this book cobbled together from interviews, court depositions, and letters Steel wrote to her second husband, Danny Zugelder (most while he was in prison). Heaven knows Steel's life is more than the stuff of romance. She was a neglected child. When she was hospitalized with ovarian cancer at 16, her parents never visited her. She married two convicts: Zugelder, a car thief and bank robber, who was also jailed for assault and rape (they were married in a prison ceremony and consummated their relationship in a bathroom); and Bill Toth, a heroin addict imprisoned for fencing stolen goods. Toth and Steel fought over custody of their son, Nicholas, and much of the last half of the bio comes from trial depositions and interviews with Toth and his lawyers. Steel finally found her putative Prince Charming in John Traina, who the authors take pains to point out is not and has never been a shipping magnate, though he does have a dynamite collection of cigarette cases and closets full of designer clothes. With their nine children, Steel and Traina bought the enormous Spreckels mansion in San Francisco. They also own a mini- compound in the Napa Valley, where they house a fleet of cars and a staff of thousands. For the sins of success, eccentricity, and a strong sense of privacy, the authors try to build a case against Steel. But in the end she comes through as a hard worker and a gritty survivor. It's you-can-run-but-you-can't-hide journalism, gossipy with a sound foundation, and not too high on elegant turns of phrase. (First printing of 100,000; author tour) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Booklist:

Forget her fiction; Danielle Steel's life puts any novel to shame. Born a poor little rich girl whose parents disdained her, Steel went on to marry a society fellow, followed by an ex-con with whom she had a romance while he was still a prisoner. Number three in the lineup of husbands was a drug addict, but Steel, like one of her heroines, found another society type to bat in the cleanup position, only this time a more suitable one. Money, best-sellers, nine kids, and plenty of happily-ever-aftering followed apace. This "unauthorized" account of Steel's storybook life offers a fairly straightforward recitation of events, but the authors, both staff reporters at People, are pretty good with the dish, and Steel doesn't escape unscathed. (Only the con and the druggie, among Steel's husbands, agreed to talk, which may explain the somewhat skewed perspective.) Without access to Steel herself, or to most of her family members, the story occasionally gets a little thin, leaving the authors to spend much of their time quoting from Steel's books and comparing fiction and fact. This works best if you've read the books, and since there are several million fans out there who have done just that, there shouldn't be any problem drumming up an audience. In fact, Steel's life has enough glamour, excitement, and heartache to interest even those who haven't read her books. Ilene Cooper

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