Unexpected Blessings (Emma Harte Series #5)

Unexpected Blessings (Emma Harte Series #5)

3.6 30
by Barbara Taylor Bradford, Barbara Taylor Bradford

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The new blockbuster from one of the world's greatest storytellers delves into the life of Emma Harte—the original Woman of Substance—and the ambitious, passionate, and volatile women of the next generations.

Evan Hughes, Emma's American great-granddaughter, is trying to integrate into the powerful Harte family. She is caught between her

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The new blockbuster from one of the world's greatest storytellers delves into the life of Emma Harte—the original Woman of Substance—and the ambitious, passionate, and volatile women of the next generations.

Evan Hughes, Emma's American great-granddaughter, is trying to integrate into the powerful Harte family. She is caught between her estranged parents, her new family, and new love. But a dangerous enemy hovers in the background.

Tessa Longden, Evan's cousin, is battling her husband for custody of their daughter, Adele. When Adele suddenly goes missing, Tessa is forced to seek help from her half-sister Linnet—a woman who has been her rival all their lives.

Linnet, the most brilliant businesswoman of the four great-granddaughters, is desperately trying to show that she is the natural heir to her mother, Paula. But her glittering future at the helm of the vast Harte empire means many sacrifices, perhaps even the loss of her sister's fragile trust.

India Standish, the traditionalist in the family, falls in love with a famous British artist from a working-class background. Madly in love, India is determined to marry him, no matter what her family thinks.

Evan, Tessa, Linnet, and India: four extraordinary women. Three generations of Hartes. One indomitable family whose loyalty binds them together and whose enemies want to tear them apart.

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Editorial Reviews

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. New readers will relish it as well.
RT Book Reviews
Bradford enthralls readers.... Once again, readers will get swept up in the lives and loves of the Harte family.
Library Journal
What's left after Bradford tells Emma's Secret? We'll see. With an eight-city author tour. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The Hartes again. And their numbers are legion-in fact, no fewer than 53 names are featured in the genealogy upfront, not including Evan Hughes, heroine of Emma's Secret (2003) and an American twig of the Harte family tree. Now dwelling in London, lovely Evan lives and breathes retail, just like long-dead Emma Harte, the plucky shopgirl who started it all. Now that Evan has her dream job as an assistant to Linnet O'Neill, Emma's great-granddaughter, she's planning a future with her true love, Gideon Harte, Linnet's cousin and a newspaperman. Linnet, though, has other things to worry about after she fields a frantic phone call from her half-sister Tessa-Adele, Tessa's precious little girl, has disappeared! Has Mark Longden, Tessa's estranged husband, kidnapped the child? The cad. Is he after (gasp!) the Harte money? Billions are at stake, and, yes, Adele may be in danger as well. When the clan gathers to discuss the matter, one quiet voice of dissent is raised: Evan wonders whether Adele was in fact taken by a pedophile. Jack Figg, ace investigator, wonders ditto. Carefully modulated anguish sets the tone: Tessa presses a hand to her mouth. Mummy will have to be told before American TV broadcasts the news worldwide! Perhaps it's just as well that Mummy, otherwise known as Paula O'Neill, director of Harte's department store in Knightsbridge, is in New York, musing on the cityscape and recapping the legacy of Emma Harte for the umpteenth time, not to mention the family's power, immense wealth, and ineffable sense of privilege. Yet not even all those wonderful things can stop history: it seems terrorists have flown planes into the World Trade Center. Newspaperman Gideon sees it on CNN and issuitably aghast. But back to the plot: Evan's dear ones are about to find out that everything is not what it seems, and the revelation of still more family secrets is looming. And-good heavens!-what about Adele?For the fans, their numbers also legion. Doubleday Book Club/Literary Guild main selection; Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selection; author tour

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Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Emma Harte Series, #5
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.21(w) x 6.67(h) x 1.14(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Summer 2001

"The name 'petrel' is said to be a diminutive of Peter: when feeding the bird flits and hovers just above the water, often with feet pattering on the surface, appearing to 'walk on water' as St. Peter did in the Bible story."
- Field Guide to the Birds of Britain


Evan Hughes stood in the middle of the fashion floor of Harte's department store in London's Knightsbridge. It was seven o'clock in the morning, and nothing stirred. By eight the cleaners would be moving around this vast space, and by nine a few of the dedicated sales staff would be arriving to prepare for the store doors opening at ten. Now, though, she was totally alone.

She loved this store and this floor in particular. It was her domain. And hers alone. Last week she had been made head of fashion, a big promotion which had thrilled her. But in her personal life, Evan had big decisions to make.

As she moved slowly across the floor, making for the new haute couture fashion displays, she couldn't help thinking about the first day she had walked into Harte's. January 2001. Eight months ago now. She had been very lucky that day. Quite by chance she had met the man of her dreams and found the job of her dreams. She had certainly never thought her dreams would come true that day. But in some ways, they did.

Pausing for a moment, Evan glanced around, her intelligent, light gray-blue eyes devouring everything: the fashion displays under bright lights, the elegance of the whole floor, such an important one in this prestigious department store, considered the greatest in theworld.

Harte's of Knightsbridge had been founded by one of the most famous merchant princes ever known: Emma Harte. She had been dead now for thirty years, and the store was run by Emma's granddaughter Paula O'Neill. Paula, an elegant woman in her mid-fifties, had inherited her grandmother's skills and brilliance as a retailer, and her daughters Tessa and Linnet were following in her footsteps. Both of them worked at the store; Tessa was in charge of the first three floors, which sold cosmetics, perfumes, leisure wear, lingerie, and active sports clothes. Linnet, Tessa's half sister, was in charge of the fashion floors and worked with Paula on public relations.

It was Linnet O'Neill who had hired Evan to be one of her assistants, and for the first few months Evan had helped Linnet put together a retrospective of fashion, which had been a huge success and pulled many new customers into the store.

Linnet. Tessa. Ambitious and complicated, they were now part of Evan's life.

As a reward for all her hard work and dedication, Linnet had given her this promotion...and Evan was in her element.

Evan stood in front of the couture fashion displays which had been finished late last night. They were great, she decided. The display staff had done a good job with the clothes she had selected.

Turning away, she walked down the floor, making for her office. Tall, slender, and dark haired, she was good looking, elegant. Back at her desk she glanced at the photograph of Gideon Harte. She had fallen in love with him, and he with her, that first day when he had bumped into her in the corridor. She had been looking for the management offices, and he had led her there, all the while firing questions at her. And it was Gideon who had told his cousin Linnet about her; Linnet had subsequently interviewed her and given her a job.

Sitting back in her chair, Evan thought about the past eight months and all that had happened.

She had never expected to find a second family in England. Only a year ago the only family she knew were her mother and father, and her two adopted sisters, who lived in Connecticut. But all that had changed because of her grandmother Glynnis Hughes. On her deathbed her grandmother had told Evan to go to England to find Emma Harte, adding that Emma was the key to her future. And Evan had done exactly that, only to discover Emma was dead. But she had fallen in love with the store and decided to get a job there.

And now here she was, working at Harte's, planning a future with Gideon, and struggling to adapt herself to a whole new family... because she herself was actually a Harte. It was Paula who had discovered through Emma's diaries that Evan was another great-granddaughter of Emma Harte's, because Evan's grandmother Glynnis had given birth to a son fathered by one of Emma's sons. And that child was Evan's father.

They had welcomed her, treated her kindly and with enormous understanding, but at times things had been difficult for Evan. So many things to unravel, so much to accept, so many people to get to know. Sometimes it seemed endless to her.

Most troubling of all was the knowledge she had about her father's biological father...which she had been afraid to relay to him. Would her father, Owen Hughes, welcome the information? Would he really want to know that the man who had brought him up was not his father after all? She didn't know, and she continued to wrestle with these questions.

Evan knew she had to come to a decision. Her mother and father were coming to London in a week or so, to spend time with her and have a vacation. Could she look her father in the eye and not tell him the truth? Could she keep it a secret? And should she? Nobody could advise her really. Gideon had told her to do what she thought best, and everyone else had been noncommittal.

The ball was back in her court.

Then there was Robin Ainsley, her new grandfather, the man who had been her grandmother's lover during the Second World War. He had been a pilot in the Royal Air Force, a Battle of Britain pilot, and her grandmother, Glynnis Jenkins then, had been a young woman from Wales who worked as Emma Harte's secretary, in this very store.

Evan liked Robin; her feelings were even stronger than that. And she knew only too well that he longed to meet his son Owen Hughes. But would her father want to meet this "stranger"...a stranger who was his real father? His mother's lover. 'Oh God.'

Evan turned on her computer and after a few moments started to work on it, but within an hour the troubling thoughts about Robin, Glynnis, and her father's imminent arrival began to intrude. Turning the computer off, she made her decision. She would take Linnet's advice and go to Yorkshire after all for a week's rest. And she would go to see Robin Ainsley, still needing to know about his relationship with her grandmother, and most of all to truly understand why Robin and Glynnis had never married.

Copyright 2005 by Barbara Taylor Bradford

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Unexpected Blessings (Emma Harte Series #5) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Emma Harte founded a dynasty of stores, newspapers, and other business enterprises during her lifetime, and though she is gone now, her family carries on in the Harte tradition to maintain her empire. The story here is a continuation of EMMA'S SECRET. Even though Emma is gone, her presence is felt in everything her family thinks and does. In EMMA'S SECRET, we learn that Evan Hughes is Emma's great-granddaughter from America. Bored with her job in New York, Evan came to London to meet Emma on the advice of her own grandmother, Glynnis Hughes. She didn't find Emma, who had died thirty years previously, but she did fall in love with the Harte department stores, applied for a job, and was hired. Now, beginning in UNEXPECTED BLESSINGS: After meeting her biological grandfather, Evan is worried about the best way to tell her father Owen that his father is a Harte and still lives. Owen Hughes has never had much good to say about the Hartes, and this news on top of Evan's own bombshell about her impending marriage to Gideon Harte might be the one catalyst that severs her relationship with her father. Tessa Fairley Longden is in the middle of a messy divorce from her husband Mark, who has verbally and physically abused her for years. When her daughter Adele vanishes (almost before her eyes), Tessa knows that Mark is behind Adele's kidnapping. Will he return their daughter before harm comes to her? Tessa does the only thing that comes to mind in a crisis, she follows Emma's rule: keep it in the family. She calls her half-sister Linnet for help. When Linnet O'Niell arrives at the Pennistone Royal estate, she immediately calls on Jack Figg, Emma's security expert. Jack will know how to find the child before the news can hit the media. Linnet, the granddaughter who looks and acts most like Emma, takes the reins in this family crisis. She will inherit Emma's empire, even at the risk of losing her sister's trust and damaging their fragile relationship. Linnet is engaged to be married to Julian Kallinski, and their upcoming marriage will finally bond the three Harte clans together. India Standish, Emma's fourth granddaughter, has a guilty secret. She has fallen in love with Dusty Rhodes, a working class artist with a tawdry reputation. India is determined to marry Dusty, no matter if her family approves or not, but first she must go to Tessa and Linnet and offer her support in the search for Adele. India follows Emma's rule without thought. Hartes always stick together, even if it means incurring Dusty's wrath when she leaves their love nest to go to her cousins' side. UNEXPECTED BLESSINGS continues the Harte Saga which began with A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE, followed by HOLD THE DREAM, TO BE THE BEST, and EMMA'S SECRET. This powerful series still enthralls as Ms. Bradford pens another stunning chapter in the lives of the rich and powerful Harte dynasty. UNEXPECTED BLESSINGS stands alone, and there is no need to read the previous titles, although you will not want to miss out on the entire story of Emma Harte and her descendants. Ms. Bradford is a masterful storyteller, and this book doesn't miss one single beat in the continuing saga. Though I have bought all the books for my collection, I am embarrassed to admit that I have not kept up my reading of the story following HOLD THE DREAM however, I was able to dive right into this book and pick up where I left off. (And to be sure, I am going back to read what I missed!) UNEXPECTED BLESSINGS is a powerful tale of Emma's granddaughters as they manage the business and stay on top of the twists and turns that life hands them. There is danger coming at them from within their own family, and a few secrets that are revealed along the way. Tessa falls in love with an older man, Linnet is planning her upcoming nuptials, India has to face hard decisions about her future, and Evan is privy to family secrets no one else knows. A host of secondary characters ro
Guest More than 1 year ago
For those that gave a lower than a five star rating should start with the first book in the series, there are quite a few to be able to appreciate the complete story. I found the book to be exciting, interesting, captivating and as usual an all night page turner! For the true BTB fans, this is another must read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once again the author delivers a timeless, moving story. I couldn't put the book down. Everyone should read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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anonymousek More than 1 year ago
Held off buying this and rest of series because I was hoping to get Books 1 to 3 on my Nook to reread before going on. But seems the publishers arent interested. Dont read paperbacks so I guess I will just have to remember.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was nice book to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Be sure to read this if you are following the Emma Harte series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the book. If a fan of BTB it is a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
love2readKB More than 1 year ago
The fifth book in the Emma Harte Series is another page turner. It is great to see the trial and tribulations that the great-granchildren go through using Emma as a guide. The story of Evan finally comes totally out. This book was great to see how the younger generation works together to solve family problems. It is a MUST READ!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this series....hate to see it closed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I actually started reading Emma's Secret when my son had his appendicts taken out and I had to stay in the hospital with him. I purchased the book in the gift shop and just fell in love with the characters. Once I was done reading Emma's Secret, I flipped to the last pages and saw that this book was part of a saga. Since then I have gone back to the beginning and started with a Women of Substance and I just finished To Be the Best. And I have just ordered my copy of Just Rewards. I am truly excited to read about Emma Hartes great granddaughters and their journeys. I just hope that this is not the last that we hear of the heart women.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I consider this a worthy sequel to the Woman of Substance franchise. Some families are always fascinating to read about. The Harte family never seems to dissapoint. Those who have read Emma's Secret will find Unexpected Blessings to be a more action-packed and revealing saga. There is one whopper of a secret revealed in the end that blows away the secret in Emma's Secret.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you like to read about fancy estates and apartments, and the extremely wealthy who fly from one continent to another on a whim, you may enjoy this book. I found it too full of expansive descriptions of the homes and people, with no plot to carry it along. Everyone in this family is very beautiful and very rich - no substance. This author has written some very spellbinding books. This is not one of them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There was nothing to keep you reading. It just went on and on about nothing. Very disappointed. The other Emma books were so much better. I guess the Emma saga is over. Hurray!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hearing Kate Burton read an audio book is always unalloyed entertainment pleasure. She has the distinctive 'Burton' voice enhanced by a precise, clear diction. This voice and the inflections she uses surely fit the privileged folks who inhabit Barbara Taylor Bradford's latest Harte family saga. Millions of readers will remember Emma Harte, the staunch lady introduced in Bradford's hugely successful A Woman Of Substance. We now meet her decedents, all born into wealth, all facing life altering situations. India, much to the chagrin of her family, has fallen for an artist from not so privileged parents. Evan, another of Emma's great-granddaughters is an American who crosses the ocean to work for Harte's department store. What a shock to discover that her father was not precisely who she believed him to be. And, there's still more woe to come: Tessa is enmeshed in a custody battle for her daughter who seems to have disappeared, and Linnet, the business woman of the group, must learn that she can't have it all. Someone, somewhere is trying to harm all of these women. The question is who and why?
Guest More than 1 year ago
everyone loves a rag to riches story. it was easy to fall in love with emma and the wonderful telling of the novel ' a woman of substance' and returning to emma again in 'Emmas secrets' made the novel somewhat interesting. but this new harte family saga works wonderfully for me at bed time. so far i have fallen asleep 3 times during the first 150 pages of this lackluster plot and am looking foward to further naps!