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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

From Danielle Steel comes a heartwarming and inspirational novel about a mother and daughter who face challenges, cope with celebrity, and overcome tragedy while maintaining the outward appearance of . . .
 
A PERFECT LIFE

The epitome of intelligence, high-powered energy, and grace, Blaise McCarthy is an icon in the world of television news, asking the tough questions and taking on the emotionally charged issues of world affairs and politics with courage and insight. A single mother, she manages her well-ordered career meticulously, always prepared on the air or interviewing world-renowned figures and heads of state. To her audience, Blaise seems to have it all. But privately, and off the set, there is another untold story she has kept hidden for years.
 
Blaise’s teenage daughter, Salima, was blinded by Type 1 diabetes in childhood, and her needs have kept her away in a year-round boarding school with full-time medical care and assistance ever since. When Salima’s school closes after a tragedy, Salima returns to her mother’s New York City apartment, and suddenly they face challenges they’ve never had to deal with before, and that Blaise feels ill-equipped to handle. A new caretaker provided by Salima’s school creates as many problems as he solves. Handsome, accomplished, thirty-two-year-old Simon Ward, with strong opinions on every topic, questions how mother and daughter view themselves and each other. Simon opens new doors for both of them and refuses to accept Salima’s physical limitations. He turns their world upside down, and the three become friends.
 
Then everything starts to unravel and Blaise can’t keep her two worlds separate anymore. A beautiful young anchorwoman is hired at the network; it is no secret that she is being groomed to take Blaise’s place. Her career as she has known it is threatened, and her previously well-ordered life feels totally out of control. For the first time, Blaise’s life is not perfect, but real.
 
In this unforgettable tale, the incomparable Danielle Steel has written a novel that pulsates with emotion and honesty as three people face the truth about themselves. A Perfect Life is about what we do when facades fall away and we can no longer run from the truth. As old ideas fail, everything changes, and life is suddenly brand-new.

Praise for A Perfect Life
 
“A classic Steel story, with a mother and daughter keeping up appearances as they overcome tragedy and learn a thing or two about themselves.” Library Journal
 
“It’s the lessons learned by the mother-daughter duo about love, loyalty and family that bring them closer together than ever before in Steel’s latest heartwarming page-turner.” Closer Weekly

Review

Praise for Danielle Steel

“Steel is one of the best!” Los Angeles Times

“Few modern writers convey the pathos of family and material life with such heartfelt empathy.” The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Steel pulls out all the emotional stops. . . . She delivers!” Publishers Weekly

“What counts for the reader is the ring of authenticity.” San Francisco Chronicle

About the Author

Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world’s most popular authors, with over 650 million copies of her novels sold. Her many international bestsellers include  Country, Prodigal Son, Pegasus,  A Perfect Life, Power Play, Winners, First Sight, Until the End of Time, The Sins of the Mother, 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;  A Gift of Hope, a memoir of her work with the homeless;  Pure Joy, about the dogs she and her family have loved; and the children’s book  Pretty Minnie in Paris.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

Crowds of students began congregating outside Royce Hall ­Auditorium at UCLA two hours before Congressman Patrick Olden was scheduled to speak, an hour before they opened the doors. He had been invited by an enterprising professor, who taught a class on citizenship and public service, open to juniors and seniors. But once the congressman accepted, he had sent out notices to all political science majors, and the auditorium was expected to be full. They were estimating that two thousand students would be there. And judging from the number of people waiting for the doors to open, there might even be more. He was a popular congressman, with a liberal voting record dedicated to the underdog and was known for championing minorities, including women, and sympathetic to the issues of youth and the elderly. And he had four kids of his own. He was married to his childhood sweetheart, and everybody loved him. The students were excited to hear him speak that day.

The crowd was orderly once the doors were open, on a brilliantly sunny, warm October day. Olden was scheduled to begin addressing them at eleven, with time set aside for questions from the audience after his speech. He was scheduled to have lunch with the chancellor afterward and fly back to Washington that afternoon. Getting him there at all had been a major coup. It wasn’t for a commencement address, or a law school graduation, it was just a class, and all of them were thrilled to have him there. Luckily it had dovetailed with his plans and a meeting with the governor the day before, and a dinner in his honor to receive an award. Pat Olden was a beloved figure with both young and old.

One of his own kids, his oldest son, was at USC, and he had breakfast with him that morning. Patrick Olden appeared on the stage less than ten minutes late, while they waited backstage for the crowd to settle down. He stood at the podium with his warm smile, his eyes sweeping the crowd. You could hear a pin drop in the room when he began, and students without seats sat cross-­legged in the aisles, and stood at the back of the room. They paid rapt attention to everything he said about government today, and what their responsibilities would be if they chose a career in politics. He talked about his own college days and explained what he was trying to do on the various committees he was on, and went into considerable detail. He had already been in office for three years, had done considerable good with the bills he proposed, and this was not an election year for him. He sounded earnest and sincere, and the audience hung on his every word and greeted him with thunderous applause when he was through. He looked pleased. He was the perfect role model for them. The professor who had invited him opened the question and answer period, and a hundred hands shot into the air. The questions were pointed and intelligent and relevant to what he had said. They were twenty minutes into it when a boy in the third row stood up as soon as the congressman pointed at him, and looked him in the eye with a welcoming smile.

“What’s your position on gun control now?” the young man asked him, which was a topic he hadn’t touched on that day and didn’t want to. He was gentle but firm in his views in favor of gun control, but it was a sensitive issue that had had no place in his talk, advising them about careers in government and it was a subject he had chosen to avoid. The boy who asked the question had neatly combed blond hair, was clean-­shaven, and was wearing a blue shirt and an army surplus jacket. He looked orderly and well-groomed, but didn’t smile back when Pat Olden smiled at him, and someone said later that the boy looked unusually pale, as though he hadn’t seen daylight in a long time.

Pat Olden began answering his question with a serious expression. “I think you all know how I feel about it. Despite the provision in our Constitution that gives us the right to bear arms, I think that terrorism is an important factor today that can’t be ignored. And guns too easily fall into the wrong hands. I feel,” he said, and before he could finish his sentence or reiterate his position, the young man in the blue shirt and army jacket pulled a gun out of his pocket and, barely pausing to take aim, shot him squarely in the chest, and then followed with a shot to his neck. The congressman fell forward across the podium and then slid to the ground gushing blood, as students throughout the room began to scream. Security guards rushed forward, along with two bodyguards who had accompanied him. People began running toward the exits, others crouched on the ground, as the boy with the gun shot the girl sitting next to him in the head, and then shot randomly into the crowd, while guards in uniform rushed toward him and he killed two of them when they approached. The seats on either side of him were empty by then, and he ran swiftly across them shooting at other students trying to run from the room. He shot three in the back and another girl in the head. There were bodies lying everywhere as a crowd on the stage was ministering to the fallen congressman. There was blood all over the stage, as people continued to scream in terror and grief watching their classmates being killed. And knowing exactly what he was doing, the shooter saved the last round for himself. A university guard in uniform was within a foot of him and was about to grab him, as the shooter hesitated for only a fraction of a second, deciding whether or not to kill him, and then shot himself in the head, and ended the carnage he had begun only minutes before. The entire episode had taken exactly seven minutes, and eleven students and two guards lay dead, eight more had been injured, and the congressman was unconscious, covered in blood as paramedics rushed him from the auditorium on a stretcher. There were already a dozen emergency vehicles outside and more on the way, as university police attempted to control the crowd, to no avail. Several of them had been trampled on the way out and were injured too. All you could hear was crying and screaming in the room, as two thousand students had attempted to escape.

Police had rapidly surrounded the lifeless form of the shooter, and a policeman checked his pockets for ID. Moments later paramedics took him away. His brain was smeared across the seats around him.

It took hours to get injured students to hospitals by ambulance, remove the dead, clear the area, and begin to calm everyone down. Two of the victims died on the way to the hospital, which brought the student death toll to thirteen. It was a scene of carnage and grief, which, sadly, was not entirely unfamiliar in the world of campus violence today. It was an event that had happened before. All network programming was interrupted, with on-­the-­scene reports of the shooting at UCLA. Congressman Olden was listed as in critical condition, hovering between life and death from the wounds in his chest and neck, and he was in surgery at last report, while surgeons fought for his life.

Within an hour, the identity of the shooter was on the air. He was a pre-­law student who had dropped out the year before, and had a history of mental instability. He had evidenced signs of mental illness for a year before he left school. He had refused treatment while at UCLA and had previously been admitted to a psychiatric hospital while in high school. He had been reported in college for threatening an ex-­girlfriend with a gun when she dated someone else, but he had never injured anyone before. He was nineteen, currently living in an apartment by himself, and working at a pawnshop, where he had bought the gun he had used that day. And his parents weren’t reached for comment until later that afternoon. His mother was incoherent with grief as police led her from her home for questioning, and his father was reported to be away on a fishing trip. Neighbors, when asked to comment, said he was a nice boy, always polite, although a little strange. He was obsessed with computers, rarely left his place except for work, and seemed to have no friends. He had been a loner all his life. And the portrait of him painted by those who knew him, teachers, co-­workers at the pawnshop, neighbors, all presented a classic image of a mentally disturbed boy who had somehow slipped through the cracks of treatment and run amok, killing sixteen people that day, including himself, and injuring seven others including the congressman. It was a wanton waste of life, and police believed that he had gone there to kill Pat Olden, for his stance on gun control, since he had been armed and taken a seat in the third row.

The campus was closed immediately, classes stopped as news got around, and crying students congregated everywhere, with their arms around each other, mourning lost friends.

Pat Olden’s wife, already on a flight to Washington that morning, after the awards ceremony the night before, was told what had happened to her husband. She was on a chartered plane, which landed in Denver. Pat Olden was still in surgery but was not expected to survive, and his wife called their four children while on the ground before they headed back to L.A. Their oldest son, at USC, was already at the hospital, waiting outside surgery. He had been in class when he heard, and a friend at UCLA sent him a text even before it hit the news.

Everyone was in shock, and by late that afternoon, another of the victims had died from his wounds, a member of the university police. It was one of the worst shootings of its kind, compared to others in recent years, and events like it were precisely why Pat Olden was opposed to guns, readily available, and too often in the wrong hands in today’s world. The boy in the blue shirt had proven him right, yet again.

***

Blaise McCarthy sat in her office at the network in New York, watching the images of crying, hysterical students, and the reruns of what had happened, from a video taken on someone’s phone, which was a crazy jumble of visuals captured while the person who had recorded them hid under a seat at the back of the room. All you could really see was people running, and hear horrible screams and gunshots as the shooter took his victims down.

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4.5 out of 54.5 out of 5
3,048 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Charlotte DeWitt
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A very deep and exciting read
Reviewed in the United States on September 24, 2019
The story line from start to finish was interesting. A totally different type of story line which I enjoyed. Blaise was a very go getting person with a daughter she adored but had to have others take care of her. Salima, Blaise''s daughter was a transformation from the... See more
The story line from start to finish was interesting. A totally different type of story line which I enjoyed. Blaise was a very go getting person with a daughter she adored but had to have others take care of her. Salima, Blaise''s daughter was a transformation from the start of the story till the end. Simon was all any woman would love to have in their life!! Read it and enjoy!
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Travlee
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Disappointing
Reviewed in the United States on February 3, 2015
I typically enjoy reading novels by Danielle Steele but this one was a disappointment. I found the main character, Blaise to be selfish, self centered, and just generally unlikeable no matter how noble the writer tried to make her. She has put her career above everything... See more
I typically enjoy reading novels by Danielle Steele but this one was a disappointment. I found the main character, Blaise to be selfish, self centered, and just generally unlikeable no matter how noble the writer tried to make her. She has put her career above everything and everyone in her life including her handicapped daughter. What''s worse is the author trying to convince us that the daughter is okay with all this. That being sent to a fancy private school and having personal care givers waiting on her hand and foot somehow makes up for her mothers lack of involvement in her life. The character of Susie Q was never really fleshed out and readers are just expected to believe that she is just unworthy of unseating Blaise. There was never any real interaction between the two characters, it seems like this plot line was just tossed in but never really explored before Susie''s inevitable humiliation. Finally, the whole book feels like a warmed over plot line we have seen before, totally predictable. Danielle Steele has done this before and done it far better!
2 people found this helpful
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daniela
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
one of the worst books I''ve ever read
Reviewed in the United States on August 21, 2014
Wow - I can''t believe Danielle Steel is a best seller. She writes like a fourth grader. She started so many sentences with the word "and." WHY? It didn''t even make sense. Sounded so juvenile. The plot is so obvious. She tries to create suspense but it is so... See more
Wow - I can''t believe Danielle Steel is a best seller. She writes like a fourth grader. She started so many sentences with the word "and." WHY? It didn''t even make sense. Sounded so juvenile. The plot is so obvious. She tries to create suspense but it is so obvious what is going to happen. It is also very boring and shallow. And ridiculous too - to think that a 19 year-old blind girl (blind since childhood) would be so dependent. Especially since her mother is a motivated person - you would think the mother would be motivated to help her daughter succeed in living her life. Just was not believable at all. It was also so repetitive - I honestly thought to myself - does Ms. Steel not realize that she just said the same thing on the previous page.....

Such a sad commentary that books like this that sound like it was written by someone in elementary or middle school gets 4 1/2 stars.
Will not read another book by this author. I stopped reading this one halfway through (but trust me, I know exactly what will happen).
3 people found this helpful
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Unknown
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Perfect Life by Danielle Steel
Reviewed in the United States on September 17, 2019
I really enjoyed this book right from the beginning. I was hooked and hated to put it down. I had others to read and wanted to see if there was such a thing as a perfect life. She came pretty close, although it was not real, it made you wonder. I gave her four stars... See more
I really enjoyed this book right from the beginning. I was hooked and hated to put it down. I had others to read and wanted to see if there was such a thing as a perfect life. She came pretty close, although it was not real, it made you wonder. I gave her four stars easily on this one. I am glad I decided to read it over three other books I have downloaded to read.
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Sunny
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Perfect career, perfect home life is redefined
Reviewed in the United States on November 5, 2014
Danielle Steel often uses a rather similar theme of women overcoming the odds, and sometimes one might feel the plot is a bit predictable... but I did enjoy this novel. A thriving career hasn''t brought the TV icon true happiness. She has a blind daughter being raised away... See more
Danielle Steel often uses a rather similar theme of women overcoming the odds, and sometimes one might feel the plot is a bit predictable... but I did enjoy this novel. A thriving career hasn''t brought the TV icon true happiness. She has a blind daughter being raised away at school. Suddenly, their lives are brought together, and having to adjust to living as mother and daughter. They are both ill prepared for living daily as a family. A live in teacher/tutor comes to assist, and turns both their lives upside down in a wonderful way. He fosters the daughter''s independence and expanding horizons into life beyond boarding school. The mother and tutor find romance unexpectedly, despite the age difference.
3 people found this helpful
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gilmoregirl
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I have read better Danielle Steel books and I have read worse
Reviewed in the United States on October 23, 2014
I have read better Danielle Steel books and I have read worse. It is interesting how someone can be in a routine with their life and then things change and its how you cope with the changes that makes life interesting. When Blaize and Salima are comforted with change they... See more
I have read better Danielle Steel books and I have read worse. It is interesting how someone can be in a routine with their life and then things change and its how you cope with the changes that makes life interesting. When Blaize and Salima are comforted with change they resist it at first and then they start to enjoy the change.Then change happens again, this time it is not good because the teacher wants to try and work things out with a former girlfriend. There are a few chapters in the middle of the book, I just wanted to skip. In fact I read the end of the book to see how it would work out and then I went back to the middle of the book to see how the story would unfold. I am in the process of taking graduate classes so I look at this as a lite read, a form of escape for a little while,.
4 people found this helpful
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P. J. Johnson
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Blind kids don''t need caretakers!
Reviewed in the United States on August 9, 2014
As a teacher of blind kids, it was a little hard at times to read this book. The use of the word "stick" (for the long white cane that blind people use) drove me nuts even though it was only used once (so far) near the front of the book. The need of a caretaker for a blind... See more
As a teacher of blind kids, it was a little hard at times to read this book. The use of the word "stick" (for the long white cane that blind people use) drove me nuts even though it was only used once (so far) near the front of the book. The need of a caretaker for a blind girl, even one with diabetes, is so demeaning and old fashioned that it was torture for me to read the first part of the book. I will finish it, because it''s Danielle Steel and I''ve read just about all of her books. I just wish someone from the board of National Federation of the Blind could have contributed to this book, before it was published. Her books are usually very well researched.
3 people found this helpful
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Betty
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Shorter than most but sweeter too
Reviewed in the United States on October 31, 2018
This was much different than I thought it was going to be, given the start, I nearly quit reading it. With all the trash in today’s news, the last thing I wanted to read was a novel of political opinions. It changed quickly and was a rewarding gift through out. One you can... See more
This was much different than I thought it was going to be, given the start, I nearly quit reading it. With all the trash in today’s news, the last thing I wanted to read was a novel of political opinions. It changed quickly and was a rewarding gift through out. One you can appreciate
2 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

grannie with an e
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
loved it!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 28, 2014
Another Danielle Steele book which I found difficult to put down. Although her characters always live a life far removed from the majority of her readers, they come alive on the page and you find yourself loving them, being irritated by them, disapproving of their actions...See more
Another Danielle Steele book which I found difficult to put down. Although her characters always live a life far removed from the majority of her readers, they come alive on the page and you find yourself loving them, being irritated by them, disapproving of their actions and just wishing you could get to meet them!
7 people found this helpful
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Georgina Porter
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Another excellent novel from the amazing Danielle Steel.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 7, 2018
From the first page I was captivated by the story as normal when readings a D.Steel novel I became enthralled with this book could not put it down. Having read almost every novel by D. Steel I would totally recommend this if you enjoy a story of intrigue romance and s good...See more
From the first page I was captivated by the story as normal when readings a D.Steel novel I became enthralled with this book could not put it down. Having read almost every novel by D. Steel I would totally recommend this if you enjoy a story of intrigue romance and s good feel factor.
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Theresa Winchester
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I really enjoyed this books as with all of Danielle Steel books ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 15, 2018
I really enjoyed this books as with all of Danielle Steel books she take you into it, and you are unable to put her books down. I am looking forward to really my next one.
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Happy Reader
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Recommended Read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 11, 2019
I thoroughly enjoyed this book as I always do with Danielle Steele. The story and characters. Always a happy ending.
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Kindle Customer Anne
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Another good read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 22, 2019
Great storyline Have saved all Danielle Steel ''s books to read again. Would like to see more made into films.
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2021 discount A Perfect Life: A sale online Novel online sale

2021 discount A Perfect Life: A sale online Novel online sale

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