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Steel, Danielle Bittersweet ISBN 13 : 9780385319577

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9780385319577: Bittersweet
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Book by Steel Danielle

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Chapter One


India Taylor had her camera poised as an unruly army of nine-year-old boys ran across the playing field after the soccer ball they had been heatedly pursuing. Four of them collapsed in a heap, a tangle of arms and legs, and she knew that somewhere in the midst of them was her son, Sam, but she couldn't see him as she shot a never-ending stream of pictures. She had promised to take photographs of the team, as she always did, and she loved being there, watching them on a warm May afternoon in Westport.

She went everywhere with her kids, soccer, baseball, swimming team, ballet, tennis. She did it not only because it was expected of her, but because she liked it. Her life was a constant continuum of car pools, and extracurricular activities, peppered with trips to the vet, the orthodontist, the pediatrician when they were sick or needed checkups. With four children between the ages of nine and fourteen, she felt as though she lived in her car, and spent the winters shoveling snow to get it out of the garage and down the driveway.

India Taylor loved her children, her life, her husband. Life had treated them well, and although this wasn't what she had expected of her life in the early years, she found that it suited her better than expected. The dreams that she and Doug had once had were no longer relevant to life as they now knew it, who they had become, or the place they had drifted to since they met twenty years before in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica.

The life they shared now was what Doug had wanted, the vision he had had for them, the place he wanted to get to. A big, comfortable house in Connecticut, security for both of them, a houseful of kids, and a Labrador retriever, and it suited him to perfection. He left for work in New York at the same time every day, on the 7:05 train out of the Westport station. He saw the same faces, spoke to all the same people, handled the same accounts in his office. He worked for one of the biggest marketing firms in the country, and he made very decent money. Money wasn't something she had worried about much in the early days, not at all in fact. She had been just as happy digging irrigation ditches and living in tents in Nicaragua, Peru, and Costa Rica.

She had loved those days, the excitement, the challenges, the feeling that she was doing something for the human race. And the occasional dangers they encountered seemed to fuel her.

She had started taking photographs long before that, in her teens, taught by her father, who was a correspondent for The New York Times. He spent most of her childhood years away, on dangerous assignments in war zones. And she loved not only his photographs, but listening to his stories. As a child, she dreamed of a life like his one day. And her dreams came true when she herself began freelancing for papers at home while she was in the Peace Corps.

Her assignments took her into the hills, and brought her face-to-face with everything from bandits to guerrillas. She never thought of the risks she took. Danger meant nothing to her, in fact she loved it. She loved the people, the sights, the smells, the sheer joy of what she was doing, and the sense of freedom she had while she did it. Even after they finished their stint with the Peace Corps, and Doug went back to the States, she stayed in Central and South America for several months, and then went on to do stories in Africa and Asia. And she managed to hit all the hot spots. Whenever there was trouble somewhere, for a while at least, India was in it, taking pictures. It was in her soul, and in her blood, in a way that it had never been in Doug's. For him, it had been something exciting to do for a time before he settled down to "real life." For India, it was real life, and what she really wanted.

She had lived with an insurgent army in Guatemala for two months, and had come up with fantastic photographs, reminiscent of her father's. They had won her not only praise internationally, but several prizes, for her coverage, her insight, and her courage.

When she looked back on those days later on, she realized she had been someone different then, a person she thought of sometimes now, and wondered what had happened to her. Where had that woman gone, that wild free spirit filled with passion? India still acknowledged her, yet she also realized she no longer knew her. Her life was so different now, she was no longer that person. She wondered sometimes, in her dark room, late at night, how she could be satisfied with a life so far removed from the one she had once been so in love with. And yet, she knew with perfect clarity, that she loved the life she shared with Doug and the children in Westport. What she did now was important to her, as much as her earlier life had been. She had no sense of sacrifice, of having given up something she loved, but rather of having traded it for something very different. And the benefits had always seemed worth it to her. What she did for them mattered a great deal to Doug and the children, she told herself. Of that, she was certain.

But there was no denying, when she looked at her old photographs, that she had had a passion for what she did then. Some of the memories were still so vivid. She still remembered the sheer excitement of it, the sick feeling of knowing she was in danger, and the thrill of capturing the perfect moment, that explosive split second in time when everything came together in one instant in what she saw through her camera. There had never been anything like it. If nothing else, she was glad she'd done it, and gotten it out of her system. And she knew without a doubt that what she had felt was something she had inherited from her father. He had died in Da Nang when she was fifteen, after winning a Pulitzer the year before. It had been all too easy for India to follow in his footsteps. It was a course she couldn't have altered at the time, or wanted to. She needed to do it. The changes she had made came later.

She returned to New York a year and a half after Doug had gone home, when he had finally issued an ultimatum. He had told her that if she wanted a future with him, she had better "get her ass back to New York" and stop risking her life in Pakistan and Kenya. And for only a brief moment, it had been a tough decision. She knew that a life much like her father's was out there for her, maybe even a Pulitzer like his one day, but she knew the dangers too. It had ultimately cost him his life, and to some extent his marriage. He had never really had a life he cared about beyond the moments when he risked everything for the perfect shot, with bombs exploding all around him. And Doug was reminding her that if she wanted him, and any kind of normalcy, she was going to have to make a choice sooner or later, and give up what she was doing.

At twenty-six, she married Doug, and worked for The New York Times for two years, taking photographs for them locally, but Doug was anxious to have children. And when Jessica was born shortly before India turned twenty-nine, she gave up her job at The Times, moved to Connecticut, and closed the door on her old life forever. It was the deal she had agreed to. Doug had made it very clear to her when they got married that once they had children, she had to give up her career. And she had agreed to do it. She thought that by then she'd be ready. But she had to admit, when she left the Times and turned her attention to full-time motherhood, it was harder than she expected. At first, she really missed working. In the end, she only looked back once or twice with regret, but eventually she didn't even have time for that. With four children in five years, she could barely keep her head above water or take time out to reload her camera. Driving, diapers, teething, nursing, fevers, play groups, and one pregnancy after another. The two people she saw most were her obstetrician and her pediatrician, and of course the other women she saw daily, whose lives were identical to hers, and revolved only around their children. Some of them had given up careers as well, or were willing to put their adult lives on hold until their children were a little older, just as she had. They were doctors, lawyers, writers, nurses, artists, architects, all of whom had given up their careers to tend to their children. Some of them complained a lot of the time, but although she missed her work, India didn't really mind what she was doing. She loved being with her children, even when she ended the days exhausted, with another baby on the way, and Doug came home too late at night to help her. It was the life she had chosen, a decision she had made, a deal she had lived up to. And she wouldn't have wanted to leave her children every day to continue working. She still did the occasional rare story close to home, if she had time for
it, once every few years, but she really didn't have time to do it more often, as she had long since explained to her agent.

What she hadn't known, or fully understood before Jessica was born, was just how far from her old life it would take her. Compared to the life she had once led, taking photographs of guerrillas in Nicaragua, and dying children in Bangladesh, or floods in Tanzania, she had had no idea just how different this would be, or how different she would become once she did it.

She knew she had to close the door on those early chapters of her life, and she had, no matter how many prizes she had won, or how exciting it had been, or how good she was at it. In her mind, and Doug's especially, giving it up was the price she had had to pay for having children. There was just no other way to do it. Some of the women she knew could juggle work at home, a couple of her friends were still lawyers and went into the city two or three days a week, just to keep their hand in. Others were artists and worked at home, some of the writers struggled with stories between the midnight and four A.M. feedings, but eventually gave it up, because they were too exhausted to do it. But for India, it was imp...
Présentation de l'éditeur :
In Bittersweet, Danielle Steel has written a novel for our times, a story of choices and new beginnings.

India Taylor lived in a world of manicured lawns and neatly maintained calendars: a merry-go-round of Little League, piano lessons, and Cape Cod summer vacations. With four wonderful children, India believed in commitment and sacrifice, just as she believed in Doug, the man she married 17 years before. For India, this was the promise she made, the life she had chosen—not the award-winning career as a photojournalist she once had. It was a choice she had never truly regretted. Until she begins to regret it with all her heart.

India couldn't pinpoint the exact moment. Perhaps it was the last time her agent called, begging her to take an assignment Doug insisted she turn down. Or perhaps it was when Doug told her he thought of her as a companion and someone to take care of their kids, and not much more. At that moment, the price of the sacrifices she'd made began to seem high.

And then, she met Paul Ward. A Wall Street tycoon married to a bestselling author, Paul lived life on his own terms, traveling the world on his own yacht. India hadn't planned to become Paul's friend. Anything more was unthinkable. Yet talking to Paul was so easy. India could share her dreams with him, and offer comfort when Paul suffers a heartbreak of his own. And while Paul urges India to reclaim her career, Doug is adamantly against it, determined to keep her tied to the home. But with Paul's encouragement, India slowly, painfully, begins to break free, and find herself again.

Rediscovering her creativity and her courage, India uses Paul like a beacon on the horizon, sharing intimate phone conversations with a man half a world away, a man who never stops reminding her of all that is possible for her. India is changing, and nothing in her life will ever be the same again. Not her marriage. Not her friendship with Paul. And when India is presented with an irresistible opportunity, she makes a heart-wrenching decision, leaving a safe, familiar place-and the people she loves there-to move into the terror of the unknown.

Bittersweet is her story, a story of freedom, of having dreams and making choices to find them. With unerring insight, Danielle Steel has created a moving portrait of a woman who dares to embark on a new adventure and the man who helps her get there. Her painful, exhilarating journey inspires us all.

Les informations fournies dans la section « A propos du livre » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

  • ÉditeurDelacorte Pr
  • Date d'édition1999
  • ISBN 10 0385319576
  • ISBN 13 9780385319577
  • ReliureRelié
  • Nombre de pages371
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