Natasha Leonova’s beauty saved her life. Discovered starving on a freezing Moscow street by a Russian billionaire, she has lived for seven years under his protection, immersed in rarefied luxury, while he pursues his activities in a dark world that she guesses at but never sees. Her home is the world, often on one of Vladimir Stanislas’s spectacular yachts manned by scores of heavily armed crew members. Natasha’s job is to keep Vladimir happy, ask no questions, and be discreet. She knows her place, and the rules. She feels fortunate to be spoiled and protected, and is careful not to dwell on Vladimir’s ruthlessness or the deadly circles he moves in. She experiences only his kindness and generosity and believes he will always keep her safe. She is unfailingly loyal to him in exchange.
Theo Luca is the son of a brilliant, world famous, and difficult artist, Lorenzo Luca, who left his wife and son with a fortune in artwork they refuse to sell. Lorenzo’s widow, Maylis, has transformed their home in St. Paul de Vence into a celebrated restaurant decorated with her late husband’s paintings, and treats it as a museum. There, on a warm June evening, Theo first encounters Natasha, the most exquisite woman he has ever seen. And there, Vladimir lays eyes on Luca’s artwork. Two dangerous obsessions begin.
Theo, a gifted artist in his own right, finds himself feverishly painting Natasha’s image for weeks after their first meeting. Vladimir, enraged that Lorenzo’s works are not for sale, is determined to secure a painting at any price. And Natasha, who knows that she cannot afford to make even one false move, nevertheless begins to think of a world of freedom she can never experience as Vladimir’s mistress. She cannot risk her safety for another man, or even a conversation with him, as Theo longs for a woman he can never have.
From Moscow to the Riviera, London, and Paris, The Mistress is a riveting tale of vast fortune, cruelty, creative genius, and daring courage, as uncompromising individuals chart a course for collision.
Capturing historical events, terrifying moments of danger, tragedy, the price of war, and the invincible spirit of a woman of honor, The Award is a monumental tale from one of our most gifted storytellers—Danielle Steel’s finest, most emotionally resonant novel yet.
Gaëlle de Barbet is sixteen years old in 1940 when the German army occupies France and frightening changes begin to occur. She is shocked and powerless when French gendarmes take away her closest friend, Rebekah Feldmann, and her family for deportation to an unknown, ominous fate.
The local German military commandant makes Gaëlle’s family estate outside Lyon into his headquarters. Her father and brother are killed by the Germans; her mother fades away into madness. Trusted friends and employees become traitors. And Gaëlle begins a perilous journey with the French Resistance, hoping to save lives to make up for the beloved friend she could do nothing to help.
Taking terrifying risks, Gaëlle becomes a valuable member of the Resistance, fearlessly delivering Jewish children to safety under the eyes of the Gestapo and their French collaborators. Then she is suddenly approached by the German commandant with an astonishing, dangerous plan to save part of France’s artistic heritage. Conducted in secret, flawlessly carried out, her missions will mark her for years, when she is falsely accused of collaboration at the end of the war. Orphaned and alone, she begins a new life in Paris, with the ghosts of the past always close at hand.
Gaëlle’s life will take her from Paris to New York, from a career as a Dior model to marriage and motherhood, unbearable loss, and mature, lasting love. She returns to Paris to run a small museum, honoring victims of the Holocaust. But her label as a collaborator remains, until her granddaughter, a respected political journalist, ensures that her grandmother’s brave acts are recognized. Now a grateful nation will finally absolve this remarkable woman and honor her as the war hero she was.