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The Sins of the Mother: A Novel Hardcover – October 30, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; 1st Printing edition (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385343205
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385343206
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 3.7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (856 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world’s most popular authors, with over 600 million copies of her novels sold. Her many international bestsellers include Friends Forever, Betrayal, Hotel Vendôme, Happy Birthday, 44 Charles Street, Legacy, 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, and the memoir A Gift of Hope.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

Olivia Grayson sat in the chairman’s seat at the board meeting, listening intently to the presentations, her intense blue eyes taking in each member of the board. Her eyes were quick and sharp. She was totally still, wearing a well-cut navy blue pantsuit, and a string of pearls around her neck. Her hair was a sleek bob, cut to the level of her jawbone just below her ears. It was the same snow-white color it had been since her early thirties. She was one of those striking women you would notice in any room. She was timeless, ageless, with high cheekbones and an angular face, and elegant hands as she held a pen poised above her notepad. She always took notes at the meetings, and had a flawless memory of what went on, in what order, and everything that was said. Her keen mind and sharp business sense had won her the reputation for being brilliant, but more than anything she was practical and had an innate, unfailing sense of what was right for her company. She had turned the profitable hardware store her mother had inherited years before into a model for international operations on a mammoth scale.

The Factory, as they had renamed it when it moved from its original storefront in a suburban locale outside Boston to an old empty factory building, was an astounding success, and Olivia Grayson along with it. She was the image of power as she presided over the board meeting. She was strong, innovative, and creative, and had started working at The Factory after school when she was twelve.

Her mother had been the daughter of a genteel family of Boston bankers who had lost everything during the Depression. Maribelle Whitman went to work as a secretary in a law firm, and married a young insurance salesman, who got drafted into the army after Pearl Harbor, and was sent to England in the summer of 1942, four weeks after their daughter, Olivia, was born. He was killed in a bombing raid when she was a year old. As a young widow, Maribelle moved to a modest suburb of Boston, and went to work for Ansel Morris at the hardware store, to support her daughter. For fourteen years, she helped him grow his business, had a discreet and loving affair with him, expected nothing from him, and brought up her daughter on the salary she made. And when she unexpectedly inherited his fortune, Maribelle wanted nothing more than to send Olivia to college, but Olivia had a thirst for business and no interest in college and academic pursuits. She had a passion and a love for commerce that drove her to take risks and make bold moves, and each decision she made catapulted the business forward to unexpected places and dizzying heights. Despite her youth, she made few mistakes, and had an instinct that proved her right every time. She had had the respect and admiration of her colleagues and competitors for years. Olivia was an icon in the business world.

And when Olivia went to work at The Factory full time, at eighteen, straight out of high school, three years after Ansel died, her visions had transformed the local hardware business into something her mother, and surely he, had never dreamed of. Her mother was running it then, Ansel was gone. And Olivia convinced her mother to add low-cost furniture with simple modern designs, not just the basic, ordinary items The Factory had sold until then. Olivia had added a fresh look and the excitement of youth. She brought a new de- sign aspect, at low prices, to their merchandise. They bought bathroom fixtures from foreign suppliers, modern kitchen cabinetry, and appliances. Within a short time they were as well known for their innovative international designs as the reliability of their products, at astoundingly reasonable rates. Olivia used volume to their advantage, and kept their prices lower than anyone else’s. Her mother had been worried about it at first, but time had proven Olivia right. Her instincts had been flawless.

Fifty-one years later, at sixty-nine, Olivia Grayson had created an empire that had reached around the world, and an industry that no one could compete with, although many tried. By the time she was twenty-five, Olivia had become a legend, and The Factory along with her, with its reputation for creative designs for anything for the home, from tools to kitchens and furniture, at rock-bottom cost. There was nothing for the home you couldn’t buy at The Factory, and she traveled constantly to find new suppliers, products, and designs. Her empire was still growing, and her reputation along with it.

Remarkably, there was nothing harsh in her face as she sat in the familiar chair at the board meeting, flanked by her sons on either side. Both had joined the business, fresh out of business school in Phillip’s case, and after getting a master of fine arts and graphic design in John’s.

Olivia’s mother had long since retired. The Factory was a product of Olivia’s genius, and the enormous fortune she had made from it was her legacy to her children. She had worked a lifetime for what she’d built. Olivia was the embodiment of the American dream.

Although she wielded enormous power and her eyes were sharp, there was something gentle about her face. She was a woman everyone took seriously, yet she was quick to laugh. A discreet woman, she knew when to speak. And she listened carefully to fresh ideas, which then spurred her on to new creations, and even now she was always seeking to stretch The Factory into additional places and to greater heights than it had ever been before. She didn’t rest on her laurels, and her passion and main interest was continuing to make her business grow. She still had the same excitement about it she’d had in her youth.

There were six members of the board, in addition to Olivia and her two sons, Phillip and John. She was the chairman and CEO, and Phillip was the CFO. He had his father’s steady head for finance and had come to the company from Harvard Business School after he earned his MBA with honors. He was a quiet person, more like his father than his mother. Each of her sons had inherited a facet of her abilities, but neither combined them as a whole. John, her third-born child, was head of creative and design. John was an artist and had studied fine arts at Yale. Painting was his first love, but devotion to his mother had driven him into the business at an early age. Olivia had always known that with his artistic sense and training in design, he had much to offer them. He was more gregarious than his older brother and resembled his mother in many ways, although the money side of the business was a mystery to him. He lived for aesthetics, and the beauty he saw in the world. And he still spent all his free time painting on weekends. He was an artist above all.

At forty-six, Phillip was as serious and solid as his father had been. Phillip’s father, Joe, had been an accountant and had helped Olivia run the business, quietly from behind the scenes. Phillip had inherited his financial accuracy and reliability, and none of his mother’s creative spirit and fire.

John had inherited Olivia’s innate artistic sense for design, and at forty-one, as an artist, he constantly brought new life visually into what they offered the world. He had enormous talent that he had funneled into The Factory, while dreaming of painting full time. Both men were essential to the business, but its life force was still their mother, even at sixty-nine. The Factory was still a family-held business, although they had had frequent opportunities to sell it and go public over the years. Olivia wouldn’t think of it, although Phillip had been sorely tempted by some of the offers they’d had in recent years. Olivia insisted that The Factory was theirs, with its many stores around the world, and she intended to keep it that way.

Their enterprise was booming and continuing to grow exponentially. And as long as she was alive, she intended to see to it that there were Graysons at its helm. Her two daughters had no interest in the business, but she knew that her two sons would run it one day, and she had prepared them well. Together, she felt certain, they would be able to maintain the empire she had built, and she was nowhere near ready to retire or step down. Olivia Grayson was still in full swing, running The Factory and traveling around the world, just as she had done for almost fifty-two years. She showed no sign of slowing down, her ideas were as astounding and innovative as ever, and she looked ten years younger than her age. She was a naturally beautiful woman, with a passion for life, and ten times the energy of people half her age.

With her usual quiet, orderly style, she brought the board meeting to a close shortly after noon. They had covered all the matters on their agenda, including Olivia’s concerns about some of the factories they were using in India and China. Phillip’s main concern was their bottom line, which was healthier than ever. The products they sold at incredibly low prices were making them a fortune and were being distributed by The Factory around the world.

Olivia always wanted to know that their factories’ practices were sound. And Phillip had assured them all again that morning that although they couldn’t know everything about their Asian factories, they were using a reliable industrial investigative firm, and all appeared to be in good order. And the prices they were paying were leaving them the profit margins they had benefited from for years. Theirs was a model that their competitors envied and never succeeded in matching. Olivia had a magic touch.

John had also introduced a series of new designs that morning that they all knew would be snapped up by their customers in the coming months. The Factory was ahead of every trend, with sure instincts about what would sell and what their customers wanted, even before they knew it themselves. John had an unfailing sense for shape, design, and color. The combination they offered of low prices and high design, for items their clients were begging f... --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world's most popular authors, with over 590 million copies of her novels sold. Her many international bestsellers include 44 Charles Street, Legacy, Family Ties, Big Girl, Southern Lights, Matters of the Heart, One Day at a Time, 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.

Customer Reviews

When I started to read this book I just couldn't put it down.
Amazon Customer
I love reading Danielle Steel, this book took me towards a surprise ending, I did not expect it to go the way it did, but very enjoyable.
Yvette Chase
This book relates to a real family situation and I found myself captured by the characters in this book.
Paula

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Alex Ryann on November 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A few of DS's recent books have been readable and higher concept. But Friends Forever signaled a reversion to thin plots, hastily crafted scenes, and detail overload. Unfortunately, The Sins of the Mother suffers from the same problems.

We're given a glimpse into the world of Olivia Greyson...er, Grayson (has DS been watching Revenge?) as she manages a global business called The Factory. She's a workaholic and left the raising of her children to her husband and mother. To win back their affections she indulges them with a luxury vacation every year. It takes ninety pages to get to the South of France, where a world-class yacht waits to transport the Grayson family to Mediteranean hotspots like Portofino and Elba.

An overwhelming number of characters bounces in and out of the sputtering plot. The descriptions of the destinations are disappointing, even mundane, and the dialogue is uninspired ("No more travel plans for August?"). Much of it rephrases what has already been explained in paragraph upon paragraph of narrative. I had a hard time developing an emotional connection to the characters. Liz was too spineless, and how her "allegorical" book will have commercial appeal remains to be explained. (It's ridiculous to think she wouldn't at least know her previous literary agent had died.) Amanda reminded me of Brianna from Betrayal, especially with her ultimatums and luxury label addiction, and Granibelle was a lot like Buster, another character from Betrayal. Olivia's relationship to her grandson, Alex (who is about to enter college but sounds like he's ten years old for much of the trip), had potential, but a more skillful writer could have handled his revelation with more sensitivity and realism.
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38 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Kelly on November 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've given up on Danielle Steel. This is the 4th book of hers I have waisted money on. So incredibly boring! She explains the main character 10 different times in only 3 chapters! Constant repeating. I don't have the patience for this author anymore
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34 of 42 people found the following review helpful By fleet girl on November 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read all of Danielle Steeles books...and after Hotel Vendome and Friends Forever I was ready to not read any more of her books. I am glad that I gave this one a shot. What happened to me was that I LOVED this entire family. I really loved the older brother Phillip and wanted more of his story. This family has its share of problems. What Ms. Steele did with this story is that she made you loved this family and all of its faults....then root for them at the end. Its a page turner and a story that I wish would have gone on. I would love to see a follow up book maybe called Sins of the Children and keep this family going. Add this book to your bucket list...you will not be disappointed.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By R. H. Kwiatkowski on February 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I read this book because, frankly, I like Danielle Steele books. The early books. This was too repititious. I understood in the first chapter that Olivia was dedicated to her company. I didnt need it repeated for chapter after chapter. This will be the last Steele book I will read.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By michelle breinholt on November 10, 2012
Format: Audible Audio Edition Verified Purchase
It has been a long time since I read Danielle Steel. I remember liking her books in my late 20s but now in my late 50s I find I have grown but she has not and in fact, I think she has gone backwards. I found myself rolling my eyes and sighing after every character description and literally yearning for someone or something to be unpredictable. When I found myself going "blah, blah, blah" in my head, I deleted the book and took the loss.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Joyce G. Putnam on November 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While I have greatly enjoyed Danielle Steel's books over the years, this one needs a good editing. The redundancy is so widespread that at times I thought I had lost the page where I was reading and was rereading a previous page.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By gaa on February 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very well written. It needed more going on. It drug and was slow in spots. Went into detail about things that were not important. I feel I accomplished something by just finishing the book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nan on April 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I usually enjoy all of Danielle Steele's books, and this was no exception. It's interesting to see how Steele developed her characters to reflect either the similarities or differences of the children's personalities to that of the main character's and how, despite any differences, blood ended up being thicker than water.
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