A Letter from Danielle for December ’20

Hi Everyone,

Wow!!! We made it through this year: that’s beginning to seem like something of a miracle. And if nothing else, 2020 has taught us that life is unpredictable, things can change in an instant, and who would have thought that the ENTIRE WORLD would come to a nearly dead stop for nine months. It really is unimaginable—if I had written that in a book a year ago, my publishers would have thought I was crazy and told me to go home and dream up something else. But here we are. And I know this hasn’t been easy, for anyone. For some people, it has been tragic, and for others upsetting, anxiety-causing, sometimes disappointing, and often frightening. On the one hand, the whole world is in this together, which unites us globally, and on the other hand, the opposite is also true, with most countries having their borders closed, and being isolated from people of other nations, and even neighboring countries. So we are together—but separate and apart. And Covid has been running our lives, shaking up our economies, and upsetting us all for almost a year now.

The Christmas holidays are enormously important to our family. We look forward to them all year, and nothing keeps us apart then, as we gather to celebrate together. What will that look like this year? No one knows. I have just been confined AGAIN, under strict lockdown in Paris for the last month—where I have been since February, when Covid was first identified as a pandemic. In my mind’s eye, I know exactly what the holidays will/would/should look like: Christmas trees in the house, the family gathered for dinner on Christmas eve, a carol-singing mass before that, hanging out together and exchanging gifts on Christmas Day. We won’t go to church this year, especially a carol mass with people singing, which could be risky. Will we have to wear masks to be together, when we’re not actually eating? Should we keep our distance from each other? Can we hug? Will our usual celebrations even be possible? Although I cherish all our traditions, I don’t care if we have to eat hot dogs, and talk across the dinner table, wear masks or whatever. I can’t wait to be with my family again. We all plan to have Covid tests before we see each other, and for those appropriate, we’ll quarantine if we have to. I have never been away from my family for more than 3 weeks—until now. It has been 9 months now, I cannot even imagine how that could happen and how we’ve gotten through it, but we have. Lots of phone calls every day, and FaceTime!!!

I was in lockdown confinement for nearly 3 months from March to May in France, which was incredibly hard and challenging. Now we’ve just had another month of it in November, to try and get the epidemic under control. Confinement teaches you a lot, about patience, being able to entertain yourself and developing your inner resources—and reading is a BIG part of that. We’ve all watched series, and reading is a fantastic escape when you’re trying to spend more time at home and cut down on social activities. It is really the perfect escape!!! It’s relaxing in these anxious times. There is nothing like a good book to entertain and comfort.

I have three new books for you now. I’ve done a lot of writing during the confinements. It makes the days fly by. I have a very, very special little book out, a book that has taken my whole life to put together, a book of quotations, by some famous people, and some ordinary ones. It’s called Expect a Miracle, which is certainly the right thought for now!!! It will make a wonderful Christmas gift: it’s bright shiny red, and the quotations will make you laugh, and give you hope, comfort you, and I really hope you love this book as much as I do. It is straight from my heart to yours. I hope you LOVE it!!! It came out at the end of October and would make a great holiday gift.

My new hardcover, All That Glitters, came out in mid-November, and if you haven’t read it yet, I hope you’ll love it. It’s about not chasing after what’s flashy in life and learning to appreciate what’s real. Another good thought for now. And my book Moral Compass will be out in paperback on December 1. It’s about what happens when events get out of hand when a group of high school seniors at a boarding school make some poor decisions, and the things that can happen when alcohol, youth, and poor judgment come together and can create a disaster—and how everyone is affected: the students, teachers, parents, police, press and even a judge. It’s about some of the hard lessons adolescents have to learn, and their parents and those around them.

So if you’re staying at home more, or in confinement, or just want to get away from all the worries related to the pandemic, grab a book for a happy escape—and I hope you read mine. I hope your holidays are beautiful despite the pandemic, and I hope you are able to be with those you love.

Happy Holidays, and love,

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