Book Review/Rant: Dangerous to Know by Barbara Taylor Bradford

I really need to do a better job of playing book roulette.

Although I’d taken a bit of a break from my bookshelf cleanout while I worked on some other projects, the cold rainy weather has put me in the mood to curl up with a hot mug of coffee and a good book.

I got the coffee part right.

I selected Dangerous to Know by Barbara Taylor Bradford mostly because the volume contained two novels and I’d already read one of them. (That was probably about ten years ago…oops!) This made for a quick way to clear out some shelf space.

As I usually do in a book review, I’ll start with what I liked. Bradford uses her eloquent descriptive powers to create gorgeous backdrops in the mind’s eye. The flawless writing made the beginning of Dangerous to Know an intriguing read with distinctive characters and the sense that a major revelation would be divulged at every turn.

Then things got weird.

I don’t want to give away too much, in case you’re determined to read this book, but I certainly wish I hadn’t. While things are a little uncomfortable when it’s revealed that a woman ends up marrying her own guardian, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. What starts out like a classic murder mystery turns into fictional dirty laundry that I’m hard-pressed to understand why anyone would want to write or publish.

And when it comes to the structure of the plot, holy exposition, Batman! Aside from a few arguments, lunches, and memorial services, Dangerous to Know gives several main characters the chance to unload every grievance they’ve ever suffered. This reflective diarrhea isn’t unpleasant to read, but it kept me wondering when the real story was about to start. It turns out that’s not until the very end, when an elderly deus ex machina steps forward to save the reader from the monotony of it all and fill us in on just how screwed up her family truly is.

Overall, I’m glad this experience is over. Wish me luck as I head to the bookshelf for my next read!

* * *

Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

8 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews

8 responses to “Book Review/Rant: Dangerous to Know by Barbara Taylor Bradford

  1. Dear Ashley,
    thanks for the review. I really appreciate that you didn’t write one of the many positive reviews.
    A question: I read you are an author. I am an author as well. Most of my books were published by Random House and it’s imprints in most of the European and Asian countries. But I don’t have an agent in the US. Do you know some agency you can recommend?

  2. Oh no, I hope the author never reads this blog post. She’ll be devastated. That said, sometimes it amazes me what gets published, and even what is on the so called, “top ten” list. I think publishers might just be trying to clear stock. I’m reading an almost ignored book at the moment — Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy, and loving every page of this unusual tale.

    • I would feel bad if the author read it, but at least I can say I was honest! Yes, sometimes it’s a real surprise what publishers will put out there. Not every book is a good one, unfortunately!

  3. Fictional dirty laundry I can live with in certain genres, but long passages of exposition, no thanks. Well, maybe your next book will be better!

  4. Pingback: Book Review: Moonfall by Jack McDevitt | Ashley O'Melia, Author

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