A SUDDEN CHANGE OF HEART by Barbara Taylor Bradford


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A listless sojourn in the social realm of ample income, accommodation, and achievement, as Bradford (Power of a Woman, 1997, etc.) visits such hot issues as art stolen from Holocaust victims, incest, and breast cancer. Though five years younger, Laura Valiant has known Claire Benson since their childhood, when her family moved into Claire’s New York City apartment house. They spent their girlhood summers together on Laura’s grandparents” farm in Connecticut. As the story opens in the mid-1990s, the two women are successful, wealthy, and mostly happy: Laura, married to the handsome Doug, is a partner in an art dealership. Claire, divorced and the editor of a French magazine, lives in Paris with her teenaged daughter Natasha. When they—re reunited in Paris, Claire still seems angry with her former husband Phillippe Lavillard, a renowned doctor; she’s also unnaturally thin. Laura, though her business is flourishing, worries about Doug, who seems strangely preoccupied. And sure enough, in the following year, their lives change: Laura learns that a painting sought by a client was taken by the Nazis from a Holocaust victim; her marriage ends; and when Claire arrives to spend the summer on the farm, she tells Laura that she’s ill with terminal breast cancer, while also revealing for the first time that she was abused as a child (which may be why her own marriage failed?). After Claire’s death, Laura, now Natasha’s guardian, finds herself inexplicably drawn to Phillippe. She divorces Doug, who has a new love anyway, and discovers that Rosa, Phillippe’s mother, is the daughter of a Jewish family, whose art was stolen by the Nazis. With an indefatigable lust for symmetry, Bradford sends Laura off to track the art down, and . . . . A tired (very tired) homage to sisterhood. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Feb. 16th, 1999
ISBN: 0-385-49274-X
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 1999


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