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The Tall Pine Polka

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3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,049 Ratings  ·  187 Reviews
Balanced on the remote edge of the boundary waters in northern Minnesota, the Cup o' Delight Café is home to a motley crew of locals. Drawn to the addictive coffee and the equally addictive company, the customers share the fortunes of life together. Having left the dangers of the big city and an abusive husband behind, owner Lee O'Leary helps guide and inspire her friends, ...more
Paperback, 440 pages
Published May 29th 2001 by Ballantine Books (first published October 1st 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Suanne Laqueur
Sep 24, 2014 Suanne Laqueur rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-nook-news
I was disappointed in this, Landvik's latest. It was about 200 pages too long and corny as all get-out. Interesting characters, but smarmy writing, syrupy, clichéd, contrived. Plot twists you could spot a mile away—quick, everyone pile into the car with the pregnant woman for a high speed chase! Oh what a shock, she goes into labor!

I skimmed through the last part, intent on finishing but not really interested. Not in the same class as Patty Jane's House of Curl or Your Oasis on Flame Lake. Apart
...more
Jeanne
Sep 01, 2009 Jeanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: minnesota
Tiny Tall Pine, MN sets the stage for a tale of friendship, tragedy, and hope. It also sets the stage for a Hollywood film: Ike and Inga.

The focal point of this novel can be found in the gatherings at the Cup O’Delight Café. This is the heart and soul of Tall Pine and the home of the Tall Pine Polka.

By the way, the Tall Pine Polka is not a dance; it is a state of mind. It is the sharing of one’s talents and the celebration of life in the company of good friends. Isn’t that wonderful?

There isn’t
...more
Barbara Cook
Small Minnesota town life..... And I think it had potential to be an ok book but it was not, one villager becomes a Hollywood star, there is a love triangle, a pregnancy, one man howls due to bad dreams, a gay couple, domestic abuse, a crazy ex husband who comes shooting... Totally unbelievable, kind of ridiculous. Too bad
Joan
Jan 17, 2015 Joan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-on
I have seldom been as disappointed in a book as I was in this one. I read Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons several years ago and loved it. I read Patti Jane's House of Curl later and thought it was pretty funny. I was delighted to find this book and looked forward to reading it. I tried to get into it during the first 3 or 4 chapters, skimmed through a few more - up to Chapter 14. It was just plain boring. No plot, no humor, no intriguing characters. I didn't want to waste any more time on it, s ...more
Cindy
Dec 16, 2012 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-read
I enjoyed this book and the characters, but.... In my opinion there was too much; too many characters, too much going on. There were so many different outlandish things going on and over the top characters that it was hard to relate to each one. Right when I began to feel sympathy for one character, something else happened to switch my focus to another character, and on and on. When I felt the book should end; something else magnanimous happened until at the end I had trouble even caring about t ...more
Kelly Bleck
Sep 03, 2014 Kelly Bleck rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately, because I have a hard time giving any book a bad review, this was very boring. okay writing paired with too many characters and little character development. seemed to be reaching to keep the story going, or didn't have have a clear story fleshed out at all.
Tara  Rugg
This started out promising...but I lost interest in the characters pretty quickly. I finished just to see how it turned out, but was mainly just annoyed with the behavior of most of the characters.
Nancy Cummings
Jan 08, 2014 Nancy Cummings rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I generally like this author very much but I quit this book about a 1/4 of the way through, something I very rarely do! It was that boring....
Zainab Aljundi
it had its ups and downs. and at a later point it suddenly had way too much happen at once. But as I just finished it I dont feel like I wasted my time, no "loose ends". It's not life altering or something you'd re-read but its alright. lorna sure knows how to build characters I'll give her that. and in those queit mellow moments of their daily life in such a beautiful peaceful place I actually wished I was part of their group, living that life. and that has never happened to me before with a bo ...more
Tara
Jul 06, 2015 Tara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Too boring and awful to finish

This may be the worst book that I have ever read. If I could give it less than one star I would, for after having read almost half of it, I have emerged from it's pages irritated and even worse, BORED. If you are reading this, please do not get me wrong. I had no illusions that this would be akin to reading Hemingway or Twain, but had hopes that it would be in the same vein as Fannie Flagg or Julia Glass. That is, not something that will exactly challenge your belie
...more
Marleen
Apr 14, 2014 Marleen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lorna-landvik
The Tall Pine Polka is a charming little story. It has endearing aspects to it, the friendships, the sense of community, the forgiveness, and the bravery, and on the other hand it has more life-altering aspects to it; people getting sick, people dying, people cheating, etc. The ending is so beautiful, I felt the author redeemed herself for having wasted our time - now and then - with silly trivia prior to that.
At the same time this is probably Lorna Landvik’s most confusing book. What I mean by
...more
Bea
Nov 10, 2012 Bea rated it really liked it
This is a story of the regulars who frequented The Cup O'Delight Cafe in Tall Pine, Minnesota. The Tall Pine Polka is a gathering of those regulars at the cafe after hours to drink the coffee, share food, and to dance. It is a time of good fellowship among frineds.

Some of the characters are Lee O'Leary, who owns the cafe and who escaped (or thought she did) from an abusive husband to land in Tall Pine. Miss Penk and Frau Katt are the town's lesbian couple whose devotion to each other is strong
...more
Sarah
Mar 23, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
Every time I go into a bookstore or library I check to see if certain authors have released any new books (fingers crossed, oh please! Oh please!) So I was delighted when The Tall Pine Polka was released. I had gobbled up both Patty Jane's House of Curl and Your Oasis on Flame Lake and was hungrily awaiting another novel from Landvik, who has become one of my all-time favorite authors. As with previous Landvik works, Polka iss et in a small lakeside town in Minnesota. the majority of the charact ...more
Laurel-Rain
Oct 16, 2011 Laurel-Rain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tall Pine, Minnesota has a lot to recommend it: quirky townsfolk who share traits that can be defined as folksy, friendly, nosy, and any number of other adjectives. But what really connects the residents of this town near the Canadian border is their unique gathering place known as the Cup O'Delight Café, made famous for its delicious coffee made with a secret blend known only to its owner, Lee O'Leary.

We meet many of the residents in the opening pages, as they enter the café and order breakfast
...more
Marika Gillis
Oct 04, 2010 Marika Gillis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Lorna Landvik, author of Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons, has written a book about the residents of Tall Pine, Minnesota. Main character, Fenny Ness, is perfectly content in her small town until she gets cast as the leading role in a movie being filmed in Tall Pine. Life for all the characters in the small town is turned upside-down by the film crew.

This book was light and fun. Just the kind of book that a reader should just breeze through but, for some reason, it took a real commitment of time
...more
Louise
Apr 07, 2009 Louise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Lorna Landvik has a special way of making small town characters come alive!!

From back cover:

"In the small town of Tall Pine, Minnesota, at the Cup O'Delight Cafe, the townsfolk gather for what they call the Tall Pine Polka, an event in which heavenly coffee, good food, and that feeling of being alive among friends inspires both body and soul to dance. There's the cafe owner, the robust and beautiful Lee O'Leary, who escaped to the northwoods from an abusive husband; Miss Penk and Frau Katt, the
...more
Colleen
Aug 02, 2008 Colleen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I liked this book, but not as much as I really wanted to, and nowhere near as much as I enjoyed some of Landvik's other offerings. Though the cast of characters was initially interesting, they all seemed a little too eccentric as the novel progressed. The movie in a small town element was done better in the movie State and Main, and I for one thought there were too many subplots running throughout the novel which overcomplicated it all.

I did think that Fenny, Bill and Lee were well-drawn, devel
...more
Theresa Malloy
Mar 10, 2016 Theresa Malloy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: minnesota-reads
I really like this author. She's from Minnesota, and she really captures a sense of place and character in her writing. Her books are tragic and funny. The situations are real, and it's a refreshing read. In this book, a Hollywood production comes to the small town city of Tall Pine, Minnesota. It shakes up the town and Hollywood as the two start influencing each other, and lives are changed.
H-Grace
Loads of character and place, as all of Minnesotan Lorna Landvik's novels are. In the beginning, I had some difficulty keeping up with who the characters were, but in less than one hundred pages the main characters were people I'd recognize on the street, even though one of those characters would be disappointed if I did.
Maryann
Mar 03, 2014 Maryann rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While I normally love the often kooky characters Landvik creates, this particular novel felt to me as if it were trying too hard. Unlike the usually effortless creation of odd but fun characters who get themselves into interesting scrapes and make us care about them along the way, this one was much slower going for me.
Elizabeth
Apr 02, 2010 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Comments before reading: I recieved this book as a gift for secret santa exchange. I was not sure if I would ever read it but after reading the book reviews from fellow good readers I'm looking forward to reading it. I hope it won't be too disappointing. This will be the first book I've read from Lorna Landvik so I hope I like the style of writing.

Comments after reading: I did like this book and there were moments where I found myself laughing out loud. I did not like the start of part 2 in the
...more
Princess Artiga
Feb 04, 2014 Princess Artiga rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never thought I would even finish reading this book. The book all in all was good. The only thing for me was just, there were too many characters, I think. Couldn't focus on one but as I said, the book was good, very good! :D
Fionna
Sep 30, 2007 Fionna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was at the library picking up Angry Housewives for bookclub and saw another Landvik book on the shelf. I enjoyed Angry Housewives so much the first time I read it, I didn't think it would hurt to read "The Tall Pine Polka" as well.

9/30 update: This book had fabulous characters! Landvik did a great job bringing out all their little eccentricities and idiosyncracies. I felt as if I knew every single one of them! The story however, although entertaining, seemed to loose it's momentum at times. Th
...more
Donna
Jul 13, 2013 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I fell in love with the characters in this book. There's Slim, the Vietnam vet who barks like a dog. Who wouldn't love an interesting guy like that? Then there's Lee, a chubby cafe owner who made a great escape from a mean and perhaps a little crazy ex husband. There's Fenny, whose parents were great explorers but she seems to be afraid. We have Big Bill, whose Aunt Mae Little Feather is upset that he might dilute his native American blood. In this small town there is also a lesbian couple and a ...more
Jane Healy
Landvik creates a fun read full of quirky characters set in northern Minnesota. She explores the breadth of love in a twisted-Lake Wobegon way.
Hiker04
Nov 06, 2015 Hiker04 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I too was disappointed in this book. I had read Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons which was a great book. This book was at least 100 pages too long, contrived and trite.
Linda
Mar 01, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lorna Landvik is a great story teller and this book is no exception. I really enjoyed the story and hated for it to come to an end.
Jenny
Jun 11, 2012 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am wavering between 3 and 4 stars on this one. I loved the writing style - tongue in cheek, omniscient narrator - but the characters weren't my favorite, or maybe they just didn't seem believable to me. At the risk of giving anything away, I didn't like the love triangle and Big Bill didn't impress me (maybe because he has no life savings?). I liked the idea of a small town- the Hollywood storyline was entertaining as well - and you can tell the author has inside knowledge of how it all works. ...more
Phyllis
Jan 07, 2015 Phyllis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love how Lorna grabs you and pulls you into her books. This is the second book of hers that I've read and I'm ready to read more.
Mary
Oct 10, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed the story, let's of twists and turns, a lot going on through out the book.
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Lorna Landvik is a mother of two and wife of one. She is the author of eight novels, including the best-selling ANGRY HOUSEWIVES EATING BON BONS, PATTY JANE'S HOUSE OF CURL and OH MY STARS. Also an
actor and playwright, Lorna has appeared in many stage productions. She is a new and passionate neophyte to the practice of yoga, which is a fine antidote to her long established practice of lounging.
More about Lorna Landvik...

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