Doubleday, Apr 2001, 24.95, 336 pp.
Ten years ago in Malvern, Connecticut three teenage friends (Katie Byrne, Carly Smith, and Denise Matthews) dreamed of performing together on Broadway. However, the aspirations for two of them tragically ended in the nearby woods. Katie discovers the bloodied unconscious body of Carly while Katie's brother finds the raped and murdered corpse of Denise. Though having DNA evidence from the rape, Detective MacDonald never found the culprit.
Now Katie, a poised actress on the verge of stardom on Broadway, remains haunted and lives in fear that the killer will finish the malevolent task by murdering her. Her dread of being number three has impacted her confidence. Thus, in London, when Katie meets caterer Xenia Leyburn, she accepts the kind offer of solace at the latter's family home where Katie can learn more about her upcoming role as Emily Bronte. Will Katie succeed or will she always look over her shoulder?
THE first 150 pages of THE TRIUMPH OF KATIE BYRNE is some of the most eloquent and insightful descriptions of people coping with a sudden tragedy. The story line slows down a bit when Katie becomes more introspective in the latter half of the novel. Still, that segment displays how talented a writer Barbara Taylor Bradford is as the second half of the book is a well-written character study with touches of romance and police procedural events tied to the plot. Fans of the author will enjoy Ms. Bradford's latest triumph.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner