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Secrets from the past / Barbara Taylor Bradford.

By: Bradford, Barbara Taylor, 1933-.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London : HarperCollins, 2012Description: viii, 403 p. ; 24 cm.ISBN: 9780007304172.Subject(s): Fathers -- Fiction | Rescues -- Fiction | Family secrets -- Fiction | War photographers -- Fiction | Arab Spring, 2010- -- Fiction | Photojournalists -- Fiction | Libya -- Fiction | Venice (Italy) -- FictionDDC classification: 813.54 Summary: Leaving her successful job after the unexpected death of her famous father, photojournalist Serena Stone risks her life to save a former lover and discovers an archive of her late father's work in war torn Libya that reveals a shocking truth about her parents' marriage.
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Leaving her successful job after the unexpected death of her famous father, photojournalist Serena Stone risks her life to save a former lover and discovers an archive of her late father's work in war torn Libya that reveals a shocking truth about her parents' marriage.

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

One It was a beautiful day. The sky was a huge arc of delphinium blue, cloudless, and shimmering with bright sunlight above the soaring skyline of Manhattan. The city where I have lived, off and on, for most of my life was looking its best on this cold Saturday morning. As I walked up Sutton Place, returning to my apartment, I began to shiver. Gusts of strong wind were blowing off the East River, and I was glad I was wearing jeans instead of a skirt, and warm clothes. Still shivering, I turned up the collar of my navy blue pea jacket and wrapped my cashmere scarf tighter around my neck. It was unusually chilly for March. On the other hand, I was enjoying my walk after being holed up for four days endeavoring to finish a difficult chapter. Although I am a photojournalist and photographer by profession, I recently decided to write a book, my first. Having hit a difficult part earlier this week, I'd been worrying it to death for days, like a dog with a bone. Finally I got it right last night. It felt good to get out, to stretch my legs, to look around me and to remind myself that there was a big wide world out here. I increased my pace. Despite the sun, the wind was bitter. The weather seemed to be growing icier by the minute, and I hurried faster, almost running, needing to get home to the warmth. My apartment was on the corner of Sutton and East Fifty-seventh, and I was relieved when it came into view. Once the traffic light changed, I dashed across the street and into my building, exclaiming to the doorman, as I sped past him, "It's Arctic weather, Sam." "It is, Miss Stone. You're better off staying inside today." I nodded, smiled, headed for the elevator. Once inside my apartment I hung up my scarf and pea jacket in the hall cupboard, went into the kitchen, put the kettle on for tea, and headed for my office. I glanced at the answering machine on my desk and saw that I had two messages. I sat down, pressed play, and listened. The first was from my older sister, Cara, who was calling from Nice. "Hi, Serena, it's me. I've found another box of photographs, mostly of Mom. Looking fab. You might want to use a few in the book. Shall I send by FedEx? Or what? I'm heading out now, so leave a message. Or call me tomorrow. Big kiss." The second message was from my godfather. "It's Harry. Just confirming Monday night, honey. Seven-thirty. Usual place. Don't bother to call back. See ya." The whistling kettle brought me to my feet and I went back to the kitchen. As I made the tea I felt a frisson of apprehension, then an odd sense of foreboding ... something bad was going to happen ... I felt it in my bones. I pushed this dark feeling away, carried the mug of tea back to my office, telling myself that I usually experienced premonitions only when I was at the front, when I sensed imminent danger, knew I had to run for my life before I was blown to smithereens by a bomb, or took a bullet. To have such feelings now was irrational. I shook my head, chiding myself for being overly imaginative. But in fact I was to remember this moment later and wonder if I had some sort of sixth sense. Copyright © 2013 by Beaji Enterprises, Inc. Excerpted from Secrets from the Past by Barbara Taylor Bradford All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Booklist Review

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.

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