Reviews provided by Syndetics
Bradford (Letter from a Stranger, 2012) sets her latest novel during 2011's Arab Spring. Serena Stone has given up her career as a war photographer and is at work on a memoir about her late father, also a famous war photographer. She reunites with her former lover Zac, another photojournalist, when he agrees to leave the front lines. But the tug of their profession proves too much, and the pair winds up covering the revolution in Libya. Serena's sisters and their romantic intrigues waft in and out of the story, and much attention is given to the girls' deceased mother, a famous movie star depicted as a cross between Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly. Rather late in the game, Serena discovers a set of photos in her father's files that calls her parentage into question. There is enough juicy material here for three separate novels, and in attempting to weave these strands together, Bradford leaves several characters underdeveloped and relies heavily on expositional dialogue, which gets a bit clunky. Still, her fans will be undaunted. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Big, splashy print ads; author appearances; a social-media campaign; and other publicity efforts will alert Bradford's fan base.--Wetli, Patty Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Clichd and overlong novel about war photographers coping with PTSD, love affairs and family secrets. Bradford's protagonist, 30-year-old Serena, is a combat photographer who has left the front lines to pen a biography of her late father, Tommy, founder of a photojournalism empire and a former war correspondent himself. When another photojournalist, ex-boyfriend Zac, is brought from Afghanistan to Venice by a mutual friend, Serena, summoned to his side to help him decompress, finds herself falling for him all over again. The scene shifts to Nice, where Serena reconnects with her older twin sisters, Cara and Jessica, at a villa inherited from their late mother, a movie star of Elizabeth Taylor stature. Over many, many glasses of pink Veuve Clicquot and cups of tea, repetitious conversations belabor mostly peripheral and insignificant details--about Cara's and Jessica's unadventurous love lives, an upcoming anniversary celebrating their departed parents and Zac's continuing recovery from a trauma that was never rendered convincingly in the first place. It isn't until two-thirds in that a potentially riveting "secret from the past" emerges: While combing through her father's archives, Serena finds a cache of photographs revealing that Tommy may have dallied briefly with another war photographer, Valentina. There are photos of a very pregnant Val, with a disturbing caption suggesting that Serena may not be a movie star's daughter after all. Serena can get no confirmation of her origins from her sisters or her father's closest friends. But Zac distracts her from this dilemma with another. Although he promised to give up war-zone reporting forever, he wants to go to Libya to cover the rebellion against Gadhafi. And he insists on taking Serena, now his fiancee, with him. Serena has an ulterior motive for agreeing: Val is now in Libya. But that's not the most distressing information she's withholding from Zac. However, the prodigious amount of front-loaded exposition may discourage readers long before the excitement starts. A gripping novella embedded in a thick tome of largely irrelevant window dressing.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.