MALICE by Danielle Steel


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 Steel returns (after last year's Five Days in Paris) with yet another tale of suffering and redemption (this time, perhaps, with a personal edge to it, reflecting Steel's reaction to an unauthorized 1994 biography). Grace Adams overcomes, in the patented Steel manner, a series of almost biblical-level adversities. As an adolescent Grace had been repeatedly molested by her father. If she didn't submit, he would beat her mother, then dying of bone cancer. After the funeral, in a particularly violent encounter, Grace, now 17, kills him in self-defense. With almost no one to believe her story, since Dad was beloved by everybody in their small Illinois town, Grace goes to prison for two years. When she's released, she is harassed by a sleazy probation officer and drugged by a smarmy photographer, who produces some compromising photographs of the encounter. She eventually escapes to New York and gets a job at a law firm. She also volunteers at a battered-women's center, where she is attacked and brutally beaten by the husband of a woman she had tried to help. Recuperating at Bellevue, the ever-resilient Grace finds Charles, her wealthy boss, at her bedside. (``It was so unfair,'' he thinks. ``She was so young, and so alive, and so pretty.'') Inevitably, they marry, have children, and lead a perfect Steel- like existence. But when Charles runs for the US Senate, reporters uncover Grace's past. The media savage them, and Grace has a miscarriage. Steel, who was herself recently manhandled in a biography that dwelt on Steel's harsh childhood and on her marriages to two convicted felons, gets her own back against the ``maliciousness'' of the press (``They went for the gut every time with a stiletto''). There is an improbable, and typically upbeat, dÇnouement. Once again, Steel's incantational style, a melodic and slightly hypnotic current, carries the reader swiftly through a string of god-awful clichÇs, outrageous events, and unlikely outcomes. For the devotee only.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-385-30604-0
Page count: 360pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1996


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