By Danielle Steel. Grade: B+
There is a certain level of consistency in the theme of almost all of Danielle Steel’s novels. You come across an affluent, merry family, and then all of a sudden, a crisis or a dark secret or an accident changes the lives of the people involved. They fight through the hurdles, overcome the obstacles and find solutions, marching ahead towards a happy conclusion.
Even the most perfect lives can be shattered in an instant. In this moving, emotionally charged novel, Danielle Steel introduces readers to an unforgettable cast of characters striving to overcome tragedy and discover the inner resources and resilience to win at life—once again.
Lily Thomas is an aspiring ski champion training for the Olympics, a young woman with her heart set on winning the gold. But in one moment, Lily’s future is changed forever, her hopes for the Olympics swept away in a tragic accident.
Dr. Jessie Matthews, the neurosurgeon who operates on her that night, endures a tragedy of her own, and instantly becomes the sole support of her four young children, while her own future hangs in the balance.
Bill, Lily’s father, has pinned all his hopes on his only daughter, his dreams now shattered.
Other lives will entwine themselves with theirs: Joe, a financial manager, faces a ruined career at the hand of a dishonest partner. Carole, a psychologist at Mass General, is a breast cancer survivor, her body and heart scarred by what she’s been through. Teddy, with a spinal cord injury worse than Lily’s, dreams of college and becoming an artist.
From the ashes of their lives, six people fight to alter the course of destiny and refuse to be defeated. When Bill builds a remarkable rehab facility for his daughter, countless lives are forever altered, and each becomes a winner.
Winners is about refusing to be beaten, no matter how insurmountable the challenge. And when Lily gets on skis again and enters the Paralympics, the battle to brave life again is won.
Winners is about more than surviving, it is about courage, victory, and triumph. When all appears to be lost, the battle has just begun.
In her new book ‘Winners’, we meet Lily Thomas, a bubbly energetic teenage girl who is undergoing ski training for the Olympics. Her preparation is in full swing, and she looks all set for the big stage when fate intervenes, and oh so cruelly. A freak accident changes her life, and threatens her dreams. A spinal injury, a real bad one, shatters her aspirations of participating in the Olympics.
This is where the power of love and faith comes to the fore. Lily’s father, Bill, finds it difficult to see his daughter in this condition. He travels to several countries, meets renowned doctors, but is met with the same response, the same thing that Dr. Jessie Matthews had told him – Lily can never walk again. However, when one door closes, another opens. With a fierce determination to challenge fate, Lily and Bill, with able support from others, set out on a journey of their own, reigniting passion and dream on the way.
What ‘Winners’ does is, it successfully leaves a smile on your face. On the verge of adversity, when everything seems lost, the protagonists do not lose hope. They try out various methods to get to the root of the problem, and focus on unearthing the solution. There is an aura of optimism, a sense of achievement and a feeling of satisfaction in their endeavours.
‘Winners’ have a bunch of positive characters who are influential as well as inspiring. The book isn’t just about Lily, but it also encompasses the stories of others associated with her – Bill, her dad, who having lost his wife, is deeply attached to his daughter; Jessie, the neurosurgeon operating on Lily, even though she herself met with a personal tragedy on the same night; Joe, Bills’s best friend, who wanted to end his life till the mission of building Lily Pad brings about a drastic change in his mindset; and Carole, who having recovered from a deadly illness, tries to avoid falling in love, but who can control the moods of the heart?
The narrative is beautiful, and the flow of events gradual, but not too slow. There is a subtle beauty in the expressions, the emotions that swim through the pages and the progression that each character makes throughout the journey. True, the plot turns out to be a tad predictable after the first few chapters, and you know how the story would eventually unfold. However, the simplistic styling and the optimism exuding in the pages makes you keep reading it. I would have preferred a few twists here and there, to make the story a lot more engaging, and having read previous works from this author, I had expected a bit more than what was presented.
Nevertheless, ‘Winners’ has that sweetness that you can savour from time to time, and it always feels good to read about victories that emerge from struggle. After all, life is all about fighting till the very end, to achieve our dreams and ambitions, isn’t it?