Q&A: Barbara Taylor Bradford

Long and Short Reviews is pleased to welcome back Barbara Taylor Bradford, whose newest book Cavenden Hall was recently released. Ms. Bradford was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.

Several of your books have been adapted to television. Of the ones that remain, which would you most like to see adapted and why?

Barbara Taylor Bradford: I would like to see all of them made, of course, but if I had to chose one I would go for Cavendon Hall. My latest novel can be a series, especially since I am now writing the sequel.

How did you do the research for Cavendon Hall?

BTB: Some years ago I wrote an Edwardian series called The Ravenscar Dynasty, set around the same time as Cavendon. I did a great deal of research for that series, and kept it. So I had a number of historical books about that period and the First World War. Because I am English, i was taught a lot of English history at school, and anyway, I happen to love that period. It was eventful and glamorous, and has stayed in my mind.

With the book being an “Upstairs/Downstairs” type of book—there are going to be comparisons to Downton Abbey. What do you consider the major differences in the stories?

BTB: There have been a couple of comparisons to Downton, but not many. This is because people have understood that this is an entirely different kind of book. Yes, it’s set in the same period, has a great stately home and titled aristocrats. But my novel is about the upstairs folk, the middle folks, and the downstairs servants. The Swanns, who have served as retainers of the Inghams for 160 years (different generations) are dominant in the novel. There is no one like the Swanns in Downton. Furthermore, I started the family saga concept back in 1979 with A Woman Of Substance, and other books including The Ravenscar Dynasty. The British Press calls me “the undisputed Queen of the family saga” because I was writing them long before Downton. Also, three movies were made for television based on A Woman Of Substance, Hold The Dream and To Be The Best, making viewing time of fourteen hours of the first series in the Emma Harte saga. There are many major differences in the story to Downton. And since I started this type of story first, I don’t worry about comparisons. But anybody who liked the TV series will enjoy Cavendon Hall.

You and your husband have enjoyed travelling a lot. Where is your absolute favorite place to go and relax and why?

BTB: Bob and I always love to travel when I have finished a book, or he has finished a film. We have always loved the South of France, and also Venice. We will be stopping off in Venice this summer before going on a private cruise around the Greek Islands.

About the Author:

Photo credit: Julian Dufort

Photo credit: Julian Dufort

Barbara Taylor Bradford was born and brought up in England, and started her writing career as a journalist. She has written twenty-six international bestsellers. This is her twenty-seventh novel. In 2007 Queen Elizabeth awarded her the OBE for her literary achievements. She currently lives in New York with her husband, TV and film producer Robert Bradford.

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Cavendon HallFrom the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes an epic saga of intrigue and mystique set in Edwardian England. Cavendon Hall is home to two families, the aristocratic Inghams and the Swanns who serve them. Charles Ingham, the sixth Earl of Mowbray, lives there with his wife Felicity and their six children. Walter Swann, the premier male of the Swann family, is valet to the earl. His wife Alice, a clever seamstress who is in charge of the countess’s wardrobe, also makes clothes for the four daughters. For centuries, these two families have lived side-by-side, beneath the backdrop of the imposing Yorkshire manor. Lady Daphne, the most beautiful of the Earl’s daughters, is about to be presented at court when a devastating event changes her life and threatens the Ingham name. With World War I looming, both families will find themselves tested in ways they never thought possible. Loyalties will be challenged and betrayals will be set into motion. In this time of uncertainty, one thing is sure: these two families will never be the same again.

Cavendon Hall is Barbara Taylor Bradford at her very best, and its sweeping story of secrets, love, honor, and betrayal will have readers riveted up to the very last page.

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble


  1. I adore Barbara Taylor-Bradford, her books were all touchstones for me when growing up, and I’m excited beyond belief for this new one! You are my super-hero rockstars for interviewing her! This post reminded me to go BUY! Thank you 🙂

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