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Paris, instead, adopts a baby, convinced that being a mother is the only thing she can do well, and in the end, does find another man to love, so the book ends on a happy note. Paris has learned how to be happy without a husband and without a man, so she seems better prepared for the future at the end of this book, and she seems like a more well rounded character, too. Most of the men in the book are boors at best, and Andrew enters so late, it is difficult to know much about him, other than he is a decent man and he loves Paris. Compared to Liane, she seems much more mature (of course, she is older), and her romance seems much more settled and believable. Liane falls in love after a short journey with Nick, while Paris falls in love after a dating relationship that is supportive and nurturing. It seems a better foundation for romance, and for a romantic book, too. There is more humor in this book, as well, and some of the characters are quite funny, which makes the book a bit easier to read.
In "Impossible," Sasha is another older woman - widowed - whose passion is the art gallery her father started. She loves her work, something quite the opposite from the first two heroines, and she is good at it. She also becomes involved with a younger man, which is another change from most of Steel's books. Steel writes, "If nothing else, he amused her. He made her laugh sometimes as she hadn't in year, or maybe ever" ("Impossible" 109). Like the others, the world of wealth and privilege is apparent in this book, too. Sasha wears designer clothes and attends parties at the Ambassador's house, something that just about all these books have in common at one point or another.
Steel wants to sweep her readers off their feet and into a make-believe world, and she sets her stories in places like Paris (where this book is set) to accomplish that. She also wants her heroines to appeal to women readers, so she makes them sympathetic and gives them problems (such as losing a husband or dating a younger man) that women can relate to, (or would, at least, like to relate to). In all of these books, the heroines have another commonality - they are all beautiful and thin. None of her females are homely, unattractive, or overweight, leading the reader into another fantasy world of perfect people in perfectly wonderful settings.
In "The House," Sarah is also a career woman, something Steel seems to embrace in her newer books, and the romance is a bit more predictable. Sarah has a hot and cold relationship with another attorney, but it really is not the relationship of her dreams. When she buys an old house in desperate need of repair, she meets Jeff Parker, a married architect who loves the house almost as much as she does, and they become involved, have a baby together, and marry at the end of the story. As with all the others, the girl gets the man in the end, and learns a lesson along the way.
In conclusion, each of these characters has similarities, and the stories can be strikingly similar, too. The women all have relationships that are happy or unhappy, and have seemingly insurmountable odds toward their romance. Liane is married, and in love with a man who may not return from war, Paris is in love with her husband and has a terrible time getting over him and learning to love again, Sasha was married to man she loved who died, and she becomes involved with a man who is directly opposite of her, and Sarah is a career woman who never makes time for herself or love. All of these women find the man of their dreams, fight to make it work, and end up with love in the end. Steel's novels do follow a formula, but it seems to work for her and her readers, which is why she keeps on writing books, and publishers still publish them.
Steel, Danielle. Crossings. New York: Delacorte Press, 1982.
Dating Game. New York: Delacorte Press,…[continue]
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