The Hartes again.
And their numbers are legion—in fact, no fewer than 53 names are featured in the genealogy upfront, not including Evan Hughes, heroine of Emma’s Secret (2003) and an American twig of the Harte family tree. Now dwelling in London, lovely Evan lives and breathes retail, just like long-dead Emma Harte, the plucky shopgirl who started it all. Now that Evan has her dream job as an assistant to Linnet O’Neill, Emma’s great-granddaughter, she’s planning a future with her true love, Gideon Harte, Linnet’s cousin and a newspaperman. Linnet, though, has other things to worry about after she fields a frantic phone call from her half-sister Tessa—Adele, Tessa’s precious little girl, has disappeared! Has Mark Longden, Tessa’s estranged husband, kidnapped the child? The cad. Is he after (gasp!) the Harte money? Billions are at stake, and, yes, Adele may be in danger as well. When the clan gathers to discuss the matter, one quiet voice of dissent is raised: Evan wonders whether Adele was in fact taken by a pedophile. Jack Figg, ace investigator, wonders ditto. Carefully modulated anguish sets the tone: Tessa presses a hand to her mouth. Mummy will have to be told before American TV broadcasts the news worldwide! Perhaps it’s just as well that Mummy, otherwise known as Paula O’Neill, director of Harte’s department store in Knightsbridge, is in New York, musing on the cityscape and recapping the legacy of Emma Harte for the umpteenth time, not to mention the family’s power, immense wealth, and ineffable sense of privilege. Yet not even all those wonderful things can stop history: it seems terrorists have flown planes into the World Trade Center. Newspaperman Gideon sees it on CNN and is suitably aghast. But back to the plot: Evan’s dear ones are about to find out that everything is not what it seems, and the revelation of still more family secrets is looming. And—good heavens!—what about Adele?
For the fans, their numbers also legion.