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44 Charles Street
Cover of 44 Charles Street
44 Charles Street
A Novel

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Danielle Steel's Betrayal.

A magical transformation takes place in Danielle Steel's luminous novel: Strangers become roommates, roommates become friends, and friends become a family in a turn-of-the-century house in Manhattan's West Village.


The plumbing was prone to leaks, the furniture rescued from garage sales. And every square inch was being devotedly restored to its original splendor--even as a relationship fell to pieces. Now Francesca Thayer, newly separated from her boyfriend, is suddenly the sole mortgage payer on her Greenwich Village townhouse. The struggling art gallery owner does the math and then the unimaginable. She puts out an advertisement for boarders, and soon her home becomes a whole new world.

First comes Eileen, a fresh, pretty L.A. transplant, now a New York City schoolteacher. Then there's Chris, a young father fighting for custody of his seven-year-old son. The final tenant is Marya, a celebrated cookbook author hoping to start a new chapter in life after the death of her husband. Over the course of one amazing, unforgettable, ultimately life-changing year, Francesca discovers that her accidental tenants have become the most important people in her life. The house at 44 Charles Street fills with laughter, heartbreak, and hope--and in the hands of master storyteller Danielle Steel, it's a place those who visit will never want to leave.

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Danielle Steel's Betrayal.

A magical transformation takes place in Danielle Steel's luminous novel: Strangers become roommates, roommates become friends, and friends become a family in a turn-of-the-century house in Manhattan's West Village.


The plumbing was prone to leaks, the furniture rescued from garage sales. And every square inch was being devotedly restored to its original splendor--even as a relationship fell to pieces. Now Francesca Thayer, newly separated from her boyfriend, is suddenly the sole mortgage payer on her Greenwich Village townhouse. The struggling art gallery owner does the math and then the unimaginable. She puts out an advertisement for boarders, and soon her home becomes a whole new world.

First comes Eileen, a fresh, pretty L.A. transplant, now a New York City schoolteacher. Then there's Chris, a young father fighting for custody of his seven-year-old son. The final tenant is Marya, a celebrated cookbook author hoping to start a new chapter in life after the death of her husband. Over the course of one amazing, unforgettable, ultimately life-changing year, Francesca discovers that her accidental tenants have become the most important people in her life. The house at 44 Charles Street fills with laughter, heartbreak, and hope--and in the hands of master storyteller Danielle Steel, it's a place those who visit will never want to leave.

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter 1

    Francesca Thayer sat at her desk until the figures started to blur
    before her eyes. She had been over them a thousand times in
    the past two months--and had just spent the entire weekend trying
    to crunch numbers. They always came out the same. It was three
    o'clock in the morning and her long wavy blond hair was a tangled
    mess as she unconsciously ran her hands through it again. She was
    trying to save her business and her house, and so far she hadn't
    been able to come up with a solution. Her stomach turned over as
    she thought of losing both.

    She and Todd had started the business together four years ago.
    They'd opened an art gallery in New York's West Village where they
    specialized in showing the work of emerging artists at extremely
    reasonable prices. She had a deep commitment to the artists she
    represented. Her experience in the art world had been extensive,
    although Todd had none at all. Before that, she had run two other
    galleries, one uptown after she graduated, and the other in Tribeca.
    But this gallery that they had started together was her dream. She
    had a degree in fine arts, her father was a well- known artist who
    had become very successful in recent years, and the gallery she
    shared with Todd had gotten excellent reviews. Todd was an avid
    collector of contemporary work, and he thought that helping her
    start the gallery would be fun. At the time, Todd was tired of his
    own career on Wall Street as an attorney. He had a considerable
    amount of money saved and figured he could coast for a few years.
    The business plan he had developed for them showed them making
    money within three years. He hadn't counted on Francesca's passion
    for less expensive work by entirely unknown artists, helping
    them whenever possible, nor had he realized that her main goal
    was showcasing the work, but not necessarily making a lot of
    money at it. Her hunger for financial success was far more limited
    than his. She was as much a patron of the arts as a gallerist. Todd
    was in it to make money. He thought it would be exciting and a
    welcome change of career for him after years of doing tax and estate
    work for an important law firm. But now he said he was tired
    of listening to their bleeding- heart artists, watching his nest egg
    dwindle to next to nothing, and being poor. As far as Todd was concerned,
    this was no longer fun. He was forty years old, and wanted
    to make real money again. When he talked to her about it he had
    already lined up a job at a Wall Street firm. They were promising
    him a partnership within a year. As far as selling art was concerned,
    he was done.

    Francesca wanted to stick with it and make the gallery a success,
    whatever it took. And unlike Todd, she didn't mind being broke.

    But in the past year, their relationship had begun to unravel, which
    made their business even less appealing to him. They argued about
    everything, what they did, who they saw, what to do about the
    gallery. She found the artists, worked with them, and curated the
    shows. Todd handled the money end of things and paid the bills.
    The worst of it was that their relationship was over now too.
    They had been together for five years. Francesca had just turned
    thirty when she met him, and Todd was thirty- five.
    It was hard for her to believe that a relationship that had seemed
    so solid could fall apart so totally in a year. They had never wanted
    to get married and now they disagreed about that too. When Todd
    hit forty, he suddenly decided he wanted a conventional life. Marriage
    was sounding good to him and he didn't want to wait much
    longer to...

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.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 7, 2011
    After her boyfriend and business partner leaves her, Manhattan art dealer Francesca Thayer is forced to take in boarders in order to save her beloved home. In short order, she rents out rooms to Eileen, a young teacher; Marya, a famous chef; and Chris, an attractive single father. They all become close friends, but their lives remain chaotic. Eileen falls in love with tattooed men, Marya has a persistent, married suitor, and Chris gains full custody of his son as his ex-wife becomes increasingly erratic. Along the way, Francesca stops worrying about what might have been, and becomes more involved in the world around her—romances, plumbing problems, and all. While addressing the recession, the lethal danger of Internet dating, and the evils of drug abuse, Steel keeps the tone gentle and soothing in this warm, cozy tale about the triumph of love, friendship, and second chances.

  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2011

    After a breakup, a Manhattan gallery owner takes in tenants at her West Village brownstone.

    Francesca, 35, has to admit that her future with live-in boyfriend Todd is nil. But after Todd moves out, how to pay the mortgage on the old house they were rehabbing on Charles Street, and prop up the failing finances of the gallery they once co-owned? Francesca's father, a famous artist, invests in the gallery, and Francesca advertises for roommates. Her mother, Thalia, a 60-something jetsetter, is too busy hunting husband No. 6 to help with anything beyond undermining her daughter's self-esteem. Soon the house is occupied by a group that fast becomes Francesca's surrogate family: Eileen, a 20-something transplant from San Diego, is obsessed with meeting men on the Internet. Marya, a newly widowed famous food writer, needs a New York pied-à-terre and, often aided by flirtatious French chef Charles-Edouard, cooks fabulous meals in Francesca's tiny kitchen. Chris, a graphic designer, is shell-shocked by struggles with his ex-wife, Kim, who managed to get joint custody of son Ian despite the fact that she's a heroin addict. Ian, a third grader, twice saved his mother from overdosing. Ian relishes his brief visits at Charles Street, especially when Marya makes him Mickey Mouse pancakes. Eileen's latest online conquest, Brad, a tattooed biker type, is obviously trouble, but her roommates' respect for her privacy has disastrous consequences. After Kim lands in jail for manslaughter after a fellow addict ODs in Ian's presence, Francesca learns Chris and his ex represented a failed merger of two of the nation's most powerful political families. Chris, attracted by Francesca's comparative normalcy, impulsively kisses her. Wouldn't Thalia be thrilled to see her daughter reel in the scion of a dynasty more illustrious than the Kennedys? But Francesca insists they are just friends.

    Classic Steel, phoned in. Much repetitious ruminating and a stultifying, unmusical prose style too often obstruct the intended edgy escapism.

     

    (COPYRIGHT (2011) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • Library Journal

    February 15, 2011

    When Francesca's relationship with her longtime boyfriend ends, she stands to lose the art gallery and the house they co-owned. But she comes up with financial plans to keep the business and the house by making sacrifices--selling some cherished original artwork and taking in boarders. Despite her opinionated mother's fears and objections, Francesca allows three strangers into her beloved home: Eileen is a young schoolteacher with a penchant for online dating; Chris is a quiet father trying to gain sole custody of his young son; and Marya is a recently widowed famous cookbook author. Over the course of a year, the housemates coalesce into a surrogate family, supporting one another through good times and bad. VERDICT In best-selling author Steel's (Family Ties) latest novel, the lives of the supporting cast members are far more compelling than her protagonist's, and reading about their challenges and successes is a sufficiently entertaining way to spend some time. Steel also touches on difficult social issues, such as abusive relationships and drug abuse.--Samantha J. Gust, Niagara Univ. Lib., NY

    Copyright 2011 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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