Barbara Taylor Bradford was born in Leeds, and was a reporter for the Yorkshire Evening Post at sixteen. By the age of twenty she had graduated to Fleet Street as both editor and columnist. In 1979 she wrote her first bestseller, A Woman of Substance. A Sudden Change of Heart is her fifteenth novel.
Another version of the indefatigable, headstrong heroine that's been Bradford's trademark since she first published A Woman of Substance 20 years ago appears here in a watered-down version as Laura Valiant, a New York art dealer who specializes in impressionist and post-impressionist works. Laura has what she thinks is a storybook marriage, and her closest childhood friend, Claire Benson, now publisher and editor-in-chief of a French interior design and art magazine, offers contrast as a bitter, divorced woman who dotes on her teenage daughter. Bradford's exploration of the relationship between the two women depicts a series of heartbreaks and scandals, most with more surface than substance. Claire's hidden past of childhood abuse, foreshadowed early in the book, makes the other characters appear obtuse for missing obvious clues. Meanwhile, Laura's "perfect" husband turns out to be bisexual, Claire's difficult ex-husband reappears in her daughter's life and Claire ends up confronting advanced breast cancer and battling for her life with Laura's loving support. The book tackles these all-too-familiar issues with a kind of stilted preachiness, and with often repetitive dialogue and a formulaic romance involving Laura and Claire's ex-husband. Contemporary headlines about Holocaust survivors demanding the return of Nazi-looted, privately owned works of art that surfaced in museums and private collections forms an important part of the plot, but Bradford's material on this controversial subject reads more like a newspaper article than an integrated theme. The saving grace in this, her 15th novel, is an echo of the memorable Emma Harte from Bradford's debut publication in Laura's grandmother, Megan Valiant, a strong-willed, charismatic woman who, with her colorful past and candid wisdom, will strike most readers as the real heroine of the saga. National author "High Tea" tour. (Feb.) FYI: This novel marks Bradford's return to Doubleday after several books with HarperCollins.
Praise for Barbara Taylor Bradford:
'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
`As romantic and thrilling as the rest' Independent on Sunday
`Another great yarn from the ultimate storyteller' The Sun
`The storyteller of substance.' The Times
Art dealer Laura finds herself investigating the family of a best friend's ex-husband, who may be implicated in the sale of artworks stolen by the Nazis.