Where You Belong


Book title: Where You Belong

Author: Barbara Taylor Bradford

Published by:  Dell fiction

Publication year: 1999

If you don’t know where you’re coming from, at least you will definitely know where you belong. This is the first book I’ve ever read and that which speaks about my profession. Barbara sets in the initial chapters of this intriguing but captivating book in an ancient village in kosovo. Valentine Denning alongside her two ‘comrade-in-arm’ (such as Tony Hampton referred to the three of them) Tony and Jack did a war photojournalism coverage in the front-line town by the name Pec (in Kosovo). Barbara Bradford leads her reader well into the heart of the story as she introduces the first casualty in the book. She unleashes this in a time when the mind of the reader was still in intimate romance with what eventually becomes the conflict in this book. Valentine Denning was in love with Tony Hampton prior his death. The death of this lover of hers who doubles as her colleague leaves in her a relic such that she can hardly forget.

As a photographer and a budding journalist, I see Barbara carefully conveys the terminologies such that is obtainable in photography and photojournalism as a whole to drive home her point. Barbara carefully unveils to her reading audience in just some first few chapters what it is to cover war as a photojournalist. I would never have thought of doing war photojournalism with the way she did the analysis. She shows her readers the pain and anguish, that which journalists go through. Val seems to be in love with this married colleague of hers who claimed not to be, but not until his death and then was the truth made known after she attended his memorial. After the situation at the memorial reveals the truth of Tony Hampton’s marital status, Jake Newberg took his time and fill in the gap for his late colleague.

Barbara portrays the characters of Val and Jake quite well in this book as some humanist war photojournalist. It has almost been believed all around the globe up until this present time that Photojournalists and most especially war photojournalists are more of a job enthusiast and carefree about the immediate sufferings of casualties at war sites. But then, Barbara Taylor did justice to these two characters by painting the humanist side of their personality. Well she knows much about this, since she is also a media savvy {See pg 197}.

Thematic Approach

Of all other themes infused in this novel by the author, one dominant theme that expresses best the title of this book is the word ‘Secrecy’. And going to the high point of the story, where does Valentine Denning really belongs? Her mother Margot Scott Denning, Tony Hampton or her newly found love Jake Newberg?

It is very evident that this must have also been the question on every readers mind, but of course we’ve all read where she belongs. With Jake Newberg of course, not with Tony Hampton and never is she read to take up Lowell’s investments or forgive the nonchalant attitude of a mother who was never there for her in her formative years. Margot really got it wrong in the quest to bring back Val to where she originally belongs, thinking if she tells her daughter of Lowell’s wealthy investment (a family company with history dating back to 1898), she will return to where she belong.

But can one forget so soon the pains of ill treatment in her formative years of childhood. Of course your guess was good as mine. Valentine turns it down. Recounting to her mother about her ill-treatment towards her and then, mother unleashing another bombshell of how she had a child (Anjelica) out of wedlock and the implication it had on her trying (but all to no avail) to love Val. But

Valentine Denning finally was free from her mother’s control she left finally glad that she already settled issues with her as her will is concerned.

Secrecy further abounds in this book. Fiona, Tony Hampton’s widow also tells Jake and Val about her husband’s unfaithfulness and extra marital relationship. She details her experience of her husband’s womanizing adventure and how it affects Val. Since Val had wanted to listen, she pays more attention to her, even though she was able to put one and two together at Tony’s memorial. The pain of Tony ‘psychotic’ behaviour according to Valentine causes her to break down but later she gets over it. Jake on the other hand was left in awe after he heard about Tony’s story. They were both disappointed by their former comrade -in-arm attitude. This story is quite a good one but it wouldn’t have been a bad thing to wonder why the author fails in finally resolving to a resolution at the end of this book. Or do we have a sequel to the aftermath of Val’s dealing with Margot Scott Denning, Alexander or Donald’s dealing on inheriting the Lowell’s investment. Well, going with the title and buttressing with the concluding page of this book, we can still conclude Valentine already arrived at the place she belongs.


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