It was just days before Christmas, 1940. The war is raging in Europe when Kate Jamison makes her debut in New York City. In a room filled with the scions of East Coast society and the leading political figures of the day, it is Joe Allbright who catches Kate s eye. At twenty-nine, Joe is the brilliant protigi of Charles Lindbergh, and already a legend in flying circles for his record-breaking speed and state-of-the-art airplane designs. But on this glittering night, all Kate sees is a tall, strikingly handsome man who seems at once awkward and larger-than-life, like a shining star just out of reach. Joe, too, is caught off balance by his response to Kate, seeing in this beautiful young woman a much-needed friend, the lifelong soulmate he never expected to find. And as the months pass, they will meet again, forging a bond that will set the course of both their lives. ..Kate will go off to study at Radcliffe. Joe will skyrocket to fame in modern aviation. Joe s planes are his life, his passion. But irresistibly drawn to her, like a moth to a flame always, he comes back to Kate. Even after the long dark years of World War II, when Kate was sure she had finally lost him completely, Joe returns. Never willing to stay, always needing to fly. ..But now the war is over, and Kate is twenty-four. She wants marriage, a family. Joe wants the world, his limitless horizons, and the powerful aviation empire he is building. Unable to wait any longer, Kate begins to move on with her life. But when a chance encounter brings them together again, the time has finally come to make a choice, one that will have profound consequences for them both and for those around them. Kate knows that this is their last chance, their final chance. But she also knows that Joe needs freedom more than anything, freedom to stretch his wings and to soar. Kate will have to find a way to love this dazzling man, this lone eagle or she will have to set him free...Against a vivid backdrop of war and thrilling innovation, Danielle Steel breathes life into history, weaving an intensely human story that spans three decades. With rare insight and emotional power, she brings to life a tale of love and sacrifice, of holding on and letting go, of survival in the face of unthinkable loss. It is a novel of extraordinary grace and compassion from a master storyteller.Publishers WeeklyNobody ever said love was easy, but in Steel's latest romance, it's a perpetual uphill battle. From the moment beautiful, enormously poised 17-year-old Bostonian Kate Jamison meets handsome, much older Joe Allbright just before Pearl Harbor at a debutante party, she's desperately in love. Joe is smitten, too, but he is deeply committed to his career as a pilot he's already an ace, associated with Lindbergh. The two try to pretend they can just be friends, but passion flares between them on the eve of war. When Joe returns from Europe, after years in a German prison camp, everyone expects they will marry, but Joe cannot commit and Kate moves on. She goes to New York, marries a college friend and has a son; meanwhile, Joe establishes an airplane-building empire. Still, they can't forget each other, and when they meet up again, even social mores can't keep them apart. Their roller-coaster relationship takes many more dips and turns before Kate finally realizes what she must do to make it work: "let him come and go, and appreciate him." Her surrender may gall some readers, but she and Joe are engaging characters, and Steel's expert plotting keeps the novel moving at a good pace. (Apr.) Forecast: This eagle will sit in its aerie atop the bestseller list. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.