Barbara Taylor Bradford was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, and by the age of twenty was an editor and columnist on Fleet Street. In 1979, her first novel, A Woman of Substance was published. That enduring bestseller was followed by fifteen others. Her novels have sold more than sixty-one million copies worldwide. She lives in New York City with her husband, producer Robert Bradford.
Though enjoyable, Bradford's latest novel lacks the sweep and grandeur that characterized her bestsellers, A Woman of Substance and Hold the Dream. Left to the indifferent care of an aunt after the death of her mother, well-bred Audra Kenton is sent to work at Yorkshire's Fever Hospital, where she trains as a nurse before taking a post in the home of an affluent suffragette. Though she captures the heart of a handsome bounder, Audra's independent spirit is not much appreciated by her working-class husband, and the two clash fiercely over her encouragement of their daughter's artistic genius. Audra's ceaseless efforts backfire, though, when Christina tries to repay the debt by choosing a lucrative career in fashion. With its trademark painted silk garments, the House of Christina is an instant success. But handing the flourishing business on to her only daughter proves harder than Christina expected, since Kyle, in her turn, rejects the world her mother has carved out to seek her own path as an artist. While written in a comparatively minor key, this is a light, pleasing tale of three generations, marked by ironic twists of fate and finely etched period detail. (June 20pSLAVES OF NEW YORK Tama Janowitz. Crown, $15.95
'Pure gold - a runaway bestseller.' Cosmopolitan
In another well-written novel Bradford deals with the often-troubled lives of three generations of strong-willed women. Artistically talented orphan Audra Kenton leaves nursing to serve as nanny to precocious Theo Bell. Soon she meets and weds handsome Vincent Crowther, and they begin a long but unstable life together. Obsessively determined to give her daughter the best art education possible, Audra toils long and hard only to see Christina forsake painting for haute couture as a way to repay her mother's untiring sacrifice. At length Christina must allow her own headstrong daughter, Kyle, to determine the direction her own life will follow. Taylor fans will be well satisfied, though they may wish that young Kyle had been allowed a fuller introduction. Literary Guild dual main selection. Judith A. Gifford, Salve Regina Coll. Lib., Newport, R.I.