Your Blue-Eyed Boy: A Novel
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Your Blue-Eyed Boy: A Novel

3.21 of 5 stars 3.21  ·  rating details  ·  355 ratings  ·  42 reviews
From the acclaimed author of "Talking to the Dead" comes a haunting novel about a judge whose husband is on the verge of personal bankruptcy and breakdown. As she struggles to shield her two sons from rising tensions at home, a letter arrives that threatens to destroy her public life.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published June 1st 1999 by Back Bay Books (first published March 27th 1998)
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(showing 1-30 of 583)
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One heck of a writer! Helen Dunmore's books are darkly beautiful, extremely well-crafted works.
Your Blue-Eyed Boy is my second novel by Helen Dunmore. I read her book With Your Crooked Heart a couple years back. Dunmore is a poet and although it’s not always the case, her skill with language translates beautifully to prose. She creates captivating and complicated characters, with interior lives that are filled with wreckage and hope.

Your Blue-Eyed Boy is, I think, about ghosts. Simone is a District Judge, married to an unemployed architect, mother to two young sons. Her story is told by l...more
OK, so this book was first published in 1999, I'm not sure why I've only just read it, but I took it on holiday this year and really enjoyed the pace of writing.

The story deals with Simone's past, she is presently a judge living in a remote part of England with her husband and sons, the blue-eyed boy of the title is Michael, a boyfriend from years ago who has suddenly re-appeared in her life. Like many of us, Simone did some things in her youth that she would rather forget, that do not fit in wi...more
This is a silly book.
It's about a judge with a husband and kids who gets blackmailed by an ex from college days. Aand that's about it.

Call me thick-headed but I don't find a thing about this book profound or thought-provoking. Nor am I a big fan of the way it's written.

The lyricism of its lines seems overdone and out of place. There are supposedly sensual descriptions of her boyfriend's smelly armpits and body odour and WEIRD stuff that you CAN'T really make sound pretty. The lead character and...more
Helen Dunmore is a very talanted writer. Her prose is absolutely beautiful, very descriptive and a joy to read. There were passages in her book, when she described her relationship with her children and love for them that I have always felt but never been able to put into words. But, when all is said and done, the prose is all this book had to stand on. The plot started very intense, and grabbed me immediatly, but about half way through the book it just stopped and went nowhere. I can relate to...more
Sep 02, 2011 Nina rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lannie Waggy
Excellent, evocative story-telling, revealing how women tick - the restlessness we conceal beneath contentment, the growing strength and maturity beneath the weakness and fragility of aging flesh, how deeply we can love and shallowly - the different types of love from youthful lust to maternal love.

'I think you may have loved what embarassed me in myself. And you saw my hardness, which I didn't dare show to anyone else.' p. 250

'I have sucked him, bitten him, swallowed him, sunk into exhausted sw...more
Schuyler Wallace
As I started this book I sensed muted whimpering about life’s injustices and past behavior. In “Your Blue-Eyed Boy” author Helen Dunmore tells the story of a district court judge in the English justice system who is caught up in struggles centering mainly on her husband’s inability to handle finances. In addition she seems overwhelmed by her judicial obligations, her decision to move the family away from the city, their cold existence in meager housing, her husband’s constant guilt, and with mem...more
Helen Dunmore's Your blue-eyed boy represents an intimate book and a story that interlines life of one woman, Simone, with other people in her life - her family, her husband and two children. This is not an easy book to read, because it opens daily life questions, such as: What choices do we make in life, no matter circumstances? It is a vivid narrative, at the moment cold vision of today's financial burdens to a family, and one letter that could change the calmness of Simone's life. With all do...more
Steph Burton
There's a dark thread of foreboding that runs throughout this novel. The threat of information from Simone's teenage years reappearing to destroy her adult life is excellently plotted and I found it difficult to put this book down. I loved the descriptions of the grey, stormy British coastline. The characters of Simone and her family are done well although I wasn't able to get a handle on Michael - perhaps that was the point. Your Blue-Eyed Boy is a clever psychological thriller that creeps up o...more
Orna Ross
To see Helen Dunmore’s publishers bill her latest novel as a “modern thriller” came as a surprise. Dunmore’s previous fictional outings were psychological studies, characterised by a lush poetic style and a probing insight at odds with the confines of the thriller genre.

It turns out that Your Blue Eyed Boy is not a new departure but a development, brimming with the sensuality and perception that Dunmore fans have come to expect.

True, it opens with the promise of blackmail. Simone is a district j...more
Your Blue-Eyed Boy by Helen Dunmore features Simone who, on the face of things, presents an image of success and self-realisation. She is a judge, not a high court bigwig, more of a lowly but still be-wigged settler of domestic disputes and small claims. When decked in suitable headgear she is able, but only just, to take a broader view of others’ lives, to analyse the mistakes they have made and the responsibilities they bear. But still her own concerns regularly break through to disturb at lea...more
I'd hoped for good things from an awarded novelist, this particular book recommended both by a good friend and ee cummings line serving as the title's base. I found it heavy-handed, though, poorly plotted, and anytime it showed any lyrical promise, there was a decent chance the lines would reappear in some form or another later in the book. For instance, variations on the following paragraph appeared at least three times.

Blackmail doesn't work the way I always thought it would, if I ever gave it...more
Jayne Charles
This story of a woman surrounded by men in varying stages of mental disintegration felt like two separate novels. One very straightforward with its feet on the ground, dealing with domestic stuff and an interesting job in the legal profession. The other rather more nebulous, poetically written but sometimes hard to grasp.

I can only admire the way Helen Dunmore writes, the poetic nature of her prose, her ability to make you see the world in a different light with her subtle use of language, part...more
Very lovely. Great tension, landscape, characters, flashbacks - this would make such an atmospheric film. It really didn't make five stars because of the prologue and the blurb for it - setting itself up to be a blackmail story. Well, it was about blackmail, but it seemed to try to set itself up as some sort of mystery, but it was too beautiful for that, and the blackmail was such a small, hopeless part of the story.
Can I give one and a half stars? I didn't like this book, but I did finish it, so that's something. Although I have to admit, after about the halfway point, I skimmed it and skipped over all the flashbacks, so I didn't exactly read the whole thing.

What I did not like about this book:
- It was completely unbelievable. The premise itself was fine, and interesting even, but the way the main character reacted to the arrival of the man from her past, and just the entire last third of the book, was who...more
Simone is a 38 year old district judge with two sons and a husband whose business went bust. Having moved to a very small seaside community which none of the rest of her family was in favor of, trying to balance the financial crisis the family is in and put a quash on her husband's latest "get rich quick schemes" is putting a toll on her sanity. Then out of the blue... phone calls, letters and compromising pictures from a 20 year ago lover start showing up. Trying to avoid blackmail, scandal and...more
Unlike a number of other readers, I enjoyed the book. There was one paragraph that seemed a clinker, but generally, the stream of Simone's thoughts about the present and past, her confusion, her unhappiness: all are artfully mixed in a way that illustrates what happens to a person battered by life, trying to take control.
Her ex-lover Michael's appearance throws all the barely-controlled present into confusion. But it seemed clear and pressing to the reader that the stream of happenings, thought...more
Lisa (scarlet21)
A beautifully, mesmirising, haunting tale of past lives crashing into new. A love that has never been forgotten but has been left in the past suddenly comes back to haunt Simone, a successful judge, in the shape of Michael, her first love and with him a new set of potential problems that don't at all fit with her new grown up life.
The compelling writing draws you in to Simone's life; to outward appearance she is the epitome of respectability, only she knows what really lies beneath the suit and...more
Greg Stragnell
Not one I would ordinarily have picked up but Penny had it in her stack of books to read and I was "between reads" at the time. The language is lovely and very descriptive; the plot is "edgy" and you feel it could be quite gripping but then it becomes almost completely unbelievable, in my view. A woman who has become a successful district judge with a husband and two children, is contacted by an ex-lover who sends her some photographs from their time together. You can sense some blackmail or wor...more
Mirren Jones
It was worth a resultant poor night's sleep to finish this absorbing read. I was emotionally wrung out with the tension created and escalating throughout the story while on another level, uplifted by Dunmore's gift for description. I could feel the dampness of the mist creeping into my bones and the cold of the sea chilling my body. The return of a long forgotten past to haunt and threaten to destroy the present is played out in a landscape of isolation and chill. I'll read it again to marvel at...more
I read this on the recommendation of Louise Doughty, who said Helen Dunmore was one of the best living writers and singled out Your Blue-Eyed Boy. I can see why she liked it, it's engrossing and the writing is 'poised' as she said. The story is about a married woman who is contacted by an ex-lover. She lays out every detail of her emotions as she wallows in feelings for him and her husband and her kids and the defendents who come in front of her in court (she's a judge). Not bad really, but too...more
Dunmore always surprises me. She sits me down and says 'today I'm going to tell you a story about blackmail' and as I start to protest she raises a hand to silence me and begins...

... within pages I'm hooked. The characters and setting conspire to reel me in and Dunmore weaves beautiful prose that I can never escape from.

I'm eeking my way through her back catalogue - and I just hope that by the time I finish she's written some more!
Picked up at the charity shop last week, it was a quick read. There were scenes described by the narrator (Simone, the judge) which didn't seem to fit the story. And the ending was a little bizarre. It was okay but a bit odd in places.

It hasn't put me off trying other books by the same author, but there's no room on my bookshelf for this one! It's going back to the charity shop.

Jun 21, 2007 Rebecca rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ice maidens
Helen Dunmore looks like an ice queen and writes like one too. Her prose is so cool and spare, it's like sipping a perfectly mixed gin & tonic. Her female protaganists come across like cool ice queens too. I'm starting to wish she'd write about someone more fierily passionate, rather than icy and elusive, but her novels/short stories are extremely well crafted and this is no exception.
Kara Rutledge
This was a book I voted on for one of the two books we were to read for book club. I was very disappointed in the book. The actual writing of the book was very choppy, with a lot of simple statements. There wasn't much substance to it and very little character development. Overall, it was a bust.
The thing I love about Helen Dunmore is the way that she makes a great story about of everything. And she does it with beauty and elegance too. A novel about blackmail could be hard edged and ugly but somehow, this book is full of exquisite prose that is soft and poetically lovely to read.
Safron Mitchelson
Simone has a lot of responsibilities, she's a district judge, she has two growing boys, and her husband is on the verge of bankruptsy and a breakdown..... then she receives a letter from America, from a man she had long ago stopped thinking about.... and he has compromising photo's of her!
I enjoyed reading this book. I liked the plot and the character development. The only thing I didn't like was how much it switched from the present to the past and back again very frequently. Then again, I don't like that in pretty much any book.
An interesting and intriguing story, although I felt, at times, there was too much detail about her past. I was interested in finding out though what this fellow from her past really wanted.

Good read!
Eh. This was beautifully written, and I found the middle section of the book compelling, but the prologue was irritatingly unnecessary and I felt she lost it at the end. Pleasingly creepy, though.
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I was born in December 1952, in Yorkshire, the second of four children. My father was the eldest of twelve, and this extended family has no doubt had a strong influence on my life, as have my own children. In a large family you hear a great many stories. You also come to understand very early that stories hold quite different meanings for different listeners, and can be recast from many viewpoints...more
More about Helen Dunmore...
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