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From the Publisher
Meant to be read in a peignoir on a chase lounge whist nibbling scented chocolates.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes a powerful and emotional novel about one woman's quest to uncover long-buried secrets about her family--secrets she will stop at nothing to uncover, no matter the consequences. At thirty, American photojournalist Serena Stone has already made a name for herself with her unique and dramatic coverage of wars in the Middle East, following in her famous father's footsteps. But after his unexpected death in France, she ends her job at the renowned photo news agency, ...
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes a powerful and emotional novel about one woman's quest to uncover long-buried secrets about her family--secrets she will stop at nothing to uncover, no matter the consequences. At thirty, American photojournalist Serena Stone has already made a name for herself with her unique and dramatic coverage of wars in the Middle East, following in her famous father's footsteps. But after his unexpected death in France, she ends her job at the renowned photo news agency, weary of years of danger. Leaving the front lines behind, Serena returns to New York where she starts work on a biography of her celebrated father. When Serena discovers that her former lover Zachary North is in trouble overseas, she's forced to leave the safety of her new life, and head back to a place she was trying to escape...and her life will never be the same again. As she brings Zac back to health in Venice, she discovers a shocking secret in the archives of her late father's work. It is a secret that will propel her back to war-torn Libya, risking her life looking for clues that she hopes will piece together the mystery surrounding her parents' marriage and the part of their life together that she never knew.
Well-kept secrets, passionate love, obsession, betrayal, redemption, and the power of the past to control the future propel Secrets from the Past, the explosive new novel from The New York Times bestselling author Barbara Taylor Bradford
It was a beautiful day. The sky was a huge arc of delphinium blue, cloudless, and shimmering with bright sunlight above the soaring skyline of Manhattan. The city where I have lived, off and on, for most of my life was looking its best on this cold Saturday morning.
As I walked up Sutton Place, returning to my apartment, I began to shiver. Gusts of strong wind were blowing off the East River, and I was glad I was wearing jeans instead of a skirt, and warm clothes. Still shivering, I turned up the collar of my navy blue pea jacket and wrapped my cashmere scarf tighter around my neck.
It was unusually chilly for March. On the other hand, I was enjoying my walk after being holed up for four days endeavoring to finish a difficult chapter.
Although I am a photojournalist and photographer by profession, I recently decided to write a book, my first. Having hit a difficult part earlier this week, I’d been worrying it to death for days, like a dog with a bone. Finally I got it right last night. It felt good to get out, to stretch my legs, to look around me and to remind myself that there was a big wide world out here.
I increased my pace. Despite the sun, the wind was bitter. The weather seemed to be growing icier by the minute, and I hurried faster, almost running, needing to get home to the warmth.
My apartment was on the corner of Sutton and East Fifty-seventh, and I was relieved when it came into view. Once the traffic light changed, I dashed across the street and into my building, exclaiming to the doorman, as I sped past him, “It’s Arctic weather, Sam.”
“It is, Miss Stone. You’re better off staying inside today.”
I nodded, smiled, headed for the elevator. Once inside my apartment I hung up my scarf and pea jacket in the hall cupboard, went into the kitchen, put the kettle on for tea, and headed for my office.
I glanced at the answering machine on my desk and saw that I had two messages. I sat down, pressed play, and listened.
The first was from my older sister, Cara, who was calling from Nice. “Hi, Serena, it’s me. I’ve found another box of photographs, mostly of Mom. Looking fab. You might want to use a few in the book. Shall I send by FedEx? Or what? I’m heading out now, so leave a message. Or call me tomorrow. Big kiss.”
The second message was from my godfather. “It’s Harry. Just confirming Monday night, honey. Seven-thirty. Usual place. Don’t bother to call back. See ya.”
The whistling kettle brought me to my feet and I went back to the kitchen. As I made the tea I felt a frisson of apprehension, then an odd sense of foreboding … something bad was going to happen … I felt it in my bones.
I pushed this dark feeling away, carried the mug of tea back to my office, telling myself that I usually experienced premonitions only when I was at the front, when I sensed imminent danger, knew I had to run for my life before I was blown to smithereens by a bomb, or took a bullet. To have such feelings now was irrational. I shook my head, chiding myself for being overly imaginative. But in fact I was to remember this moment later and wonder if I had some sort of sixth sense.
Copyright © 2013 by Beaji Enterprises, Inc.
Posted April 9, 2013
So – I should admit right here and now that Barbara Taylor Bradford was my gateway author to the romance genre. A favorite of my grandmother and great aunt, I would grab her books from their bedside tables and sneak off to read: devouring each book as soon as it appeared. To have the opportunity to read one of her books for review was a major source of excitement. And, Secrets from the Past did not disappoint in the least.
Focusing on Serena, a recently retired from the front war photographer, we are slowly introduced into her life, as she reflects on her past while compiling her father’s photos into a memoir composite. Recovering from her father’s death, the end of her first serious relationship, and at a bit of loose ends, she is the main point of view to guide us through her story. One peppered with loving family memories, travel, antiquated clichés from her grandmother, and continuous ‘watching over’ by her father’s best friend and boss, Harry.
Add to this, other story lines that involve Serena’s twin sisters, a co-worker, the maintenance for the house the three inherited from their parents in Nice, the Arab Spring uprisings, and a series of photographs that provide only questions with few answers, the different threads all weave a beautiful pattern of a life of a woman well loved and cared for by family and co-workers alike.
The pages flew by, highlighted by descriptions of Venice, Nice, New York and Libya the sense of the worldliness of characters and the story was heightened and the descriptions helped to place visual references for the characters and scenes, making them more familiar. The addition of information about PTSD and the oddly chaotic behavior patterns gives readers a solid sense of the difficulties experienced by those who suffer, and the glimpses into a photojournalists life felt like an introductory course in “can you manage this?”.
The multiple story lines weave together to provide the reader with visual and tactile references and an emotional understanding of the story that enriches in a way that just reading words would never do without the author’s skilled writing. Emotionally complex characters, with defined personalities and solid voices all present fact and display relationship dynamics that are easy to relate to real lives. Mingled with a touch of romance and sensually detailed intimate scenes that are a feast for the imagination, the connections romantic and familial are solid, defined and palpable.
Solid writing, great characters, compelling action, glamor and secrets all combine to make this book a very good read – one that many can and will enjoy.
I received a Galley Copy from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review for the Jeep Diva. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
18 out of 18 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 17, 2013
I was a little disappointed with this book. I picked it up because I remember reading A Woman of Substance years ago. This book doesn't even compare to it. As I was reading it, I felt like it was not written by the same author. The story isn't bad, it's just not great.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 22, 2013
I love Barbara Taylor Bradford's books and this one is no exception. She knows how to make her characters real and their stories believable. There is nothing better than spending an afternoon with Barbara Taylor Bradford! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it highly.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 18, 2013
American journalist Serena Stone has followed in her dad’s footsteps being a front line was photographer. She chooses to leave the front lines when her father dies unexpectedly of a heart attack. Serena finds out her former boyfriend and fellow was photographer, Zac, has returned from the front lines and is struggling with PTSD and is asking for her. In heading to help him she knows that her life will never be the same.
Secrets from the Past is a captivating story in which every character jumps right off the page and becomes real. Serena is the main character but I loved Harry. As Serena’s dad’s best friend since childhood, he has stepped into the role of “father” and protects and nutures Serena and her sisters. I loved that he let Serena live her life, but still managed to guide her in the right direction. He was also the keeper of secrets and knew when it was time to share and when to step back and let things go unsaid.
Zac and Serena’s relationship would be described as true love. The turbulence side of their relationship troubled me. To know that Zac, even before PTSD, has a tendancy to yell and scream at Serena when mad scares me. I understood that they were “it” for each other and truly enjoyed their relationship when it was good and healthy.
This is an emotional book with secrets, betrayal, redemption, and love. You will not be able to put this story down. I highly recommend it
1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 5, 2014
Posted June 5, 2014
Posted May 25, 2014
Reviewed by Joanne
Book provided by the publisher for review
Review originally posted at Romancing the Book
Once again Barbara Taylor Bradford writes a contemporary novel with strong women at its core and their men beside them to be there to support them, love them and be there when needed. Secrets From the Past did not disappoint – my interest was captivated from the first page to the last. There was closure through the epilogue but there seemed to be much more story to tell although all the loose ends were tied up neatly and I would love to meet up with Jessica, Cara and Serena again but don’t think we will.
This book had wonderful characters with many layers to each of them as well as many different facets to their relationships based on who was interacting with who. But through it all the love the three Stone sisters had for each other, their deceased parents, Harry, and the men they loved shined through. The scenery was vivid and descriptive whether in Nice, Venice, Tripoli or other locations so much so that I could picture the places in my mind’s eye. There was romance, love, sorrow, heartache, secrets, war, family, friends, loved ones, good food, some laughter and tears throughout.
Bradford has been one of my favorite authors since I read A Woman of Substance back in 1980. Since then I have always looked forward to the release of her next book. If you haven’t read her books before add her to your TBR pile. You’ll be glad you did!
Favorite Quote: …I thought: Secrets. All families must have secrets. It can’t just be ours.
Posted September 8, 2013
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Posted May 11, 2013
I always enjoy Bradford, but this wasn't my favorite. Her earlier novels had more plot, and the characters were much more interesting. I'd rather re-read A Woman of Substance than this one.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 10, 2013
Posted May 9, 2013
If I had read this book without knowing who the author was, I would have never, ever guessed it was by Barbara Taylor Bradford. It seemed very amateurish, with all the "she said", "he said" and " I said" sentences. It was disjointed and without depth. I have always loved her books, so this one was a huge disappointment.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 8, 2013
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Posted April 15, 2013