A Summary of "Echoes" by Danielle Steel

by Toby Welch

"Echoes" by Danielle Steel hit bookshelves on October 26, 2004. It was the bestselling novelist's 64th book. The novel is a historical love story detailing the lives of three generations of European women during World Wars I and II. The main story in "Echoes" is the tale of a Jewish woman with strict Orthodox parents who falls in love with a Catholic man.

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The Lovers Meet

"Echoes" begins with the meeting of the two main lovers. It's the summer of 1915 and Beata Wittgenstein is on vacation with her family by the ethereal waters of Lake Geneva in the heart of Switzerland. The affluent Wittgenstein family are German Jews and Beata's parents are Orthodox; they make it clear none of their children will marry someone not of their faith. Enter Antoine de Vallerand, a French nobleman with Catholic roots. Despite the fact that their religions dictate a future that would not allow them to be together, the two fall in love as the sounds of war rumble in the distance.

The Marriage

Even though Beata knows that a life with Antoine is impossible, her desire to be with the Catholic army officer from France is overwhelming. Beata and her family return to Germany after the Swiss holiday but Beata can't live being apart from the man she loves desperately. Beata reunites with Antoine in Switzerland where the two marry and begin a life together as Catholics living in France. They have two daughters, Amadea and Daphne, and the family survives World War I as the strength of their love supports and ties them close together.

Life in Germany

After the end of World War I, Beata, Antoine and their two daughters return to Germany to start a fresh life. Antoine takes a job managing stables while Beata devotes herself to raising their young daughters. But soon things take a turn for the worse. Antoine is thrown from a horse and fatally injured. Hitler's anti-Semitic message is travelling throughout Europe and the rise of Nazism is becoming a reality. Beata is terrified that despite their life as Catholics, Amadea and Daphne are not safe. She is almost crippled with fears that their Jewish ancestry will be discovered.

The Daughters Grow Up

As World War II becomes a reality and the Third Reich carries out its reign of terror, Beata lives in fear that her past will come back to hurt them all. Her daughters grow into young women and when Amadea turns 18, she joins a convent and takes her vows as a nun. But as Amadea finds her loved ones disappearing from her life due to Hitler's terror plot, she knows the convent doesn't guarantee her safety. She leaves her life as a nun and goes into hiding. Eventually she joins the French Resistance.

Amadea's Life

Once immersed in the French Resistance, Amadea finds purpose in her new life, often undertaking dangerous missions in deadly territory. When she is in the most dangerous positions, Amadea feels the strength of her mother and her grandmother in her soul. Amidst the backdrop of war, Amadea meets Rupert Montgomery, a British secret agent. The two fall in love and despite the battles raging around them, Montgomery helps Amadea realize and accept that her future is entrenched in her past.

References

About the Author

Toby Welch has been a full-time freelance writer since 2003. She has published in the "National Post," "Cottage," "Opulence," "Alberta Parent," "The Real Estate Magazine" and Living Safety," as well as many more articles online. Toby holds an accounting degree from the University of Calgary.

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