Secrets from the Past

Secrets from the Past

3.7 39
by Barbara Taylor Bradford, Stina Nielsen

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With Secrets from the Past, Barbara Taylor Bradford delivers her most powerful and emotional novel yet, about one woman uncovering the secrets surrounding her mother

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

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With Secrets from the Past, Barbara Taylor Bradford delivers her most powerful and emotional novel yet, about one woman uncovering the secrets surrounding her mother

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 has left her job at the renowned photo news agency that he founded, weary of years of dodging bullets and exploding landmines. 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. She brings Zac back to health, first in the agency's bolthole in Venice, and later at her family home in France. It is there that she discovers a shocking secret in the huge photographic archive 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 she never knew about.

Well-kept secrets, passionate love, obsession, betrayal, redemption, and the power of the past to control the future propel this new novel from #1 The New York Times bestselling author Barbara Taylor Bradford.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Meant to be read in a peignoir on a chase lounge whist nibbling scented chocolates.

A sprawling novel…readers will be happy to dwell in the glamorous world of Bradford's sophisticated characters.
Sunday Express

A page-turning plot that keeps you gripped through all of its 448 pages.
Complete Woman

RT Book Reviews

For the thirtieth anniversary of A Woman of Substance, Bradford has written a marvelous spin-off with all the drama, glamour, and romance readers expect. With a twenty-first-century woman of substance and characters from the Harte series, this nonstop read has it all.
Top Pick RomanticTimes BOOKreviews

Her most exciting series yet...It's filled with romance, suspense and intrigue, and the richly detailed characters come vibrantly alive as expert pacing captures your attention from the very first page.
Booklist on Being Elizabeth

Rife with dastardly internecine struggles, smoldering illicit passion, and cowardly insidious betrayals…[the Deravenels] pack as much intrigue as any Shakespearean royal drama.
Miami Herald

The queen of the bestseller list still rules with The Heir.
USA Today

Bradford's characters are so real, readers clamor to know them better.
Romantic Times BOOKreviews (4 ½ stars) on The Heir

This expertly crafted epic novel further explores the triumphs and tragedies of the Deravenel family. It will enthrall readers with its vivid characters and fast-paced, larger-than-life plot.
Romance Reviews Today

The Ravenscar Dynasty has it all--power, betrayal, mystery...The characters are all complex, dynamic, and powerful, leading us through Edward Deravenel's struggles one exciting step at a time.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Bradford's fiction has long focused on strong heroines who succeed against great odds. Her latest novel, The Ravenscar the first of a planned trilogy of novels, all destined for best-sellerdom.
The Washington Post

The Harte saga is as much a force of nature as a work of fiction…the issues at stake still compel readers after 25 years. Bradford understood early on readers' hunger for depictions of women who are strong and powerful and whose values embrace family. A quarter-century ago, Emma Harte crossed the no-woman's-land that once divided family and business, and now generations of readers consider her a role model in their own lives.
Romantic Times BOOKreviews on Just Rewards

A truly remarkable conclusion to her beloved Harte family saga…riveting and intense. Not many novels have the ability to completely immerse the reader, but this one draws you into the story from the very first page.
Miami New Times

Bradford gives her readers more of what she does best--strong, savvy female protagonists who relentlessly pursue great destinies, characters much like the author herself…well-written and full of emotion…completely riveting…the plot, while always complex, has suspenseful moments to keep the pace sharp…good reading…Unexpected Blessings clearly shows why Bradford is still the premier writer of family sagas.
Book Page

The enduring theme of family loyalty ennobles the Harte family saga and raises it to a heartwarming crescendo that longtime fans will appreciate.
Denver Post

Readers who loved A Woman of Substance will enjoy Emma's Secret.
New York Daily News on Emma's Secret

In her 19th novel, the grande dame of mass-market fiction revisits her first heroine--the indomitable Emma Harte.
Woman's Day Magazine

So many of us turn to novels like Barbara Taylor Bradford's…for our daily dose of amour.
Roanoke Times

Promises to tantalize, mesmerize, and titillate readers of all ages. It has all the Bradford touches: strong and swift plot, hints of secrets about to be revealed…spellbinding.
Rave Reviews on To Be the Best

A novel for everyone…A satisfying, lushly detailed saga.
The Pittsburgh Press

A master storyteller and character builder, Ms. Bradford again crafts another reader-holder novel…Act of Will is another winner.
Philadelphia Inquirer on Hold the Dream

The men and woman are all gorgeous, rich, well-dressed.There are luxurious descriptions in this perfect page-turner.
Working Woman

A vibrantly characterized leading lady and a glimpse at the dazzling world of the rich and powerful.
The Times (London)

Barbara Taylor Bradford is the storyteller of substance.
The Washington Times Magazine

"Voice of the Heart is the sort of book I cannot resist, indeed I pray to find."
Los Angeles Times

A Woman of Substance [is] a long, satisfying novel of money, power, passion and revenge, set against the sweep of 20th century history.
The New York Times on A Woman of Substance

An extravagant, absorbing novel of love, courage, ambition, war, death, and passion.
Denver Post on A Woman of Substance

Wonderfully entertaining.
San Diego Union

"A rich tapestry of love and romance."
Library Journal
After her famed photographer father's death, American photojournalist Serena Stone returns to New York to write her father's biography. Alas, she must soon head to Europe to rescue a former lover, but as she nurses him back to health at the family home in France, she discovers a secret in her father's photographic archive that changes the course of her life. Bradford is here turning out her 28th book; since the first 27 were international best sellers, you know how this latest will go.
Kirkus Reviews
Clichéd and overlong novel about war photographers coping with PTSD, love affairs and family secrets. Bradford's protagonist, 30-year-old Serena, is a combat photographer who has left the front lines to pen a biography of her late father, Tommy, founder of a photojournalism empire and a former war correspondent himself. When another photojournalist, ex-boyfriend Zac, is brought from Afghanistan to Venice by a mutual friend, Serena, summoned to his side to help him decompress, finds herself falling for him all over again. The scene shifts to Nice, where Serena reconnects with her older twin sisters, Cara and Jessica, at a villa inherited from their late mother, a movie star of Elizabeth Taylor stature. Over many, many glasses of pink Veuve Clicquot and cups of tea, repetitious conversations belabor mostly peripheral and insignificant details--about Cara's and Jessica's unadventurous love lives, an upcoming anniversary celebrating their departed parents and Zac's continuing recovery from a trauma that was never rendered convincingly in the first place. It isn't until two-thirds in that a potentially riveting "secret from the past" emerges: While combing through her father's archives, Serena finds a cache of photographs revealing that Tommy may have dallied briefly with another war photographer, Valentina. There are photos of a very pregnant Val, with a disturbing caption suggesting that Serena may not be a movie star's daughter after all. Serena can get no confirmation of her origins from her sisters or her father's closest friends. But Zac distracts her from this dilemma with another. Although he promised to give up war-zone reporting forever, he wants to go to Libya to cover the rebellion against Gadhafi. And he insists on taking Serena, now his fiancee, with him. Serena has an ulterior motive for agreeing: Val is now in Libya. But that's not the most distressing information she's withholding from Zac. However, the prodigious amount of front-loaded exposition may discourage readers long before the excitement starts. A gripping novella embedded in a thick tome of largely irrelevant window dressing.

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Product Details

Macmillan Audio
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

BARBARA TAYLOR BRADFORD was born and brought up in England, where she started her writing career as a journalist. She has written twenty-seven international bestsellers. Secrets from the Past is her twenty-eighth novel. In 2007 Queen Elizabeth awarded her the OBE for her literary achievements. She lives in New York with her husband, TV and film producer Robert Bradford.

Brief Biography

New York, New York
Place of Birth:
Yorkshire, England
Christ Church Elementary School and Northcote Private School for Girls in Yorkshire, England

Read an Excerpt




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.

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