On Sarah Whitfield's seventy-fifth birthday, memories take her back to New York in the 1930s. To a marriage that ends after a year, leaving Sarah shattered. A trip to Europe with her parents does little to raise her spirits, until she meets William, Duke of Whitfield. In time, despite her qualms, William insists on giving up his distant right to the British throne to make Sarah his dutchess and his wife.
On their honeymoon, the newlyweds buy an old French chateau, but not long after, the war begins. William joins the allied forces, leaving Sarah, their first child, an infant, and their second child on the way, in France. After the Nazi forces take over the chateau, Sarah continues to survive the terror and deprivation of the Occupation, unwavering in her belief that her missing-in-action husband is still alive.
After the war, as a gesture of goodwill, the Whitfields start buying jewels offered for sale by impoverished war survivors. With Sarah's style and keen eye, the collection becomes the prestigious Whitfield's jewelry store in Paris. Eventually, their jewelry business expands to London and Rome, as their family grows. Phillip, their firstborn, is stubborn and proud; Julian, their second son, is charming and generous and warm; Isabelle is rebellious and willful; and Xavier, unusual and untamed, is the final unexpected gift of their love. They each find their own way, but will be drawn to the great house of gems their parents built. In Jewels, Danielle Steel takes the reader through five eventful decades that include war, passion, international intrigue, and the strength of family through it all.
Danielle Fernandes Dominique Schuelein-Steel was born on August 14, 1947 in New York. Her father was a descendant of the Lowenbrau beer family and her mother was the daughter of a diplomat. She studied both literature and fashion design, first attending the Parsons School of Design and then New York University, graduating in 1967. Danielle Steel is currently the bestselling author alive today, and the fourth bestselling author of all time with over 650 million copies of her books sold. Steel has written 129 books, 93 of which were novels, primarily romance. Every one of her novels has achieved best seller status. She has been published in 69 countries and in 43 different languages. She has had 22 of her novels adapted for television movies and two of those received Golden Globe nominations. Danielle releases three new novels a year and works on multiple books at a time, often as many as five at once.
Steel has been married five times and although she is currently divorced, she is a strong believer in marriage and family. An only child, she discovered the joys of a big family as a child through one of her friends. She has nine children (seven biological and two stepsons that she has always considered her own) that are her greatest accomplishment. Her joy in life is her children and she speaks of them frequently on her website and her blog. Many of her books have been dedicated to one or more of her children. She was based in California for most of her career and now lives in both San Francisco and Paris.