One only has to think about the romance genre for Danielle Steel’s name to come to mind. Steel knows how to write the perfect love story, with all the twists and turns you could ever want. She has a lot of silk-stocking protagonists and life-changing crises to choose from.
Steel still writes all of her novels on a manual typewriter, which should tell you that she isn’t your average writer. It’s also safe to say that she hasn’t had an average life. When Steel is working on a new project, she writes for twenty hours at a time. This is just another example of how good she is, and we can thank her strict writing schedule for the 190 books that Steel has written, from children’s books to poetry to fiction and nonfiction.
The numbers don’t lie, no matter what people say. Her books have been sold more than 800 million times. She is one of, if not the best-selling author alive today. In the last year alone, there have been seven new books written by Steel. She doesn’t want to rest on her laurels, so she doesn’t stop writing. It’s hard to figure out where to start with a catalog that grows at such a rapid rate. Our job is to help. But choosing an absolute favorite is never easy, so, by way of compromise, we’re going to give you the best Danielle Steel books in order of publication.
Summer’s End (1979)
We start our journey with Steel’s sixth book, Summer’s End. Deanna, the main character in Steel’s book, is in the upper echelons of society and, from the outside, looks like she has it all. This is typical of Steel’s writing. It was when she was 18 that she married a handsome Frenchman. In the many years since then, she’s checked off all the boxes for marital bliss, except for the part where she was happy. She meets a man who will show her a glimpse of a world outside of the marriage she feels so trapped in.
All too soon, her newfound peace will have to come to an end, just like that blissful summer. Things get worse and worse for Deanna, and that moment of happiness now seems like a bad dream. Life keeps giving her bad things to deal with. Will she ever get back to the love that promised real happiness?
In the end, Arthur Patterson is going to die. Before he can rest, he has one more thing he needs to do. One day, Arthur was a close friend of a beautiful couple, Sam and Solange. He was a character in their fairy tale. But when their lives come to an end in a bad way, it’s up to him to figure out what to do with their three young daughters. He chooses to send each one to a different home.
Now, he’s hiring a private investigator, who will enter three very different lives in an effort to reunite the sisters. Some girls haven’t been able to forget the past. In the end, will she be able to let love back into her heart, or will she run away from the truth that’s been hidden for so long? She’s torn between the two.
If there’s one thing Danielle Steel can do, it’s make a historical event into a beautiful story. When it comes to this case, it’s the Russian Revolution. A cousin of the Tzar, Zoya, doesn’t think it’s a good thing that the monarchy fell apart. She’s on the losing side. Lucky for Zoya and her grandmother, they make it to Paris.
In World War II, American troops move into the city. Zoya soon finds herself in the arms of Clayton Andrews, a GI. he takes her back to the United States when the war is over and for a while, it looks like everything will be fine. Zoya, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have any long-term safety. As she builds up from rock bottom once more, it seems that everlasting happiness may be just beyond her clutches.
One of the stories in Zoya is about how quickly one’s luck can change. But through all of it, Zoya’s resolve and determination to make a better future are the only things that stay the same.
Message from Nam (1990)
Our heroine Paxton, is an ambitious journalist, so curiosity runs through her veins. When she has a heartbreak because of the war in Vietnam, she makes it her goal to find out what is going on on the other side of the world. It shocks her to find what she does. Her investigation goes into overdrive when she looks beyond the personal questions she came to answer. Paxton can’t let what she has seen go unanswered. Committed to sharing her experiences, she begins documenting them in a newspaper column. As happenings of the war are immortalized in her articles, the men she meets along the way are etched into her heart forever, leaving impressions as enduring as printer’s ink.
Message from Nam is a beautiful way to show how war can do a lot of damage both to people who are fighting and to people who can’t help but get caught in the middle. In the end, many people will still be affected by what they did in war for the rest of their lives.
There are a lot of old things that Sarah Whitfield wants to look back on for her 75th birthday. Rewind to 1930s New York, when Sarah and Freddie’s marriage doesn’t work out and they split up. Her parents take her to Europe to try to make her forget about the pain she’s going through. Because a new place isn’t what the doctor wants, until William, Duke of Whitfield comes along and changes everything. After a quick romance, they get married, but the honeymoon is over before it even starts because World War II starts.
The Whitfields start a business of buying and selling jewels while the rest of the world is trying to get back on its feet after the war. There isn’t just a lot of growth going on in their business. Sarah has to balance being a mother and making money as the kids get older. They won’t be able to enjoy an empty house when they leave. People will have to do more work until the family legacy is safe, which means they won’t be able to relax.
The Gift (1994)
Being 16 and pregnant isn’t easy, especially when it’s the 1950s and your strict family doesn’t want to have anything to do with you. Such is the situation that Maribeth finds herself in, as you can see from the text. Cast out, she works her way to a convent — but when it’s not the sanctuary she thought it would be, she’s back on the move. She settles down again and takes a job as a waitress until the baby is born, so she can take care of herself until the baby is old enough.
It might be the last time this family sees each other. But when a chance meeting and a budding romance brings two worlds together, a light appears at the end of the tunnel. When you’re in the right place at the right time, things can change for the better.
Silent Honor (1996)
In Kyoto, Hiroko is 18 years old. She is sent to live with her family in California. Hiroko starts to make a new life for herself, even though things aren’t always going to be easy. On December 7, 1941, Japan bombs Pearl Harbor. Hiroko’s new home isn’t as welcoming as it used to be. When the internment camps open, the fight for acceptance turns into a fight for life. Many people were already unfriendly because of her heritage.
Throughout Hiroko’s life, she moves away from home and has a relationship with an older man. It is the brutality of a hateful xenophobic regime that makes Hiroko give up the innocence of her childhood, or have it taken away. As a coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of atrocities many want to forget, Silent Honor is praised for its attention to history.
His Bright Light (1998)
He Bright Light is a stark reality check for Steel, who is known for writing about family tragedies in her stories. Danielle Steel tells the story of her son Nick, a talented young man who shares his mother’s love of words. In this raw and personal piece of non-fiction, Steel tells the story of her son. We follow Nick as he fights bipolar disorder for the rest of his life, a fight that led to his tragic death at the age of 19.
Steel talks about her experience with a lot of honesty. She talks about her frustrations as a mother when the medical system didn’t want to listen to her, and how she kept having to fight to get her son the treatment he needed. This brave and moving tribute is even more special because the money from its first sales went to set up a foundation in Nick’s name that helps people with mental illnesses.