2021 Reviews · contemporary fiction · new release

New Release Book Review: Finding Ashley by Danielle Steel

Title: Finding Ashley

Author: Danielle Steel

Published: April 27th 2021

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Pages: 320

Genres:  Fiction, Contemporary

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 3 stars

In Finding Ashley, a deeply moving novel from the number one bestseller Danielle Steel, two estranged sisters get the chance to reconnect and right the wrongs of the past.

Melissa Henderson leads a quiet life. Once a bestselling author, she now pours all her energy into renovating a Victorian house in the foothills of rural New England. Six years ago, her life was derailed by tragedy and she stopped writing. The house has given her new purpose.

When her beloved home appears on the news, Melissa receives a call from her estranged sister, Hattie. They were close once, but that was before Melissa withdrew from the world. Now Hattie is determined to help Melissa turn a new page, even if it means reopening one of the most painful chapters of her life. All these years later, Hattie feels compelled to embark on a journey that will change both their lives forever, to find the child that Melissa was forced to give up when she was only a teenager in Ireland. .

Finding Ashley is a powerful love story of two strong, brave women turning loss into reconnection, and a family reunited.

Review:

‘Life was like that, and they both knew it. The old wounds healed eventually, but the scars remained.’

Danielle Steel is a worldwide bestselling author and household name in terms of contemporary women’s fiction. Finding Ashley is a 2021 release and it encompasses themes of long-held secrets, faith, love and reconnection. A pleasant and easy read, fans will appreciate this new release from the prolific author.

Finding Ashley revolves around principal character Melissa Henderson. Melissa is a writer, but she hasn’t published a book in years. Six years ago Melissa’s life was touched by tragedy and was quickly followed a separation. Melissa now focuses her energies on renovating her home. When the story begins, Melissa receives some interesting news following the near loss of her home to a wildfire. Melissa’s sister hasn’t been in touch with her for years, but she now wants Melissa to revisit a difficult chapter in her life. With the support of Hattie, Melissa embarks on a emotional journey to find a child she gave up may years ago in Ireland. But Melissa knows this journey back to the past will be challenging, can she cope with yet another emotional setback? Finding Ashley is a story that charts the courage, silence, determination and strength of two women hoping to rebuild their lives after facing a great deal of emotional pain.

2021 is already proving to a busy one for prolific author Danielle Steel. The number one bestselling author has already released three novels to date this year. There is clearly a big demand for Steel’s books as she continually hits the bestseller lists with her novels. Finding Ashley is a tender and light tale, that I raced through in just an evening.

Steel enjoys giving her audience a glimpse into the lives of celebrities or the wealthy in many of her novels. Finding Ashley closely follows Melissa Henderson, a published author who has experienced two recent devastating setbacks in her life. As a result, Melissa has been unable to put pen to paper. The early stages of Finding Ashley works to hook your immediate interest and I did find the initial set up of the book somewhat interesting. I was particularly drawn to Melissa’s career as an author and I wondered whether or not she would be able to return to this career.

There are two different storyline threads that define this novel. The first involves Melissa’s past in Ireland and a lost baby. I appreciated this plotline. I enjoyed the mystery, history and moral practices of this time. This narrative line is supported by some interesting facts and research. However, I did feel as though Steel looked at this area from the surface level only, rather than from an expansive lens. We are also presented with a storyline that draws in the ‘Me Too’ movement. This particular thread casts a critical eye on the treatment of women by powerful figures in Hollywood and other positions of power. Again, I will say this aspect of the novel was skirted over, rather than fully fleshed out. There were also repetitive parts that seemed unnecessary to the story at hand. Otherwise, I did find that this latest book from Steel easy to absorb and I appreciated picking it up after a heavy day.

At times heartbreaking, a little teary, tender and dramatic, Finding Ashley is another secret filled tale from the popular US author.

Finding Ashley was published on 27th April 2021 by Pan Macmillan. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Finding Ashley, Danielle Steel, visit here.

*Thanks extended to Pan Macmillan for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.

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