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?