Without a Trace
by Danielle Steel
Publication Date January 3, 2023
Published by Random House Publishing Group
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Genres: Fiction / Family Life / General, Fiction / Romance / Contemporary, Fiction / Women
***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Danielle Steel, a powerful story about fighting for a chance at happiness—whatever the cost.
Charles Vincent seems to have it all—a beautiful wife, two successful children, and a well-paying career. Yet happiness remains out of reach. He is trapped in a loveless marriage and his job is simply a paycheck. But his life changes forever one night as he drives along the Normandy coast, heading to their lavish château for the weekend. In one terrifying moment, Charles falls asleep at the wheel and veers off the road, plunging thirty feet down the face of a rocky cliff.
Miraculously, Charles survives. After gathering the courage to climb to safety, he starts to walk—bruised, bloody, and desperate for help. In the dark of night, he happens upon a cabin where he meets the kind and beautiful Aude Saint-Martin. They have an instant connection, and as she nurses him back to health, Charles begins to discover the passion he’s been missing for so many years.
In the aftermath of the crash, Charles has a startling realization: He doesn’t have to go back. He could simply choose to disappear, to walk away from his old life. When his car is discovered, he’ll be presumed dead, washed away at sea. If he stays with Aude, he has a chance at a fuller, happier life that he didn’t know was possible. It all seems too good to resist. But Aude has secrets of her own, and before long their pasts catch up to them, threatening everything they have fought to build.
What would happen if you were given a chance to walk away from everything in your life and start over with a blank slate, and you had a split second to decide? In Without a Trace, Danielle Steel tells an irresistible story of the risks two people are willing to take in exchange for a chance at the life they’ve always wanted.
Without a Trace by Danielle Steel is a fast-moving romantic suspense set in France, about a man who decides to change his life after a near-fatal accident.
Charles Vincent appears to have everything he’s always wanted in life, his two children are grown and off doing their own thing, and while his marriage isn’t perfect, he’s worked hard to keep it together. His job pays well, which helps his wife maintain the lifestyle she desires, but his job isn’t what he’s always wanted to do. But, overall he’s content with his life, but he hasn’t felt true happiness in a long time.
On a trip from his office in Paris, to his château in Normandy, his car swerves off a cliff, and Charles and his car plunge into the ocean, far below the road. Charles manages to get out of the car and swim to safety and even manages to climb up the cliff and back onto the road, where he walks, in the dark, until he finds a remote cabin. There he meets the beautiful, Aude Saint-Martin, who takes him in and helps tends to his injuries. But, when Charles discovers that the police think he’s dead, he thinks about just staying with Aude and living a simpler life.
I’ve always wondered about people who can just walk away from life, and in Without a Trace, we get to see a man walk away from a lavish lifestyle, his wife, and two grown children.
The setting is gorgeous, part of the book is set in Paris, some of it is set in Charles’s lavish château in Normandy, and part of it is set in Aud’s small cabin, also in Normandy. All of these places are well described and made for a bit of escapism.
The characters were not very likable for the most part. Although I could sympathize with Charles in wanting to leave his old life, I didn’t like that he actually let his family believe he was dead. Also, the romantic relationship between Charles and Aud was very rushed and not all that believable to me. Aud wasn’t very well developed and although she had a rough past, I didn’t understand her rush into a new relationship.
I recommend Without a Trace to anyone who enjoys romantic suspense. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own
I like both covers, but I think the UK cover is more dramatic. I like the guy on the top of the cliff looking down.
Have you read Without a Trace?
Yeah, the idea does sound a bit iffy. Thanks for your review.
Confession. I used to swipe her books of my mom’s bookshelf and read them as a teen. I haven’t read her books in forever. Great review!
That’s funny, Kimberly!
I read her as a teen a lot as well. Not so much lately.
I haven’t read Danielle Steel for a long time. I do like the UK cover for this though.
Thank you, Cathy!
Yeah, it’s hard to love a book when the characters are unlikable. Someday I’ll try Steel, just not this one.
She does write some wonderful books.
Great review, Wendy 🙂 the characters certainly don’t sound appealing. One does imagine simply walking away from everything, but not like Charles does letting everyone who matters think he’s dead.
I agree, Mallika!
As a reader, I’m not sure I could get over Charles allowing his family to think he was dead. For me, that goes beyond unlikable and straight to unforgivable. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this one.
Thank you, Tanya! The wife was pretty terrible, but to do that to the kids especially was horrible.
ISHDHJSBDHD THE PREMISE FOR THIS SOUNDS SO SO COOL?? AND ALSO THE FACT THAY ITS SET IN FRANCE?? IS JUST?? it sounds phenomenal basically 😩👌 BUT ALSO. It sucks that the execution was so terrible IM SORRY
Thank you, Anoushka!
I have an ex-sister-in-law who did that. Just picked up and left my brother and her two young sons without a word. I never understood how someone could do that either. I don’t think they still have any contact with her (she did turn up about 200 miles away living a new life.) It’s just mind boggling.
That’s crazy! I can’t imagine doing something like that.
I haven’t read Steele in years. Actually didn’t know she was still writing. 🙁 However, this book doesn’t sound like the one to draw me back to her. Good review – thanks.
She still writes 2-3 books a year! Some are very good, and some, not so much. :).
Danielle Steele’s books, in my limited experience, can be really good or “meh.” This one sounds like it is the latter. I like main characters to be people I would want to spend time with. The thing that gives me the creeps is that there is a real life story going on right now in CA where a man drove off a cliff with his family in the car. It is way too soon to assign motives, etc. but one certainly reminds me of the other.
That’s so sad. I just read about that this morning. And you’re right about Danielle Steel, sometimes she’s great and sometimes not.
I like both covers. I so need ro get back to reading her work.
She’s so good sometimes!
I think I like the UK cover best. I haven’t read anything by Danielle Steele that I can think of–but I might have years ago. This sounds like a good read.
Thanks for your review Wendy 🙂
Great review! I’m torn on this one. I’m not sure if it is for me, but then again, I should read more outside my comfort zone.
It was enjoyable overall.
I think I’d enjoy reading this for the settings but not so much for the character developement or romance. It does seem like it had both good and not so good things but then again you have that for the most part in every novel.
That’s so true, Stephanie!
Great review, Wendy!
Thank you, Cindy
I do enjoy Danielle Steel’s books but this one sounds somewhat disappointing. I don’t like a rushed romance either and I prefer likeable characters. Great review Wendy.
This one had a great premise, the execution just wasn’t what I was hoping for.
I’ve never read Danielle Steele before. I don’t like rushed love either but this sounds like a good one overall, I like the setting. Great review!
The setting was beautiful.
Excellent review Wendy! I can’t wait to read this!!🤗📚💜
Thank you, Susan. I hoe you enjoy it too.
I actually like the US cover better (which is a rare thing!). Nice review Wendy
I do like the colors better in the US cover!
I will definitely have to read this it’s so my type of book!
I hope you enjoy it, Sue!
I agree, the UK cover is more appealing.
I almost always enjoy the UK covers best!
This does sound great, wonderful review 😊
Thank you, Jenny!