In my eyes she had always been old, always been mine, always been Granny Dan. But in another time, another place, there had been dancing, people, laughter, love. . . . She had had another life before she came to us, long before she came to me. . . .
She was the cherished grandmother who sang songs in Russian, loved to roller-skate, and spoke little of her past. But when Granny Dan died, all that remained was a box wrapped in brown paper, tied with string. Inside, an old pair of satin toe shoes, a gold locket, and a stack of letters tied with ribbon. It was her legacy, her secret past, waiting to be discovered by the granddaughter who loved her but never really knew her. It was a story waiting to be told. . . .
The year was 1902. A new century was dawning as a motherless young girl arrived at a ballet school in St. Petersburg, Russia, at the age of seven. By age seventeen, Danina Petroskova had become a great ballerina, a favorite of the Czar and Czarina, who welcomed her into the heart of the Imperial family. But events both near and far away shook the ground upon which she danced. A war, an extraordinary man, and a devastating illness altered the course of her life. And when revolution shattered Russia, Danina Petroskova was forced to make a heartbreaking choice as the world around her was about to change forever.
Granny Dan is about the magic of history. In it, Danielle Steel reminds us how little we know of those who came before us and how, if we could only glimpse into their early lives, and see who they once were, there is so much we would understand and learn. For in this extraordinary novel, a simple box, filled with mementos from a grandmother, offers the greatest legacy of all: an unexpected gift of a life transformed, a long-forgotten history of youth and beauty, love and dreams.
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For over a decade, young Danina Petroskova has known no life but that of the ballet and her mentor Madame Markova. When a deathly illness steals her from the stage, the young dancer is inconsolable, and, desperate to speed her recovery, Madame Markova agrees to hand Danina over to the talented Dr. Nikolai Obrajensky for treatment. Convalescing with the Romanovs at the Tsarskoe Selo palace, Danina learns to live in and love the world beyond the ballet. And while grateful for Nikolai's companionship, she is startled by the intense emotions growing inside her for the married doctor. Drawn to Danina, Nikolai cannot ignore the passion between them either, and the strength of their love quickly overpowers their resistance. Soon Madame Markova and Nikolai's wife remind them of their previous obligations, and as the Revolution hovers on the horizon, the two must make a decision that will change their lives forever.
As if a romance set in the twilight years of czarist Russia doesn't have enough intrinsic pathos, Danielle Steel takes great care to give her hero and heroine the bittersweet combination of incomparable virtue and external duties. When the young prima ballerina and the married doctor meet, they are drawn to the corresponding sense of integrity and duty in each other. However, when love and duty conflict, the struggle is never easy.
Maestro Steel knows where the heartstrings are, and she plays them with her reliable talents. While students of history may cringe at the simplified approach to the historical period, readers just looking for a good time have found it. With the tough-but-loving mother figure, the ill-but-lovable Prince Alexander, the borrowed ball gowns, and the emotional grand jeté, this book has everything a TV movie needs except a small, cuddly pet. Put your feet up, set aside your spoilsport logic, and enjoy this novel for what it is: a classic romance. --Nancy R.E. O'BrienAbout the Author:
Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world s most popular authors, with over 560 million copies of her novels sold. Her many international bestsellers include Sisters, H.R.H., Coming Out, The House, Toxic Bachelors, Miracle, and other highly acclaimed novels. She is also the author of His Bright Light, the story of her son Nick Traina s life and death.
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