From the Publisher
“Readers who shared the trials and tribulations, and successes of the indomitable Emma Harte in A Woman of Substance will find this sequel equally engrossing. Attractive, intelligent, and capable, Paula McGill Fairley proves a worthy successor to her grandmother’s domain.” —Booklist
“Another instant bestseller. The men and woman are all gorgeous, rich, well-dressed. There are luxurious descriptions in this perfect page-turner.” —Philadelphia Inquirer
“A deeply involving story of women of power and wealth and substance.” —Publishers Weekly
“A sweeping saga full of passion and intrigue…a gripping read.” Hello Magazine
“A vibrantly characterized leading lady and a glimpse at the dazzling world of the rich and powerful. A richly woven tale.” Working Woman
“Barbara Taylor Bradford is the storyteller of substance.” The Times (London)
Read an Excerpt
Emma Harte was almost eighty years old.
She did not look it, for she had always carried her years lightly. Certainly Emma felt like a much younger woman as she sat at her desk in the upstairs parlor of Pennistone Royal on this bright April morning of 1969.
Her posture was erect in the chair, and her alert green eyes, wise and shrewd under the wrinkled lids, missed nothing. The burnished red-gold hair had turned to shining silver long ago, but it was impeccably coiffed in the latest style, and the widow's peak was as dramatic as ever above her oval face. If this was now lined and scored by the years, her excellent bone structure had retained its clarity and her skin held the translucency of her youth. And so, though her great beauty had been blurred by the passage of time, she was still arresting, and her appearance, as always, was stylish.
For the busy working day stretching ahead of her, she had chosen to wear a wool dress of tailored simplicity in the powder-blue shade she so often favored, which was so flattering to her. A frothy white lace collar added just the right touch of softness and femininity at her throat, and there were discreet diamond studs on her ears. Otherwise she wore no jewelry except for a gold watch and her rings.
After her bout with bronchial pneumonia the previous year, she was in blooming health, had no infirmities to speak of, and was filled with the restless vigor and drive that had marked her younger days.
That's my problem, not knowing where to direct all this damned energy, she mused, putting down her pen, leaningback in the chair. She smiled and thought: The devil usually finds work for idle hands, so I'd better come up with a new project soon before I get into mischief. Her smile widened. Most people thought she had more than enough to keep her fully occupied, since she continued to control her vast business enterprises which stretched halfway around the world. Indeed they did need her constant supervision; yet for the most part they offered her little challenge these days. Emma had always thrived on challenge, and it was this she sorely missed. Playing watchdog was not particularly exciting to her way of thinking. It did not fire her imagination, bring a tingle to her blood, or get her adrenaline flowing in the same way that wheeling and dealing did. Pitting her wits against business adversaries and striving for power and supremacy in the international market place had become such second nature to her over the years that they were now essential to her well-being.
Restlessly she rose, crossed the floor in swift light steps, and opened one of the soaring leaded windows. She took a deep breath, peered out. The sky was a faultless blue, without a single cloud, and radiant with spring sunshine. New buds, tenderly green, sprouted on the skeletal branches, and under the great oak at the edge of the lawn a mass of daffodils randomly planted, tossed yellow-bright heads under the fluttering breeze.
"I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o'er vales and hills, when all at once I saw a crowd, a host, of golden daffodils," she recited aloud, then thought: Good heavens, I learned that Wordsworth poem at the village school in Fairley. So long ago, and to think that I've remembered it all these years.
Raising her hand, she dosed the window, and the great McGill emerald on the third finger of her left hand flashed as the clear northern light struck the stone. Its brilliance caught her attention. She had worn this ring for forty-four years, ever since that day in May of 1925 when Paul McGill had placed it on her finger. He had thrown away her wedding ring, symbol of her disastrous marriage to Arthur Ainsley, then slipped on the massive square-cut emerald. "We might not have had the benefit of clergy," Paul had said that memorable day, "but as far as I'm concerned, you are my wife. From this day forward until death do us part."
The previous morning their child had been born. Their adored Daisy, conceived in love and raised with love. Her favorite of all her children, just as Paula, Daisy's daughter, was her favorite grandchild, heiress to her enormous retailing empire and half of the colossal McGill fortune which Emma had inherited after Paul's death in 1939. And Paula had given birth to twins four weeks ago, had presented her with her first great-grandchildren, who tomorrow would be christened at the ancient church in Fairley village.
Emma pursed her lips, suddenly wondering if she had made a mistake in acquiescing to this wish of Paula's husband, Jim Fairley. Jim was a traditionalist and thus wanted his children to be christened at the font where all of the Fairleys had been baptized -- and all of the Hartes, for that matter, herself included.
Oh well, she thought, I can't very well renege at this late date, and perhaps it is only fitting. She had wreaked her revenge on the Fairleys. The vendetta she had waged against them for most of her life was finally at an end, and the two families had been united through Paula's marriage with James Arthur Fairley, the last of the old line. It was a new beginning.
But when Blackie O'Neill had heard of the choice of church, he had raised a snowy brow and chuckled and made a remark about the cynic turning into a sentimentalist in her old age, an accusation he was frequently leveling at her of late. Maybe Blackie was right in this assumption. On the other hand the past no longer troubled her as it once had. Hold the Dream. Copyright © by Barbara Taylor Bradford. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.