First, Barbara Taylor Bradford followers will indeed recognize this as the anniversary of
her first book in the Emma Harte Series thirty years ago.
In Breaking the Rules, "M" as she calls herself, is the granddaughter of Emma and has
inherited her spunk. Interestingly, the narrator, Katherine Kellgren’s, voice for M is reminiscent
of Audrey Hepburn, and it is difficult to listen to without thinking of her. This story begins as
a typical stylish romantic New York fashion story but takes a turn into a mysterious dramatic
heroine story, something the reader doesn’t bargain for in the beginning. Bradford introduces the
reader to an elite set of characters constantly jetting off to exotic places and eventful lives.
Fleeing her English country home after a violent attack, 23 year old M moves to New York and
takes on the new city with guts and glory in an attempt to reinvent herself. She begins a modeling
career that starts a journey to new places and a new love. She becomes a sought after celebrity and
marries a handsome actor. But it isn’t long before the perpetrator of her unfortunate assault
reappears in her life. M has had to pull from her inner resources, heritage, and friends before,
but now she has to protect them. Here is where the story takes on a new spin.
I found the audiobook to be a little disconcerting. The award winning narrator Katherine
Kellgren’s dialect is certainly British and adds to the technical flavor the author projects;
but a few chapters into the book it becomes apparent that she lacks the ability to change character
voice easily. This I found comedic and somewhat annoying. And the long list of characters in the
novel made it even more apparent. I am not sure how this could be alleviated, but if you can ignore
this, the narrator does provide an authentic voice to the characters as a whole.
Bradford readers will enjoy this tale of Matriarch Emma’s granddaughter and new readers will enjoy
escaping into the world of romantic glamour and glitz.