A Woman of Substance is a novel by Barbara Taylor Bradford, and was published in 1979.
The book portrays how a woman struggles through life but ends up building an empire through her own h determination.
The story in the book is about a young and impoverished Emma Harte, who embarks on a journey of survival and later in life achieves what a few women with her kind of background could achieve. With the enthusiasm to succeed, the iron-willed Emma starts up a small shop which later grows and turns out t be the world’s greatest department store and an international business empire Harte Enterprises.
In the earlier days Emma was a teenager and working as a servant at Fairley Hall in rural Yorkshire. Her father, Jack, and two brothers, Winston and Frank, also work for the Fairley family. Jack and Frank work at the mill and Winston works at the brickyard. After the death of his mother, Winston joins the navy as he had wanted to since he was a child.
With Emma spending a lot of her time with the Fairley family, she becomes friends with the younger son of the family, Edwin and they bonded because they were consoling one another over the death of their mothers.
Emma and Edwin realized that what they felt for each other was more than friendship, their intimacy gets Emma pregnant. Edwin is shocked at this news yet his not willing to marry Emma so she runs away to Leeds.
Although she was unhappily married twice, she was in truly in love with only one man who she could never marry. Harte Enterprises becomes all could be pride of in life. Emma’s sons discuss a plan to force her to retire and break up her empire; she changes her will and leaves her fortune to her grand children. With those closest to her trying to threaten to destroy her empire through their greed and envy, Emma brilliantly outsmarts her enemies.