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Vanished
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Despite some redundancies and dimensionless supporting characters, Steel's 31st novel is a potent blend of romance and intrigue. When Marielle Delauney marries New York steel magnate Malcolm Patterson in 1939, she does not tell him of her tragic past--neither the drowning accident that claimed her first child, nor the subsequent beating by her husband Charles that caused her to miscarry, nor the two years she spent recovering in a sanitorium. But what does the enigmatic Malcolm already know? When they have their own child, Teddy, Malcolm, to all appearances, is an adoring father. The still-vulnerable Marielle begins to gain self-confidence, even though she endures daily confrontations with a hostile and even sinister household staff. Then the day after Marielle has a chance meeting with Charles, who drunkenly makes vague threats against Teddy, the four-year-old is snatched from his room, the nanny and nurse chloroformed and gagged. The FBI is summoned, Marielle's past is exposed by a frenzied media and Charles is arrested. But where is Teddy? The author of Mixed Blessings keeps her secrets well, and--the annoying reprises of critical scenes aside--presents a strong portrait of a tormented young woman moving toward stability. 1,000,000 first printing; Literary Guild & Doubleday Book Club main selections; major ad/promo. (Aug.)

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