A Secret Affair by Barbara Taylor Bradford (Review)

A Secret Affair by Barbara Taylor Bradford


Seeking some much-needed rest and relaxation after a long stint as a TV-news war correspondent in Bosnia, 33-year-old Bill Fitzgerald travels to Venice. There he is struck by the dark beauty of a young American woman, Vanessa Stewart, a 27-year-old glass designer from New York. Unhappily married, she welcomes a no-strings friendship with Bill. Soon they embark on an illicit affair and find themselves desperately in love. They vow to see each other whenever and wherever they can. But on their third meeting, one of them does not show up.


I do like Barbara Taylor Bradford but I will be honest I haven’t read any of her books since I was a teenager so when I saw this book at a National Trust second hand bookshop I knew I had to have it and get reading her books again. 

This book is considerably smaller than her books from the Emma Harte series so it didn’t take me long to read. However, sadly it wasn’t quality over quantity with this book. There was no real story to this book and when a story really started to come through the book was over which I found very disappointing. 

Bill is a war reporter who has clearly led an interesting life but it is also a life which has at times been quite sad. I would have loved to have learned a bit more about Bill and his history but sadly we only get a small snippet of his life in this book. I also found it interesting that after months and months living in a war zone he chooses to go to Venice rather than going home to spend time with his family but maybe that is just me. 

Vanessa is another interesting character in this book who I found quite fascinating but yet again I found the background and history of this character lacking. Vanessa is in an unhappy marriage and so meeting Bill is like a breath of fresh air in her life. Meeting Bill also makes her face up to some things in her life and make some hard decisions. 

I will be honest in my opinion this book was not up to Barbara Taylor Bradford’s usual standard. Her characters fell flat for me and the storyline just went from event to another without any real padding. It was like she had made an outline of the story with a timeline of events but had forgotten to add in the extra bits that give her books the usual flare. I really debated my rating of this book and have changed my mind more than once on what I wanted to rate this book as. I finally decided 3 out of 5 Dragons because although this book was lacking a few things for me I still enjoyed it. 


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About the author

Barbara Taylor Bradford is the author of 30 bestselling novels, including The Cavendon Women, Cavendon Hall, 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 88 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.


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