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Granny Dan Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 29, 1999
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For over a decade, young Danina Petroskova has known no life but that of the ballet and her mentor Madame Markova. When a deathly illness steals her from the stage, the young dancer is inconsolable, and, desperate to speed her recovery, Madame Markova agrees to hand Danina over to the talented Dr. Nikolai Obrajensky for treatment. Convalescing with the Romanovs at the Tsarskoe Selo palace, Danina learns to live in and love the world beyond the ballet. And while grateful for Nikolai's companionship, she is startled by the intense emotions growing inside her for the married doctor. Drawn to Danina, Nikolai cannot ignore the passion between them either, and the strength of their love quickly overpowers their resistance. Soon Madame Markova and Nikolai's wife remind them of their previous obligations, and as the Revolution hovers on the horizon, the two must make a decision that will change their lives forever.
As if a romance set in the twilight years of czarist Russia doesn't have enough intrinsic pathos, Danielle Steel takes great care to give her hero and heroine the bittersweet combination of incomparable virtue and external duties. When the young prima ballerina and the married doctor meet, they are drawn to the corresponding sense of integrity and duty in each other. However, when love and duty conflict, the struggle is never easy.
Maestro Steel knows where the heartstrings are, and she plays them with her reliable talents. While students of history may cringe at the simplified approach to the historical period, readers just looking for a good time have found it. With the tough-but-loving mother figure, the ill-but-lovable Prince Alexander, the borrowed ball gowns, and the emotional grand jeté, this book has everything a TV movie needs except a small, cuddly pet. Put your feet up, set aside your spoilsport logic, and enjoy this novel for what it is: a classic romance. --Nancy R.E. O'Brien
From Publishers Weekly
In a fable compact enough to be swallowed in a single gulp, the prolific Steel (Bittersweet) offers a granddaughter's tribute to Danina Petroskova, "Granny Dan," a Russian immigrant who left the glamorous world of the St. Petersburg Ballet and lived thereafter as a Vermont housewife. The unnamed narrator always loved her grandmother, with her elegant braided hair, roller skates and soft Russian accent. Granny Dan rarely speaks of her life in Russia before the revolution, but when she dies, at almost 90, the narrator inherits a pair of ballet shoes and a packet of love letters that tell the dramatic story of her former existence. Committed at age seven to the ballet, in her teens Danina becomes a prima ballerina who enchants the czar and czarina, becoming the royal children's boon companion. Stricken by influenza at 19, Danina's life is saved by Czarevitch Alexei's physician, Nikolai Obrajensky, with whom she falls passionately in love. This fairy tale is fully outfitted with dreamy details such as ermine-trimmed gowns, covered sleighs and royal balls in glittering palaces. The historical technicalities are glossed over: in this book the Russian czar is a nice man who let the revolution go too far because he wanted his people to express their feelings. The love story is pure melodrama, with Nikolai a princely man married to a "dreadful Englishwoman," and the couple tormented by their unquenchable passions, lofty joys and ultimate tragedy. Steel doesn't unfold the plot so much as restate the same point: that Granny Dan led an extraordinary life of romance and heartbreak; this slim confection holds few surprises in telling the Cinderella story in reverse.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
Besides the depressing death issues, we never actually got in the heads of any of the main characters (or any characters). It was like reading a time line--first this happened, then this happened, and then this happened. Why does she start so many sentences with the word "and"?
I also took offense to the character of Izzie becoming a teacher, and being continually reminded that it was "beneath" her. She herself said she only fell into it. I guess being a teacher, it just pissed me off. Especially when her day ended at 2:30 and she was "free to enjoy the afternoon."
She also kept alluding to the fact that the current generation of young people are all dying at an early age. Are there any facts to back this up? I know a lot of young people and they are not all dying.
By the end of the book, I was actually hoping that the other two main characters would also die.
I recently finished her book, Friends Forever. Unfortunately, much of this current book did not engage me.
The story was about five friends who met in kindergarten and become immediate friends through their childhood, teen and college years. They dubbed themselves the Big 5, and became inseparable. The cast of characters included them, their parents, stepparents, and siblings.
What I did not enjoy about this book was the pacing. The book moved too fast, rapidly changing from scene to scene. It was quickly flipping back and forth through the characters through time as they advanced from kindergarten to college.
Much of the first half of the book was about the parents of the Big 5. This, in my opinion, made it very hard to get any true character development with many of the characters until the last 1/3 of the book. By this time, the story had quickly trimmed the cast down by moving rapidly through drug overdoses, suicide, and an accidental death, and funerals.
The overall message was about the risky life’s choices of this particular generation. The events in the story did affect the lives of the characters. Unfortunately, due to its fast pace, the reader did not have time to feel it. This book could’ve been so much more. And has a great story line…Who didn’t have the “Best Friends” in school.
I enjoyed the last third of the book when we finally were left with one main character and her struggles. The book slowed down enough to look inside a couple of the character’s motives, feelings, and decisions that they faced.
As typically Danielle Steel novels go, it was an easy read. It had an ending that left you feeling good. Unfortunately, it did not capture my heart as some of her previous novels did.
debra evans was 9 months pregnant when her ex-boyfriend, her friend, and her friend's boyfriend - all losers - killed her and cut out her baby, who lived. they spared the ex-boyfriend's 17-month-old son, but killed her 10-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son. the boy's murder was especially heinous. her ex-boyfriend was just an angry, violent thug and her friend wanted the baby to please her drug dealer boyfriend.