Key title The new blockbuster from one of the world's greatest storytellers continues where Unexpected Blessings left off, charting the varying fortunes of the great-granddaughter of Emma Harte - the original Woman of Substance - and the powerful Harte clan. Unexpected Blessings spent five weeks on the Sunday Times hardback bestseller list Emma's Secret went to number 4 in the Sunday Times paperback chart and has sold 250, 000 copies to date. Emma's Secret and Unexpected Blessings featuring Emma Harte - the original Woman of Substance - reinvigorated Barbara Taylor Bradford's sales and profile dramatically. The novels featuring Emma Harte - the original Woman of Substance - are the strongest selling. Barbara Taylor Bradford commands sales and star status in ninety countries and forty languages with over seventy million copies of her books in print. Competition: Danielle Steel
Barbara Taylor Bradford was born in Leeds, and by the age of twenty was an editor and columnist on Fleet Street. Her first novel, A Woman of Substance, became an enduring bestseller and was followed by nineteen others, most recently Unexpected Blessings. Her books have sold more than seventy million copies worldwide in more than ninety countries and forty languages, and ten mini-series and television movies have been made of her books. She lives in New York City with her husband, television produces Robert Bradford.
Can this be, as advertised, the final episode in the Harte family saga? A Woman of Substance (1979), the story of Emma Harte's triumph over poverty and illegitimacy to found England's greatest department store, and its four sequels were huge bestsellers. Now Emma's great-granddaughter, Linnet O'Neill, must defend the empire and family against evil uncle Jonathan Ainsley. But words such as "granddaughter" and "uncle" don't do justice to the complexities. It takes four and a half pages of front matter to enumerate the Harte, Kallinski and O'Neill clans whose intertwining lives drive the saga. Emma's descendants offer a helping hand to new in-laws-and the reader-by uttering sentences such as these: "Through his great-grandfather, Winston the First, Emma is Gideon's great-great-aunt. But she is also Gideon's great-grandmother, because Emma was my grandmother." Weddings and funerals keep the local caterer busy and offer crescendos of activity, if scant emotion. Although Ainsley's malevolence hovers behind the story and leads to near disasters, there's never a doubt that the strong women will triumph-though not without struggle. Series devotees will take heart at the ending, which hints that Ainsley's evil will survive his death and the struggles will continue offstage even if Bradford lays down her golden pen. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Praise for Barbara Taylor Bradford: 'The storyteller of substance.' The Times 'Queen of the genre.' Sunday Times 'Few novelists are as consummate as Barbara Taylor Bradford at keeping the reader turning the page. She is one of the world's best at spinning yarns.' Guardian
The final episode of the Harte family saga (which began with A Woman of Substance) focuses on the travails of four of Emma Harte's great-granddaughters. Newlywed Linnet wants to modernize and lead the family business. Divorcee Tessa also wants to be at the helm of the empire, but she has some personal issues to confront first. Evan prepares to marry and give birth but is put in danger after an unexpected confrontation. India also plans a wedding but has to adapt when her fianc?'s young daughter comes to live with them. Throw in some disgruntled people hellbent on wreaking havoc, and you have quite a soap opera! And thank goodness for the juicy storylines because this book suffers from astonishingly wooden dialog that bloats the otherwise readable text. Is this really the end? As always, Bradford kindly prefaces the book with genealogical information on the "Three Clans" (the Hartes, O'Neills, and Kallinskis), and summaries of past important events are woven throughout as necessary. But the number of characters to keep track of is staggering, and newbies may find it difficult to appreciate new developments while trying to make sense of old ones. Still, public libraries should stock up. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/05.]-Samantha Gust, Niagara Univ. Lib., NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.