ARC Review: Neighbors by Danielle Steel. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Neighbors: A Novel by Danielle Steel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

In Danielle Steel’s gripping new novel, a reclusive woman opens up her home to her neighbors in the wake of a devastating earthquake, setting off events that reveal secrets, break relationships apart, and bring strangers together to forge powerful new bonds.


Meredith White was one of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces. But a personal tragedy cut her acting career short and alienated her from her family. For the last fifteen years, Meredith has been living alone in San Francisco with two trusted caretakers. Then, on a muggy late summer day, a massive earthquake strikes Northern California, plunging the Bay Area into chaos. Without a moment’s hesitation, Meredith invites her stunned and shaken neighbors into her mostly undamaged home as the recovery begins.


These people did not even realize that movie star Meredith White was living on their street. Now, they are sharing her mansion, as well as their most closely kept secrets. Without the walls and privacy of their own homes, one by one, new relationships are forged. For every neighbor there is a story, from the doctor whose wife and children fear him, to the beautiful young woman dating a dishonorable man, to the aspiring writer caring for a famous blind musician.


In the heart of the crisis, Meredith finds herself venturing back into the world. And thanks to the suspicions and the dogged detective work of a disaster relief volunteer, a former military officer named Charles, a shocking truth about her own world is exposed. Suddenly Meredith sees her isolation, her estranged family, and even her acting career in a whole new light.


Filled with powerful human dramas, Neighbors is a penetrating look at how our world can be upended in a moment. In a novel of unforgettable characters and stunning twists, acts of love and courage become the most powerful forces of all.


Disasters bring out the best in some people and the worst in others!

Merideth White lives in San Francisco, she was at one time a huge movie star, but since her 14 year old son died in a boating accident she has become a recluse. She rarely leaves her house, though she keeps in shape and has overcome her grief. She has a couple that live in with her and keep up the house and grounds as well as cook and do the shopping. They have worked for her since her son died about 14 years ago and have always been nice to her.

Though Merideth is unaware of all that they have stolen from her. They take some money off the top of what she gives them for bills and groceries and while Merideth was in the grips of a depression she didn’t notice all the things that have gone missing in her house, like high end works of art that used to hang in the common rooms but have been since moved to Debbie and Jack’s suite of rooms.

When a huge earthquake hits San Francisco, Merideth’s home comes through virtually unscathed. She also has a back up generator so hers is the only house in the neighborhood with power. Merideth invites her neighbors to come and stay since their homes are damaged and unsafe.

You can tell right off the bat there will be drama. One of the neighbors is a surgeon and he has anger issues that are shown early in the book. His wife has bruises and the kids are wary of him when he is in a bad mood. The guy is a classic abuser, and he doesn’t even try to hide it. He immediately accuses his wife of flirting with the other guys and puts her down whenever he can. I was married to a man just like him, though my husband was a great guy around other people, so you know if this guy doesn’t care about hiding his anger, there is bound to be issues with a bunch of people staying in one place together.

Another neighbor is a famous blind pianist and his hired assistant as well as a businessman who made it big in a few high tech start-ups and has an ego as big as his checkbook. His latest girlfriend is there as well, he treats her like a possession. Debbie and Jack are none too happy about the houseguests but Merideth is enjoying her house filled with talking and laughter again. Debbie and Jack see their control over their meal ticket slipping away as Merideth begins to have friends and rejoin society.

I liked the premise and the story itself, one thing that bothered me though and I was a bit surprised since this was a Danielle Steel novel and I know she is a well known author with tons of books under her belt. However, I felt some things were repeated over and over ad nauseum. For example Merideth’s daughter though Merideth was too harsh on her ex husband when their son died and she became closer to him. I read that same thing many more times than was necessary. I am not sure if it was just repeating because she wanted to really drive it home, or if it was a device to get you on Merideth’s side. I know I was, and I was kind of mad at the daughter. So if that was a device, then I guess it worked.

I voluntarily read & reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts & opinions are my own.


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