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Unexpected Blessings Hardcover – January 4, 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 84 customer reviews
Book 5 of 7 in the Harte Family Saga Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Emma Harte, the redoubtable heroine of veteran novelist Bradford's 1976 bestseller, A Woman of Substance, has been dead for 30 years, but she's still a player in the continuing family saga. Her pronouncements and unwritten rules are well remembered by all the descendants in the dynasty and business empire she founded. This installment begins where Emma's Secret (2004) left off, with Evan Hughes, the young visitor from the U.S., obtaining a dream job in fashion at the renowned London department store, Harte's, and beginning a romance with Gideon Harte, heir apparent to the family newspaper enterprise. In the previous volume, Evan learned that her own father was the illegitimate child of another Harte scion (making Evan and Gideon cousins a few times removed), and now she wonders whether she should divulge this secret to her father, who is soon to arrive in London. A true crisis distracts her, however: the disappearance of three-year-old Adele, adored daughter of store manager Tessa, one of Emma's great-grandchildren. Linnet, Tessa's half-sister and sometimes business rival, comes to the rescue and Adele soon reappears, but tensions between the sisters persist. Meanwhile, Linnet's cousin India has fallen in love with a painter from a working-class background, and India must battle her family's disapproval. The exploits and adventures of Bradford's indomitable heroines continue to make for lusty escapist fiction in this robust fifth novel in the series.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Bradford continues the saga of the descendants of Emma Harte, the heroine of A Woman of Substance (1979), in this follow-up to Emma's Secret (2004), which saw American Evan Hughes travel to England to work for Harte's department stores, only to learn she herself is actually related to the legendary matriarch. Evan has to tell her father, who is wary of the upper-class Hartes and everything they represent, about her engagement to Gideon Harte, one of Emma's descendants. Evan's cousin, Tessa, is contending with problems of her own: her young daughter was snatched from the grounds of her home. Her soon-to-be ex-husband, Mark, who is playing hardball in the divorce proceedings, is the one who took her and is dead-set on joint custody, something Tessa opposes. Another cousin, India, learns that her boyfriend, sexy artist Dusty, has a few secrets of his own when his ex-girlfriend bursts into his apartment and stabs him. And, before the novel ends, another secret about the past is discovered. Fans of Bradford's long-running Harte saga will no doubt be happy with this lively new chapter in the lives of the clan. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (January 4, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312307047
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312307042
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mrs A on February 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I believe that Barbara Taylor Bradford has "milked" Emma Harte for all she is worth. In the past I have enjoyed her books - although the characters Paula O'Neil and Emily Harte were a little too flawless for human beings. This story doesn't seem to go anywhere. I never read any resentment on the part of India's family towards her "blue-collar" boyfriend, as a matter of fact, the most snobbish member of the family (according to A Woman of Substance and Hold the Dream) Edwina, Dowager Countess of Dunvale - is eager to meet him and embraces him right away. The complete change of Edwina's character really bothered me! Also, she (BTB) invents a son for Frank and Natalie Harte, when it was mentioned in AWOS that they only had 1 daughter.

It seemed like pages went by for the ONE day that Adele was missing, and then at other times weeks went by in a blink of an eye. Actions attributed to Winston Harte and Emily Barkstone in Hold the Dream, were then 'remembered' by Paula about her and Shane.

Storylines started in previous books - such as Michael Kalinski, after divorcing Valentine, starting to woo Amanda Linde (Emily's sister)that would have linked the three clans in marriage, which is harped on incessantly in this and Emma's Secret; and the fact that Lorne and Tessa where left substantial shares of the Yorkshire Consolidated Newspaper Company, but neither one work for or even act like that business exists; are completely dropped! If you only read this book, you would think that Winston Harte owned the newspapers & media company outright.

Why isn't Daisy part of this story? Why does Tessa look like a "Fairley" when her description in Hold the Dream is listed as "another Harte - red haired and green eyed"

These kinds of gaps and leaps make me crazy. Was ANYONE employed to edit this book?
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Format: Hardcover
This book, one more in a continuation of the Emma Harte saga proves that it's difficult to create an encore that rivals the performance of the wonderful 'A Woman of Substance'. This book had too many characters, storylines and insufficient detail. I had the feeling the writing was rushed, written too quickly to get it to press and not enough time was taken to give both the characters and storyline the depth that Emma's descendants deserve and that was originally created in the first book. I thought the twin tower replay was in poor taste and was both overdramatized and underutilized in the story line. This book was, in short, boring and disappointing. A pity, because so much more could have been done with this series, as I have found that each successive book is rather lackluster.
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Format: Hardcover
The only people that can enjoy this book are those that have read the series. I havent and it was unbelievably boring. How can a great grand mother who DIED OVER not 5, 10 or 15 but 30 YEARS AGO have so much influence on her family memebers. There is nothing that makes me care for the characters when all i read about is how much they are snobish and cliquey, and wealthy, privelged and no outsiders allowed and Emma said this Emma said that. Its just not possible that family members down the line will mention emma's name evey single day of their lives. The book is also poorly written, so much exposition without any story. I througly hated this book. The writer should have ended with emma hartes story. The hartes are so elitist, i though i was reading about a secret society. Imagine ones daughter is kidnapped by her crazy father. What do you do? No, dont call the police because a long dead woman said no outsiders allowed. IT is much better if the father harms the child than having the GASP police(outsiders) involved. I am ranting now, but that book was a waste of time. I couldnt finish it. PLS dont waste your money.
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Format: Hardcover
"Unespected Blessings "is filled with past writing of Emma Harte and her huge family. Why do we have to again hear how each person in this novel is related to Emma and how beautiful they are and how they love each other. Also what wonderful houses they live in, in detail, teeth grinding detail. If I want to decorate a house, I wil buy a decorating book. Also as the head of a large family, Emma does not set much of a role model, with her children born out of wedlock and her living with a married man for many years. I wonder if we are going to read about her great, great, great, grandchildren and their love affairs which also will produce children without marriage. The time that she really got hold of a interesting plot, was the World Trade Center, which was written off immediately after Shane's part was disclosed. Going back to Emma in the final chapters is a page filler, is there anything we have left to learn about her? At the wedding, more time is devoted to thedescription of the brides dress than to the horrible problems that exist right outside the church door. Will Dusty and India marry? Will Tessa last with Jean-Claude until her divorce? Will Evan and Gideon have their marriage before she gives birth? Who cares? I hope Ms Bradford has all the money she needs, she deserves it, she is a wonderful author, this was an un-necessary book. If you have never read Ms Bradford, go back to " Woman of Substance" and start at the beginning.
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