Child's Play

Child's Play

by Danielle Steel

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The lessons our children teach us are the hardest ones. What do we do when our children don’t pursue our hopes for them? In this riveting new novel, Danielle Steel explores how families can evolve and grow in unexpected ways.

A senior partner at a prestigious New York law firm, Kate Morgan couldn’t be prouder of her three grown children. Tamara, Anthony, and Claire all went to great schools, chose wonderful career paths, and would have made their father proud. A single mother for years after the death of her husband, Kate keeps a tight rein on her family, her career, and even her own emotions, never once asking herself if she truly knows her children . . . or if her hopes for them are the right ones, and what they want. She is about to find out.

During one hectic summer in Manhattan, Kate’s world turns upside down. One child has been keeping an astonishing secret while another confesses to an equally shocking truth. A wonderful match and picture-book wedding are traded for a relationship that shakes her to her core. A totally inappropriate love affair and an out-of-wedlock baby complete the chaos. Challenged as a mother and as a successful independent woman herself, Kate struggles to keep up with a dizzying and escalating chain of events, and begins to realize that she has a part to play in the chaos. Because Kate too has kept secrets from her children.

Sometimes the surprising choices our children make are the right ones . . . better than what we wanted for them. More often than not, parenting is about letting go of our dreams and embracing theirs.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399179518
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/08/2019
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 48
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world’s most popular authors, with almost a billion copies of her novels sold. Her many international bestsellers include The Dark Side, Lost and Found, Blessing in Disguise, Silent Night, Turning Point, Beauchamp Hall, In His Father’s Footsteps, 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 1

It was one of the first really warm days in early June, as Kate Morgan looked at the meticulously neat stacks of files on her desk. She liked everything to be precise around her, and an orderly life. She had lived through the unexpected shocks that can happen when her husband died nineteen years before, and she’d had to make order from chaos. Her children, Tamara, Anthony, and Claire, had been thirteen, ten, and seven at the time. She herself had been thirty-­five, and had never expected to be widowed at that age.

Her husband, Tom Morgan, had been a beloved congressman. They’d met when she was in college and he was in law school, and married when she graduated. His dream had been to go into politics, hers to go to law school, but she had staunchly stood beside him instead, as the perfect political wife, raising their three children. He had died in a helicopter accident in a storm, while visiting a disaster area in Upstate New York after a flood. The news coverage about him had made him sound like a modern day saint. Friendly, open, accessible, he had been popular ever since his first election. Kate and the children had been devastated, and she had struggled to put meaning back into their lives without him. He had been a wonderful father, and a good and loving husband for most of their marriage. Now, nineteen years later, the children still revered him, and Kate had seen to it that their memories of their father were untarnished.

The insurance money he had left for them had made them comfortable though not rich by any means, and had given Kate options she hadn’t considered before. A year after Tom’s death, she had started law school at Columbia University in New York. It had been a struggle managing school and taking care of the children, but she’d hired a housekeeper and also had her mother to help her. At thirty-­six, she was the oldest student in her class, and had graduated with honors at thirty-­nine.

She had worked at Berrigan Feldman and McCarthy for the past fifteen years, since she’d passed the bar, and was a senior partner now. Her specialty was corporate law, and she was a talented litigator, handling some of the firm’s most important lawsuits.

Kate had three trials scheduled in the next few months, if they didn’t settle first. She was a tough negotiator and a strong person, though a devoted mother and gentle in her private life. Becoming an attorney had added a whole new dimension to her life. She loved her work, and her children had adjusted to her schedule as her career grew exponentially. They were as proud of her as she was of them. She worked hard and was a strong role model for them. Now that they were grown up, she had more time and worked even harder. It had been a juggling act when they were younger, helping them with homework every night, and getting them to their sports games and school performances, but she did it. She expected excellence from them, and set the bar high for her children and herself. The results had been impressive, three solid, stable, well-­balanced kids, all good students who had moved on to jobs they loved. She’d never had a serious problem with any of them, which Kate assumed was the norm, although she occasionally conceded she’d been lucky.

She had encouraged her children to pursue careers that were meaningful to them. They had survived their father’s death with no visible signs of damage, no drug or alcohol problems, no failing grades, no problems with the law. Neither of the girls had ever gotten pregnant. Kate was the envy of her friends. As adults, all three were nice human beings with social consciences, and had graduated from good schools and colleges. Her own successful career had supplemented Tom’s insurance handsomely. She loved spending time with her children, and was grateful for their time together now, despite busy lives and demanding jobs.

None of her children were married, although Anthony had gotten engaged six months before. Kate thought his fiancée was perfect for him. Anthony was twenty-­nine, Amanda twenty-­eight. Her father was an investment banker who lived in Bronxville, and had done extremely well. Amanda had gone to a respectable college, and had left school for a job as an assistant editor at Vogue. She worked for the beauty editor, and was a striking looking girl, with blond hair and blue eyes, like Kate herself. Both women were tall. Amanda could have been a model, and she had made her debut ten years before at the cotillion in New York. Her parents were socially prominent and very nice people. Kate loved the idea of Anthony being married to a girl like Amanda, and the life they would lead together.

Anthony had gone to MIT, and was almost a computer genius. He was also a graphic designer and designed videogames for the largest videogame company in the world. He was handsome, lovable, and talented, but sometimes socially awkward, and she knew that with Amanda, he would have respectable friends in good social circles, not just the geeks he worked with. Amanda would broaden his horizons beyond his computer screen, which tended to mesmerize him until he forgot everything else.

She took him to parties, and they wound up on Page Six of the New York Post occasionally, which pleased Kate. She was sure Amanda would be a terrific wife. She had no great ambitions at Vogue, but she enjoyed her job. She was more interested in marriage than her career.

For the past six months, she and her mother had focused on every detail of the wedding. She had bought her wedding dress the week they got engaged, which Anthony’s sisters thought was silly, but Kate thought was sweet. They had met at a mutual friend’s wedding in Martha’s Vineyard the summer before, and got engaged at Christmas. Their wedding was scheduled for December, which was only six months away now.

Kate left her office in perfect order, taking long graceful strides toward the elevator. She looked a dozen years younger than her fifty-­four years, with long blond hair she wore pulled back. Her body was fit and athletic. A trainer came to work out with her three times a week. She was smiling in anticipation as she walked to the French restaurant ten minutes from her office on Park Avenue and East Fifty-­Fourth Street, to meet her youngest daughter, Claire. She looked just like her father, with dark hair and dark eyes. She was smaller than her mother, with a casual sexiness she was unaware of. She had graduated from NYU law school a year before, and worked for a rival firm as an associate corporate attorney, following in her mother’s footsteps.

At twenty-­six, Claire was on an excellent career path, which pleased her mother, and she frequently asked Kate for advice. She was waiting outside the restaurant in a short black skirt and high heels, with her dark hair piled on top of her head. Kate beamed when she saw her. Claire’s office was nearby, and Kate loved having lunch with her. She was bouncy and fun and young, and irrepressibly romantic. She had gone through a string of short-­term boyfriends before, during, and after law school. Her relationships never lasted long, but they were intense and burned themselves out quickly, and then she would move to another one. She was never alone for long. There was no shortage of men in her life, unlike her older sister, Tammy, a senior vice president of marketing at Chanel, who never had time to date. She said relationships were something she’d think about later. Her rise in the company had been rapid, at the expense of her personal life, which she neglected, somewhat like her mother. Claire managed to do both, work hard and date, and men could never resist her.

Customer Reviews

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Child's Play: A Novel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous 12 days ago
It is a good book
Anonymous 20 hours ago
Realistic experiences, if your a parent of older children you've had one or all the issues touched upon is this book. May we all be lucky enough to have or find love, peace and tranquility when it's our time.
4GranJan 23 hours ago
Raising Adult Children This wonderful bit of Women's Fiction explores that part of a mother's life when she quits making decisions for her adult children and lets them fly from the nest. And then, what she chooses to do with her new life. This is a totally engrossing book that makes the reader want to talk to the characters and straighten them out. It is such a good story, I hated to see it end and will probably come up with new scenarios in my mind. I received this ARC book for free from Net Galley and this is my honest review.
Anonymous 7 days ago
EileenHutton 7 days ago
Danielle Steel’s new novel centers on Kate, devoted mother to three grown children. Their father was killed in an accident when the children were young, and Kate has been both mother and father to them for years. She set a high bar for each of them, and so far they’ve met or exceeded their goals. But that’s about to change when their paths begin to diverge from the ones she felt were right for them, and Kate has to learn to let them test their wings and make their own mistakes.
Anonymous 8 days ago
Anonymous 8 days ago
I really enjoyed this one. About family and changes and love.
Jennifer Vido 8 days ago
Kate Morgan is a single mother in Manhattan working as a senior partner at a prestigious law firm. Balancing her career and motherhood after the sudden death of her husband hasn't been easy. Her three adult children are her pride and joy for each is successful in his or her own right. Then one summer, her whole world changes when she learns that each of her kids has been living a lie. Despite Tamara, Anthony and Claire having attended impressive schools and chosen highly desirable professions, they do not share Kate's hopes and dreams in their personal lives. Kate wrestles with the new norm as she realizes she's no longer in control. As Kate tries her best to accept her children's lives on their terms, the truth is revealed about secrets she, too, has been keeping. In Child's Play, Steel expertly addresses the difficultly parents often face when the lifestyles of children may not be what we, as parents, have envisioned. Families evolve as children grow up and parents age and it takes time and patience to accept everyone's individuality. As an avid reader of Steel's books, this new release is a departure from her typical novels. While there are romantic subplots, the main theme centers on family and how change is difficult to accept for parents and kids alike. I highly recommend this new release, especially for empty-nesters like myself. There's a lesson to be learned here ... love grows in unexpected ways. I received an advance reader's copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Teri1957 9 days ago
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. An absolutely fabulous book about love and letting go. Danielle Steel is the queen of romance! Enjoy!
Doreena Silva 11 days ago
Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Another fast, easy life affirming story by Danielle Steel. Great story about a family with major differences of opinions and secrets and how they all find ways to get along despite these differences and the secrets revealed.
C_Beddow 12 days ago
I loved this book. It's one of her best. Kate had three grown children that she thought she knew well. As the year progresses they all surprise her - its an adjustment, but she is strong. I love her interaction with all of them. Lots of surprises and life changes for all of them. It was a very engaging book to read - I enjoyed every word of it
Anonymous 12 days ago
I just started reading Danielle Steel again after many years of avoiding her. Her stories had started sounding the same, with different character names. After reading this book, I get the same feeling again. Plus, paying $14.99 to read the "same" story is getting too expensive. IMHO!
DebbieLTD 13 days ago
If you are a fan of Danielle Steel, than this book will not disappoint. Kate is a hardworking lawyer, loyal daughter, and widowed mother of three grown children all whom she believes to be "perfect". One summer her perfect children's true lives come to light and Kate is left realizing that perfect may not be the right word to describe her family. Everything from a rebellious daughter, a broken engagement, and a daughter admitting she is gay, all cause Kate to reevaluate her life and the beliefs she has always held dear. It is not an easy path to readjust your thinking and learn to accept things that are out of your control. Through tears, arguments, and laughter Kate and her family work through life's challenges and try to find out who they all really are and what they want out of life. It is a wonderful story of acceptance and understanding, and most of all Family. I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
LynnB888 13 days ago
4 1/2 STARS! Danielle Steel's latest release CHILD'S PLAY brings us the story of an accomplished woman who portrays the perfect life and how it all plays out when the perfect things in her life turn out to have crumbling foundations. It shows the emotion a person goes through as things in life don't go exactly as planned, but also has a very strong foundation of loving no matter what. I really enjoyed it and found it to be pretty fast paced. Kate Morgan was an easily redeemable character. She kept parts of her life secret from her kids until a time when it seemed it might be a stepping stone to show them she understood how life can sometimes get away from you no matter how much you try to stay on course. She showed great restraint when faced with adversity and showed a beautiful side of a parent's love supporting their child no matter the decisions and mistakes they made. Eldest child Tamara came across as a bit distracted and cold to a bystander, but she was supportive of her mother and siblings and once we got to enter the true sanctuary of her world, her true side emerged with a softness that made her shine. Middle child Anthony seemed like the one with the biggest heart and put in the most effort with the mom he adored. His fall from grace was a bit spectacular and redeeming him took a bit of work. The spoiled baby of the family Claire quickly turned into a nightmare of an attitude. She was never totally redeemed but she was relaxed a tad towards the end. Overall, I highly recommend this story to anyone looking for a close-knit single parent story that showcases her devotion to her kids and her support as they live their way into their happily ever afters before she relaxes into her own.
Michelle_V 14 days ago
Child's Play is about Kate, a widow, successful attorney and partner in a law firm, and her three adult children. I love reading a Danielle Steel book and Child's Play is a perfect example of her fantastic writing style. The characters are well developed and the story is filled with family drama, high expectations, secrets, unconditional love and twists that make this story that much more believable. I loved how Kate and all her children get their own HEA's. Great writing, believable characters and a finding yourself journey make this a must read.
JamieS 14 days ago
I almost read the whole book in one day. Kate is a widow who, while raising her three children, attended law school. She is a lawyer and has never had any problems with her kids, she set high expectations for them and feels they've reached her goals for them. Until it all starts to change...the rest of the story we see how each of the kids make their own choices that change the course of their life from the life Kate expected of them. It's a story of finding your way to live your own life, revealing some secrets from the past and unconditional love. The story was easy to read and very enjoyable. Thank you NetGalley for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
DonnaLab 14 days ago
As always, Danielle Steel did not let me down. One of my "pet peeves" is spelling and grammatical errors when reading published books and I am always pleasantly surprised to find that her books are so well written and edited prior to publication. I found Kate's heartache followed by her love, strength and endurance, when faced with the realization that her children were not perfect and made mistakes or had secrets, to be both heartfelt and inspiring. I am the proud mother of a homosexual son and cheered for Kate when she accepted the same, about one of the characters in the book, with an open mind and heart. Her children may have gone about decisions in the wrong way, but ultimately, I feel, as it appears Danielle does, that a person must be allowed to live their own life and make their own mistakes in order to grow. I only wish that, in similar circumstances, I can be as strong as Kate. I found myself rooting for her to get her own Happy Ending. She earned it! Finally, I would like to say that I have been reading Ms. Steel's books for about 40 years and she has never let me down. I will highly recommend this book to everyone! Thank you for another great book. Keep them coming! Can't wait for the next one!
DJTP 14 days ago
Child's Play by Danielle Steel. A story of family changes, moving on and secrets. A enjoyable read I've enjoyed This author's books in the past and she never disappoints me
ledLD 14 days ago
A truly unremarkable, bland story. The central character Kate Morgan, finds her perfect world rocked by her children’s life styles and decisions. Honestly, the worst is her daughter’s immaturity and bad behavior, which escalates as the story builds. The book is not a bad read, just slow, without much pizzazz.
MicheleReader 14 days ago
Another easy, breezy enjoyable read. Kate is a mid 50s attorney with three children who keep her on her toes with lots of relationship and life drama as she tries to keep her “perfect” life and family moving forward. When each child brings changes into their own lives, it shakes up Kate’s. (You have to love Kate’s mother who is the true rock in the family.) Nice to continue to see Kate, a character of “a certain age” portrayed as sexy and vibrant. Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
BarbTRC 14 days ago
Child’s Play by Danielle Steel is another one of her wonderful heartwarming standalone novel revolving around a family. Child’s Play has some romance, but it is mostly about a family, children, life changing situations that had a bit of everything. Kate Morgan is a successful senior partner in a law firm, who is in her mid-50’s, widowed and has three grown up children. She is content and very happy; adores and is very proud of her wonderful successful children (Tammy, Anthony and Claire). Kate is in the midst of a difficult and stressful case, but always keeps abreast of her children’s lives; but soon her perfect children will pull the rug from under her, making her look differently at her own life, as well as theirs. First, her youngest daughter Claire, tells her mother that she is pregnant, loves her rich successful boyfriend, but refuses to marry him, as she does not believe in marriage. This disturbs Kate, as she tries to convince Claire that it is not in her best interest to have a child out of wedlock, especially since the father wants to marry her. Her son Anthony, creates successful games, and is currently engaged, with a wedding upcoming in a few months, and Kate thinks he has the perfect fiancée. Soon Anthony will meet at the gym a model, who he begins to have an affair with, and knows that his feelings for the model is much more then with his spoiled fiancée. Hence, he breaks his engagement and Kate now has to learn to deal with this. The final daughter, Tammy, has kept a secret from her mother for 7 years; she is gay and in a relationship with someone during those years. She finally tells her mother. At first Kate is in a state of shock, but she quickly learns to accept her children’s life changing surprises, even with Claire, who becomes difficult to deal with. Kate will also have her own life changing experience, as she unexpectedly meets someone whom she never expected to find love with. Child’s Play was a wonderful, heartwarming story that brings the family together, and we get to see each of them have their own happy endings. Very well written by Danielle Steel. I thoroughly enjoyed Child’s Play.
MKF 14 days ago
Kate's a widow who thinks she's raised three perfect children- Tamara, Anthony, and Claire. And you know what, she did. Each child has a secret they've been hiding from Kate, which tells you that she's not the perfect mother. None of these secrets are shocking or horrible-it's 2019- and each child should be proud of their life, not hiding it. While all of this is coming out, Kate also finds herself in a relationship that evolves into a romance with an attorney at another firm. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. This is classic Danielle Steele- who I usually enjoy- and I'm sure others will like it more than I did.
KrisAnderson_TAR 15 days ago
Child’s Play by Danielle Steel is a story that parent’s will be able to understand and relate to. Parents have certain expectations for their children. We forget that they must make their own mistakes and follow their own path in life. Kate Morgan always set the bar high for her children and worked to be a good example for them. Kate is in her 50s and a senior partner at a law firm in New York City. After her politician husband passed away in a helicopter crash nineteen years previously, Kate went to law school while taking care of her kids with help from her mother, Margaret. Kate is proud of her children with their successful careers. She is unprepared when Claire announces she is having a child out of wedlock. Kate has old-fashioned ideals which she passed along to her kids. Claire, though, seems happy to shock her mother. Then Anthony announces he has broken off his engagement which paves the way for Tamara’s news. We see Kate struggle with each new announcement while juggling her clients. I found Child’s Play to be just the right length and it was easy to read. I quickly devoured it in a couple of hours. The characters are developed and realistic. Kate is an intelligent woman in her 50s who is also beautiful, sexy and vibrant. I like that Danielle Steel is giving us this type of mature character. Margaret, Kate’s mother, was my favorite. She provided keen insights and did not let her grandchildren’s news shake her. Kate could have let her children’s revelations alienate her from them, but we get to see how she adapts. Families continue to evolve as people mature as we see in Child’s Play. I liked that the main feature of the story was on the family with romance being secondary. There is some repetition of details which seems to be a trend in this author’s recent works. This repetitiveness is unnecessary. Child’s Play had the type of ending we look for from Danielle Steel. Child’s Play is dramatic family story with a spoiled sibling, shocking secrets, a lackluster lover, a boring bridezilla, a driven daughter, and a surprising suitor.
Anonymous 14 days ago