Book Review: High Stakes by Danielle Steel

Book Review: High Stakes by Danielle Steel

Title: High Stakes

Author: Danielle Steel

Published: March 8th 2022

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Pages: 320

Genres:  Fiction, Contemporary

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 2.5 stars

High Stakes is the new compelling and thought-provoking novel from the world’s favourite storyteller. A group of successful women discover the high price of success at a prestigious New York literary agency.

Jane Addison is smart, young and ambitious delighted to have landed a job at a prestigious New York literary agency. Hailey West, her boss, is dedicated to her authors, but her home life is chaotic and challenging as a single mother following her husband’s tragic death. Francine Rivers, the stern and bitter head of department is also raising children on her own after an acrimonious divorce and has had to overcome financial hardship by paying the very highest price.

Meanwhile, Allie Moore seems to have it all. She relishes success and loves working with the talented actors she represents. Until a passionate relationship with one of her star clients threatens to derail her career. And Merriwether Jones, CFO for the agency, appears to have the perfect marriage until her husband’s jealousy over her career threatens her happiness.

Jane quickly realizes that there are damaging secrets behind the doors of the agency. She has the least power, but she is also the least willing to accept things as they are. And when she tries to put things right, the consequences will leave no one unscathed.

In this riveting novel, five women at the top of their game navigate the challenges of career and ambition, family and personal lives in a world where it’s necessary to fight for what is right.


High Stakes is a 2022 contemporary women’s fiction release from powerhouse author Danielle Steel. A story that charts the personal and professional lives of a group of career women, High Stakes is a topical modern fiction tale.

Based around the lives of a small group of women who all work at the same New York talent agency, High Stakes reminds us of the sacrifices that are made to achieve success in the professional world. We meet Jane, a young woman who has high aspirations in her new role at the talent agency Fletcher and Benson. Jane’s boss is Hailey, a woman devoted to her clients and staff, but her personal life has taken a few knocks as result of this high commitment. Another member of this employment circle is struggling to balance her life as a single mother and divorcee. Francine is now experiencing great difficultly in managing her finances. Allie Moore seems to have no problems in the work or home environment, but she soon puts her lucrative role at the agency in jeopardy when a relationship with a key client goes pear shaped. The final member of this talent agency set is Merriwether Jones, the essential CFO of the business. But problems in Merriweather’s marriage have reached crisis point, can this career woman achieve success and a sense of fulfilment? High Stakes closely follows a group of five high flying women as they try to rise above the challenges of work versus home life.

High Stakes was published in March 2022 by Pan Macmillan. I missed getting to this one when it was first released, but I’ve been making an effort to catch up on some easy reads that are well overdue for review now school holidays have commenced. High Stakes is a standard model Danielle Steel novel. It is about success, fortune, power, privilege and love.

There are a lot of characters in High Stakes and I have to confess that I struggled to distinguish who was who throughout. I think I needed a guide at the front of the book as I found that I was turning to the back cover synopsis to help me stay on track. Each of the five focus women in the tale have different roles in the talent agency featured in the novel. Each key cast member has their own personal struggles outside the workplace. This allows Steel to zone in on issues of parenting, motherhood, separation, divorce, finances, power, privilege, authority, ambition, passion and more. I actually think Steel covers too much ground here as these themes are huge in their own right, but they are simply brushed over with one base coat. Steel definitely needed a few more decent coats in regards to the coverage level of her keynote themes in High Stakes.

Steel incorporates a #MeToo movement thread in High Stakes, which is illuminated by a New York talent agency setting. I am thankful for the #MeToo inclusion in the novel as I think we need to continue to put these stories out there in the public eye. With Steel’s star power and weight in the print industry, I’m sure readers will take note of what this prolific writer has to say about this topical cause. However, I feel the mode of storytelling here lacks depth and a thorough investigation into the issues at hand. Steel’s approach is more about entertainment value and High Stakes came across to me as a quick fix style read.

A look at the ins and outs of a talent agency workforce with a specific focus on women’s issues, High Stakes is a hot topic read from bestselling author Danielle Steel.

High Stakes by Danielle Steel was published on 8th March 2022 by Pan Macmillan. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of  High Stakes, Danielle Steel, visit here.

*Thanks extended to Pan Macmillan for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.


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