The novel opens with a brief history of the 18-year marriage of Oliver and Sarah Watson, who met as students at Harvard.
When she became pregnant, Sarah wanted an abortion. Oliver had talked her into marrying him instead.
Although Sarah hadn’t wanted babies, she’s a wonderful mother to their three children. Oliver thinks they have a perfect marriage.
Then Sarah announces she’s been accepted into a master’s program at Harvard. She leaves right after Christmas.
The reactions of Oliver and the children are predictable: They’re hurt, angry, feel abandoned, wonder what they did wrong.
While they’re trying to deal with those issues, Oliver’s father is trying to cope with his mother’s dementia while also trying to pretend it’s not happening, and Oliver gets a big promotion that requires the family to move cross country to California.
Daddy attempts to explore the “What do women want?” question, but Steel can’t get beyond the surface. For Oliver (and perhaps Steel and her legions of devoted readers) the answer is that real women want a man and children.
Daddy isn’t a great novel, but it’s extraordinary for a Danielle Steel novel.
Three days after reading it, I could still remember the plot.
Daddy by Danielle Steel
Delacorte Press. ©1989. 352 p.
1989 bestseller #3; my grade: B-
©2019 Linda G. Aragoni