The Long Road Home

little girl with doll stands in open doorway. Handwritten lines show faintly along page bottom.In The Long Road Home, Danielle Steel tackles one of the least savory aspects of romantic relationships: child abuse.

Gabriella is a beautiful, blonde seven-year-old whose mother flies into rages and beats her, being careful the bruises don’t show.

Gabby’s father is too spineless to object.

When the Harrisons divorce, Eloise Harrison sends Gabriella to live in a convent, while she moves to California and a new husband.  John Harrison moves to Boston. Gabbie never hears from either of her parents again. When Gabbie turns 18, her mother’s care of her—a monthly check to the sisters—ends.

Gabbie is safe and happy, a Columbia University graduate, planning to become a nun when she meets Father Joe Connors in the confessional.

They hit it off too well.

When Joe has to choose between his vocation and Gabbie, who is pregnant, his own unresolved childhood trauma leads a third, most unhappy choice.

Gabbie once again has to start rebuilding a life for herself.

The combination of early childhood abuse and her convent-sheltered teen years make her vulnerable. Gabbie gets into another abusive situation.

Steel provides an upbeat ending that’s more hopeful than likely, but her story is as realistic as Steel’s romance fans can tolerate.

The Long Road Home by Danielle Steel
Delacorte ©1998. 397 p.
1998 bestseller #6; my grade: B+

©2020 Linda G. Aragoni

The Glitter Dome isn’t gold

The title of The Glitter Dome is set in glittering type
The title is covered in glitter.

The Glitter Dome is another of ex-cop Joseph Wambaugh’s police anti-procedurals.

Like The Choirboys, Dome is about cops doing things cops are supposed to keep from happening.

The main story is about partners Al Mackey and Martin Welborn, career cops old enough to be eyeing retirement hopefully. They have just been assigned to clear the murder of Nigel St. Clair.

Al and Marty have cleared other murders by arranging proof that the victim killed himself.

This time, however, they can’t find any way pass the shooting off as murder.

Marty gets interested in trying to solve the crime.

Meanwhile Gibson Hand and Buckmore Phipps are walking their beat when ball of clay thrown in an artists’ studio knocks Phipps’s hat off.

In the studio, a Marine modeling for the artists has a note in his pocket that says Nigel St. Clair and a phone number.

Overlapping coincidences lead to the cops solving the murder.

Wambaugh milks his story for laughs, but cop humor is pretty much that of sixth grade boys: Funny if you’re a sixth grader.

The characters are drawn in broad strokes: Only Marty emerges as a person.

The rest of the cops are people you don’t want to know.

The Glitter Dome by Joseph Wambaugh
William Morrow. ©1981. 299 p.
1981 bestseller #9. My grade: B

©2019 Linda G. Aragoni