Ten years later, Katie, a struggling actress in New York, is still haunted by the tragedy. Her friend Carly remains in a coma, and Katie desperately wants to achieve success and stardom not only for herself but also for her two old friends. Her big chance comes when she is discovered and wins a major role in a Broadway play. A promising love affair adds to the excitement of working in the theater; but Katie must face the demons of the past before she can embrace the possibilities of the future. In sixteen previous bestselling novels, Barbara Taylor Bradford has enthralled millions of readers with pade-turning plots and characters that linger in the heart and mind long after the book is closed. The Triumph of Katie Byrne will captivate her devoted fans and win her a whole new audience. From the Hardcover edition.
Long celebrated as a bestselling chronicler of women's lives, Bradford adds a mystery twist to her latest tale of romantic suspense. At 17, Katie Byrne and her lifelong best friends, Denise and Carly, share a passion to act on Broadway and plan to move from their mid-Connecticut town to New York after high school graduation. One day, Katie's early departure from their daily after-school acting rehearsals in Denise's uncle's barn saves her from a brutal attack on the other girls. With Denise dead and Carly in a coma, Katie fears she'll be the next victim, and for a time, acting loses its appeal. Ten years later, the murderer is yet to be found, Carly remains in a coma and Katie has picked up the pieces of her life and moved to London, studying in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. When she's offered the part of Emily Bront� in a play bound for Broadway, she realizes it's the chance of a lifetime. But she's apprehensive about returning to face the ghosts of her past and hesitates to fulfill her childhood dream without her best friends to share it. Bradford sets a quick pace by introducing tough police detective Mac MacDonald, aka Mac the Knife, and by showing how Katie and her family dealing with the tragedy. The second half falls off, however, reverting mainly to inner dialogues and Katie's doubts about her ability to perform on stage. A too convenient, totally unmotivated solution to the murder caps the curiously thin narrative, in which Bradford never fully renders her characters. This is a fast but shallow read, perhaps satisfying to Bradford's fans but not a significant milestone in her career. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 04, 2001
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Excerpt from The Triumph of Katie Byrne by Barbara Taylor Bradford
The girl sat on a narrow bench, center stage, her body bent forward, one elbow on her knee, a hand supporting her head. The thinker, deeply thinking, her body language seemed to convey.
She was dressed very simply, boyishly, in a loose grey knitted tunic cinched by a black leather belt, worn with black tights and ballet slippers. Her long reddish-gold hair was plaited, the plaits wound tightly around her head, so that the finished effect was like a burnished-copper cap gleaming under the pinspot shining down. The girl's name was Katie Byrne and she was seventeen and acting was her entire life.
She was about to act for her favorite audience -- an audience of two, her best friends, Carly Smith and Denise Matthews. They sat on straight-backed wooden chairs in front of the makeshift stage in the old barn which belonged to Ted Matthews, Denise's uncle. Both girls were the same age as Katie, and had been friends since childhood; all three were fellow members of the amateur acting group at the high school in the rural Connecticut area where they all lived.
Katie had chosen to perform a speech from one of Shakespeare's plays at the school's upcoming Christmas concert. It was only two months away, and she had recently begun to rehearse the piece; Carly and Denise were also perfecting their chosen speeches for the same concert, rehearsing with her in the barn almost every day.
Now, at last, Katie lifted her head, stared out into space, and focused her blue eyes on the back wall of the barn, as if she saw something visible only to herself. Taking a deep breath, she began.
" 'To be or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them. To die -- ' "