|This article relies on references to primary sources. (April 2009)|
|Preceded by||No Greater Love|
|Followed by||Mixed Blessings|
This is a novel by American romance novelist Danielle Steel. The book is spread over a span of 75 years. It tells the story of a woman named Sarah Thompson, and how she faced obstacles in her life to emerge a determined, strengthened woman.
Born in 1916 in a well-to-do family in America, Sarah Thompson married Freddie, a man who had time for everything except her. He drank all night and mingled with prostitutes. Sarah became pregnant, but miscarried.
She got a divorce and moped around all day. Her concerned parents dragged her to Europe where well-meaning friends and family forced their nephews, sons and grandsons on her. She met William Whitfield, the Duke of Whitfield, 13th in line for succession to the British throne. Captivated by him, she finally became his companion in London. He cast aside her fears of a public scandal and finally convinced Sarah to marry him.
On their honeymoon France, Sarah and William happened upon Chateau de la Meuze. According to Sarah's wishes, William bought the Chateau as a Christmas present. They worked hard to restore the estate, but it was mainly Sarah's work that did the job.
The world was in for a bad time. World War II had begun. Reluctantly, after the birth of their first child Phillip, William left to join the RAF when England declared war on Germany.
The Germans took possession of France, and German troops, led by the courtly commandant Joachim von Mannheim, seized the chateau to establish a care center for the wounded and dying soldiers, removing Sarah and Phillip to the caretaker's cottage.
Joachim fell in love with Sarah, but Sarah was still faithful to William. She discovered she was pregnant, and gave birth to a daughter Elizabeth, who died soon of a fever, due to few medical supplies.
Soon, Joachim had to leave, and William returned from the war, but he had lost the use of his legs. In later years, Sarah went on to have more kids - Julian, Isabelle, Xavier.
William died on the night of Xavier's first birthday. After William's funeral, Joachim returned, only to find that Sarah had no place in her heart for another man.
The book then goes on to tell us of how Sarah spends the rest of her days till her 75th birthday, busy with her kids and her jewelry store - Whitfield Jewelers - jewelers to the Crown.
Steel paints a portrait of a family, imperfect as they may be, and the powerful matriarch who reminds them of the bond that transcends titles, money, and borders.
The book was also made into a movie directed by Roger Young. It was released in the year 1992.
Jewels by Danielle Steel (published May 29, 2007 by Dell Publishing)