Lost and Found: A Novel

Lost and Found: A Novel

by Danielle Steel

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • What might have been? That tantalizing question propels a woman on a cross-country adventure to reunite with the men she loved and let go, in Danielle Steel’s exhilarating new novel.

It all starts with a fall from a ladder, in a firehouse in New York City. The firehouse has been converted into a unique Manhattan home and studio where renowned photographer Madison Allen works and lives after raising three children on her own. But the accident, which happens while Maddie is sorting through long-forgotten personal mementos and photos, results in more than a broken ankle. It changes her life.

Spurred by old memories, the forced pause in her demanding schedule, and an argument with her daughter that leads to a rare crisis of confidence, Maddie embarks on a road trip.  She hopes to answer questions about the men she loved and might have married—but didn’t—in the years after she was left alone with three young children. Wearing a cast and driving a rented SUV, she sets off to reconnect with three very different men—one in Boston, one in Chicago, and another in Wyoming—to know once and for all if the decisions she made long ago were the right ones. Before moving forward into the future, she is compelled to confront the past.

As the miles and days pass, and with each new encounter, Maddie’s life comes into clearer focus and a new future takes shape. A deeply felt story about love, motherhood, family, and fate, Lost and Found is an irresistible new novel from America’s most dynamic storyteller.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399179488
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/25/2019
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 691
File size: 1 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 Blessing in Disguise, Silent Night, Turning Point, Beauchamp Hall, In His Father’s Footsteps, The Good Fight, 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

Madison Allen lived in an old brick firehouse in the West Village in downtown New York, a few blocks east of the Hudson River. The firehouse was a hundred years old. It had been a departure for Maddie, after living on the Upper East Side most of her life. She had raised her three children in a comfortable although not luxurious apartment, in a serious-looking prewar building. Buying the firehouse downtown had been an act of independence for her, and it had become a labor of love. She had bought it fifteen years before, when her youngest child, Milagra, had left for college. Her older two, Deanna and Ben, were twenty and twenty-one when she bought it, and still came home for school holidays. Two years later, they had moved into their own apartments, and never came home to live again after they had graduated.

Deanna moved in an apartment in Chelsea and got a job as an assistant designer for a successful contemporary fashion brand that was popular with young women. She had gone to Parsons School of Design and had real talent. She was fiercely competitive with other designers and single-minded with her love of fashion, always focused on her own success. She was less intellectual than her brother and sister. Ben, her younger brother, had a keen instinct for business and had done well. Milagra, the youngest, had been writing since she was fifteen, and her first novel was published by the time she was nineteen. All three of Maddie’s children were very different from each other, with their interests in design, business, and literature. Unlike her younger siblings, Deanna had a killer instinct.

After graduating from Berkeley, Ben had decided to stay in San Francisco, in the world of start-ups. He swore he’d never come back to New York to live, and he hadn’t. He loved the outdoors, California life, and the high-tech world. He was a kind and loving person, a good husband and father, and caring son, although Maddie seldom saw him, and rarely contacted any of them. She didn’t want to intrude on them now that they were adults, and most of the time waited to hear from them. Sometimes it was a long wait, so she called them. But she held out as long as she could.

Milagra had gone to UCLA, taken postgraduate writing classes at Stanford, and moved to Mendocino in northern California. She needed isolation to write her books, and silence. So Maddie heard from her the least often.

Maddie would have rattled around her old apartment alone, like a marble in a shoebox, if she’d stayed there. When she moved downtown, her children had been shocked, and objected strenuously. They felt awkward in their mother’s new and somewhat unusual home. But she was firm about it and knew it was right for her at the time and they would adjust to it eventually. And as she knew they would, they grew up and left.

The firehouse still had its original brass pole that the firemen had used to slide down. She had someone come in to polish it every few months, and had tried sliding down it once herself. It was scary and exciting and fun, though she had come down faster than she’d expected. Buying the firehouse had been a happy event for her, and a new adventure. She’d loved it then and still did.

And the statement she made with the move was not as harsh as her children had claimed or feared. There were four floors, with two good-sized rooms and a smaller one that shared a bathroom on the top floor and were set up as bedrooms for Ben, Deanna, and Milagra whenever they wanted to come home. They had hardly ever used them, and now, fifteen years later, never stayed there at all.

With a successful start-up to his credit in his life as a young entrepreneur, Ben had no time to come home. After he sold the business and started a second one, he was even busier. He had a knack for discovering a need that no one else had thought of, and capitalizing on it. Married now, at thirty-five, with three children of his own, Willie, Charlie, and Olive, six, five, and three, he rarely came to New York, and stayed at a hotel when he did. His wife, Laura, was from Grosse Pointe, a suburb of Detroit, and had friends and relatives in Chicago, but she came no farther east than that.

They had full and busy lives in San Francisco, and a beautiful house with a spectacular view of the city in Belvedere, a tiny island of high-priced real estate in Marin County, twenty minutes from San Francisco. They were so heavily scheduled between Ben’s work, the social schedule Laura arranged for them, and all the activities for the children that it was never a good time for Maddie to come out, even for a brief visit. The few times she had she’d felt like an intruder. Her grandchildren scarcely knew her. She saw them once or twice a year for a few days, and could barely keep up with their after-school activities, computer lessons, karate, soccer, swimming classes, and ballet for Olive, along with their constant playdates and the other activities their mother organized for them. Laura kept everyone busy, and successfully kept Maddie at bay, although Maddie never complained. Her son was happy, which was good enough for her. She would have liked to see more of him, and to live in the same city, but it hadn’t worked out that way. Maddie was generous about it. She always tried to be tolerant of their differences from her, and had encouraged them to follow their dreams, and be independent.

She had sensed on the day of the wedding that she had lost Ben to his new in-laws. Ben and Laura spent Christmas in Grosse Pointe with Laura’s parents, and her siblings and their children. Her parents’ home on the Big Island in Hawaii was an easy vacation spot for all of them. Ben and his family went there for most school holidays, or to Mexico, or Aspen. Nothing Maddie had to offer could compete. She had no country home, and a busy work life herself. They could have stayed at the firehouse with her in New York, but she recognized that, as Ben’s family grew rapidly, it would have been too cramped, even dangerous for such young children, with the narrow circular metal staircase and the fire pole. She was hoping to get them to New York on their own when they were older, but that wouldn’t be for a long time. And Laura’s goal in the meantime was to be important in the San Francisco social scene and show off her husband’s success. There was no time or room for Maddie in all that.

Milagra lived in an entirely different universe from Ben, in windswept, foggy, rugged Mendocino. She had bought a small crumbling Victorian house after she sold her second book, and she restored the house herself. She never drove the three or four hours to San Francisco. She wrote eerie, haunting gothic novels, which weren’t bestsellers but enjoyed a steady, moderate success, enough for her to live comfortably. She had a solid following of faithful readers who loved her books. Her work was dark and strange, and her isolated life in Mendocino suited her. She had started writing at fifteen and had nearly been a recluse ever since. Milagra didn’t need people around her to be happy. In fact, she preferred her solitude so she could write. Even a friendly phone call felt like an intrusion to her, so she didn’t give anyone her number, and called no one. Most of her contact with her mother was by email, when her internet was working. She had internet access where she lived, most of the time, but poor cellphone reception, which suited her perfectly. She was always working on a book, and at thirty-three she lived alone, with three large dogs and two stray cats. She hardly ever saw her brother, but emailed him from time to time. She never wrote to Deanna. They were just too different. She hadn’t been to New York in six years, since she’d bought her house. Maddie visited her whenever Milagra was between books and allowed her to.

Milagra had gotten her name when Maddie had almost lost her several times before she was born. They named her “Miracle” in Spanish. She was a solitary person whose life was her work. She had nothing in common with Ben and his wife, Laura, and Milagra always told her mother that they had nothing to say to each other when they met. She had even less in common with her older sister, Deanna, who was hardworking, hard-driving, and fully engaged in the fast-paced world of fashion in New York. Milagra had always thought her sister aggressive, and said she scared her. Deanna had bullied her as a child and ordered her around, always convinced that she knew best. Deanna had always called Milagra “the weird one.”

Deanna was married to David Harper, the executive editor of a highly respected publishing house. As a designer, Deanna made more money than he did, and she added glamour to his life. She had always had a sharp edge, even as a child, and an equally sharp tongue. But she and David were a good match. She ran their life together and her career with an iron hand. They had two daughters, Lily, seven, and Kendra, nine, and Deanna was as ambitious for them as she was for herself. They went to one of the best private schools in New York, and were just as busy as Ben’s children with after-school activities. Kendra was serious about ballet, and Lily took hip-hop lessons. They both took violin and piano. Deanna had their lives carefully mapped out.

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Lost and Found: A Novel 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Anonymous 7 months ago
I loved this book and I like that she is writing about older woman, a true Danielle Steel great read!
Anonymous 9 months ago
I’m always deeply moved by her skill with a story
Anonymous 3 months ago
Great book
Anonymous 6 months ago
Too much explanatory narrative. Not dynamic.Lacked excitement or tension. The themes of family dynamics and an exceptional but underappreciated mother were good, but the supporting characters were more interesting than the main character, the mother. I was disappointed and expected better from a Danielle Steele novel.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Anonymous 7 months ago
An easy read
Anonymous 7 months ago
Another heartfelt story, realistic characters and great plots
Anonymous 8 months ago
Another great read.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Anonymous 20 days ago
great story
Anonymous 3 months ago
Jeannie3doxie 4 months ago
Another wonderful book! This book is about family, children as different as night and day. Mother got hurt so lets put her in a nursing home. It's a very good story of an older woman deciding to live her life finally. Thank you so much Netgalley, Danielle Steel, and your Publisher for giving me to chance to enjoy this great book!
Anonymous 6 months ago
38 pages in of 202, not sure I will be able to finish. I think this will be my last Danielle Steel book. She repeats herself over and over goes on and on about the same thing. Not happy with this book at all.
Anonymous 7 months ago
at some point in everyone's life, you stop to wonder what your life might have been like if you'd made different decisions. Danielle Steel has been taking our everyday "what ifs" and turning them into stories that take us down those less travelled roads. When an accident leaves her unable to work, a woman faces her "what ifs" by winding back the clock to visit three men that she thought she'd marry but didn't. Along the way, she finds that maybe her life is not as bad as she thought. Danielle Steel is one of the few authors that always write an excellent story about realistic characters.
MTCKMason 8 months ago
What if? Danielle Steel brings us Madison Allen and her quest to figure out if she made the right choice. We find Maddie living in her renovated firehouse with her three grown children living their lives, and herself busy with her photography career. After a fall from a ladder, she rediscovers her past in the box she brought down while recovering from her broken ankle. She sets upon an adventure to visit past loves and re-evaluate her life while answering the question of what if she said yes to each of these men. Would her life have been better with one of them? Did she get the better deal by saying no? She will need to answer these questions about the past before she can truly move on to her future. Danielle Steel has taken the question asked daily by every person at some point in their lives and turned it into a tale of self-discovery. She brings us her present and we get to join Maddie on her quest through her past. She shares why she made her decisions and how it would affect not only her, but her children as well. All of this brings us back to her present which will shape her future. It shows how relationships will change and grow or become stagnant and resentful. I enjoyed how Danielle Steel has brought the reader on the journey with the characters she created and made you feel a part of the story. It makes you reassess your own decisions and think about the what ifs in your own life. I have enjoyed reading about Maddie and her life's journey. I look forward to reading more from Danielle Steel. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I would like to thank NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group- Ballantine for this privilege.
Doreena Silva 9 months ago
I really loved this book. I liked the concept of the protagonist taking a self reflective journey to find answers to parts of her past. What happens along the way during her travels was eye opening and chapter closing and even new chapters in her life beginning What an enjoyable, relaxing read this was!
Teri1957 9 months ago
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Many feel Steel's books are "all the same", I disagree. Many have a similar context but the plot is totally different. I have read every one of Danielle Steel's books. They are an usually an enjoyable romance with some type of twist. Very easy reading from a fabulous author whom I hope writes many more. Enjoy!
Ashcclapp 9 months ago
Typical, reliable Danielle Steel novel. While the writing isn't breathtaking, being rushed and underdeveloped at times, the overall plot was cute and I really appreciate that a mature woman was the female protagonist. So many books nowadays completely overlook more mature generations so it is nice to see that Danielle Steel is incorporating them into her books. I loved the different relationships the main character had with her children but, more importantly, I liked that her relationship with herself grew. Her inner confidence blossomed from beginning to end and it was nice to be on that journey. This makes a perfect, easy read and is highly recommended for people who want just that. Something has to be said for reliability and Danielle Steel has it.
LynnB888 10 months ago
An eye-opening journey of love, forgiveness and expendability. With her trademark story-weaving, Danielle Steel quickly whisked this reader's heart up and carried it along throughout the book. The characters were very connectable, and though the story took some unexpected turns, it was easy to follow and left you wanting more with each turning of the page. It was bittersweet, emotional and had a lighthearted depth in the end. I loved every minute of it! Madison Allen felt she had lived a fulfilling life until an argument with her eldest daughter led her to question her place in the world at this stage in her life. After a household injury sidelines her from her career for a few weeks, and at her wits end with the envisionment her daughter put into her head of old age and life being over, Maddie sets out on a cross-country drive to put her life into perspective. A walk down memory lane via a box of old photos and letters has her reminiscing about the three men that passed in and out of her life in the years following her divorce as she was raising her three kids alone. She sets out to look up each man and verify in her heart that the decisions she made to get her to this place in her life were justified. The first couple of visits had her comfortable with the choices she had made, and just as the third visit was on the horizon, a curve ball was thrown and an emotional fallout ensues. In the end, it all comes down to her deciding how much living she still wants to get out of life, and how to fit all of the pieces of her world into the area she wants to revolve.
DebbieLTD 10 months ago
I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Lost and Found is a book, like many Danielle Steel books, that make you stop and reflect on your own life. Maddie is a 58 year old famous photographer with three grown children, whom she never really sees. One night she has a mishap and injures herself, causing her to question decisions she made over the years that have shaped her life. She decides to take a road trip to face some of the people from her past she had cared about but for various reasons did not keep in touch with. Through this journey Maddie becomes more confident in herself, and reconnects with her family. The book started out a little slow while the characters' relationships were being established, but picked up quickly and I couldn't put it down. If you love Danielle Steel books, this one will not disappoint,.
MJK108 10 months ago
One minor household accident is all it takes to change Madison Allen’s perspective on life. As a vibrant, successful photographer in her late 50’s, Maddie’s life is busy and productive until she falls off a ladder one evening. The resulting broken ankle and its fallout leave her feeling vulnerable and insecure. As she takes a little time to heal, she ponders what might have been in her life. Her retrospection about the men in her life leads her on a road trip that will aid her in regaining her self-confidence and reinforcing her earlier decisions. Not only will she explore her past, she will meet the potential of a new future along the way. Join Maddie on her journey across country as she explores old loves; renews broken family relationships; and makes new acquaintances. I enjoyed this book very much because I could relate so well to Maddie, her age, and her issues. The story serves as a great reminder that age does not have to define us. This ARC copy was received from Delacorte Press and Netgalley.com. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.
KrisAnderson_TAR 10 months ago
Lost and Found is a story about a women’s self-reflective journey. Maddie Allen is a famous photographer who is divorced and on her own after raising her three children. She does not have a close relationship with any of her kids, and Maddie leads a quiet life focusing on her work where she excels. Maddie loves her home which is a converted firehouse with a spiral staircase and where she has her studio and offices on the ground floor. After breaking her ankle in a fall and a dress down from her eldest daughter, Maddie decides to take a trip. She wants to see if the choices she made in the past were the right ones. It also allows Maddie to reflect on her life, lay old ghosts to rest and see what the future holds for her. Lost and Found reminds me of Danielle Steel’s earlier books. It is a light women’s fiction story with a heaping helping of romance and a splash of fairy tale (happily ever after). I like the author’s relaxed writing style. It makes the story easy to read and it has a smooth flow. I did not understand how Maddie could let her daughter run roughshod over her and be intimidated by Deanna’s words. Of course, critical comments from family affect us more than remarks from others. There is a significant amount of repetition in the first half of the book. After a while, I knew the information by heart (a little rewriting would have dramatically improved this book). As Maddie’s journey progresses, the story improves. I was especially moved by her Wyoming visit. There were some heartwarming scenes that were touching. I liked seeing the characters develop and the changes in various relationships. I agree with Maddie when she said. “strange things happen in life when you don’t expect them”. Sometimes it helps to look back before moving forward. Lost and Found is sweet story about reflection, family, romance, and choices.
MicheleReader 10 months ago
It is so nice to read a story of a successful, vital woman who is at the stage of her life where her kids are grown and she needs to find personal fulfillment beyond motherhood and career. Maddie’s self discovery takes her cross country after she find love letters from the three men she is not quite sure she should have let get away. This book makes you think about your own life choices, your own relationships and the ghosts of your past. Once again Danielle Steel does a good job in giving us an enjoyable, quick read that makes you think and feel. Thanks to NetGalley and Random House/Ballantine for the advance copy.
DJTP 10 months ago
Lost and found by Danielle steel. I've always been a fan of Danielle Steel's novels and this one hasn't disappointed me. This is a story of second guessing yourself and not being sure you did the right thing.
boclairedesigns 10 months ago
What a dynamic story that I had a hard time putting down. Another gem from Danielle Steele. Mattie is a world renowned photographer who embarks on a cross country trip after an accident leaves her with an injured ankle. After a contentious discussion with her daughter she's left feeling disjointed and upset. She heads out to visit three former lovers to determine if her life choices were the right ones. Along the way she finds herself and reaLizes you're never too old to find love. She reconnected with all three of her children and enhanced her perception of the USA in her journey. Peace and tranquility in the flowers, sky, and scenery opens her up to a world of opportunity. Once she returns home and back to work, she realizes that her life is everything she wants now and not the danger from some of her assignments. Run out to get a copy of this one: I highly recommend it. I received a free ARC eBook from the publisher and Net Galley for my honest opinions.