Steel, Danielle: Mirror Image
(researched by Lauren Woodrell)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description

1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)

Danielle Steel. Mirror Image. New York. Delacorte Press, 1998. Copyright 1998 Danielle Steel. Published simultaneously in Canada. Sources: First edition of the Book

2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?

The first edition is published in trade cloth binding with a glossy dust jacket. The first paperback edition appeared in November, 1999 (Dell Publishing, New York). Source: first edition (1998) and first paperback edition (1999)

3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available

4 Pagination

226 leaves, pp. [6] 1-25 [26] 27-67 [68] 69-89 [90] 91-97 [98] 99-113 [114] 115-141 [142] 143-156 157-165 [166] 167-193 [194] 195-205 [206] 207-223 [224] 225-257 [258] 259-266 267-285 [286] 287-293 [294] 295-297 [298] 299-305 [306] 307-345 [346] 347-361 [362] 363-367 [368] 369-373 [374] 375-413 [414] 415-426 Source: inspection of 1st edition.


5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?

There are no editors or introduction of the book. The dedication reads: “To the people we love, | The dreams we dream, | The people we become | in loving hands, if we dare. | To courage, to wisdom, | the pursuit of dreams, | and those help us cross the bridge, | beyond our fears, from hope to love. | To great loves lost, | and small ones mourned, | and good time won, | albeit so hard earned. | To my daughters, Beatrix, Samantha, Victoria,  | Vanessa, and Zara, may your dreams | be fulfilled swiftly and easily, and your choices wise. | To my sons: Maxx, may you be blessed | and brave, and wise, and kind, and always loved, | And nick, who was brave and giving, | and so very, very loved. | May all your dreams come true one day, | and with luck, someday mine. | May you all be greatly loved by those you love. | I love you with all my heart. | Mom. Also, behind the first title page, there are the forty-five novels previously authored by Danielle Steel.

6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?

This book has no illustrations.

7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available

8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)

The dimensions of the book are 6.125 in by 9.438. The book is extremely readable with large font (93R), slightly less than one inch margins, and appealing spacing between the lines of text. Layout is simple: Author or title | Chapter (on chapter pages) | text  | page number.

There is a dent on the top of the spine.

9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available

10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)

The book is made of woven, cream colored paper. The edges of the pages are ragged and give the book an older look. The first and last pages are thicker, tan pages that are glued to the both the front and back cover.

11 Description of binding(s)

The dust jacket is simplistic. The author’s name runs across the top in a gold strip with bold, black font. Under the Steel’s name, the jacket is black with a gold chalice in the middle and the title on the bottom, both in gold. The spine has the authors initials, DS, (vertical) in black on the continuation of the gold background from the front, the Steel’s name and title is horizontally printed, and the Delacorte Press logo is on the bottom. The back cover, there is a picture of the Steel with her name directly below the image and the barcode following the name. on the inside flaps, a synopsis runs from the front to back and, after the conclusion of the synopsis, a small biography of the Danielle Steel follows. There is small tear on the bottom of the jack.

The front and back covers are black cloth. The front cover has Danielle Steel’s signature embedded in gold. The spine is the same of as the dust cover.

12 Transcription of title page

First title page:

RECTO: Mirror Image


Second title page:

RECTO: Danielle Steel | Mirror image | Delacorte {publisher’s crest} Press

VERSO: Published by | Delacorte Press | Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, INC. | 1540 Broadway | New York, New York 10036 | This novel is a work of fiction. Names characters, places, and | incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are | used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, | events, or locals is entirely coincidental. | Copyright © 1998 Danielle Steel | All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or | transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, | including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and | retrieval system, without any written information by the Publishers, | except when permitted by law. | The trademark Delacorte Press ® is registered in the U.s Patent and | Trademark Office. | The jacket format and design of this book are protected trade dresses | and trademarks of Dell Publishing, a publishing of Bantam Doubleday | Dell Publishing Group, Inc. | Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data | Steel, Danielle. | Mirror image / by Danielle Steel. | p. cm. | ISBN 0-385-31509-0. — ISBN 0-385-33331-5 (large print) | ISBN 0-385-33343-9 (limited edition) | I. Title. | PSC3569.T33828M57 1998 | 813’ .54—dc21 98-16828 | CIP | Manufactured in the United States of America | Published simultaneously in Canada | December 1998 | 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 | BVG

13 JPEG image of title page, if available

14 Manuscript Holdings

Via e-mail with Danielle Steel: “The manuscripts are in a safe place, though I prefer not to give an exact location.”

15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)

Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History

1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A

In 1998, Delacorte Press published a large print version. (via Worldcat)

2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available

3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available

4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?

Unable to find.

5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A

 Transworld Publishers Ltd, 1999. Dell, 1999. (source: Worldcat)

6 Last date in print?

Mirror Image is still in print. (Source: Amazon)

7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)

Mirror Image sold 1,187,877 copies. The sales figures were submitted to PW in confidence, for use in placing titles on the lists. Numbers shown are rounded down to the nearest 25,000 to indicate relationship to sales figures of other titles. (Source: Bowker’s Annual)

8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)

Unable to find.

9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)

Unable to find.

10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available

11 Other promotion


12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A


13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A

Italian: Milano, 2000. German: Berlin Ullstein, 2008. French: France Loisirs, 2000. Russian: Издательство АСТ, 2015. Vietnamese: Hà Nội, 2007. Croatian: Otokar Keršovani, 2002. Indonesian: Gramedia, 2001. Hebrew: Shalgi, 1999. Coratian: Narodna knjiga Alfa, 2003. Korean: K'ŭn Namu, 2008. Spanish: Planeta DeAgostini, 2006. Polish: Amber, 2010. Portuguese: Record, 2009. Korean: 큰나무, no date listed. Hungarian: Mæcenas, 2002. Finish: WSOY, 2003. Telugu: Sahiti Prachuranalu, 2013. Turkish: Epsilon, 1999. Romanian: Editura Lider, 1998.

14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A


15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A


Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author

1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)

Danielle Steel is a name that continuously is on the bestsellers list and even at the age of seventy, still appears. Generations of women have read her books and continue to read them to this day. In total, as of 2018, Steel has written a grand sum of one-hundred-thirty-seven books. She has written seventeen children’s books, one book of poems, three non-fiction books, and a staggering one-hundred-sixteen novels (Book Series in Order). Of her stand-alone novels, Mirror Image, published in 1998, was her forty-fifth novel released and one of the four books Steel released that year. Along with Mirror Image, Steel published The Long Road Home and the Klone and I over the course of 1998. More importantly though, Steel released in 1998 what she believes to be her most meaningful book, a nonfiction book about her late son Nick, titled His Bright Light. During an interview, Steel is quoted saying, “the most personally meaningful is the one I wrote about my son Nick, His Bright Light, who died at 19. He was bipolar all his life and committed suicide. I wrote the book to honor him, and help parents of similar children” (NY Times). In 1998, after completing Mirror ImageMirror Image was Steel’s personal top-choice book: “The favorite [book] I’ve written is always the one I’m currently writing or just finished” (NY Times). However, her now most admired book would be her most recent release, Country.

Danielle Steel is a woman who shies away from the limelight despite her fame: “Given her status as a published wunderkind, Danielle has somehow managed to remain a shadow to her work, rarely stepping out to reveal herself” (Bane and Benet 2). Through analysis of her four marriages and the family she mothered, there appears to be minimal connections between Mirror Image and her own life. There is a connection to Steel’s life as she spent a significant amount of her education at Parson’s School of Design in France,   consequently, it could be argued that her choice of a setting in France was inspired by her education years though it is more plausible that she chose France for the historical accuracy of the true setting of World War I.  However, the character of Olivia, a woman who is domestic in every sense of the word and has no qualms with being so, does slightly resemble Steel herself: “The image she prefers is that of a wife and mother whose days revolve around her husband, her children, and then her writing” (Bane and Benet, 2) Like Olivia, Steel’s life revolves around her family and being the woman they need her to be and then her writing comes second.

Assignment 4: Reception History

1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

Mirror Image came as Danielle Steel’s 45th book to hit the shelf. Continuously making appearances on bestseller list, as of 1998 when Mirror Image was published, Steel was already a well-known name. In 1992, six years prior to the Mirror Image release, a NY Times article by Esther Fein said, “the commercial fiction field is crowded with writers trying to mimic for themselves the success of Ms. Steel, one of the most popular, prolific and rich authors of women's novels, whose annual books consistently hit the top of the best-seller lists.” Steel is often critiqued being formulaic, predictable, and too telling (as opposed to simply showing the readers), however her success has never been hindered as a result.

Mirror Image is about twins who cannot be told apart and end up switching places, meaning one pretends to be married to the other’s husband, and they get away with it. While this may seem like simply another twin prank, Steel adds a racy element to the swap— the new wife gets pregnant. A Publisher Weekly review notes this unbelievable swap: “Steel stretches credibility as the marriage heats up (Charles didn't notice that his wife was virginal again?), the reader is too busy being moved by the powerful events to quibble.” However, a review on Kirkus states “if you can't guess what happens next you haven't been alive for a very long time. ClichÆ’ follows ever bolder clichÆ’ as the Steel style grinds out its mellow surprises for the blissfully half-asleep.” Despite being riddled with real life themes such as childbirth and war, the questionable believability of some plot twists make it seem as though only the readers who are not paying much attention will approve.

Despite Steel’s establishment on bestseller lists, Steel broke her typical formula of happy endings with a sad one in its place— and critics were quick to notice. A review on Booklist by Kathleen Hughes writes, “a tad more serious than her usual stories, this one doesn’t provide the typical happy ending, but readers, particularly Steel’s legions of fans, will not be disappointed, and libraries will probably need several copies.” A scathing Guardian article even notes the ending with, “What did you think this was - a bloody fairy-tale?”

Steel’s constant writing, editing, and publishing has kept her name a staple on bestseller lists: “Once an author in [Steel’s] genre reaches the top five spots on the best-seller lists, future success is practically guaranteed as long as the writer produces books consistently enough to keep his or her name in the readers' minds” (NY Times). With Mirror Image being only Steel’s 45th novel of her 116, she has kept her name in the minds of her readers despite critic’s being far from pleased.

2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

To this day, Danielle Steel remains one of the most well-known authors to consistently appear on bestseller lists. With 116 books to her name, she turns out four to six books a year all centering around the same Steel-esque themes: “woman falls in love, is hurt, some sort of tragic life event occurs, falls in love again (sometimes with the same guy), emerges happier and stronger than before, and then they all live happily ever after while having tons of sex, money, and good looks” (bookishlyboisters). Despite being continuously critiqued as formulaic, as of 2013, Steel’s “stories of drama, romance and betrayal in the lives of the rich have retained their grip on the hearts of the UK's readers over an astonishing period of 30 years, with the American author revealed today as the only writer to appear in every annual most-borrowed books chart since records began” (Guardian). Steels extensive list of books and similar plotlines has allowed for subsequent critiques of the book Mirror Image to fall to the wayside and be replaced by new critiques of her newer books. With the many books to Steel’s name, Mirror Image falls into the pool of her many books without any real ability to distinguish itself from the others. In an article that sums up all of Steel’s books, up to 2016, in a twitter size review of 140 characters, Mirror Image is summed up as, “a novel based on the famous optical illusion Rubin's Vase—is it a piece of objet d'art or two hot chicks (who happen to be sisters) making out?” (litreactor). By equating calling the novel “objet d'art,” meaning a collector’s item, the critique argues that Steel’s body of work is a collection of work versus a stand out piece of literature. However, despite the common assessment that Steel distorts reality and gives her readers a warped version of how true life is outside of her books (bookishlyboisters), as well as her formulaic ways, Steel is an author whose success is worthy of admiration. An article that gives prospective successful authors ways to attempt to immolate Steel’s success says, “[Steel] may have written all those mushy-mushy romance novels, but she has written them well. This is why she is where she is. Even if you cannot become the new Danielle Steel, aim to achieve part of what she has achieved and you should be proud of your work” (writingtipoasis). Steel’s success is unlike most author’s on the bestseller lists. She is a repeat name and with so many novels to her name and has managed to keep her name in the hearts of fans and critics alike.

Assignment 5: Critical Analysis

1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)

When I was younger I would stay, for only a few short weeks, with my grandparents in a small Texas town and from those times I have many memories: snow cones on a warm Sunday night, feeding the ducks at the local park, and playing with their many dogs. While I have many memories that will live on in my heart for the rest of my life, I have many memories, though oddly specific and so commonplace that they are almost a routine activity, was when my Nana would say, “I am going to go take a bath and read” She would then walk into her room and choose between a devotional or a novel. More often than not, that novel she would pick up would be a simple paperback with a lot of gold on the cover and “DS” on the spine; I knew Danielle Steel’s name before I knew what romance was. Though I would not read a Danielle Steel book until I was in high school, I always knew that my Great Grandmother, Nana, and Mom all read and loved Ms. Steel’s novels. Her books were a household decoration. Their spines were worn and bath water stains were fixtures upon the pages showing that each book, all first edition paperbacks, had lived just as much as the characters within the covers. Through four generations, my family and I are not the only ones to flip through Steel’s many works. With over a hundred books in print, Steel has been a reappearing name on bestseller lists. Despite her critics, her fans remain loyal, and the simple themes of domestication, love, hope, and a modern woman making her own choices, keeps her books on those lists—the very formulaic ways that she is criticized for, are what fuels her name on the bestseller lists. Steel’s book Mirror Image is a story that, even with its twists, gives her readers yet another body of work that stays true to the “Steel style” and is laced with same reoccurring themes of her previous books that will continue to keep her name on bestseller lists and her fans yearning for more works.

Danielle Steel is one of the “long-standing mega-authors” who’s name consistently appear on the bestseller lists (Archer & Jockers 8). As of 2018, out of her one-hundred-sixteen adult novels, Mirror Image was the forty-fifth novel that she released, meaning that, not only did she have forty-four novels before Mirror Image, she has released seventy-one novels since. With so many novels on bookshelves across the world and three to five books written per year (Mirror Image was one of four books written in 1998), it is no surprise that critics have come to call Steel’s romance novels formulaic and extremely similar to one another resulting in her books bleeding into one another. As a result, her negative critics find her books predictable, unrealistic, and repetitive. However, these negative critics are missing the fact that the major success of Danielle Steel is a direct consequence of that which they detest. In fact, Steel steers clear of her critics: “‘My feelings get very hurt when people say mean things about me. The trouble I find is that [critics] don't just criticize the book — they then get nasty personally. And so I stopped reading them’” (Today). Without listening to her critics, and despite the many who line up to throw distain toward Steel’s success, “ [Steel] is critic-proof, a Teflon one-woman publishing phenomenon. Steel is a leader of a genre that generated $1.37 billion in book sales in 2006, outselling every market category except religion/inspirational, according to the Romance Writers of America” (Today). Mirror Image is one of those many books that contribute to Steel’s success.

Danielle Steel’s Mirror Image is one of her many historical novels and is based during the World War I era. The book centers around two women, twenty–one years of age, who are identical twin sisters— barely to be told apart. Olivia is the picture perfect, early twentieth century, domestic woman while Victoria is free-spirited and only grounded by the cause of women’s suffrage. When Victoria gets caught up in a scandal that threatens to shame the Henderson family name as well as her ownname (getting pregnant by a married man), both girls’ lives are turned upside down. As one twin winds up in the French trenches of war (later dies) and the other is thrust into a marriage (falling madly in love), Danielle Steel provides another one of her signature tear jerking novels weaving heartbreak, twists, birthing, war, and death into a novel only Steel could imagine up.

Despite the fact that Mirror Image is “a tad more serious than her usual stories” and “doesn’t provide the typical happy ending,” (Kirkus) the book still falls right into that same formula Steel uses to write her other books: girl falls in love, domesticated life is discussed, something bad happens that threatens to break them apart, the two lovers end up together and money is never a problem. However, her formulaic ways and repetitive themes still keep her massive amounts of fans continually coming back for more. Steel is “known for [her] signature topic, and fans expect her to deliver it” (Archer & Jockers 60). In fact, one third of Steel’s books, according to The Bestseller Code, is the theme of domesticated life and the remaining two thirds of her books is where Steel exercises her ability to make each book different from the previous and the subsequent. In the case of Mirror Image, twin Olivia is a perfectly domesticated, early twentieth-century woman who keeps a pristine house and takes care of her family. After a trip to New York City, “Olivia had been relieved to return to her books, their home, her horses, her peaceful walks high on the cliff… she loved taking care of her father’s house for him and had since she was a very young girl” (Steel 5). She goes on to get married, though under a false identity (her sister’s), and becomes the perfect mother. Olivia embodies that one-third of a Steel book that deals with home life. Twin Victoria, however, is a modern woman who craves adventure, woman suffrage, and freedom. After the same trip to New York City, Vitoria finds herself restless: “Victoria had been chaffing at life ever since [their return], and all she ever seemed to talk about anymore was how incredibly boring life was on the Hudson. She wondered how any of them could stand it” (Steel 21). Victoria ends up dead by the end of the novel fulfilling those dreams of adventures. Victoria embodies half of the two-thirds that does not deal with domesticated life and the rest of that two thirds comes with Steels other plotlines of childbirth and war. With the added theme of childbirth and war and a main character so set on not being a model domesticated wife, Steel proves that “there must be a dominant topic to give glue to a novel, and that topics in the next highest proportion should suggest a direct conflict that might be quite threatening” (Archer& Jocker 62).

Furthermore, critics have also claimed that Steel’s novels are unrealistic. Christine, author of the blog “Bookishly Boisterous,” writes, “frequent flowers and weekends in France are rare, ladies, and seldom last past the first few months…Also, be careful if you are involved and for some reason choose to read one- your expectations… should not skyrocket just because you read about Preston renting out the penthouse suite and covering it in rose petals just ‘because it was Tuesday.’” Despite such cynical criticism, Steel’s books remain rooted in realism and Mirror Image is no exception. Mirror Image tells the story of two sisters who love each other with all their hearts. The characters get married and have children. There is conflict between child and parent and there is a yearning for adventure. The back drop or war and the plotline ending in death are also not so far out of the realm out of reality. While minute plot holes may be unrealistic, in Mirror Image it is when Charles does not realize that his wife is virginal again, the core of the book, and Steels larger body of other novels, is very real.

Additionally, Steel also teaches us that bestsellers, must be topical: “To sell a million copies, a book’s topical profile must have the potential to appeal to a mainstream audience” (Archer & Jockers 64). For Steel, her reoccurring use of modern women trying to navigate a modern world is where she keeps her books topical. In the case of Mirror Image, even though the book is set during World War I, remains topical even today. The character of Victoria embodies that of a modern woman who is dying to break free of what the women before her did: take care of home and family. She yearns to be part of the movement that proves women worthy of a life outside of the home and to have adventures of her own. The character of Olivia, is the picture perfect stay at home woman who is not demonized for believing that the home is her place. Steel writes, “[Olivia] kept an eye on everything, and she loved doing it, unlike Victoria, who detested all things domestic. Victoria was in every possible way, different from her sister” (5). As a result, these twins show the classic feminist view that women can choose who they wish to be without either female being cast in a bad light.

Finally, Steel offers one more reason why her name continues to appear on Bestseller list and her fans continue to reach for her books at the stores: Steel offers hope. In fact, Steel herself has even said that after continuously writing, she has found a reoccurring theme that is not love, but is hope: “‘I think the one recurring theme that I didn't used to be aware of is that I try to give people hope,’ she says. ‘I think that's so important. Love is wonderful, but hope is more important. Without hope you can't live’” (Today). In Mirror Image, after Victoria passes, Olivia must learn how to go on without her “mirror image.” The ending reads “It was going to be a different world for Olivia without her, and she knew that she would always feel part of her missing, but at the same time she knew she would always be there, in her head, and heart, and soul, and she could not forget her.” In this quote, readers find that despite absolute heartbreak, given in a way that only Steel could produce, hope still exists for a better future. That despite the loss of Victoria, her free spirit will truly never leave and will persist in the lives of those she loved, especially Olivia’s.

Mirror Image is a book that fits into Steel’s long list of bestsellers just like all her other works. They fit into a specific formula that allows readers to know that they will be getting a book that has a theme of domestic life, yet, they know they will get so much more. It could be war, abortion, divorce, infidelity, or any other realistic theme. Steel’s reader’s know that they will get romance and hope as well as shedding a few tears. As a result of Steel continuously following the same formula, Steel has continued to have her books appear on bestseller lists, thus, showing that repeat bestsellers do not rely on constantly varied plots, themes, and settings. Instead, repeat bestselling authors, give their readers the same predictable backbones as their previous works. And since Danielle Steel has said, “‘I'm driven from inside. A story will come to mind and it has to come out, like a frog with a bubble,’ she says. ‘I want to work forever. And try to get better forever’” (Today), her readers can rest assured that her future works will embody a domesticated life, love, hope, and the modern woman. The only question that remains is, “how many more generations of women will crave Danielle Steel’s novels?”

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