The Dark Side is a tale of psychological suspense by Danielle Steel. Steel is the author of many bestsellers but this novel is different from her standard fare.
Zoe Morgan has a difficult childhood because her younger sister, Rose, is diagnosed with leukemia and dies when Zoe is ten years old. Zoe’s mother spends all her time with the seriously ill Rose and then retreats into deep despondency after Rose’s death, leaving Zoe very isolated. Zoe’s father remarries and has two more children but isn’t involved in Zoe’s life. Zoe eventually attends medical school but withdraws to work at a nonprofit for abused children.
Austin Roberts is a well-known child advocacy attorney who takes pro bono cases for children and is member of the board of the nonprofit. Austin comes from a completely different family background. He’s from a close family and enjoys spending time with them. He loves his brothers, and their wives and children.
Zoe and Austin marry and conceive their daughter, Jaime, through in vitro fertilization. They’re both over the moon happy, but Zoe has some unusual parenting ideas. She’s totally against schedules for babies and insists she will nurse on demand for at least the first year. Also, she believes that children should be given the freedom to make choices about things that may be harmful to them. Austin is taken aback, but he’s a first-time parent as well so he goes along with Zoe’s plan.
From the beginning parenthood proves difficult. Zoe has problems breastfeeding. They overcome that issue but it’s only the beginning of a litany of issues for little Jaime. Austin’s mother comes to him with her concerns, and he is no longer able to ignore his own suspicions. He’s now faced with possibly one of the most difficult things a parent ever has to do. He’s looking directly into the dark side.
Though this novel has a different tone than the average Danielle Steel novel, it is still just as well-written. The actual subject matter is well camouflaged until the author is ready to reveal it. I was fully captivated. The characters are relatable and believable, but not all likable. I rate The Dark Side 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to all readers who enjoy fiction with a bit of suspense.
My thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book. However, the opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine and mine alone.
Publication Date: August 27, 2019