Jewels Author:Danielle Steel On the even of Sarah Whitfields seventy-fifth birthday, she stands at the window of her chateau bedroom in France, waiting for her family to join her. As she watches her children and grandchildren arrive, Sarah is reminded of the years that have brought her to this moment. — Sarah's memories take her back to New York in the 1930's, where she was ... more »raised in Manhattan and Southampton, a beautiful young woman with a magnetic personality and rare intelligence. But when her marriage to a childhood friend ends after just one year, Sarah is shattered and ashamed. She turns inward and withdraws. In a time when only "that" woman, Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, took such a shameful step, divorce becomes Sarah's guilty secret. After great protest, Sarah's parents finally convince her to join them on a trip abroad. And despite the growing turmoil in prewar Europe, they set sail on the Queen Mary.
There are endless invitations to honor her in Europe, and Sarah grows tired of the young men with whom her parents have arranged introductions. But one afternoon at a luncheon, she meets William, Duke of Whitfield. Considerably older than Sarah, and fourteenth in line to the British throne, he sparks her intellectual curiosity - makes her laugh. And even in the shadow of the Windsor scandal, William is willing to give up his remote right to the throne to make Sarah his duchess and his wife.
On their honeymoon in the beautiful French countryside, the newlyweds stumble upon their dream house, a crumbling but beautiful historic chateau, which they soon begin to renovate. But in the midst of their plans, William and Sarah hear the hint of the war that would provide a test of their courage and devotion. As the Nazis begin to move closer, William must have Sarah to join the allied forces, and Sarah is left to raise their son and bear another child alone. Even during the terror of the Occupation, as her beloved home is taken over by the Germans and turned into a medical facility, Sarah's spirit carries her through as she clings to the hope of a reunion with her husband. And when he is shot down over Germany and is missing in action, Sarah refuses to believe even the possibility of his death.
When at last the war ends, Sarah learns that William has been found in devastating condition. She nurses him back to health before they return to their home in France. There they will establish their legacy. What begins as a charitable exchange to assist those in great need eventually becomes the basis of a fascinating business as William and Sarah buy family jewels from the war survivors who are trying to rebuild their lives. They turn their collection into the House of Whitfield and soon they become jewelers to the crowned heads of all Europe. And together they produce a family of their own: Phillip, the proud eldest son; Julian, the charming and generous middle child; Isabelle, the rebellious daughter; and Xavier, the final unexpected gift of their love. They each will find their own way in the world, often far from one another, but always drawn to the family business their parents built. Based in Paris, London, and Rome, involved in business in Africa and the Far East, theirs are fascinating lives.« less