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Looking Back

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  819 ratings  ·  46 reviews
They are the most unlikely friends: rich, kind, Cecile; brave, talented Norma; and Amanda, the poor girl they met at college. Now Cecile has married her talented architect, Amanda has married Norma's brother and Norma has found a niche with her work as a teacher and her beloved music. But behind the facade of happiness and friendship lie secrets that threaten to tear the t ...more
Unknown Binding, 400 pages
Published December 6th 2001 by Hodder Paperback (first published January 1st 2001)
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The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónLife of Pi by Yann MartelAtonement by Ian McEwanAmerican Gods by Neil GaimanJohn Adams by David McCullough
Best Books of 2001
195th out of 295 books — 141 voters
Looking Back by Belva PlainEvergreen by Belva PlainThe Golden Cup by Belva PlainTapestry by Belva PlainHarvest by Belva Plain
Best of Belva Plain
1st out of 23 books — 1 voter

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,347)
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Hated it. The antiquated language and 1940s attitudes of the characters was incongruous, given that they were using cellphones and listening to CDs. It felt like someone had put the cast of an old 40s movie into a time machine and dumped them into 21st century New England. I hated all the main characters, felt sorry for their husbands and the plot was so transparent that it was completely obvious what was going to happen. *cringe*
Michelle Robinson
I think this book is well written the charachters are well drawn and are quite believable. The is no neat closure at the end of the book. I like that it felt more real.

I personally could not like this book due to the way it ends. I understand that the ending is probably really realistic and what could actually happen. However, I was so disgusted by Norma and her total lack of conscience that I never quite got over it.

In that this book left a lasting impression on me, I would recommend it. Howev
Started out with an interesting description of three girls who went to college together. As the story unfolds, some of their experiences are interesting and somewhat predictable. The situation one of the women gets into to is so horrific, that perhaps I began to disengage from the story. The ending just lost me. However, perhaps, real life is at times, this complex and heartbreaking.
This book is set in modern times however all the characters talk and act like they should be part of their parent's generation which gives the story the feeling of being stuck in a kind of time-warp. On top of that complaint, the stories of these 3 old college buddies didn't really generate much interest with me. I ended up just skimming most of this book.
I hate to leave a book unread once I start but, I wish I had never picked up this book. It was one of Belva's worst stories in my opinion. And she is one of my favorite authors.
I didn't finish this book. Didn't like what was happening
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Avis Exley
Really enjoyed the opening and the relationship of the three girls but grew really irritated by the end. I can't say why without giving away the entire storyline but the affair wasn't at all credible and neither was the betrayal at the very end. The women were all expected to get married and then be little housewives instead of wanting big bad careers but these were educated, intelligent women. I might have accepted this from a book written in the 1940s, when women had few other options, but thi ...more
Dec 16, 2011 Mary rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Bookmooch
They were the most unlikely friends - kind, rich Cecile, brave, talented Norma and Amanda the poor girl they met at college. But behind the facade lies a secret that could tear the three friends apart. I was searching for a picture to go in this post and came across some reviews of Looking Back - the majority of the readers didn't like the book at all. I have to admit that I loved this book myself but then, I love Belva Plain's work. In my opinion, she was a brilliant author. She will be missed ...more
This was my first Belva Plain book. I made it almost to 100 pages but it just wasn't holding my interest. So I looked up what others had to say and that cinched it for me. I'm moving on. Maybe I'll try her again later.
Rhonda Rae Baker
Slower moving yet captivating unraveling of family and with hindsight we all know that things could have been dealt with more admirably. I truly believe that Belva Plain has a voice all her own and it comes from real-life drama within families.

This novel was an eye opener and yet not too surprising with how things unfolded although I was caught up with what happened to the family. I strongly believe that family is the most important thing and family must always remain full of unconditional love
Laurie Mcclary
The story started out slow, in fact I thought about just stopping it. But, I have a terrible cold laying on the couch so I kept on, plus, I have always enjoyed Belva Plain books. Then, the story took a very interesting a twist and I was hooked. Glad I did not put it down.
Deneice Stark
I enjoyed this book like I enjoy all Of Belva Plain's books. One thing that I really alot of books, everyone is beautiful, rich, etc., but, in this book, people were normal...they weren't all beautiful, and they all had some sort of everyday problems. One thing that was different, compared to endings of many books, was that it really wasn't a happy ending.
Carol Aselton Benoit
Wasn't sure I was going to enjoy Belva Plain in that it was a mystery or thriller. So far though it is pretty good.

This book was really good. About half way through it adds a really interesting twist, and it became a "can't put it down book." In that I read on my lunch hour, it became more and more difficult. Can't wait to read more Belva Plain.
It started out sounding like a chick-lit book of the month. But was much more than that. I actually thought the emotional torture that Amanda endured was well done. People do get themselves in ridiculous situations. However the other betrayal at the end made no sense. I bought this book for 50 cents. Can't recommend it.
3 college friends vow to stay close forever. They all live in the same area so that should be possible but life begins to happen to each of them and they are torn apart by the actions of each other. Broken trusts are at the bottom of their troubles and is a good warning that our actions affect many people around us not just us.
Nov 28, 2013 Mary rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: nook
The story of three young women who were college room mates. Two were from wealthy families and one from a poorer background. They stay involved after graduation. One marrying the other one's brother and then things get complicated with the father in law. Some parts rather unbelievable but an ok story.
I enjoy Belva Plain's books but this one was a little different. It didn't draw me in as much as some of her others, I always felt like I was an observer rather then the way some books make me feel as if I'm the character. I liked the story but it wasn't your typical happy ending romance-type.
Plain is a very writer, and I did like this book. Having said that, it gave me bad dreams! what a dark sad story. Just goes to prove that the wages of sin is death, in more ways than one, obviously.

Plain delves deep into the human psyche and how inter=related relationships really are.
I finished this book earlier today and am still confused by the ending. I had to read the last page several times but still am perplexed. Overall this was a good book...another one about friendship. I could not find closure at the end.
Sue Sundermeyer
Sometimes that complete unknown you pull off the library shelf is a gem, and sometimes it's not. Let's just say it's been a long time since I read a novel this dull.
This ended up being a depressing book for me.

2 of the 3 college girlfriends committed separate deeds that shattered many of their loved ones' lives.
Jan 02, 2008 Sam rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers of novels re friendship
This book is great. I enjoyed reading how the lives of the 3 friends evolved over time. This book shows that hurt sometimes comes from those closest to us.
The story of 3 friends and dealing with relationships, and betrayal and forgiveness. Not as good as the others by Plain but enjoyable nonetheless
Jane De vries
Great Belva Plain but what else is new? A literary example of how forbidden love can not only ruin the people involved but all those around them.
This story tells of three college friends and what happens to them. It did keep me interested. I do like Belva Plain.
Sep 02, 2007 Jo rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: fiction
Fasinating and so true the twists that happen in life. So much of this seems so real-like it happened. Powerful!
Jun 18, 2009 Heidi added it
Belva Plain is a "formula writer"... but her stories are fairly entertaining... good beach-read stuff...
Aug 24, 2009 Jpalasak rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women
A little slow starting but after 4 chapters I really got into their lives and personalities.
An entertaining story of three college friends and how their lives intertwine in the coming years.
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Belva Plain was a best-selling American author of mainstream women's fiction.

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