Where You Belong

Where You Belong

2.0 12
by Barbara Taylor Bradford

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With all the glamour, drama, and passion that have made Barbara Taylor Bradford an international favorite, Where You Belong is the captivating story of a beautiful young woman making her way through a world filled with the dangers of war.

A talented young American photographer, Valentine Denning leaves behind the comforts of her home in Paris to record the

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With all the glamour, drama, and passion that have made Barbara Taylor Bradford an international favorite, Where You Belong is the captivating story of a beautiful young woman making her way through a world filled with the dangers of war.

A talented young American photographer, Valentine Denning leaves behind the comforts of her home in Paris to record the war in Kosovo from the front lines. Drawn together by the perils of war photojournalism, Val and one of her colleagues, the British Tony Hampton, find themselves in the throes of a romance that is tragically cut short when Val, Tony, and their American colleague Jake Newberg are caught in a nightmarish ambush. When Val wakes up in a Belgrade hospital, she learns that Tony has died.

Later, when she and Jake attend Tony's memorial service in London, Val's memories of Tony are gravely shaken by the realization that throughout their relationship he had lied, telling her that he was divorced. Reeling from his death and betrayal, Val and Jake return home to Paris, where they recover from their wounds and try to make sense of Tony's lies to both of them. As they begin to build a relationship and leave the events of the war behind them, Jake confesses his longtime love for her.

But for Val, peace with herself is elusive, as she tries to reconcile her love of photography with the perils of her career, not to mention the claims on her heart. The desire for a fresh new beginning leads her to trade the grueling world of war photojournalism for a glamorous position as a photographer of celebrities—which lands her in Mexico, snapping the dashing Alexander St. Just Stevens (born Bill Smith in Leeds, England), an artist of international renown whose reputation as a playboy doesn't steel him against a powerful attraction to Val. Finding a new mode of photojournalism—and a new admirer—still can't ease her sense of searching for something, a sense that will lead her to retrace paths she thought were left behind.

Where You Belong
is a moving story about a young woman's realization of her own inner strength and her ability to find her way to where she belongs in life...in love...and within herself.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
— Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Injecting her new novel with timeliness, bestselling Bradford (A Sudden Change of Heart) makes her setting war-zone Kosovo, where gorgeous and talented photojournalist Valentine Denning is covering the action with two equally gorgeous men: American Jake Newberg and Val's lover, Brit Tony Hampton. All three are caught in an ambush on the ground, and Tony dies. Val doesn't even have time to grieve for her boyfriend before she discovers Tony lied to her: he was already married. Attempting to cheer Val, Jake takes her to a beautiful villa in Cap-Ferrat, and predictably, the heroine decides that he is really the one for her. The world intrudes on their idyll when they help Françoise, the caretakers' daughter, to escape from her abusive husband. Meanwhile, Val is pestered by calls from Donald, the younger brother she resents because their mother lavished attention on him while ignoring her. Jake and Val jet back to New York, excited about a book project they've thought up, and knowing that Val has to face her family demons. There, Val is devastated when her mother finally reveals the secret of her lack of maternal feeling, and they tangle over who will take over the family cosmetics company. Val and Jake are separated when he goes back to Kosovo, but handsome artist Alexander St. Just Stevens adds intrigue to Val's lonely life. Despite a lively story line and a suspenseful buildup to various revelations, the narrative is formulaic and predictable; each new development is obvious. While this novel will probably satisfy Bradford's more loyal fans, it may not generate excitement for new readers. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
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4.20(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.25(d)

Read an Excerpt

Kosovo, August 1998

The three of us sat in a small copse situated at the far end of the village, taking shelter from the blistering heat. It was bosky and cool on this scorching summer's day.

The jeep was parked out on the road nearby, and I peered toward it, frowning slightly, wondering what had happened to Ajet, our adviser, guide, and driver. He had gone on foot to the village, having several days before arranged to meet an old school friend there, who in turn would take us to see the leaders of the K.L.A. According to Ajet, the Kosovo Liberation Army had their main training camp in the vicinity of the village, and Ajet had assured us in Pec, and then again on the drive here, that the leaders would be in the camp, and that they would be more than willing to have their photographs taken for transmission to newspapers and magazines around the world. "Everyone should know the truth, should know about our cause, our just and rightful cause," Ajet had said to us time and again.

When he had left the copse ages ago, he had been smiling cheerfully, happy at the idea of meeting his old friend, and I had watched him step out jauntily as he walked down the dusty road in a determined and purposeful manner. But that had been over three hours ago, and he had still not returned, and this disturbed me. I could not help wondering if something unforeseen, something bad, had happened to the friendly young Kosovar who had been so helpful to us.

I rose and walked through the trees, shading my eyes with my hand and looking down the dirt road. There was no sign of Ajet, and, in fact, there was very little activity at all. But I waited for a short while longer, hoping he would appear at any moment.

My name is Valentine Denning, and I'm a New Yorker born and bred, but now I base myself in Paris, where I work as a photojournalist for Gemstar, a well-known international news-photo agency. With the exception of my grandfather, no one in my family ever thought I would become a photojournalist. When I was a child, Grandfather had spotted my desire to record everything I saw and bought me my first camera. My parents never paid much attention to me, and what I would do when I grew up never seemed to cross their minds. My brother Donald, to whom I was much closer in those days and tended to bully since he was younger, was forever after me to become a model, a job that held no attraction for me whatsoever. Donald kept pointing out that I was tall and slim, with long legs and an athletic build, as if I didn't know my own body. I know I'm not pretty enough, but at least I don't look too bad in the pictures Jake and Tony have taken of me. But I'm not much into clothes; I like T-shirts, khaki pants, white cotton shirts, and bush jackets, workmanlike clothes that are perfect for the life I lead.

I'm thirty-one years old, constantly traveling, living out of a suitcase, and then there are the crazy hours, the lack of comfort, even of the most basic of amenities, when I'm on the front lines covering wars and other disasters, not to mention the danger I often find myself facing. But I prefer this life to walking down a catwalk, showing off Paris couture.

Turning away from the road at last, I went back through the trees to rejoin Jake Newberg and Tony Hampton, comrades-in-arms, as Tony calls us. I think of these two men as my family; we've worked together for several years now and we're inseparable. Jake is my best friend, and Tony has graduated from best friend to lover in the past year. The three of us go everywhere together, and we always make sure we are on the same assignments for our news-photo agencies.

I gazed at Tony surreptitiously for a moment, thinking how fit and healthy he looked as he sat on part of a felled tree trunk, loading two of his cameras with rolls of new film. Tony, who is British, is ten years older than me. Stocky and muscular, he inherited his mother's Black Irish good looks, and he is a handsome and charismatic man. But it's his masculinity, his potent sexuality, that women find most appealing, even overwhelming, and certainly irresistible, as I have discovered.

Considered to be one of the world's great war photographers, of the same ilk as the late Robert Capa, he is something of a risk taker when it comes to getting his pictures. This does not unduly worry me, although I know it gives Jake Newberg cause for concern; he has discussed it with me frequently of late.

I eyed Jake, sitting on the grass with his back to a tree, looking nonchalant as he made notes in the small blue leather notebook he always carries with him. Jake is also an American, "a Jew from Georgia" is the way he likes to describe himself. At thirty-eight, he is also one of the top war photographers, a prizewinner like Tony. I've won many awards myself but I've never attempted to put myself in their league, although Tony and Jake say I belong there, that I'm just as good as they are.

Jake is tall, lean, with a physical toughness about him that makes him seem indestructible; anyway, that is the way I view him. He's an attractive man with an expressive face, blondish curly hair, and the most vivid blue eyes I've ever seen. Yet despite his puckishness and the mischievous twinkle that often glints in those eyes, I long ago discovered that Jake is the most compassionate of men. And I've come to appreciate his understanding of the complexities of the human heart and the human frailties we are all afflicted with.

Tony glanced up as he became aware of me hovering over him. "What is it?" he asked, frowning slightly. "Is something wrong?"

"I hope Ajet's all right, Tony, he's been gone—"

"I'm sure he is," Tony cut in quickly with a certain firmness, and then he gave me a reassuring smile. "It's very quiet, peaceful out there, isn't it?"

I nodded. "There's hardly any sign of life."

"Doesn't surprise me. I think the village is probably half deserted by now. It's more than likely that a lot of locals have already left, are moving south ahead of the Serbian army, crossing the border into Albania as fast as they can."

"You're probably right." I sat down on the grass and fell silent, ruminating.

Jake glanced at me and then pinned his eyes thoughtfully on Tony. He said in a brisk tone, "Let's abandon this shoot, get the hell out of here, Tony. I've suddenly got a bad feeling."

"But we won't get this chance again," I felt bound to point out, sitting up straighter, staring at Jake.

Before either man could address my comment, Ajet suddenly reappeared. He came wandering in from the road looking as if he had no cares in the world. Not only did he seem unperturbed, he actually looked pleased with himself, almost smug.

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Where You Belong 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I would have given it half a star, but it wasn't an option. I was very dissapointed by this novel, having read and enjoyed other books by this author. It seems like someone else wrote it for her, it was dull and poorly written.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is extremely slow...without too much of the point. It only describes the main character and become very one-sided without taking other characters into the whole stories....very boring set up anyway without having any ending....can't really tell what's the point of the whole story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a bad book--even worse because I know the author can and does better. It was poorly written, contrived, and trite. I had the impression that she was required to submit a novel and was too busy, so someone else did it instead. It has one star so it is clear that I did rate it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first novel I had ever read by Barbara Taylor Bradford and I was disappointed. 'Where You Belong' was full of all of this detail but detail I felt never led anywhere. I kept reading, anticipating that this story was eventually going to reach some unexpected climax but It never did. I have worked in book stores and have seen Barbara Taylor Bradford's books sell like hot cakes but if they are anything like this I can't figure out why.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoy human interest story with a strong relationship angle and I think 'Where You Belong' is a good, timely book but it seemed to be lacking the zip I have found in Ms. Bradfords novels. It still is a well fleshed out story and is fulfilling.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ms. Bradford seems to be playing on her success with previous novels, all of which I have enjoyed immensely. This one did not hold my interest. The ending was evident after only a couple of chapters. Ms. Bradford, please give us another Woman of Substance.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After waiting for so long for this new book, it was a very disappointing weekend, novelwise. Cannot believe that the author who memorialized Emma Harte and her family is content to present to her readers such shallow and uninteresting characters. To ask us to embrace these people and not give us a reason to care about them is one of the main problems I encountered. Disappointment prevailed throughout this new novel. Surely this author is most capable of delivering a more satisfying read, and more interesesting personalities.
Guest More than 1 year ago