The Long Road Home
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Bestselling novelist Danielle Steel takes us on a harrowing journey into the heart of America's hidden shame in a novel that explores the power of forgiveness, the dark side of childhood, and one woman's unbreakable spirit.
From her secret perch at the top of the stairs, Gabriella Harrison watches the guests arrive at her parents' lavish Manhattan townhouse. At seven, she knows she is an intruder in her parents' party, in her parents' life. But she can't resist the magic. Later, she waits for the click, click, click of her mother's high heels, the angry words, and the pain that will follow. Gabriella already knows to hide her bruises, certain she is to blame for her mother's rage--and her father's failure to protect her. Her world is a confusing blend of terror, betrayal, and pain. Her parents' aristocratic world is no safeguard against the abuse that knows no boundaries, respects no person, no economic lines. Gabriella knows that, try as she might, there is no safe place for her to hide.
Even as a child, her only escape is through the stories she writes. Only writing can dull the pain of her lonely world. And when her parents' marriage collapses, Gabriella is given her first reprieve, as her father disappears, and then her mother abandons her to a convent. There, Gabriella's battered body and soul begin to mend. Amid the quiet safety and hushed rituals of the nuns, Gabriella grows into womanhood in a safe, peaceful world. Then a young priest comes into her life.
Father Joe Connors never questioned his vocation until Gabriella entered the confessional and shared her soul. Confession leads to friendship. And friendship grows dangerously into love. Like Gabriella, Joe is haunted by the pain of his childhood, consumed by guilt over a family tragedy, for which he blames himself. With Gabriella, Joe takes the first steps toward healing. But their relationship leads to tragedy as Joe must choose between the priesthood and Gabriella, and life in the real world where he fears he does not belong, and cannot cope.
Exiled and disgraced, and nearly destroyed, Gabriella struggles to survive on her own in New York. There she seeks healing and escape through her writing again, this time as an adult, and her life as a writer begins. But just when she thinks she is beyond hurt, Gabriella is once again betrayed by someone she trusts. Brought to the edge of despair, physically attacked beyond recognition and belief, haunted by abuse in her present and her past, she nonetheless manages to find hope again, and the courage to face the past. On a pilgrimage destined to bring her face-to-face with those who sought to destroy her in her early life, she finds forgiveness, freedom from guilt, and healing from abuse. When Gabriella faces what was done to her, and why, she herself is free at last.
With profound insight, Danielle Steel has created a vivid portrait of an abused child's broken world, and the courage necessary to face it and free herself from the past. A work of daring and compassion, a tale of healing that will shock and touch and move you to your very soul, it exposes the terror of child abuse, and opens the doors on a subject that affects us all. The Long Road Home is more than riveting fiction. It is an inspiration to us all. A work of courage, hope, and love.
the room was filled with silence. The sound of the machines keeping him alive and monitoring him were the only sound between them. Gabbie stayed with him all that afternoon, and she was thinking about going home that night, but in the end she called the boardinghouse and talked to Steve, and told him she had decided to stay. He said he was having dinner with the guys he had played baseball with that afternoon. They’d had a great day, and his team had won. They were good guys and all worked at
father and she had loved him when she married him, for the past fifteen years, Olympia found it impossible to defend him. Prejudice was Chauncey’s middle name. There was absolutely nothing politically correct about him or Felicia, and Harry loathed him. They represented everything he detested, and he could never understand how Olympia had tolerated him for ten minutes, let alone seven years of marriage. People like Chauncey and Felicia, and the whole hierarchy of Newport society, and all it stood
and throwing ashtrays on the floor, she nearly drove her mother crazy. “My God… look at the mess that child makes … she’s constantly knocking things down and breaking things, and some part of her is always dirty…” “She’s just a baby, El…” he said gently, scooping Gabriella up into his arms and hugging her, and then blowing raspberries on her belly. “Stop that, that’s disgusting!” Eloise said sternly, looking at him in revulsion. Unlike John, Eloise hardly ever touched her. A nurse they had
between them. “I watched him go down the first time, and I didn’t know what to do… I tried to find a branch to hold out to him, but it was summer, and everything was green, and I couldn’t find anything long enough. I just stood there while he went down again and again, and then I ran for help as fast as I could… but when I got back…” He couldn’t go on and she wanted to take him in her arms and hold him, but she knew she couldn’t. “He drowned before we got back to him… There was nothing I could
had lost Joe’s baby. “I’m very sorry,” the doctor said solemnly. He did not know she was a postulant, but he assumed because of the convent where she lived that she was an unwed mother, and had been placed there by her parents. “There will be other children one day,” he said optimistically. But Gabriella knew better than he did, that there wouldn’t. She had never wanted children because she was too afraid that she would become a monster like her mother. She would never have risked it. But with