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Without a Backward Glance

3.22 of 5 stars 3.22  ·  rating details  ·  517 ratings  ·  113 reviews
On Christmas Eve in 1967, a London woman unhappily transplanted to the Australian suburbs makes a decision that will change forever the lives of her four young children. Forty years on, those children are adept at concealing their shared pain. Deborah has a demanding political career, James is a successful artist, Robert a respected school principal. Only Meredith, the bab ...more
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Published June 4th 2012 by Bolinda Audio (first published January 1st 2006)
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Sep 17, 2008 Amanda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lit lovers/people interested in family dynamics
I have to give major points to authors who make me emote as strongly as this one did. Sure, I normally either like or dislike characters or become annoyed with them, etc. But it’s rare that I read a book and completely despise any one character. This book manages this feat with two characters in fact so much so that I was almost just as angry that I couldn’t reach through the pages and scream at one or both of them.

On Christmas Eve, Rosemarie tells her four young children she’s going out to get
I liked the way the story focused not on the mother who walked away from her family, but on the lives of the children she abandoned. Well-crafted, poignant, and funny. The ending, however, was a little trite.
A very interesting look at what leads a person to make the difficult choices in their lives and the repercussions that ripple outward from those choices.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
With such an intense topic as a mother leaving her four young children and husband, I would have thought the author may have given more attention to the children's growing-up years. Instead, it felt like there was a big missing piece for me in at least knowing how they *coped* or roughly what all those years from childhood to adulthood were like. It seemed even the mere hints or flavors of all those years wasn't really given to the reader.
Liked this a lot, even though it's a tough story. Four adults were abandoned by their mother, Rosemarie, when they were young. This intriguing story is told from the perspective of all of the characters, even Rosemarie. Outstanding writing, compelling story.
Brianna Beck
Wow.... where to start. This again was another book that I bought for only $4.99. From the first page I was so interested in this novel, and stayed interested for the entire thing, reading at every chance I possibly could. The story and the characters, my goodness she did an amazing job at making you understand them and what they are going through. A mother of four children and an amazing husband decides to abandoned her family with no explanation or warning, and on Christmas Eve of all nights. ...more
Bob Hill
Jul 04, 2008 Bob Hill rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in family dynamics and human interactions.
Shelves: books-i-ve-read
Why? This question holds open a gaping hole in the lives of a husband and four children for decades after a woman -- his wife, their mother -- gets into the back seat of a car on Christmas Eve, 1967, and disappears, evidently forever and without explanation.

As Chapter One of this fine novel opens, the reader becomes immersed in the twenty-first century lives of the children, now adult, and their aging father, Alex. How have they managed? How have they coped, each one, with this unexplained loss?
I am rounding this up from 3.5 stars, but I did truly enjoy this novel. The end was a bit trite, but I appreciated that it was not neatly done, and the characters were still flawed and struggling. I think that Veitch's deft touch provided good detail on the characters while still allowing readers to have their own visceral reactions to each one's follies, weaknesses, personal heartaches, and triumphs. I didn't feel manipulated to cheer for any one character, which is often the case with these ty ...more
This book drones on and on, and forces the reader to plod through the characters' boring and fitful lives. Events happen sporadically, which normally would be a good thing, however, in this book the events are of little interest. Things happen and then are not followed up on. The book also jumps around to the various characters too often, without delving much into their lives. We are basically getting descriptions of their daily activities and simple thoughts. The author also wrote the character ...more
Was this a book for young adults? Although it wasn't marked that way, the narration was very simple. It is the story about a woman who walks out on her husband and four children on Christmas Eve, and the resulting traumas that the four children suffer. It was a little too pat in the end, but the simple narration made this an easy read. I wish that something more interesting happened to the four children.
This book tells the story of a group of adult siblings whose mother abandoned them as children and how they come to terms with her reappearance many years later. I loved the complex and quirky characters and really looked forward to reading this book every day. But in the end, I didn't believe this story. I didn't believe the abandonment in the first place, and I didn't believe the resolution.
This was a very slow start to read and by the end it was still disappointing. By the end when the mother meets up with her children again, you would think she would be happy but all she could think about was remembering why she left the kids in the first place and that it was the right decision. I couldn't even imagine a mother feeling that way.
I picked this up at Costco because I was waiting for some other books at the Library. It was pretty much a waste of my time.

Story about a mom that walks out on her family of 4 children on Christmas Eve and how the disfunctional family all deal with this. Too many inappropriate sex scence and a real lack of resolution.
I sort of read this book. It took me about 3 months to read the first three chapters. After a few minutes I'd get bored with it and put it down. After that long on my coffee table and only getting an eighth of the way into the book I realized it was going nowhere and I gave it to Goodwill. Needless to say I don't recommend it.
kirsten johnstone
fantastic! absorbing and beautifully written from a number of perspectives. i enjoyed the sequence of the story and the occasional flashback to explain past elements of the story to help round out the characters.
thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended.
I enjoyed this novel, especially lovely during the holiday season as the book begins and ends at Christmas, 40 years apart. The characters were well-drawn, especially Robert (the brother with OCD). I'll keep an eye out for additional titles by Kate Veitch.
At first I liked this book about an Australian family, but quickly grew bored. It was somewhat tedious- the 4 siblings and father dealing with the mother's abandonment of them- but it was nice to read about families in Australia (I guess ;))
Nov 24, 2008 TJ rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Aussies, anyone whose parent abandoned them and someone with siblings.
Recommended to TJ by: Elise Gustafson
Wow, ahhhh, ummmm, what was UP with that ending? Can anyone please explain it?

I definitely loved the fact it was set in Australia, so I could be reminded of lots of Australianisms etc.
i put this book down after 60 pages because the writing seemed so trite, and the characters never came to life for me.
(Lonestarlibrarian) Keddy Ann Outlaw
A quick read for me -- your typical family-with-problems kind of novel, individual and group problems that is -- the biggest being a mother who abandoned her 4 children one Christmas Eve. Forty years later, circumstances combine to bring her back within reach. The ex-husband she left behind now has dementia, and the four kids have grown up to be interesting adults despite the fact they were left behind by Mom. Set in Australia, too, which made for an interesting setting, and it helped me get thr ...more
Virginia Markhart
This book gave me so much to think about. The mere thought of a mother leaving her four children on Christmas Eve is beyond comprehension. The story tells about the lives of the four children and their father who were left behind. All four children were affected by the abandonment in different ways. The oldest had to take on the responsibility of caring for the three younger children just as she was entering her teens. this left her bitter. The next had an odd problem. the third child, James, wa ...more
In Kate Veitch's Without A Backward Glance, Rosemarie McDonald walks away from her husband, Alex, and their four children on Christmas Eve 1967, fleeing their home in Australia to go back to England. Flash forward almost 40 years, and the children are grown and profoundly affected by their mother's abandonment.

Veitch does a remarkable job showing the hurt Rose caused by walking away from her family and showing how this hurt affected the lives of her children--their personalities and their relati
Kate Veitch's debut novel was a struggle for me. The basic premise of the story was good, but she had so many complex characters that it was tough to feel attached or drawn to any one of them in particular. I thought the flow and writing style was a bit disjointed. There was too much dialogue between the characters and not enough storytelling. The characters had several personal conflicts and oftentimes they were briefly mentioned or touched upon, but then left open-ended. It seemed like so much ...more
Aug 19, 2011 Pam rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Friends and Bookclub
Recommended to Pam by: Found on Bargain bookshelf
I enjoyed this book - actually found it in bargain books and took a chance. Turned out to be quite good.
Takes place in Australia and England - starts on a Christmas Eve and ends year's later on a Christmas Eve which was a timely read for me since we are in the Christmas Season.
I thought she wrote very truthfully about relationships and the book held my interest the whole way. There are some Australian words and expressions that a USA resident may not understand but she gives a glossary in the ba
Melissa Lee-tammeus
Awful book. I'm giving up on page 91. I have tried, really - I have been hanging on to this book for three weeks hoping that the ridiculous Leave It to Beaver dialogue will suddenly appeal to me. Good grief, it so does not. I simply can't get past it. I'm even starting to talk (write) like that. Here's some examples:

"I remember those yummy sandwiches you used to make when the boys would get home from school from the pool."

"Were they yummy?"


"Well, she and Laurence get on fabulously, that's for
Mj Mcnutt
The pace of the book was quick and the characters very realistic. The plot was a bit predictable, but in a good way. The unfolding of the events was done skillfully and did not upset the reader with odd twists just for the sake of being different. I also liked that the relationships were not looked at under a microscope and there were no gratuitous sex scenes. It's a book for people who like to read about people and who have compassion for others.
Dec 17, 2011 Mary rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys historical fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Paperback Swap
When the four McDonald children's mother leaves them on Christmas Eve 1967, she tells them that it's to get more Christmas lights. Instead, Rosemarie hops a plane to London and disappears for forty years, leaving her husband and children with the burning question: Why?

Over the years, the children become very adept at hiding the feelings of hurt they have at their mother's abandonment; remaining close into adulthood as they start their own families. Until old wounds are reopened by a chance encou
Australian journalist Kate Veitch's debut novel Without a Backward Glance, is a deeply felt novel of family, choices, and coming to terms with the past. On a stifling Christmas Eve in 1967 the lives of the McDonald children--Deborah, Robert, James, and Meredith--changed forever. Their mother, Rosemarie, told them she was running out to buy some lights for the tree and she never came back. The children were left with their father, and a gnawing question: why had their mother abandoned them? Veitc ...more
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Angus/Deb relationship 1 12 Jun 12, 2009 10:30AM  
Ask me anything! says author 3 24 Dec 11, 2008 05:01PM  
Without a Backward Glance (In Australia: Listen) 1 6 May 29, 2008 01:43AM  
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Kate Veitch's debut novel was published as LISTEN in Australia, and was a bestseller there and in Germany. In July '08 it was published in the US as WITHOUT A BACKWARD GLANCE. By December, the novel had sold close to 30,000 copies and been nominated as one of American Library Journal's BEST BOOKS OF 2008.

Kate splits her time between Australia and the US, w
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