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A Lovely, Indecent Departure: A Novel

3.57  ·  Rating Details  ·  86 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
A Lovely, Indecent Departure is the riveting and emotionally-charged debut from a promising new voice in literary thrillers, and a captivating story about a mother’s love and desperation set amidst the heart wrenching landscape of child custody.

Anna Miller wants only one thing, her son, and she will do anything to keep him. When a district court awards custody of Oliver t
Paperback, 284 pages
Published March 23rd 2012 by Steven Lee Gilbert (first published March 14th 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 531)
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Jul 22, 2012 Naomi rated it really liked it
What gripping emotion this book held and that everything on the surface isn't quite what it appears. This author utilized words and his storyline masterfully to keep me, as a reader, engaged.

I loved that the book wasn't written in such a way that the abductor (Anna Meade) wasn't an "awful" person and that Evan Meade or his new wife weren't quite the stellar individuals that one would see in most books, which comes off as black/white.

Now, on a side note, I must say that I took the storyline a b
May 31, 2012 Meganm922 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book a lot. It was broken up into different character’s narrations, which was well done. I felt like I knew each one of the characters involved, even when bits of information and pieces to the puzzle were missing. This was definitely more of a character driven novel than a plot driven novel, but was still unpredictable and I kept turning the page to find out what pieces to the puzzle would be discovered next.

One of the best aspects about this book is that the reader is thrown int
Wall-to-wall books - wendy
Sep 11, 2012 Wall-to-wall books - wendy rated it it was amazing
Oh my goodness I just loved this book! This was a page turner if I ever read one. I absolutely HAD to know what was going to happen.

I, right away, felt a connection to this book. Maybe it was because I am a divorced mother and went through hell with visitations when my daughter was young until I finally got full custody and my current husband could adopt her as his own. Everytime "her father" took her for visitation I was worried he wouldn't bring her back. And yes, I did think of just taking he
May 06, 2012 Literary rated it really liked it
A Lovely, Indecent Departure is the gripping story of one mother's love for her son. When Anna loses custody of her son, Oliver, she gives up everything she knows and goes into hiding with him. Fleeing to Italy, Oliver and Anna start over, with the help of Anna's extended family. Unfortunately, Evan, Oliver's father, is one step behind them, and with the help of a private investigator, soon tracks them down. This is a fast-paced story that brings up a lot of questions regarding ethics and parent ...more
Aug 14, 2012 guiltlessreader rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Scott Bischke
Sep 10, 2012 Scott Bischke rated it it was amazing
Steven Lee Gilbert is a talented writer who tells an interesting story of a broken family. It's a plot so topical today, I suspect that this book would make a great movie or TV show. Gilbert's writing is compelling, key to me as the storyline here is a bit outside my normal genre. The book pulled me along, as the point of view switches between the main characters. I greatly enjoyed the aspects of travel to Italy and the interspersion of Italian into the narrative (I am thinking the author must b ...more
Aug 17, 2012 Jamie rated it liked it
Shelves: the-dirty-south
A great, sharp story with pages you want to keep turning. I wanted to read this book, and when Steven was the one who sent me a copy himself, it admittedly lurked in the back of my mind: “Oh no, what if I hate it.” Well, no worries there. As full as this week has been, I read it in one afternoon.

I liked so much that some of the biggest questions weren’t answered in black and white: Anna’s past, Evan and Anna’s marriage. Because they weren’t questions, you know from the present the past exactly.
May 21, 2012 Robin rated it it was amazing
With thoughtful character development in A Lovely, Indecent Departure, it was easy to quickly get wrapped up in the life of Anna as she tries to rescue her son from her overbearing ex, Evan. While she is safely in Italy with her son, your hatred for Evan develops as you journey with him (and local authorities) on his escapade to find the young boy. Or is it Anna that he wants to find to further torment? This book does not lack in suspense and is thrilling 'till the end.
Bill Cokas
Apr 26, 2012 Bill Cokas rated it it was amazing
Gripping and harrowing, it's every parent's worst nightmare, but Anna carries forward like a woman possessed. She wins us over early on and never loses our empathy or attention. Gilbert handles this material with a deft balance, never stooping to theatrics or melodrama. After you read this, you'll hug your children tighter and give your spouse a second look.
Apr 25, 2012 Andrew rated it it was amazing
Wow! You know a book is really good when you finish it and you want to go hang out with some of the characters (not all of them, mind you :).

Love the descriptions of locations and the develpoment of characters - felt like I was part of the story.
Jun 05, 2012 Dee rated it it was amazing
It was great... A spell binding novel. I couldn't put it down, while at the same time afraid to turn the page.

I highly recommend this book...
Dorothy Gilbert
May 22, 2012 Dorothy Gilbert rated it it was amazing
The ending was a surprise. Great book and subject matter, well written with real characters the reader can relate to. (yes gramatically incorrect)
Jul 30, 2012 P rated it really liked it
This is great storytelling. It is almost a ripped-from-the-headlines kind of tale. It is very well written, with wonderful description and characters who develop over the course of the novel. Told from alternating points of view, the plot unwinds gradually, creating a tension and compelling the reader to go on. While I sympathize with Anna, a mother who abducts her own child and flees to Italy, I don't particularly like her. Then again, her standoffishness is most certainly the result of her bei ...more
Brenda Knight
Jul 29, 2012 Brenda Knight rated it really liked it
I received a paperback copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not acquainted with Mr. Gilbert until he contacted me to read and review this book.

I wanted to read this book in the hopes that someone who took their child to protect them, (with good reason), actually got away with it. I won't tell you if my hopes were realized or not. You will have to read it for yourself.

I fully understood and related to Anna. I was married to a man that made Evan look like a gr
Sep 04, 2012 Sandie rated it really liked it
Anna had to leave. Caught in a marriage with a man who needed to control her every move, she left for her sanity. But she never meant to leave Oliver, her five year old son. When Evan, her ex-husband, tries to manipulate her through Oliver, making her joint custody more and and more difficult, she makes a momentous decision.

Since Anna has joint citizenship with both the United States and Italy, she is able to take Oliver and flee overseas. She leaves everything else behind; job, house, family, f
Dec 12, 2012 LindyLouMac rated it really liked it
A début novel from Steven Lee Gilbert who could be a literary thriller writer whose name may well become more familiar in the future. I had never heard of him until he approached me to review his book. As some of you will know thrillers are not my favourite genre but I was tempted by this one. I was glad I was as it turned out to be a satisfying but poignant read of a young woman's love for her son and her fear for his well being. There was a big bonus for me in that part of the story is set in ...more
Aug 30, 2012 Anne rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels, first-reads
Steven Gilbert is a skillful author and has crafted a story that pulls the reader in from the first sentence. This is definitely a page-turner and I was intrigued by the development of the characters as the story unfolded. Without spoiling the plot, the story involves events centered around a child custody case. By the ending, which was somewhat surprising to me, you will feel as if you are personally acquainted with each person. Well done, Mr. Gilbert. I look forward to more works by this autho ...more
Elizabeth Whitehead
Jul 25, 2012 Elizabeth Whitehead rated it really liked it
I received this book from the author through Goodreads as an Advanced Readers Copy. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The book is full of suspenseful action as well as beautiful descriptive wording about the atmosphere, the surroundings and the characters feelings. I look forward to more books by Steven Gilbert.
Patty Warren
Dec 13, 2013 Patty Warren rated it really liked it
Good story with a few unexpected twists. Smart enough that it leaves some things up to reader to figure out! Overall a good, enjoyable read!
Reviewed for Word Vagabond

Anna Miller is a mother who is desperate to be with her young son, Oliver, and keep him safe. Unfortunately, her abusive ex-husband has primary custody of him and does everything he can to keep them apart. The court system has failed her and on one of her days with Oliver she decides to take drastic measures --they flee the country to live in Italy where Anna is from. A Lovely, Indecent Departure tells the sequence of events that follows this decision.
The book is writte
This review was originally posted on Melissa's Midnight Musings on September 12, 2012

I'm not really sure quite where to start with A Lovely, Indecent Departure. I wanted to like it, I really did. Unfortunately it just did not work for me at all.

The major problem that I had with this book was that there are no quotation marks around any of the dialogue. None. I know that probably seems like a petty, insignificant thing to have a problem with, but it truly did make a difference in how I read this
Chris Thompson
Sep 03, 2012 Chris Thompson rated it did not like it
Steven Lee Gilbert writes with conviction and purpose in his debut novel, A Lovely, Indecent Departure, but he has everything all wrong. The novel plods along slowly and tediously, and Gilbert's decision not to let the reader into the minds of his characters makes the story lifeless as well. Because the reader doesn't know what's going on inside their heads, the characters are more like empty vessels than human beings, awaiting direction from the author. When Gilbert makes them do something shoc ...more
Lynda Coker
Sep 19, 2013 Lynda Coker rated it liked it

~ She watched in the rear-view mirror as he leaned toward the window and waved and she started off down the street, satisfied then that she'd done all she could to allow for the proper parting between this father and his son. ~ Page 16

This is going to be a hard review for me. The story premise is good and delves into sensitive and complex family relationships that, all too sad, plague many modern families. The character's were fleshed out to the point that I could recognize their type, but I did
Mar 16, 2013 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story itself was quite heart-wrenching. Anyone who has gone through a custody dispute will likely have a pit in their stomach while reading it - regardless of which "side" you might lean towards. In this case, the mother never needed to say anything about the father - as is so often true to life - his actions eventually told his story.

This book was very well written. I liked how it was organized into "books" and then the chapters were each told from a particular character's view. Some author
Sep 10, 2012 Heidi rated it it was ok
thought there was too much left out to really understand this. why did she leave was one question I had. was the husband abusive before or did desperation cause him to act that way. not fond of the style of writing maybe that's why I didn't enjoy this book.
Apr 06, 2014 Laurie rated it it was ok
While I liked the story line of this book, I kept waiting for something to happen. By the time the plot thickened, it was over. I expected there to be more of a chase around Italy. I found the ending to be disappointing and lacking in closure.
Oct 01, 2012 Bkwyrm rated it it was ok
I liked a lot of things about this book, but the end wasn't one of them. I think I can avoid spoiler-hood by saying that what happens is exactly what you think will happen.
Disappointing. I'd been loking for something new.
Feb 04, 2013 Bonnie added it
another tale of love vrs hate with a child treated as an object by a demented parent. the tale never solidified itself because on parent lived on the brutal edge of insanity.
Dec 30, 2012 Beret rated it did not like it
Nope, gave up on it. Not often I do that. Do love the title though.
Nov 10, 2012 Therese marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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I was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana but consider my childhood home the green, rolling foothills of East Tennessee and the southern Appalachia mountains, settlement to all sorts of interesting people, composites of which can be found throughout my writing. Most of my adulthood I've spent in the Sandhills and Piedmont of central North Carolina, where I live now with my wife and family.

I received my B
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