Continuing in the tradition of A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE, HOLD THE
DREAM and TO BE THE BEST, Barbara Taylor Bradford has woven yet
another enchanting episode in the continuing saga of the Harte
family with EMMA'S SECRET. Emma Harte may be gone from this world,
but her memory lives on in her legacy to future generations and the
many tributes they pay her.
Although previous volumes have been set in the past and rich in
history, the majority of EMMA'S SECRET takes place in present day
London and the beautiful English countryside of Yorkshire. Still,
Emma Harte is brought back to life as we retreat for a time to the
strife of WWII England for a return to her life and legacy.
In EMMA'S SECRET we also get a further glimpse into the life of
Emma's granddaughter, Paula O'Neill, and become better acquainted
with two of her great-grandchildren, sisters Tessa Fairley Longden
and Linnet O'Neill.
While Paula, Tessa and Linnet's place in the family are obvious, we
are introduced to a new character, an American named Evan Hughes.
When Evan --- who bears a strong family resemblance --- becomes an
employee of Harte's, Emma's renowned department store, rumors
abound that she is a long lost member of the Harte clan. We are
left wondering right up to the conclusion of the book; but what, if
any connection, does she have to the Hartes?
While the family relationships can be a bit confusing to keep track
of by the time one reaches the fourth generation of this fictional
family, the book does a wonderful job of reminding us of each
member's place in the family and their relationship to Emma Harte
and the other characters with a quick overview that fits nicely
into the text without breaking the pace of the story.
Of course the family has, as does any family, its share of conflict
and a few less than desirable members. However, the focus here is
on the love and strength that keeps families together and sees them
through the years from one generation to the next. It's nice to see
these values that are so often forgotten reflected in here.
Ms. Taylor Bradford also delights us, as always, with a multitude
of glowing descriptions of luxury in everything from flowers to
decor and antiques to haute couture clothing, and gives us a
glimpse into a world where we might not otherwise set foot. The
world of the Hartes is a rich and luxurious one.
While reading the 477 pages of this book will require an investment
of your time, it's time well spent, as you'll be transported into
another world of luxury and gentility and the intricate family
relationships of the Hartes.
It is no surprise that Barbara Taylor Bradford's books have sold
more than 70 million copies in over ninety countries and forty
different languages. Fans everywhere are sure to be thrilled when
they learn that the Harte family saga continues with UNEXPECTED
BLESSINGS, coming soon from St. Martin's Press.
Reviewed by Amie Taylor on January 21, 2011