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Happy Birthday
Cover of Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday
A Novel
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In this beguiling novel, Danielle Steel tells the story of three very different people, each of whom reaches a crucial turning point on the same day--a time to blow out the candles, say goodbye to the past, and make a wish for the future.

Valerie Wyatt is the queen of gracious living. Since her long-ago divorce, she's created a successful TV show and reached the pinnacle of her profession, with a camera-ready life in her Fifth Avenue penthouse. So why is she so depressed? Because all the hours with her personal trainer, hairdressers, and cosmetic surgeons can't fudge the truth: Valerie is turning sixty.

Valerie's daughter, April, spends every last ounce of her energy on her popular one-of-a-kind restaurant in downtown New York. She has no love life and no prospects. Ready or not, though, April's life is about to change, in a tumultuous transformation that begins the morning it hits her: She's thirty. And what does she have to show for it?

Jack Adams is the most charismatic sports analyst on TV. Twelve years after retiring from the NFL, he still has his pick of the most desirable twentysomething women. But Jack wakes up on his fiftieth birthday, his back thrown out of whack, feeling every year his age.

In a novel brimming with warmth and insight, beginning on one birthday and ending on another, Valerie, April, and Jack discover that life itself can be a celebration--and that its greatest gifts are always a surprise.

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

In this beguiling novel, Danielle Steel tells the story of three very different people, each of whom reaches a crucial turning point on the same day--a time to blow out the candles, say goodbye to the past, and make a wish for the future.

Valerie Wyatt is the queen of gracious living. Since her long-ago divorce, she's created a successful TV show and reached the pinnacle of her profession, with a camera-ready life in her Fifth Avenue penthouse. So why is she so depressed? Because all the hours with her personal trainer, hairdressers, and cosmetic surgeons can't fudge the truth: Valerie is turning sixty.

Valerie's daughter, April, spends every last ounce of her energy on her popular one-of-a-kind restaurant in downtown New York. She has no love life and no prospects. Ready or not, though, April's life is about to change, in a tumultuous transformation that begins the morning it hits her: She's thirty. And what does she have to show for it?

Jack Adams is the most charismatic sports analyst on TV. Twelve years after retiring from the NFL, he still has his pick of the most desirable twentysomething women. But Jack wakes up on his fiftieth birthday, his back thrown out of whack, feeling every year his age.

In a novel brimming with warmth and insight, beginning on one birthday and ending on another, Valerie, April, and Jack discover that life itself can be a celebration--and that its greatest gifts are always a surprise.

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

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter 1

    November first was a day Valerie Wyatt dreaded every year, or at least for the last two decades, since she turned forty. She had successfully staved off the potential ravages of time, and no one who saw her would have guessed that she had turned sixty when she woke up that morning. She had been discreetly shedding years for a while and it was easy to believe her creativity about her age. People magazine had recently said she was fifty-one years old, which was bad enough. Sixty was beyond thinking and she was grateful that everyone seemed to have forgotten the right number. Valerie did everything she could to confuse them. She had had her eyes done for the first time when she turned forty and then again fifteen years later. The results were excellent. She looked rested and fresh, as though she had been on a terrific vacation. She had had the surgery done in L.A. during a summer hiatus. She had also had her neck done when she was fifty, giving her a smooth, youthful neckline with no sag anywhere, and her plastic surgeon agreed that she didn't need a full face-lift. She had great bones, good skin, and the eye and neck work had given her the effect she wanted. Botox shots four times a year added to her youthful looks. Daily exercise and a trainer three times a week kept her long, lean body toned and unmarked by age. If she had wanted to, she could have claimed to be in her forties, but she didn't want to seem ridiculous, and was content to knock nine years off her age. People also knew that she had a thirty-year-old daughter, so she couldn't stretch the truth too far. Fifty-one worked.

    It took time, effort, maintenance, and money to maintain her appearance. It served her vanity, but it was also important for her career. Valerie had been the number-one guru of style and gracious living during a thirty-five-year career. She had started as a writer for a decorating magazine when she got out of college, and she had turned it into an intense dedication. She was the high priestess of how to entertain and for everything that went on in the home. She had licensing arrangements for fine linens, furniture, wallpaper, fabrics, exquisite chocolates, and a line of mustards. She had written six books on weddings, decorating, and entertaining and had a show that had among the highest ratings on TV. She had planned three White House weddings when presidential daughters and nieces got married, and her book on weddings had been number one on the New York Times nonfiction list for fifty-seven weeks. Her arch-competitor was Martha Stewart, but Valerie was in a class unto herself, although she'd always had deep respect for her rival. They were the two most important women in their field.

    Valerie lived exactly the way she preached. Her Fifth Avenue penthouse, with a sweeping view of Central Park, and an important collection of contemporary art, looked camera ready at all times and so did she. She was obsessed with beauty. People wanted to live the way she told them to, women wanted to look the way she did, and young girls wanted a wedding just the way Valerie would have done it, or as she instructed them to do on her show and in her books. Valerie Wyatt was a household name. She was a beautiful woman, had a fabulous career, and lived a golden life. The only thing missing in her life was a man, and she hadn't been involved with anyone in three years. The thought of that depressed her that morning too. No matter how good she looked, the age on her driver's license was what it was, and who would want a woman of sixty? Even men in their eighties wanted girls in their twenties now. With this birthday, Valerie felt she had become obsolete. It wasn't a pleasant thought, and she wasn't happy...

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-
  • Library Journal

    February 1, 2011

    Valerie Wyatt is the reigning queen of elegant entertaining (think Martha Stewart). Her daughter, April, is the work-addicted chef/owner of a downtown New York restaurant (think any number of hot young chefs, today's new superstars, and check out Laura Shockey's Four Kitchens for the real inside story). High achievers, but men in their lives? Nuh-uh. Still, both have significant birthdays coming, and things might change. Classic Steel. Grab it, I guess.

    Copyright 2011 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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