28/05/2003

A Woman of Substance (by Barbara Taylor Bradford)

I've only recently discovered Barbara Taylor Bradford, on the recommendation of a relative. I enjoyed the first two books I read by her, on the whole, so thought I would try what is probably her most famous book...

'Woman of Substance' is about Emma Harte. When the main part of the story starts, she is a penniless servant girl, who is full of ambition. She befriends Blackie, a travelling odd-job man, and is captivated by his talk of the city.

Nonetheless, she would not have run away from her job, had she not found herself unexpectedly pregnant at the age of sixteen.

Her rapid rise to riches and status, which takes up most of the book, seems a little far-fetched at times, but makes for a readable book, on the whole.

There is a prologue, and also an epilogue, where we see Emma in her seventies, evidently very wealthy and feeling betrayed by two of her sons.

I don't know why this book has been so very popular, although I suppose it's the classic rags-to-riches tale that inspires many dreams. I doubt if I'd want to read it again, but I will certainly now read the sequel, 'Hold the Dream'!

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