Blessing in Disguise

Blessing in Disguise

by Danielle Steel


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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In Danielle Steel’s remarkable new novel, one of her most memorable characters comes to terms with unfinished business and long-buried truths as the mother of three very different daughters with three singular fathers. 

As a young intern at an art gallery in Paris, Isabelle McAvoy meets Putnam Armstrong, wealthy, gentle, older, and secluded from the world. Isabelle’s relationship with Putnam, and her time at his château on the Normandy coast, are the stuff of dreams. But it turns real when she becomes pregnant, for she knows that marriage is out of the question.

When Isabelle returns to New York, she enters a new relationship that she hopes will be more stable and traditional. But she soon realizes she has made a terrible mistake and again finds herself a single mother.

With two young daughters and no husband, Isabelle finally and unexpectedly finds happiness and a love that gives her a third child, a baby as happy as her beloved father. And yet, once again, life brings dramatic changes.

The three girls grow up to be very different women, and Isabelle’s relationship with each of them is unique. While raising her girls alone, Isabelle also begins building a career as a successful art consultant. Then one final turn of fate brings a past secret to light, bonds mother and daughters closer, and turns a challenge into a blessing.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399179327
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/07/2019
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 6,659
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world’s most popular authors, with almost a billion of her novels sold. Her many international bestsellers include Silent Night, Turning Point, Beauchamp Hall, In His Father’s Footsteps, The Good Fight, The Cast, 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; A Gift of Hope, a memoir of her work with the homeless; Pure Joy, about the dogs she and her family have loved; and the children’s books Pretty Minnie in Paris and Pretty Minnie in Hollywood.


San Francisco, California

Date of Birth:

August 14, 1947

Place of Birth:

New York, New York


Educated in France. Also attended Parsons School of Design, 1963, and New York University, 1963-67

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Isabelle McAvoy sat at her well-­organized desk with photographs of the important people in her life in silver frames around her. Her oldest daughter, Theo, in Putnam’s arms when she was three months old, a photo of Xela at two, hands on hips, looking outraged. That photo made Isabelle smile every time she saw it. It was so Xela, the drill sergeant among them. Theo was the dreamer, as quiet and shy as she had been since she was born, and so like Putnam, her father. It was as though they both had landed from another world and weren’t quite equipped for this one. There was a photo of Declan, next to one of Oona as a baby, where she was smiling broadly. She was the happiest person Isabelle had ever known. From the very beginning she had radiated joy and good humor. There was also a photograph of Isabelle with all three of her daughters, taken during a trip to Italy a few years before, with Theo looking wistful, Xela annoyed, Oona laughing, and Isabelle the bridge between the three. Their personalities hadn’t changed, and at thirty-­seven, thirty-­two, and twenty-­six now, they had grown into the women they had promised to be as children.

It was hard for Isabelle to believe how the years had flown. Theo had been pursuing a life of self-­sacrifice and caring for the poor in India for sixteen years, Xela was consumed by her passion for business and entrepreneurial talent, and Oona had been nurturing her children, her husband, and his family in Tuscany, and loving it. Only Xela remained in New York where they’d grown up. Isabelle had her own career as a private art consultant, after years as a curator in an highly respected downtown gallery. Now she had her own clients. They ranged from famous art collectors to the newly rich, hungry to buy important paintings to show off their wealth and impress their friends. Some of them genuinely wanted to learn what Isabelle could teach them. Others just wanted to spend money, and a few had a deep appreciation for art. She enjoyed working with all of them and ran her business from her home, a small, elegant town house on East Seventy-­Fourth Street she’d owned for twenty-­seven years. She also used it to showcase the art she sold. The house was impeccable, it suited her, and the girls had grown up there as well. It was thanks to Putnam that she had been able to buy the house and start her business, which had flourished ever since. She hadn’t amassed a huge fortune, but had enough to live well, help her children when they needed it, and enjoy a pleasant life herself. Her innate sense of style showed in the simple, chic, understated way she dressed. She was still beautiful at fifty-­eight.

On her desk was a photograph of Isabelle with her father, Jeremy, as well. They were in front of the remarkable “cottage” in Newport, Rhode Island, where she’d grown up. Her mother had been a schoolteacher and died when Isabelle was three. Her father had been a curator at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, with a specialty in Impressionist art and a subspecialty in Renaissance art and history. Her earliest memories were of trips to the museum with him. Two years after his wife’s death, he had made a dramatic career change and accepted the job of property manager for one of the Vanderbilt estates in Newport, which included the mansion euphemistically referred to as the Vanderbilt “cottage.” It was a spectacular home more like a small château, filled with priceless antiques and art. With the job came a modest house on the grounds where Jeremy and his daughter could live. Jeremy had been looking for an opportunity like it for a while. He thought it would be better for Isabelle to grow up in the country rather than the city of Boston in a small apartment with him. He also wanted a job where he could spend more time with his daughter than his curating at the museum would allow. When the right position turned up, he jumped at it. They moved to the Vanderbilt estate in Newport. He was responsible for the art, antiques, the grounds, the staff, and keeping everything in perfect order and ready at the drop of a hat for his employers, who only used the house once a year for a few weeks in August. The rest of the time, the Vanderbilts lived in their other homes in New York, London, and the South of France, where they spent June and July.

For eleven months of the year, Isabelle had free run of the grounds and was in and out of the main house frequently with her father. She would study the paintings for hours while he was busy. She’d sit quietly on a chair, examining the paintings minutely, and her father would tell her about them, and something about the artists. She learned a great deal from him, and her early favorites were Degas and Renoir. It never struck her as odd that she lived amidst such opulence, although none of it was theirs. She had no pride of ownership, nor did her father, only a deep appreciation for the beauty of their surroundings. In some ways, it was like living in a museum. As she grew up, her friends were the housekeeper, the butler, the cook, and maids and housemen, though she and her father ate dinner alone in their own house every night. She went to the local school but made few friends. It was complicated explaining to them where she lived, and why.

It came as no surprise to her father when she decided to major in art history at New York University, and volunteered on weekends at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She took her junior year abroad at the Sorbonne, where she spent every moment possible at the ­Louvre, the Jeu de Paume, and the Impressionist exhibits that her father had given her a profound love for ever since she was old enough to talk. She described every exhibit and museum she went to in detail in her letters to him, and he was proud of her. He had saved up for her education for years, and he approved of her plan to work at the Met or an important gallery in New York after she graduated. She landed an internship at a greatly respected gallery in Paris for June and July after she’d finished her year at the Sorbonne. It was there that her life’s journey began. And now, so many years later, she was still influenced by the choices she had made at twenty, and by the people who had crossed her path so long ago.

Isabelle had begun her internship at the Verbier Gallery in Paris that June feeling breathless to be in its hallowed halls. The most important collectors in the world entered their portals regularly to view the remarkable paintings being presented to them, at prices beyond anything she could imagine. Her duties were menial. She had to clean the coffee machine, order lunch for the sales representatives from the bistro nearby, and set it up in the gallery’s dining room. She was taught how to wrap a painting for delivery, or for crating to be shipped, using all the packing materials they showed her, and under the careful supervision of one of the regular employees. They all wore the same white cotton gloves she had been given to handle the art. The truly important paintings weren’t left in her care, but she saw them after they were removed from a viewing room. She’d been told that if she encountered a client, which would be rare, she was to say only good morning or good afternoon. She was fluent in French by then, having learned it during her year at the Sorbonne. She looked like a child with her long blond hair in a braid, and the short navy skirt and white blouse she wore to work every day. She looked younger than her twenty years.

She’d been at the gallery for a week when there was a considerable stir one afternoon, before a client came in. She didn’t hear his name, and wouldn’t have recognized it anyway, all she could glean was that he almost never came in, as it was rare for him to leave his château in Normandy. And although he was an important collector, and a frequent client of theirs, he hadn’t been to the gallery in two years.

The gallery’s director, Robert Pontvert, and two assistants were on hand when he arrived. They showed him discreetly to a viewing room, and shortly after, Isabelle was asked to bring cold mineral water for the client to drink. She noticed the four beautiful Monets on display, and a slim, quiet man, concentrating on the paintings without saying a word. She set the water down on a table, as the man turned toward her and smiled. She then disappeared without a sound, as she’d been told to do. He emerged an hour later, with the gallery director looking pleased. The client stopped briefly to study a small painting of a nude on the way out. It was part of their current exhibition, and after he left, Isabelle heard his name for the first time. Putnam Armstrong was American, from a wealthy Boston family, and had lived in France for twenty years. He had just bought two of the Monets, and there was a celebratory atmosphere in the gallery after he left. Armstrong had slipped out as quietly as he’d arrived. He drove away in a beautiful old silver Rolls he had left with the doorman outside.

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Blessing in Disguise: A Novel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous 21 days ago
I absolutely love Danielle Steel! I read all of her books and this one brings to life the characters from off the page.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Heart warming with veryreal characters
Anonymous 10 months ago
Every Danielle Steel book shares the same excellent writing and character development. She pulls us out of our everyday lives and gives us romance and challenges that have a happy ending, or at least a satisfying one. This one centers around a woman who is raising her three daughters alone while still enjoying her life, no matter the problems faced daily by a family of women alone. They are a solid family who takes care of each other, a rarity in the real world. As always, any book written by Danielle Steel will take you away from your everyday for awhile. That's one of the best recommendations any book can have.
Ann Lewis 11 months ago
Blessing in Disguise by Danielle Steel I think Blessings might be one of my favorite of all Danielle Steel's books.  It's a study of characters. I think she might have used her own daughters in the book for personality idea traits to flesh out the characters. The book ended on a pleasant HEA.
January Gray 12 months ago
The typical Danielle Steel novel. I have loved almost all of her books, and I loved this one! I love how she draws you into the story. I am not disappointed in this book at all!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great Danielle Steel book, loved every page!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sbart84 More than 1 year ago
This is a book that I read in one evening, I could not put it down. Isabelle has three daughters, all by different men. Two of whom she was married to, but she ended up raising the three girls by herself when her second husband died. Each girl is very different from each other and went their own ways as adults, until a crisis brings them back together. This is a well written book that pulled me from the very first chapter. Isabelle is a very strong independent woman that has done well for herself. Loved how the daughters were so different from each other but came together when needed. I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed every minute. Slightly more intricate plot than usual...couldn’t put it down!
JamieS More than 1 year ago
I always look forward to the next Danielle Steel book and thoroughly enjoyed this one. Isabelle is a mother to three girls--who each have a different father. Being raise the same each of them has very different personalities and paths to take, all living away from their mother and rarely see her. The story follows her and her journey through life and restoring her relationship with them and having them restore their sisterhood. A good quick easy enjoyable read!
LulusReviews More than 1 year ago
a little cliche, even for Danielle Steel! I love her whole body of work (and have been reading since the 1980s) - all the characters were a little too exaggerated. However, I LOVE how all the loose ends tied up into a nice, neat bow and always am a sucker for a happy ending. This novel was a blessing in disguise itself, coming to be at a time where I needed to be carried away by good book. Quick read - probably would not reread but I enjoyed it all the same. Thanks to #netgalley for the opportunity to read #BlessingInDisguise by one of the most prolific authors of our time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was one of the best that I have read.
Doreena Silva More than 1 year ago
Thank you to Net Galley for the opportunity to read a Danielle Steel book as she is one of my favorite authors. I found this book to be very intense for a Danielle Steel book . The adversity the protagonist had to endure was overwhelming at times but just shows you what a strong Woman is made of. A definite emotional roller coaster read. I'm so happy that Danielle Steel books are one of my guilty pleasures!
gmg More than 1 year ago
Slow and boring. Not worth your time or money.
boclairedesigns More than 1 year ago
I read many of Danielle Steel's earlier novels, but nothing recently. What a great storyteller! It's a story of a brave and strong woman, who raised 3 independent women. They realize, through circumstances beyond their control, that despite challenges they face, life is a blessing in disguise. The bad times we face bring us towards something good. Proving to her daughter's that she's not perfect, and made mistakes provided an understanding and empathy for the whole family. You need to always move forward to greet each day with an open heart and mind. Although the story is sad at times, overall it was an uplifting story. I received a free ARC eBook from Net Galley and the publisher for an honest review. I can't wait to read more of her new works and recommend readers do too!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BarbTRC More than 1 year ago
Blessing in Disguise by Danielle Steel is a wonderful heartwarming standalone novel that I read in one day, as I could not put the book down. This is a story revolving around an independent woman, building a successful career in the art world, who has three daughters with different fathers, and the relationship over time with their lives. We meet our heroine, Isabelle McAvoy, when she is spending the summer in Paris, working as an intern in an art gallery. When she is assigned to deliver various paintings, she meets a wealthy recluse, Putnam Armstrong, who is an art connoisseur. In a short time, Isabelle will fall in love with the older, Putnam and spend many weeks visiting him, as they succumb to their feelings for each other. Isabelle knows there is no future for her with Putnam, as he is used to his ways as a loner, and cannot handle any kind of permanent relationship. When she returns home to New York, she realizes that she is pregnant, and decides to keep the child, though her father warns her how difficult it will be for her, with no real income. Isabelle manages to get a job at an art gallery, where she will work her way up, and Putnam is determined to help support Isabelle for whatever she needs. The friendship between Putnam and Isabelle was an important part of the story early on, as she and her daughter Theo, travelled to France every year to spend the month of August with Putnam. Though one month was all he could handle each year, he was very supportive, loyal and loving to Theo, as well as convincing Isabelle to find someone to love and marry. Isabelle will eventually meet and marry another man, whom turns out to be a mistake, as he was a con man. When she realizes he was using her, she files for divorce, and is now also pregnant. She has another daughter, Xela, and then becomes pregnant again a few years later, when she falls in love with a wonderful man, who gets killed before they marry, and again she is pregnant with a third daughter (Oona). What follows is following Isabelle throughout her life of trials and tribulations, success, and dealing with her daughters as they grow up to lead their own lives. I will not tell too much more, as you need to read this story for yourself. I fully enjoyed reading about Isabelle, who made a fantastic heroine, as we watch her lead an interesting life, and also see how life changes for each of her daughters. Blessing in Disguise was very well written by Danielle Steel. I wholly recommend that you read this wonderful insightful story.
Teri1957 More than 1 year ago
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Danielle Steel is one of my favorite authors and as always she has written an exceptional book about love and family. Well written with fascinating characters, each with their own wonderful personalities. This is a must read that will keep you up until you've finished the very last page. Enjoy!
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KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Blessing in Disguise is an intriguing tale. Isabelle McAvoy has led a unique life with her father and, thanks to his influence, pursues a degree in art history. Her degree and appreciation of art is what leads to her three very different men. I enjoyed the descriptions of the art in this book. Can you imagine being able to work with valuable, gorgeous paintings every day? The three men in Isabelle’s life are as different as Isabelle’s three daughters. Theo helps the underprivileged in India, Xela uses her MBA to come up with various business ventures in order to make it big and get rich, while Oona is happily married and lives in Tuscany with her husband and three children. I thought Blessing in Disguise was well-written and it proceeded at a steady pace. Danielle Steel has a fluid writing style that engages the reader. Blessing in Disguise begins with Isabelle in her 60s reflecting on her three girls and how she met their birth fathers. Isabelle and her family go through life facing their challenges head on and celebrating their successes. I like the strong female characters that are not without their flaws. While there are some expected elements in Blessing in Disguise, it did not detract from my reading pleasure. My favorite quote from the novel is “the good thing would never have happened without the bad thing first” which makes it “a blessing in disguise”. Reading a Blessing in Disguise is a wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon escaping from the world.