Woman of substance is a powerful rag to riches story of a girl who rose from the ranks of a servant to one of the richest entrepreneurs in the world. I read this book in my teens and it was the first time I read about women in business. Reading about Emma Harte ruling a business empire propelled my young teenage heart to dream something on a similar vein. The way Emma worked hard at every point in her life to overcome each and every obstacle and how she rose to the top in the corporate world would inspire any young teen in a life-changing way. I remember underlining important passages in the book and logging important quotes in my diary to motivate me every morning or during my exams. I have read the book several times ever since.
Emma’s life is not a fairytale and she not only faces many adversaries in her business but in her personal life as well. She was ruthlessly ambitious and less emotional at certain points of her life. But that was all because of her instinct to survive that made her way more calculative and ruthless as she was. She was honest and upright in all her business dealings though and nowhere power or riches corrupted her at any point in her life. She was a role model to many in her huge family as well as her readers but sadly towards the end, her own children turned against her. This was due to the fact that it was her business and hardships that took over her life to earn the daily bread that she could hardly devote any time to her children during their growing years. Hence there was a detachment with her from her children’s side when they grew up. Their mother was only a pay cheque for them to live an easy and luxurious life. However, the pain inflicted by her children was all brought to justice when her grandchildren turned up immensely loyal and loving towards her. Although Emma’s life was more about business and her struggles the other volumes in the series introduces many characters and makes the series a versatile and multi-dimensional read. There were many descriptions and details where the settings of the book are concerned which I too as an author picked up from most authors of that time. Often, on my part, I find myself fighting the urge to become overly descriptive or get into details about the settings in a novel.