The Butler: A Novel - book cover
  • Publisher : Delacorte Press
  • Published : 05 Oct 2021
  • Pages : 272
  • ISBN-10 : 1984821520
  • ISBN-13 : 9781984821522
  • Language : English

The Butler: A Novel

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Two different worlds and two very different lives collide in Paris in this captivating novel by Danielle Steel.

Joachim von Hartmann was born and raised in Buenos Aires by his loving German mother, inseparable from his identical twin. When Joachim moves to Paris with his mother in his late teens, his twin stays behind and enters a dark world. Meanwhile, Joachim begins training to be a butler, fascinated by the precision and intense demands, and goes on to work in some of the grandest homes in England. His brother never reappears.

Olivia White has given ten years of her life to her magazine, which failed, taking all her dreams with it. A bequest from her mother allows her a year in Paris to reinvent herself. She needs help setting up a home in a charming Parisian apartment. It is then that her path and Joachim’s cross.

Joachim takes a job working for Olivia as a lark and enjoys the whimsy of a different life for a few weeks, which turn to months as the unlikely employer and employee learn they enjoy working side by side. At the same time, Joachim discovers the family history he never knew: a criminal grandfather who died in prison, the wealthy father who abandoned him, and the dangerous criminal his twin has become. While Olivia struggles to put her life back together, Joachim’s comes apart.

Stripped of their old roles, they strive to discover the truth about each other and themselves, first as employer and employee, then as friends. Their paths no longer sure, they are a man and woman who reach a place where the past doesn’t matter and only what they are living now is true.

Readers Top Reviews

I am usually more of a beach and romance reader but when I came across this new release from Danielle Steel I knew I had to try it. I was a huge fan of Downton Abbey and knew this would catch my interest. The characters were easy to get attached to and having a male give his own story was very touching. The story is modern day and set at the end of butlers and full staffs. You will not be sorry. You will cheer them on in hopes of finding love and peace.
Danielle Steel has done it again with The Butler. Joachim von Hartmann is a butler at an estate. He is also jobless now as his employers have passed away. Joachim has had a troubled home life. He is a twin and he is the good twin and his brother Javier is the evil twin. Olivia White has lost the magazine she gave ten years of her life babying her magazine. Her mother bequested she take a trip to Paris in order to reinvent herself. After finding a charming apartment she needs help setting it up. That is where Joachim comes into the picture. They work well together and become great friends. Will that be all they become? I loved every minute of The Butler and didn't want it to end.
Judith Doyel
How two very different people from very different backgrounds and places find each other. Tales of Nazi war criminals and art theft and innocent family members trapped in their comes and shame. The bastard daughter of an illicit literary affair turned French decorator. A good twin and an evil mirror twin. A drug lord and a butler. Such an odd mix, but such an interesting and compelling mix of characters both good and bad woven throughout this twisty tale kept me reading through this one.
Lynn B
This unlikely pair won me over! Danielle Steel can always be counted on to delve right into the heart of a character and with her signature ease of prose, she hooks her reader with the character's storyline early and unravels their life right before our eyes. I highly enjoyed Joachim and Olivia! Joachim is a gentle soul and very likable from the start. We learn the path he chose in life and watch him mature and settle into a career he loves only to have an upheaval come about that allows him to return to his homeland for the first time in multiple decades and reconnect with a past he previously only skimmed the surface of. Olivia is at a crossroad in life and showcases her fortitude quickly when she sets out on a solitary journey of enlightenment. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a women's fiction novel that brings two characters to a turning point in life and watches as they reevaluate and connect to prosper in something new.
Barbara L. Evans
Fantastic. Danielle Steel did it again. I was getting discouraged, but her last few books have renewed my faith in her as a writer. She is still one of my favorites. If you haven't read any of her books start with this one! If you want a good read, I highly recommend. Great details, characters and plot. Read from start to finish in one day! Could not walk away!

Short Excerpt Teaser

Chapter 1

The moment the plane touched down at Ministro Pistarini de Ezeiza airport in Buenos Aires, Joachim von Hartmann knew in every fiber of his being that he was home. It was almost as if his heart and soul, and even his body, knew it. He had left as a boy of seventeen, twenty-­five years before, when he'd moved to France with his mother and new French stepfather. Eight years later, he went to England on a lark, which turned into a worthy career for the past seventeen years. His roots were now firmly planted in Europe, but Joachim realized as he breathed the air of Buenos Aires that his heart had remained here. He had never fully cut the cord that bound him to Argentina. There was a magic to it that was still in his blood.

This was a long-­awaited pilgrimage to the place where he had been born. All his boyhood memories were here, and what he had been too young to remember, his mother had told him again and again as he grew up. He felt as though he had never left as he came off the plane, like an old childhood friendship, or a great love.

Both his name and his tall, thin, aristocratic looks, with blond hair and blue eyes, were familiar in Argentina. With the influx of Irish, English, and German immigrants over the years, Argentines with German and Anglo-­Saxon surnames and looks were not unusual. On his mother's side, all of Joachim's ancestors were German, originally from Bavaria and later from Berlin. His father, whom he never knew, had been from a distinguished banking family in Argentina. He had died when Joachim was less than a year old, and the rest of his father's family had died within a few years, so Joachim never knew them either. The mainstays of Joachim's life growing up had been his mother, Liese, and his identical twin brother, Javier. Joachim had a special relationship with his brother because they were twins. He felt at times as though they were two halves of the same person.

Joachim's German maternal grandfather, Gunther von Hartmann, had been widowed when his wife was killed in the Allied bombings of Germany. Like others who could still afford to leave, he hadn't wanted to stay in Germany and live through the disarray and reconstruction of the country. He was accustomed to a genteel world that no longer existed after the war. As soon as possible after the war, he had taken his five-­year-­old daughter, Liese, and what was left of his once-­vast family fortune, and moved to Buenos Aires, rather than be treated as a defeated enemy in Germany. He had enough left to live extremely well in Argentina, which wouldn't have been the case in Europe. Argentina was a country that welcomed the Germans who had chosen to settle there, as they had been doing for generations.

Joachim had never lived in Germany, and knew very little about it, or his mother's life there, except that she had experienced great wealth and luxury as a young girl, first in Germany and then in Argentina. But his mother had often told him about the beautiful house where she grew up with her father in Buenos Aires. It was filled with antiques, and the fine works of art her father had been able to bring with him. He had a passion for the beauty of art in all its forms and had passed it on to his daughter. She had told Joachim too of the pretty finca they had outside of the city, where they spent weekends, and the many servants her father employed. They had never gone back to Germany, even for a visit. They had no one left there. Gunther von Hartmann had only his daughter in the years after the war. He had nothing left in Germany, and he had forged a new life in Argentina. They spent their holidays in Uruguay, Colombia, Brazil, and other parts of Argentina. Gunther had no desire to see Germany or Europe again, and Liese no longer remembered it. He became an Argentine citizen, and Liese grew up feeling entirely Argentinian. Her father never remarried. She went to the best schools in Buenos Aires, and she eventually married Alejandro Canal, the son of one of the city's finest banking families. She lived in what seemed to her a perfect world, as she remembered it and described it to Joachim. Her only sorrow, once married, was their inability to have children. She and her husband, Alejandro, had been married for ten very happy, fairly glamorous years, and had given up hope of having children, when by some miracle she conceived and gave birth to Joachim and his identical twin brother, Javier. She was thirty-­nine when they were born. She told her sons that their birth was the happiest time of her life, but it all ended in tragedy a year later.

Her father, whom she adored, died suddenly at seventy-­three, four months after the twins were born. Her husband, Alejandro, was killed in a riding accident three months later, as she told her sons...