Worthy Opponents by Danielle Steel #NetGalley #ArcReview #March2023Books

Spencer Brooke always knew she was destined to be CEO of her grandfather’s business—the most respected and luxurious department store in New York City. Brooke’s has been at the center of every happy memory she has, but it hasn’t been an easy journey. Seven years after her father’s death, her life is very different from the days when she walked through the store with her grandfather as a young girl. She may be the owner of Brooke’s, but she’s also now a divorced single mother of twin boys. And with the ever-evolving landscape of the fashion industry comes new challenges for Spencer and the legacy she’s inherited.

Mike Weston is known for making enormous profits by transforming small businesses into bigger, more successful ones. With his marriage at a breaking point and his children grown up, investing is where he thrives—where he can build something greater. And Brooke’s feels like the perfect opportunity. Yet the firm’s beautiful and savvy CEO turns down the offer before they even meet.

Spencer has no interest in outside investors meddling in her family business; her grandfather never saw the need for them, and neither does she. She refuses to be tempted by Mike’s offer, despite her big dreams of expanding the store. But when bad luck strikes, suddenly she is backed into a corner.

Worthy Opponents (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) (Audible.com)

Once in a while I request a book from NetGalley from the prolific Danielle Steel. Why? I enjoy her books occasionally as a break from heavier reading like nonfiction or thrillers. And I enjoy reading about how the other 1% live, with their money and mansions and successful careers, yet they have every-day problems, too, most often in the personal department.

The first two chapters are very long, as the first focuses on Spencer, the woman, and the second focuses on Mike, the man, and all their backstory is dumped into those chapters.

Spencer is a highly successful woman whose parents expected and wanted a boy so much that they didn’t bother coming up with a girl’s name when she was born. Her parents didn’t really care about her because of her sex, but her grandparents, and especially her grandfather, nurtured her and taught her everything she needed to know about running the family’s high-end department store. When her grandfather dies, her father takes over, who never loved the store the way Spencer does, and makes several disastrous decisions in his four-year tenure before he, too, dies. Now Spencer has control of the department store.

She marries, has twins, and her husband expects her to sell the store, which was not the tune he told her when they were dating. Before the twins are even a year old, they are divorced, and the next 6 years, Spencer runs Brooke’s Department Store well. But a series of incidents leads Spencer strapped for cash for the store, and the fact that the store is in a seedy area of town, surrounded by homeless people, leads her CFO to suggest that they consider investors.

That’s where Mike Weston comes in. He’s a businessman who is known for taking businesses and making them bigger by investing money in them and eventually taking them over. That’s not something Spencer wants; she wants to preserve the store and its legacy for her twin sons. However, Weston is the only person interested in the specialty store. She refuses to meet him but accepts an invitation to a dinner at the Met, where it turns out Mike was the one who sent the tickets. He promises not to talk business and the two have an amiable chat, until Spencer is called away because the store is on fire.

This book is a romance, but there’s hardly any romance in it. It’s the ultimate slow burn, with each person living their lives separately. Spencer still refuses Mike’s help, even when she finds out she’ll have to close the store for a few months to make repairs from the smoke and water damage.

You know that someway somehow Mike will either cave with his demands in the negotiations or figure out another way to help Spencer without having her cede control of the family business. Let’s just say it’s a good thing his parents are still working and have experience with online selling of goods and real estate. It’s all a little too tidy, but that’s to be expected with a Danielle Steel novel.

I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy from NetGalley and Delacorte Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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