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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emma Harte - A welcome return
A brilliant written book which was an absolutely fantastic read, a book I could not put down and I totally recommend it 100%. The book starts with the story of Emma's great grandchilden and each of them have some Emma's characteristics in them and who are continuing Emma's dream to hold on to the Harte dynasty . Linnet and India (great-grandchildren) find Emma's wartime...
Published on 11 July 2003

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Please keep it secret...
After seeing the other reviews, I embarked on this book with a certain amount of trepidation, having read the previous three in the saga some years ago, and sadly I felt it lived right down to my expectations. It felt over-written, under-edited, and thereby could have been fitted on to half the amount of pages. Excess stressing of the beauty of the characters (well, I...
Published on 7 July 2004


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Please keep it secret..., 7 July 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Emma's Secret (Paperback)
After seeing the other reviews, I embarked on this book with a certain amount of trepidation, having read the previous three in the saga some years ago, and sadly I felt it lived right down to my expectations. It felt over-written, under-edited, and thereby could have been fitted on to half the amount of pages. Excess stressing of the beauty of the characters (well, I know we expect them to all be lovely, but is it necessary to have everyone they meet mentally admiring their perfections?) combined with a rather unlikely scenario of the busy Emma finding time to visit the Houses of Commons on the right day to listen to Churchill's most famous war-time speech made the whole experience rather tedious.

I found it rather incredible that Emma could lay her hands on so much food to support the people in the bombed West End, practically climbing over the rubble to deliver it from baskets... I KNOW this is fiction, but surely in War-time people didn't just have a whole store full of game pies casually at their disposal? My suspended belief had trouble in remaining so. The modern day part was not especially intriguing - even the wait to the end to discover Evan's real family felt like a hard grind.

"To Be The Best" was possibly a sequel too far, but I feel this one really is money for old rope. And heaven help us, there's another on the horizon in the form of "Unexpected Blessings". Is the Unexpected Blessing the fact that Mrs Bradford is hanging up her pen after that one? I have been forced to go back to "A Woman of Substance" to see if it was as good as I'd thought when I first read it at the age of 19. And actually, yes, it's not bad. It moved me in the right places and was an inspiring tale.

On the plus side, someone thoughtfully bought this for my birthday present, so I didn't actually have to spend any money on it - on the down side, I will be forced to read "Unexpected Blessings" out of sheer curiousity and bloody-mindedness. Although I will wait till it's half-price in Smiths or Tescos. Or possibly buy it second-hand from a charity shop...
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A boring waste of time, 22 Sept. 2004
This review is from: Emma's Secret (Paperback)
Having loved A Woman of Substance and the following books in the saga, I eagerly picked up Emma's Secret. It began quite well, though the endless descriptions of food and what the characters were wearing, as opposed to any action/drama, began to bore after a while. Being a food lover I enjoyed the food descriptions at first - but when you realise they are written in place of a plot it begins to grate. Whilst reading it I thought it was EXACTLY like a bad American mini-series drama - real plot-free rubbish. The book is divided into three sections - it begins in the present day, then goes to the war years and then ends in the present day. I got the impression that BTB was completely bored whilst writing the war years section - she must have written it on autopilot. I was utterly bored reading it. There was no drama, no action, no passion, no interest, nothing. Emma did indeed have a bit of a "secret" and this could have been actually WRITTEN ABOUT and fleshed out - but no. We don't actually get to read exactly what the characters go through or feel re. Emma's Secret - we just find out what it was. Very very boring - don't waste your time on it!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 25 April 2012
This review is from: Emma's Secret (Paperback)
I bought this book before I realised that it is part of a series. When I discovered this fact, I decided to read them in order so I bought the three that come before this (A Woman of Substance, Hold the Dream and To Be the Best) and read them first. I am so glad I made that decision. I enjoyed the first three immensely but this one was extremely disappointing, as if it had been written by a different writer. The story is uneventful and not enough time is given to each character. I had to read endless descriptions of how beautiful and well-mannered each character is, which I found tedious and unecessary to the story. If I hadn't read the first three books I would not have bothered finishing this one, and I would only recommend this book to someone who is intersted in reading the whole series.

The most disappointing part was the ending. I actually thought that perhaps some chapters were missing from my edition as several plot points that were explored in the novel were not tied up. I actually think that BTB got fed up of writing and decided to write the final chapter and finish the novel. I hope that she ties them up in the next book and I also hope that she resumes the high standard of writing from A Woman of Substance and Hold The Dream.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A big Disapointment, 31 Oct. 2003
By 
C. Watson (Highlands, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Emma's Secret (Hardcover)
This is a book that did not need to be written. I found the story very flimsy, pointless and to use a word from one of the authors other books about Emma Harte, no 'substance'. I watched a TV interview when Ms Taylor Bradford was promoting this book and she said it was the result of fan letters asking to hear more about Emma. She should have ignored the letters.
There was not enough focus on one character or situation for me to care about any of the characters. And the big build up to a show down between Emma and an old nemises fizzled away to nothing.
Apart from the lack of plot, I found the writting itself really annoying. At times it felt a very small step from books teaching children to read. Here is an example.... Emma said she met Winston Churchill and she was asked when and where. Her answer was... "I met him last Sunday, September the eighth... only four days ago, to be precise." One of these answers would have been fine and the fact this kind of grammer is repeated throughout the book is very frustrating.
If you feel you still really want to read this book, I would wait until it is out in paperback so you won't feel you have wasted your money.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A totally unnecessary sequel, 10 Mar. 2004
By 
Kova (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Emma's Secret (Paperback)
This is probably the worst book I have ever read. It draws shamelessly on previous books, and also on events which have already taken place to show how incredibly smart Emma Hart was i.e. Winston Churchill, the Greatest Briton (as seen on BBC)(what was the point for all this anyway?), how she felt we will win the war etc. The over-long descriptions of clothes, furniture, rooms, etc., made several times by different characters makes it really tedious reading. I have to say, I loved a Woman of Substance and therefore this was extremely dissappointing. A totally unneccessary sequel.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not much of a secret - Emma, 1 Mar. 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Emma's Secret (Paperback)
I was very disappointed in this book. I have read and enjoyed A Woman of Substance and To Hold The Dream and was therefore keen to read this book and find out what happened to the next generations of the Harte Family. Unfortunately the "secret" of the title was very predictable. Also the plot line concerning Johnathon Ainsley was thin and not developed properly, leading to an unsatisfactory conclusion. Also, the middle chapters, concerning Emma Harte during WWII were poor and seemed to be an advertisement for the Winston Churchill appreciation society. These endless references to Churchill were annoying and did not add to the plot of the book at all. I felt that much of this was simply page filling which I think is unworthy of Ms Taylor Bradford.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Woman of Substance it isn't, 3 Feb. 2004
By 
M. E. Newell (Georgia, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Emma's Secret (Paperback)
When I read that there was going to be a follow-up to "A Woman Of Substance," one of my all time favorite books, I was thrilled. But after reading "Emma's Secret," I can say this book was not on the same level of "A Woman Of Substance."
"Emma's Secret" told about the lives of the newest generation of the Harte family. But to be honest, these people lived soap opera lives, without much point. Not one of characters hooked me as Emma Harte did so many years ago. The only reason that I gave the book two stars were for the chapters that had Emma was in. I'm sorry to say that after reading "Emma Secret" it will be a while before I read any more from Ms. Bradford
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No other word for it. Terrible., 21 May 2004
This review is from: Emma's Secret (Paperback)
I read A Woman Of Substance when I was 14 years old and loved every page of it. True, it is the only Barbara Taylor Bradford book I ever enjoyed as - even by the publication of Hold the Dream - she had sadly turned from the realistic depictions of well-rounded characters in early twentieth century Yorkshire to 1980's American drama-inspired fantasy tales of exceptionally wealthy, perfect but two -dimensional people.
However - Emma's Secret promised more. A return to the middle years of Emma Harte. A return to the days when even the lives of the wealthy were inhibited by wartime shortages and emotional hell.
But no.
This novel seems to have been dashed off in a matter of days. Its plot is weak and predictable; its characters are dull and so far beyond reality that the fantasy element becomes irritating. Even the continuity is appalling as BTB describes Kit Lowther as dark haired on one page and sandy haired half a chapter later. The copy editor/proof reader should have been shot!
Even the potential saving grace of the middle 1940's element of the book fails to deliver. This is not the same three-dimensional character depicted in A Woman Of Substance. Emma Harte was depicted there as a down-to-earth pragmatic workaholic, more likely to have spent the war buried under a mound of paperwork in factory, store or office than living the life of a 1980's Joan Collins in expensive restaurants and the not-what-you-are-but-who-you-know circle at the House of Commons.
Sorry, but this attempt to link back to the past has only served to further highlight a good writer who sold out to the American Dallas/Dynasty audience and wasted a credible talent. I only gave it one star because you can't assign zero. Not recommended in the least.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emma Harte - A welcome return, 11 July 2003
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Emma's Secret (Hardcover)
A brilliant written book which was an absolutely fantastic read, a book I could not put down and I totally recommend it 100%. The book starts with the story of Emma's great grandchilden and each of them have some Emma's characteristics in them and who are continuing Emma's dream to hold on to the Harte dynasty . Linnet and India (great-grandchildren) find Emma's wartime diaries which fill in a missing chunk from the Woman of Substance book and contain a secret that Emma took to the grave with her. Some wonderful new characters along with the old really bring this book alive.
I have loved all 4 books and videos about the lifetime of Emma Harte and her family and eagerly await the next installment which I hope Barbara Taylor Bradford will be writing very soon.
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5.0 out of 5 stars So glad I found this!, 20 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Emma's Secret (Emma Harte Series Book 4) (Kindle Edition)
Having loved The Woman of Substance series and re-read it several times over the years, I was delighted to come across Emma's Secret and have enjoyed being caught up in the twists and turns of life in the three clans, as well as learning more about the amazing character that is Emma Harte. Another superb novel by BTB. Thank you!
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Emma's Secret (Emma Harte Series Book 4)
Emma's Secret (Emma Harte Series Book 4) by Barbara Taylor Bradford
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