A Woman of Substance (Emma Harte Series #1)

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Overview

From New York Times bestselling author Barbara Taylor Bradford comes a triumphant novel of an unforgettable woman

Determined to rise above all that she has ever known, a young and impoverished Emma Harte embarks on a journey first of survival, then of unimaginable achievement. Driven to succeed, the iron-willed Emma parlays a small shop into the world's greatest department store and an international business empire: Harte Enterprises.

Unhappily...

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Overview

From New York Times bestselling author Barbara Taylor Bradford comes a triumphant novel of an unforgettable woman

Determined to rise above all that she has ever known, a young and impoverished Emma Harte embarks on a journey first of survival, then of unimaginable achievement. Driven to succeed, the iron-willed Emma parlays a small shop into the world's greatest department store and an international business empire: Harte Enterprises.

Unhappily married twice, loving only the one man she can never marry, personal happiness eludes her. Harte Enterprises, the realization of her grand dreams, is her all: her heart, her soul, her life. When those closest to her threaten to destroy her empire through their greed and envy, Emma brilliantly outwits her enemies. She wreaks her devastating revenge on those who would betray her in a way only she knows how.

Drawing us into the mesmerizing life of a remarkable woman who dared to seize a dream and was willing to pay any price to make it come true, Barbara Taylor Bradford's deeply involving novel is a celebration of an indomitable spirit.

Author Biography: Barbara Taylor Bradford was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, and was a reporter for the Yorkshire Evening Post at sixteen. By the age of twenty she had graduated to London's Fleet Street as both an editor and columnist.

In 1979, she wrote her first novel, A Woman of Substance, and that enduring bestseller was followed by 12 others: Voice of the Heart, Hold the Dream, Act of Will, To Be the Best, The Women in His Life, Remember, Angel, Everything to Gain, Dangerous to Know,Love in Another Town, Her Own Rules and A Secret Affair.

Of these titles, ten have been made into television miniseries or are currently in production. Her novels have sold more than 56 million copies worldwide in more than 88 countries and 38 languages. Barbara Taylor Bradford lives in New York City and Connecticut with her husband, film producer Robert Bradford.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“An extravagant, absorbing novel of love, courage, ambition, war, death, and passion.” —The New York Times

“A long, satisfying novel of money, power, passion, and revenge, set against the sweep of twentieth-century history.” —Los Angeles Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061008078
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/28/1994
  • Series: Emma Harte Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: 20th Anniversary Edition
  • Pages: 911
  • Product dimensions: 4.21 (w) x 6.76 (h) x 1.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Taylor Bradford

Barbara Taylor Bradford is the author of 25 bestselling novels, including Playing the Game, Breaking the Rules, and The Ravenscar Dynasty. She was born in Leeds, England, and from an early age, she was a voracious reader: at age 12, she had already read all of Dickens and the Brontë sisters. By the age of twenty, she was an editor and columnist on Fleet Street. She published her first novel, A Woman of Substance, in 1979, and it has become an enduring bestseller.

 

Barbara Taylor Bradford’s books are published in over 90 countries in 40 languages, with sales figures in excess of 82 million. Ten of her novels have been adapted into television mini-series starring actors including Sir Anthony Hopkins, Liam Neeson, Deborah Kerr and Elizabeth Hurley. She has been inducted into the Writers Hall of Fame of America, and in June of 2007, Barbara was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II for her contributions to Literature.

 

She lives in New York City with her husband, television producer Robert Bradford, to whom all her novels are dedicated, and their Bichon Frise dogs, who sit under her desk while she writes.

Biography

Barbara Taylor Bradford was born and raised in Yorkshire, England. A voracious reader since childhood, she took her first job at the age of 15 with the Yorkshire Evening Post and by the age of 18 was the newspaper's women's page editor. Two years later, she headed for London and became a reporter for the London Evening News, Today Magazine, and other publications.

After meeting her husband-to-be, Robert Bradford, in 1961, she relocated to the United States. Continuing in journalism, Barbara created the syndicated column "Designing Woman," which ran nationwide for 12 years. Children's books and 8 works on decorating followed.

In 1979, Bradford published her first novel, A Woman of Substance, introducing the Emma Harte saga and beginning an almost uninterrupted string of bestsellers. Her work has been published in more than 90 countries in 40 languages, and total sales of her books now surpass 75 million.

Barbara now lives and writes in New York City with her husband, Robert. In addition to her work as a writer, she is active in a number of major charitable organizations, including the Police Athletic League, Girls Inc., City-Meals-on-Wheels, and the Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation.

Good To Know

Queen Elizabeth bestowed the Order of the British Empire on Barbara in October, 2007. The news was announced on the author's website with the following headline: "BTB Gets Her OBE from QEII."

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Bradford:

"All 20 of my original manuscripts are stored by the prestigious Brotherton Library at Leeds University in England, next to the works of the Brontë sisters."

"My first job was working as a typist for the Yorkshire Evening Post at the age of 15."

"When I'm not writing, (which isn't often) I love to read. Biographies are my favorite genre, though I do like to read fiction to see what others are putting out on the market. Authors whose books I always make time for are Patricia Cornwell, Mary Higgins Clark, and Bernard Cornwell."

"I love to travel whenever possible. Paris is my favorite city to visit, though some of my favorite holidays are spent back in England."

"My husband, Bob, has a vote for the Academy Awards, so I get to see a lot of movie screenings."

"I'm involved in a number of charity organizations on both sides of the Atlantic. From the Police Athletic League and the Literary Guild in America to PACT (Parents and Children Together Again) in the U.K., I devote a fair amount of time to these causes. And as an advocate for world literacy, I am a member of the Madison Council to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C."

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      Christ Church Elementary School and Northcote Private School for Girls in Yorkshire, England
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Emma Harte leaned forward and looked out of the window. The private Lear jet, property of the Sitex Oil Corporation of America, had been climbing steadily up through a vaporous haze of cumulus clouds and was now streaking through a sky so penetratingly blue its shimmering clarity hurt the eyes. Momentarily dazzled by this earlymorning brightness, Emma turned away from the window, rested her head against the seat, and closed her eyes. For a brief instant the vivid blueness was trapped beneath her lids and, in that instant, such a strong and unexpected feeling of bittersweet nostalgia was evoked within her, she caught her breath in surprise. It's the sky from the Turner painting above the upstairs parlor fireplace at Pennistone Royal, she thought, a Yorkshire sky on a spring day when the wind has driven the fog from the moors.

A faint smile played around her implacable mouth, curving the resolute line of the lips with unfamiliar softness, as she thought with some pleasure of Pennistone Royal. That great house that grew up out of the stark and harsh landscape of the moors and which always appeared to her to be a force of nature engineered by some Almighty architect rather than a mere edifice erected by mortal man. The one place on this violent planet where she had found peace, limitless peace that soothed and refreshed her. Her home. She had been away far too long this time, almost six weeks, which was a prolonged absence indeed for her. But within the coming week she would be returning to London, and by the end of the month she would travel north to Pennistone. To peace, tranquillity, her gardens, and her grandchildren.

This thoughtcheered her immeasurably and she relaxed in her seat, the tension that had built up over the last few days diminishing until it had evaporated. A sigh escaped her lips, one of mingled weariness and relief. She was bone tired from the raging battles that had punctuated these last few days of board meetings at the Sitex corporate headquarters in Odessa; she was supremely relieved to be leaving Texas and returning to the relative calmness of her own corporate offices in New York. It was not that she did not like Texas in point of fact, she had always had a penchant for that great state, seeing in its rough sprawling power something akin to her native Yorkshire. But this last trip had exhausted her. I'm getting too old for galavanting around on planes, she thought ruefully, and then dismissed that thought as unworthy. It was dishonest and she was never dishonest with herself. It saved so much time in the long run. And, in all truthfulness, she did not feel old. Only a trifle tired on occasion and especially when she became exasperated with fools, and Harry Marriott, president of Sitex, was a fool and inherently dangerous, like all fools.

Emma opened her eyes and sat up impatiently, her mind turning again to business, for she was tireless, sleepless, obsessive, and expedient when it came to her vast business enterprises, which rarely left her thoughts. She straightened her back and crossed her legs, adopting her usual posture, a posture that was contained and regal. There was also an imperiousness in the way she held her head and in her general demeanor, and her green eyes, as cold as steel, were full of enormous power. She lifted one of her small, strong hands and automatically smoothed her stylishly cut silver hair, which did not need it, since it was as impeccable as always. As indeed she was herself, in her simple yet elegant dark gray worsted dress, its severeness softened by the milky whiteness of the matchless pearls around her neck and the fine emerald pin on her shoulder.

She glanced at her granddaughter sitting opposite, diligently making notes for the coming week's business in New York. She looks drawn this morning, Emma thought, I push her too hard. She felt an unaccustomed twinge of guilt but impatiently shrugged it off. She's young, she can take it, and it's the best training she could ever have, Emma reassured herself and said, "Would you ask that nice young stewardJohn, isn't it? — to make some coffee please, Paula? I'm badly in need of it this morning."

The girl looked up. Although she was not beautiful in the accepted sense of that word, she was so vital and arresting she gave the impression of beauty. Her vividness of coloring contributed to this effect. Her glossy hair was an ink-black coif around her head, coming to a striking widow's peak above a face so clear and luminous it might have been carved from pale polished marble. The rather elongated face, with its prominent cheekbones and wide brow, was alert and expressive and there was a hint of Emma's resoluteness in her chin, but her eyes were her most spectacular feature, being large and intelligent and of a cornflower blue so deep they were almost violet.

She smiled at her grandmother with eager brightness and said, "Of course, Grandy. I'd like some myself." She left her seat, her tall slender body moving with a facile grace. She's so thin, Emma commented to herself, too thin for my liking. But she always has been. I suppose it's the way she's made. A leggy colt as a child, a racehorse now. A mixture of love and pride illuminated Emma's stem face and her eyes were full of sudden warmth as she gazed after the girl, who was her favorite, the daughter of Emma's favorite daughter, Daisy.

Many of Emma's dreams and hopes were centered in Paula. Even when she had been only a little girl she had gravitated to her grandmother and had also been curiously attracted to the family business. Her biggest thrill had been to go with Emma to the office and sit with her as she worked...

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 29 )
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(28)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 29, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    True inspiration!

    This book is truly addictive, the language is brilliant and the storyline completely compelling. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys an inspiring story full of love, power, success and most of all an incredibly strong woman. Anything is attainable! Emma Harte came from miserable circumstances but refused to become victimized. This book's principles of perserverance and hard work is true inspiration to all who read it. Emma's triumph over adversity motivates all to never let any obstacles get in the way of one's dreams. If you loved this one you'll undoubtedly fall in love with EXPLOSION IN PARIS...Another AMAZING READ!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2000

    THE MOST INSPIRING BOOK I HAVE EVER READ!!

    A Woman of Substance is definately a 'book of substance'- the characters are so alive, and Emma is everything I would love to be such a fighter in life and never gives up on her dream. She is my hero! This book made me laugh and cry and really feel what Emma went through. I loved it. I haven't read a book as good since.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2000

    Still Substantial After 15 Years!

    I, too, first read this book 15 years ago, and it makes as big an impression now as it did then. The characters, so well described, begin to seem as though they really exist. Sometimes I feel like I am Emma! What makes this book remarkable is twofold: Seeing Emma Harte rise out of extreme poverty to become a woman of immense wealth and power, and the justice she achieves along the way. At times, however, you may wonder if revenge is worth the personal sacrifice, but then again, this is fiction, so ENJOY! If you like the book, rent the 3-part video. The cast, especially Jenny Seagrove, is wonderful. However, if you know the book well, there are some variations that you will notice. I agree with one of the other reviewers: I am still searching for another novel as rich as this one.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2000

    15 Years Later And I Still Consider This Book One of the Best!!!!!

    I was browsing the reviews of BTB's other books and noticed the overall rating of this one -- making me compelled to let readers know this: I read this book almost 15 years ago, yet still consider this book one of the best I have ever read!! These characters stayed with me for months and months! This book almost spoiled me for anything else I tried to read long after I closed the cover on the final page! I have not enjoyed any of her books as much as this one. Please give it a chance; you won't be sorry. If you are a woman you will be able to relate to all the situations and feelings written about. It will leave you with a wonderful feeling of fulfillment and hope!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2005

    #1 Book on my shelves

    The first time I read this book it only took me about 2 days , then I read thru it again immediately, slower that time. This is THE best book I have ever read, Barbara Taylor-Bradford made Emma a real person, I laughed when she laughed and cried when she cried. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have read it in the past 14 or so years that I have owned it, about 10 years ago I bought a second copy of it for a loaner because I simply cannot take the chance the a family member or friend might not return it. The sequel's were just as good, but nothing can beat the story of Emma Hart from the beginning.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2000

    This Book Is Great!

    I thought that this book was very interesting,And well written!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2000

    THIS BOOK STANDS ALONE IS RIVETING AND BREATHTAKING..

    EMMA HARTE IS EVERY WOMAN. I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK AND THE SERIES TO EVERY WOMAN STARTING HIGHSCHOOL AND THOSE OF YOU AT THE END OF YOUR JOURNEY. ENJOY..

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2000

    A powerful reading experience.

    I recomend this title to women who have somehow come to a crossroad in their lives

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2013

    I have read and re-read this series a number of time, watched th

    I have read and re-read this series a number of time, watched the video too. it never get tired of it. Its very
    inspirational.
    good read, good watch

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    The only book I've read three times. I love the story and the ch

    The only book I've read three times. I love the story and the characters. A great read.

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  • Posted June 26, 2011

    Highly recommened..

    This is the first book I ever read. Never will forget it. Definitely #1 for me. Somewhere along the line I gave mine to someone to read. Never got it back. Think I will order another one. It is that GOOD!!!!!

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  • Posted December 27, 2010

    Marvelous Read!! A Must Read!!!

    I have been reading for a very long time. About twenty-five years ago I read A Woman of Substance. When the 30th Anniversary book came out I purchased it and reread this book. I have to say that this is the BEST book I have ever read. I have just reread it again and reading the whole series of seven books. Emma Harte's story is a truly magnificent one that will leave the reader applauding her courage and will power to make a safe and secure life for her family. This book is my all-time favorite book of my life. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read an excellently written book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2010

    A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE

    I first read this wonderful book 25 years ago and have read it eight times after that. I could not put this book down at all.I shared this book with my Mother and sisters and quite a few of my friends. We loved to share our feelings about the story when we got together. We all loved this book and shared our copies to people who loved to read. I gave copies to our book club and we shared our comments there too. I have never read a book as well writen and found so romantic as A Woman Of Substance. I always think about the story when I see the book on my bookshelf. It is a precious treasure to me and I will never part with this book. I hope many women read this book because it will stay in their hearts forever. Barbara Taylor Bradford is a brilliant author and I have read many of her books to date. I cherish them all and will keep reading her books as long as she keeps writing her wonderful stories. I can tell she must have so much love in her life to be able to write so many wonderful stories over all these years. She has actually made a very big difference in my life also. I like to write short stories and I have picked up many great ways to express my true and loving feelings in most of my stories since I have read these wonderful books by Barbara Taylor Bradford.

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  • Posted May 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This is a forever book!!!

    I was reading the reviews for this wonderful book. I remember I had my baby in 1980 (yes I am old) and my mother in law told me there was this wonderful book that I just had to read - that was an understatement. Have you every held a bottle and tried to read a book at the same time. Hard, but not impossible. I couldn't put the book down! I loved this book and now my son is 30 and I still can honestly say A Woman of Substance is still my favorite book of all time. Wonderful, read it and enjoy!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2010

    WONDERFUL!!! My third reading.

    Love the whole series...add to personal library....read over in years to come.

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    great book

    read this book 30 years ago and always remembered it. the best one of the series by far. gave it to both of my daughters for Christmas.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2009

    Best Book Ever Written

    This is an awesome book. It spans several generations of a family, showing the good and the bad of a family. I have read this book twice and I still love it. It is a permanent addition to my library of books.

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  • Posted November 18, 2009

    Thirty years later, still my favorite book!

    This became my favorite book after first reading it in 1979. Although having read many more books after, this one always stayed with me; if asked the question: What is your favorite book? The answer never changed: A Woman of Substance. Now recently having re-read this book, it still remains my favorite story. The sequels are great too. Yet, there is just something about the beginning of Emma Harte's story that makes it extra special and my all-time favorite. Perfect timing for an anniversary edition as it will make a great holiday gift for friends.

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  • Posted October 29, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Best book ever!!!

    This is where it all began, Emma Harte from a young maid to a strong woman that made a mark/legend for herself. Rags to riches from her own strength and determination - no hand outs, just hard work. Must read for everyone!! It's one of my favorite book in my library. Fabulous authror Barbara Taylor Bradford.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2004

    Add 5 more Stars! This book is a 10!!!

    I first read watched the mini-series in high school (1989) and related to the lead character played so well by Jenny Seagrove. Then I read the book....even better. I watched the movie again this year and now as a 28year old newly-wed and working mother. I relate to it even more and I am inspired by Emma even more.I have been contemplating striking out on my own for so long; but courage and confidence seems to fail me atimes. As you begin to watch the movie or read the book you actually feel as though you have known these characters all your life. THIS IS A DEFINITE READ FOR ALL WOMEN @ ANY AGE. IT DARES YOU TO BELIEVE IN YOURSELF,YOUR DREAMS AND WHERE THEY CAN TAKE YOU.

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