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Child's Play: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – July 28, 2020
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About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
It was one of the first really warm days in early June, as Kate Morgan looked at the meticulously neat stacks of files on her desk. She liked everything to be precise around her, and an orderly life. She had lived through the unexpected shocks that can happen when her husband died nineteen years before, and she’d had to make order from chaos. Her children, Tamara, Anthony, and Claire, had been thirteen, ten, and seven at the time. She herself had been thirty-five, and had never expected to be widowed at that age.
Her husband, Tom Morgan, had been a beloved congressman. They’d met when she was in college and he was in law school, and married when she graduated. His dream had been to go into politics, hers to go to law school, but she had staunchly stood beside him instead, as the perfect political wife, raising their three children. He had died in a helicopter accident in a storm, while visiting a disaster area in Upstate New York after a flood. The news coverage about him had made him sound like a modern day saint. Friendly, open, accessible, he had been popular ever since his first election. Kate and the children had been devastated, and she had struggled to put meaning back into their lives without him. He had been a wonderful father, and a good and loving husband for most of their marriage. Now, nineteen years later, the children still revered him, and Kate had seen to it that their memories of their father were untarnished.
The insurance money he had left for them had made them comfortable though not rich by any means, and had given Kate options she hadn’t considered before. A year after Tom’s death, she had started law school at Columbia University in New York. It had been a struggle managing school and taking care of the children, but she’d hired a housekeeper and also had her mother to help her. At thirty-six, she was the oldest student in her class, and had graduated with honors at thirty-nine.
She had worked at Berrigan Feldman and McCarthy for the past fifteen years, since she’d passed the bar, and was a senior partner now. Her specialty was corporate law, and she was a talented litigator, handling some of the firm’s most important lawsuits.
Kate had three trials scheduled in the next few months, if they didn’t settle first. She was a tough negotiator and a strong person, though a devoted mother and gentle in her private life. Becoming an attorney had added a whole new dimension to her life. She loved her work, and her children had adjusted to her schedule as her career grew exponentially. They were as proud of her as she was of them. She worked hard and was a strong role model for them. Now that they were grown up, she had more time and worked even harder. It had been a juggling act when they were younger, helping them with homework every night, and getting them to their sports games and school performances, but she did it. She expected excellence from them, and set the bar high for her children and herself. The results had been impressive, three solid, stable, well-balanced kids, all good students who had moved on to jobs they loved. She’d never had a serious problem with any of them, which Kate assumed was the norm, although she occasionally conceded she’d been lucky.
She had encouraged her children to pursue careers that were meaningful to them. They had survived their father’s death with no visible signs of damage, no drug or alcohol problems, no failing grades, no problems with the law. Neither of the girls had ever gotten pregnant. Kate was the envy of her friends. As adults, all three were nice human beings with social consciences, and had graduated from good schools and colleges. Her own successful career had supplemented Tom’s insurance handsomely. She loved spending time with her children, and was grateful for their time together now, despite busy lives and demanding jobs.
None of her children were married, although Anthony had gotten engaged six months before. Kate thought his fiancée was perfect for him. Anthony was twenty-nine, Amanda twenty-eight. Her father was an investment banker who lived in Bronxville, and had done extremely well. Amanda had gone to a respectable college, and had left school for a job as an assistant editor at Vogue. She worked for the beauty editor, and was a striking looking girl, with blond hair and blue eyes, like Kate herself. Both women were tall. Amanda could have been a model, and she had made her debut ten years before at the cotillion in New York. Her parents were socially prominent and very nice people. Kate loved the idea of Anthony being married to a girl like Amanda, and the life they would lead together.
Anthony had gone to MIT, and was almost a computer genius. He was also a graphic designer and designed videogames for the largest videogame company in the world. He was handsome, lovable, and talented, but sometimes socially awkward, and she knew that with Amanda, he would have respectable friends in good social circles, not just the geeks he worked with. Amanda would broaden his horizons beyond his computer screen, which tended to mesmerize him until he forgot everything else.
She took him to parties, and they wound up on Page Six of the New York Post occasionally, which pleased Kate. She was sure Amanda would be a terrific wife. She had no great ambitions at Vogue, but she enjoyed her job. She was more interested in marriage than her career.
For the past six months, she and her mother had focused on every detail of the wedding. She had bought her wedding dress the week they got engaged, which Anthony’s sisters thought was silly, but Kate thought was sweet. They had met at a mutual friend’s wedding in Martha’s Vineyard the summer before, and got engaged at Christmas. Their wedding was scheduled for December, which was only six months away now.
Kate left her office in perfect order, taking long graceful strides toward the elevator. She looked a dozen years younger than her fifty-four years, with long blond hair she wore pulled back. Her body was fit and athletic. A trainer came to work out with her three times a week. She was smiling in anticipation as she walked to the French restaurant ten minutes from her office on Park Avenue and East Fifty-Fourth Street, to meet her youngest daughter, Claire. She looked just like her father, with dark hair and dark eyes. She was smaller than her mother, with a casual sexiness she was unaware of. She had graduated from NYU law school a year before, and worked for a rival firm as an associate corporate attorney, following in her mother’s footsteps.
At twenty-six, Claire was on an excellent career path, which pleased her mother, and she frequently asked Kate for advice. She was waiting outside the restaurant in a short black skirt and high heels, with her dark hair piled on top of her head. Kate beamed when she saw her. Claire’s office was nearby, and Kate loved having lunch with her. She was bouncy and fun and young, and irrepressibly romantic. She had gone through a string of short-term boyfriends before, during, and after law school. Her relationships never lasted long, but they were intense and burned themselves out quickly, and then she would move to another one. She was never alone for long. There was no shortage of men in her life, unlike her older sister, Tammy, a senior vice president of marketing at Chanel, who never had time to date. She said relationships were something she’d think about later. Her rise in the company had been rapid, at the expense of her personal life, which she neglected, somewhat like her mother. Claire managed to do both, work hard and date, and men could never resist her.
- Publisher : Dell (July 28, 2020)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0399179526
- ISBN-13 : 978-0399179525
- Item Weight : 6.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.14 x 0.92 x 6.87 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #29,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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In the course of less than a year Kate will find out that she really didn't know her children at all. They turn her world upside down. I found that once I started this book I could not put it down. I loved every minute of it and I hope you will too!
Danielle Steel's latest release CHILD'S PLAY brings us the story of an accomplished woman who portrays the perfect life and how it all plays out when the perfect things in her life turn out to have crumbling foundations. It shows the emotion a person goes through as things in life don't go exactly as planned, but also has a very strong foundation of loving no matter what. I really enjoyed it and found it to be pretty fast paced.
Kate Morgan was an easily redeemable character. She kept parts of her life secret from her kids until a time when it seemed it might be a stepping stone to show them she understood how life can sometimes get away from you no matter how much you try to stay on course. She showed great restraint when faced with adversity and showed a beautiful side of a parent's love supporting their child no matter the decisions and mistakes they made.
Eldest child Tamara came across as a bit distracted and cold to a bystander, but she was supportive of her mother and siblings and once we got to enter the true sanctuary of her world, her true side emerged with a softness that made her shine.
Middle child Anthony seemed like the one with the biggest heart and put in the most effort with the mom he adored. His fall from grace was a bit spectacular and redeeming him took a bit of work.
The spoiled baby of the family Claire quickly turned into a nightmare of an attitude. She was never totally redeemed but she was relaxed a tad towards the end.
Overall, I highly recommend this story to anyone looking for a close-knit single parent story that showcases her devotion to her kids and her support as they live their way into their happily ever afters before she relaxes into her own.
This one however, was pretty predictable. Although the characters were basically the same, she mixed them up by hzaving her children having a gay partner, one cancelling a wedding to a rich debutante and falling in love with a tough girl he met at a gym and a spoiled daughter. But 5 stars anyway. It's a comfortable read.
Her children took up most all of the book and I didn't think they were nice and respectful to her. I enjoyed the parts with her mother in it. I always give her five stars, but only gave her four on this one. I had to read it because it was new. I recommend all of her books. This one is on its own.
Top reviews from other countries
Keeping me captured in the story from start to finish
A truthful insight to a family's day to day life
Well done Danielle
Can't wait for the next new release