Genre: contemporary romance
Cover: my book has the smaller cover, and I prefer that one.
The new blockbuster from one of the world's greatest storytellers delves into the life of Emma Harte - the original WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE – and the ambitious, passionate and volatile women of the generations that follow.
Evan Hughes, Emma's American great-granddaughter, is trying to integrate into the powerful Harte family. She is caught between her estranged parents, her new family, and new love. But a dangerous enemy hovers in the background.
Tessa Longden, Evan's cousin, is battling her husband for custody of their daughter, Adele. When Adele suddenly goes missing, Tessa is forced to seek help from her half-sister Linnet – a woman who has been her rival all their lives.
Linnet O'Neill, the most brilliant businesswoman of the four great-granddaughters, is desperately trying to show that she is the natural heir to her mother, Paula. But her glittering future at the helm of the vast Harte empire means many sacrifices, perhaps even the loss of her sister’s fragile trust.
India Standish, the traditionalist in the family, falls in love with a famous British artist from a working-class background. Madly in love, India is determined to marry him, no matter what her family thinks.
Evan, Tessa, Linette and India: four remarkable women. Three generations of Hartes. One indomitable family whose loyalty binds them together and whose enemies want to tear them apart.
Twenty years ago, I loved Barbara Taylor Bradford’s books. I devoured them. The strong women and the lives they build for themselves. And the saga of Emma Harte was my favourite. How she started out as poor as possible, working as a servant girl at 13, getting seduced and abandoned by the son of the house, and working her way up to become one of the major businesswomen in England.
And now I recently picked up this book second hand, and within a few paragraphs, I was totally back into the inner workings of this large and convoluted family, and I loved every page of it.
I so enjoyed catching up with all the family members, finding out how they are doing, what the evil grandson Jonathan is up to, and how they all work together in the various parts of Emma’s empire.
Evan is one of the main focuses, and it kept jarring me because for me, Evan is a man’s name. She is the (illegal) granddaughter of Emma’s son Robin, and Emma’s former secretary Glynnis. And now that her grandmother has died, she has sent her of to England, to meet the Harte family. As Evan was bored in her current job in America, she did as her grandmother requested of her. And there she met Gideon Harte, who works for the newspaper enterprise, and they fell madly in love with each other, on first sight.
Still, that romance is not really working for me. Gideon is too highhanded and Evan is a bit too timid and wanting too please. But I did love her interactions with Robin. And I did like how she found her own place in the Harte company, designing new floorplans for the shops, and even her cousin’s wedding dress.
And there is Tessa, who as the eldest granddaughter thinks she is entitled to be the new woman in charge when their mother Paula retires (and that won’t happen for a long time!). But her eyes are opened to what is really important to her when her almost ex-husband kidnappes their daughter. And when her twin brother takes her to Paris to recover from the ordeal, her life changes even further.
Linnet is a real strong woman, just like her great-grandmother Emma and her mother Paula. She is a cunning businesswoman, she has great instincts and she is the right one for the job. She quickly takes care of the abduction problem while their parents are in America, and she gets it solved and dealt with.
India is from the titled part of the family, and she has fallen in love with a highly successful British portrait painter, who seems to be a reverse snob, claiming her family would never approve of him. He doesn’t even want to meet them. Their relationship doesn’t seem to move forward either, and India wants more of him. But will she stay with a man who doesn’t want to commit, and keeps such huge secrets from her? It will take his crazy ex to open his eyes but will it be on time?
The evil Jonathan is really plotting something that will kill off his entire family, and will leave him the sole heir. I did not expect that from him! Although I know he is truly evil. I know he is behind Evan’s “accident” as he is Robin’s son and does not want to chance his father getting close to someone else. And the weak husband of Tessa is just the perfect tool for some mayhem in the family.
I will certainly pick up some more books in this series soon. I loved meeting all those family members again, I think it would make for a great soap opera on t.v.. Lots of romance, some love scenes, action and business, and never boring. Amazing characters whom I would love to meet and then be too shy to talk to.
© 2015 Reviews by Aurian