by Danielle Steel
Publication Date October 5, 2021
Published by Random House Publishing Group
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Genres: Fiction / Family Life / General, Fiction / Romance / Contemporary, Fiction / Women
Two different worlds and two very different lives collide in Paris in this captivating novel by Danielle Steel.
Joachim von Hartmann was born and raised in Buenos Aires by his loving German mother, inseparable from his identical twin. When Joachim moves to Paris with his mother in his late teens, his twin stays behind and enters a dark world. Meanwhile, Joachim begins training to be a butler, fascinated by the precision and intense demands, and goes on to work in some of the grandest homes in England. His brother never reappears.
Olivia White has given ten years of her life to her magazine, which failed, taking all her dreams with it. A bequest from her mother allows her a year in Paris to reinvent herself. She needs help setting up a home in a charming Parisian apartment. It is then that her path and Joachim’s cross.
Joachim takes a job working for Olivia as a lark and enjoys the whimsy of a different life for a few weeks, which turn to months as the unlikely employer and employee learn they enjoy working side by side. At the same time, Joachim discovers the family history he never knew: a criminal grandfather who died in prison, the wealthy father who abandoned him, and the dangerous criminal his twin has become. While Olivia struggles to put her life back together, Joachim’s comes apart.
Stripped of their old roles, they strive to discover the truth about each other and themselves, first as employer and employee, then as friends. Their paths no longer sure, they are a man and woman who reach a place where the past doesn’t matter and only what they are living now is true.
The Butler by Danielle Steel is about love, family, and brothers. It’s a family saga that starts out in Argentina and goes to Paris, New York, and London. It’s an inside look into a dying profession, the butler, but so much more. The characters are strong, memorable, and very likable.
Joachim and Javier, twins, are raised by a single mother in Buenos Aires, Argentina. When the twins are teenagers, their mother remarries and moves to Paris. Javier doesn’t go with them and instead stays in Argentina with his friends. Joachim finishes his schooling, and then is lost without his twin brother and does odd jobs until he finds an ad for a butler school in England. Without a passion or a career, Joachim decides to go to butler school and learn the trade. Joachim is surprised that he loves the job and spends the next sixteen years working as a butler for a noble family in England. After his employers pass away, and his job is over, he returns to Paris to spend time with his mother, who is now widowed until he can find another job as a butler. As butler jobs are rare, he takes a temporary job in Paris helping a woman set up a home and acts as her personal assistant. Olivia, his employer is taking a break after her high-end decorating magazine failed after ten years. She decides to spend a year in Paris, and hires Joachim, a master of four languages, to help her set up her apartment.
Danielle Steel is a master at developing deep and realistic characters and this book does not disappoint. Joachim and his mother are such loving characters, and so is Olivia. I’ll admit there is a bit of an info dump at the beginning of this book, but it’s worth it to plow through it, as the story is so very good. I just loved Joachim, his relationship with his mother, and then his relationship with Olivia, it all seemed so real, and true.
I highly recommend this book, especially to all who love Danielle Steel Novels. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.