Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:
In her 50th bestselling novel, Danielle Steel takes us behind the closed doors of a prominent marriage to explore the private secrets hidden behind public lives. Journey Everyone in Washington knows Madeleine and Jack Hunter. Maddy is an award-winning TV anchorwoman. Jack is the head of her network, an adviser to the President on media issues. To the world, theirs is a storybook marriage. Two brilliant careers. A long, loving partnership. But behind the locked doors of their lush Georgetown home, a very different story emerges. For as Maddy's career soars, a bitter edge has crept into Jack's words, a pattern of subtle put-downs, control, and jealousy that Maddy has always tried to ignore and deny. For Maddy, there are no bruises, no scars, only the daggers of fear, humiliation, and isolation. Their effect as powerful as the gun, the knife, or the fist, the wounds as deep. Through hard work, long years, and with Jack's help, Maddy has become a role model and a star. It seems impossible to believe that a woman the nation idolizes lives in degradation and fear. Only Maddy knows the terror in her heart. Her secrets are well kept, sometimes even from herself. Maddy's journey to healing begins when the President's wife offers an extraordinary opportunity, the chance to join her newly formed Commission on Violence Against Women. There, Maddy hears chilling stories from terrified wives and girlfriends that sound eerily familiar. And there she comes to know Bill Alexander, a distinguished scholar and diplomat who also works on the commission. Bill suspects that something is terribly wrong in Maddy's marriage and begs her to open her eyes. And as Maddy slowly, painfully takes the first steps toward freedom, as she and Bill grow closer, a remarkable series of events begins to unfold...a stranger from Maddy's past suddenly reappears...White House headlines bring the nation to a standstill...and a devastating tragedy occurs, forcing Maddy to realize just how much she has lost and how much has been taken from her--her confidence, her trust, her self-respect. As she is faced with the most difficult choice of her life, Maddy's extraordinary journey comes to a close, and with it comes a strength she never knew she had and a gift she never could have expected--a gift that will change her life forever. Set against a vivid backdrop of world-shattering events, Journey is a book about abuse, in its subtlest forms. The powerful effects that last a lifetime. With wisdom and compassion, bestselling novelist Danielle Steel reminds us that no one is exempt from the effects of this devastating disease, which crosses social borders, has no respect for money, power, or success. But at its core, Journey is a book about hope, about change, and about daring to be free. From the Hardcover edition.
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Excerpt provided by Syndetics
<anon I1="BLANK" I2="BLANK">The long black limousine pulled up slowly, and came to a stop, in a long line of cars just like it. It was a balmy evening in early June, and two Marines stepped forward in practiced unison, as Madeleine Hunter emerged gracefully from the car in front of the east entrance to the White House. A brightly lit flag was fluttering in the summer breeze, and she smiled at one of the Marines as he saluted. She was tall and thin, in a white evening gown that draped elegantly from one shoulder. Her hair was dark and swept up in a neat French twist which showed off her long neck and single bare shoulder to perfection. Her skin was creamy, her eyes blue, and she moved with enormous poise and grace in high-heeled silver sandals. Her eyes danced as she smiled, and stepped aside as a photographer flashed her picture. And then another, as her husband stepped out of the car and took his place beside her. Jack Hunter was powerfully built, a man of forty-five, he had made his first fortune in the course of a career in pro football, invested it brilliantly, and in time had traded and sold and bought first a radio station, then added television to it, and by forty owned one of the major cable networks. Jack Hunter had long since turned his good fortune into big business. And he was very big business. The photographer snapped their photograph again, and then they swiftly disappeared into the White House. They made a striking couple, and had for seven years. Madeleine was thirty-four, and had been twenty-five when he discovered her in Knoxville. Her drawl had long since disappeared, as had his. Jack was from Dallas, and he spoke in powerful, clipped tones that convinced the listener instantly that he knew exactly what he was doing. He had dark eyes that pursued his quarry to all corners of the room, and he had a way of listening to several conversations at once, while still managing to seem intent on the person to whom he was speaking. There were times, people who knew him well said, when his eyes seemed to bore right through you, and other times when you felt he was about to caress you. There was something powerful and almost hypnotizing about him. Just looking at him, sleekly put together in his dinner jacket and perfectly starched shirt, his dark hair smoothly combed, he was someone one wanted to get to know and be close to. He had had the same effect on Madeleine when they met, when she was barely more than a girl in Knoxville. She had had a Tennessee drawl then, she had come to Knoxville from Chattanooga. She'd been a receptionist at the television station where she worked, until a strike forced her into doing first weather, and then news, on camera. She was awkward and shy, but so beautiful that the viewers who saw her sat mesmerized as they stared at her. She looked more like a model or a movie star, but she had a girl-next-door quality about her that everyone loved, and a breathtaking ability to get right to the heart of a story. And Jack was bowled over when he first saw her. Her words as well as her eyes were searing. "What do you do here, pretty girl? Break all the boys' hearts, I'll bet," he'd said to her. She didn't look a minute over twenty, though she was nearly five years older. He had stopped to talk to her when she came off the air. "Not likely," she laughed. He was negotiating to buy the station. And he had, two months later. And as soon as he did, he made her co-anchor, and sent her to New York to teach her first everything she needed to learn about network news, and then how to do her hair and makeup. And the effect, when he saw her on the air again, was impressive. Within months, her career was off and running. It was Jack who helped extricate her from the nightmare she had been living, with a husband she'd been married to since she was seventeen, who had committed every possible kind of abuse on her. It was no different from what she had seen happen in Chattanooga as a child, between her parents. Bobby Joe had been her high school sweetheart, and they'd been married for eight years when Jack Hunter bought the cable network in Washington, D.C., and made her an irresistible offer. He wanted her as his prime-time anchor, and promised her that if she came, he'd help her sort her life out, and cover all the most important stories. He came to Knoxville himself in a limousine. She met him at the Greyhound bus station, with one small Samsonite bag and a look of terror. She got into the car with him without a sound, and they drove all the way to Washington together. It took Bobby Joe months to figure out where she was, and by then she had filed for divorce, with Jack's help, and a year later, they were married. She had been Mrs. Jack Hunter for seven years, and Bobby Joe and his unthinkable abuse on her were a dim nightmare. She was a star now. She led a fairy-tale life. She was known and respected and adored all across the country. And Jack treated her like a princess. As they walked into the White House arm in arm, and stood in the reception line, she looked relaxed and happy. Madeleine Hunter had no worries. She was married to an important, powerful man, who loved her, and she knew it. She knew that nothing bad would ever happen to her again. Jack Hunter wouldn't let it. She was safe now. The President and First Lady shook hands with them in the East Room, and the President said in an undervoice to Jack that he wanted to catch a private moment with him later. Jack nodded, and smiled at him, as Madeleine chatted with the First Lady. They knew each other well. Maddy had interviewed her several times, and the Hunters were invited to the White House often. And as Madeleine drifted into the room on her husband's arm, heads turned, people smiled and nodded, everyone recognized her. It was a long, long way from Knoxville. She didn't know where Bobby Joe was now, and no longer cared. The life she had known with him seemed entirely unreal now. This was her reality, a world of power and important people, and she was a bright star among them. They mingled with the other guests, and the French Ambassador chatted with Madeleine amiably and introduced her to his wife, while Jack moved away to speak to a Senator who was the head of the Senate Ethics Committee. There was a matter before them that Jack had been wanting to discuss with him. Madeleine saw them out of the corner of her eye, as the Brazilian Ambassador approached her, with an attractive Congresswoman from Mississippi. It was, as always, an interesting evening. Excerpted from Journey by Danielle Steel All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.</anon>
Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
Marital abuse in its most insidious form is the focus of Steel's (The House on Hope Street, etc.) dependable page-turner, her 50th novel. To the outside world, Washington, D.C., television coanchor Maddy Hunter appears to have an enviable life. Married to her boss, former football star-cum-media mogul Jack Hunter, she's got brains, beauty, a prestigious job, a glamorous marriage and all the trappings of success. Yet MaddyÄwhose current husband saved her from a physically abusive former spouseÄis trapped in another relationship that's as devastating and destructive as her first. Jack doesn't hit Maddy, but he subjects her to mind games, put-downs and constant undermining; it's obvious psychological abuse to observers, though not to Maddy. Using Maddy's participation in a commission on violence against women chaired by the nation's First Lady, Steel explicates the various forms of spousal abuse, and although the text occasionally gets preachy, the desperate plight of women who remain in destructive situations is clearly delineated. Meanwhile, Maddy warily builds a friendship with Bill Alexander, a fellow committee member and former ambassador to Colombia whose wife was killed by kidnappers. Maddy's experience interacting with women like herself and the appearance of a daughter she gave up for adoption as an unwed teenager (and whom Jack forbids her to see) both have an impact. Still, it takes a life-threatening event to convince her finally to change her life and accept the gift of a good man's love. Steel has her formula down pat, and she executes her story with her usual smooth pacing. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Steel's fans will no doubt welcome her fiftieth novel and take her newest heroine, award-winning TV anchorwoman Maddy Hunter, to heart as she slowly comes to recognize her husband, Jack, for what he is--a mean-spirited, sadistic master of emotional and verbal and, occasionally, physical and sexual abuse as well as her employer, enslaving lover, and savior from her previous life of southern poverty. Maddy slowly realizes that what lies behind the glamorous facade of her fame, gorgeous Georgetown home, dream vacations, and New York shopping sprees via private jet is a very ugly reality as her beloved tormentor increasingly isolates her within their sugarcoated but torturous marriage. Fortunately, she becomes involved with the First Lady's Commission on Violence against Women and slowly builds a path toward sanity through a friendship will Bill Alexander, an older man and former diplomat who has lost his wife to terrorist violence. As an extraordinary series of events unfolds, a stranger appears from Maddy's secret past, placing her in ever greater jeopardy, forcing her to reevaluate her loss of self-confidence and self-respect, and moving her inexorably on her journey toward selfhood and a new life despite Jack's wrath and retribution. Once again, Steel provides a tale replete with all the treacle her audience has come to love and expect. --Whitney Scott
Kirkus Book Review
A beautiful TV news anchor at the mercy of her rich, cruel, powerful husband discovers that wife-beating isnt just for trailer trash. In fact, as the author is careful to point out, batterers come from all walks of life and always have, and psychological abuse can be nearly as destructive as the physical kind. Theres lots of useful information of this sort interwoven throughout this wildly implausible tale. Maddy Hunter thinks of herself as her husbands creationafter all, the ruggedly handsome media mogul and presidential advisor brought her from a go-nowhere receptionist job to national news stardom. Yet Maddys millions of fans dont know that Jack Hunter is emotionally and sexually abusive, and controlling as all get out. He insisted she have her tubes tied, and sometimes he wont even let her go out to shop! Defiantly, Maddy becomes involved with the First Ladys Commission on Violence Against Women and gets into therapy. Meanwhile, much didactic but reasonably accurate information on many aspects of battering is presented in the form of long-winded dialogue from all parties. As Jack gets rougher and tougherand more and more controllingMaddy comes to her senses, thinks about leaving him, meets a significant stranger from her past. And, oh, yeah, finds the love of a good man. Then tragedy strikes: shes buried under tons of rubble when the mall is blown up by crazed fanatics. So ironic, too, because the classy Maddy just hates malls and went in only to buy wrapping paper. Will the heroic rescuers reach her in time? Will she be able to adopt the tiny baby whose unwed teenage mother lay dying conveniently nearby? Fill in the blanks: this is Steels 50th novel (The House on Hope Street, p. 745). Gushy treatment of a very serious and real problem. But given Steels gadzillion readers, it may well end up doing good somewhere.