cover image Everything to Gain

Everything to Gain

Barbara Taylor Bradford / Author HarperCollins Publishers $24

Bradford weighs in with a maudlin saga about a woman's struggle to go on after a devastating tragedy. Her narrator, New York wife and mother Mallory Keswick, feels she is showered with blessings, but just as the family is making plans to go to London for Christmas, her husband, twin children and dog are murdered in an attempted carjacking. Depressed and contemplating suicide, Mal flees to London, where she slowly learns to accept her losses. Returning to the States, she turns the family's Connecticut weekend retreat into a successful business venture and eventually meets a man who is able to breach her emotional barricades. Spanning five years and two continents, Bradford's chronicle offers several affecting passages--but when Mal continues to mention the loss of her dog in the same tragic litany as her husband and children, credibility evaporates. Monotonous inventory listings of the trappings of material success slow the narrative momentum, as does the author's flat prose and tin-ear dialogue, especially ludicrous since Mal is supposedly a Radcliffe graduate. Nor does Bradford reach beyond her tried and true romantic formula for greater complexity--or even to tie up some potentially intriguing plot lines that mysteriously evaporate after they are introduced. Major ad/promo ; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selection ; audio rights to HarperAudio ; author tour. (Aug.)