Sunday Book Review on Monday – A Woman of Substance – Barbara Taylor Bradford


Book reviews


Today’s book review to end book reviews for this year is on A Woman of Substance, by Barbara Taylor Bradford, a book published in 1979, yet, timeless in storyline.


Bradford was my most favorite author for years and decades before I began to diversify my reading into other genres other than great reads to escape into someone else’s imaginary world. I consider this book second to my all-time favorite, The Thorn Birds. This book also coming in at over 800 pages also became a blockbuster hit and mini series which I too enjoyed. After the success of the book there were several more books written as part of the continuing saga of the heroine of the book, Emma Harte, and I thoroughly enjoyed and waited in anticipation for every new book as it came available to purchase.


A Woman of Substance

This was the original cover

A Woman of Substance revised


This is the new and improved cover (I prefer the original)


The Blurb:


One of the top ten bestselling novels ever written with more than 32 million copies sold!

This record-shattering New York Times bestseller was Barbara Taylor Bradford’s breakout novel. It tells the story of a determined woman who will face betrayal from those closest to her, as well as the loss of a great love, only to emerge triumphant.

From the servants’ quarters of a manor house on the brooding Yorkshire moors to the helm of a profitable international business, Emma Harte’s life is a sweeping saga of unbreakable spirit and resolve. Rising from abject poverty to glittering wealth at the upper echelons of society, there is only one man the indomitable Emma cannot have–and only one she yearns for. The novel was also the subject of a popular 1984 miniseries starring Jenny Seagrove and Deborah Kerr.


From crushing poverty to the height of wealth and success, Barbara Taylor Bradford’s The Emma Harte Saga begins with the groundbreaking international bestseller A Woman of Substance, tracing Emma Harte’s legacy through multiple generations of indomitable women.

Emma’s vision and drive have an indelible impact on her family and the men who dare to love her. Through the sequels Hold the Dream and To Be the Best, her granddaughter Paula must defend everything Emma built–not just from outside competitors, but also from internal threats. Told with deep emotion, humor, and compelling honesty, the strong heroines of this series continue to move and inspire readers decades after first publication.


My Review – 5 Stars

The saga of Emma Harte takes us to Yorkshire, England where the story begins where she is a servant in a manor home. The story spans over 6 decades, taking us from Emma’s beginnings in poverty to her determined rise of power as she vows to avenge those (her employer and son) who had wronged her in efforts  to never be poor again, or to be at the mercy of others.

Through the story, old friends remain, such as Blackie, Emma’s dearest friend, and barely the only one she can trust as the years ensue with various loveless marriages and some shady characters, family and otherwise, out to ruin and steal her business. As the years unfold we meet more of Emma’s family, and ultimately the family who she decides will be trustworthy enough to carry on the Emma Harte empire.

This was an epic read full of emotion, encompassing courage, love, deceit, empowerment, death and ultimately, Emma’s determination to outsmart all those evil doers seeking to ruin her. Applause for Emma Harte, a true Woman of Substance.


Get this book here on Amazon 

19 thoughts on “Sunday Book Review on Monday – A Woman of Substance – Barbara Taylor Bradford

  1. Like you Debbie I remember relishing The Thorn Birds. I never read Barbara Taylor Bradford but was a huge fan of similar novels featuring the empowerment and self actualization of a young woman, from the neo-Gothic romances of Victoria Holt (following the Jane Eyre model) to Mary Stewart’s more modern tales of women discovering love and adventure in foreign locales, to the domestic dramas of Anne Tyler. I moved on as well, but it was rewarding to take a look back through this review at an earlier genre that inspired me in my youth. Thanks!


    1. I think we all find a starting point where we resonate with a certain author when we’re younger, which often takes us on the path of reading the books that fill our imaginations with characters we identify with and sometimes inspire us to want to model our desires on.:)


    2. Thanks Jeanne. It’s funny how we gravitate to books when we’re younger- what captivates our imaginations and resonates with who we are or aspire to be like, often setting a path to the other types of books we form an interest for as we mature. 🙂


  2. This is my favorite book of all time by a wonderful author. It is an incredible story of the power and resilience of one woman to stand against impossible obstacles in life and forge ahead. Thanks for sharing, Debbie. ❤


  3. I remember this oldie but goldie. It made the office rounds back in the early eighties. I wonder how I’d feel about that book if I read it again today. Great interview. The story’s strength brought back highlights just from reading your review. Thanks, Debby. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s