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Here on Earth

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  35,868 Ratings  ·  1,173 Reviews
When March Murray travels East with her teenage daughter to attend the funeral of the beloved housekeeper who looked after her when she was growing up, March's past comes rushing up to meet her. The present is quickly dominated by the lurking presence of her former lover, Hollis, who has patiently awaited her long overdue return. The tale is populated by those for whom lov ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 2nd 1997 by Chatto & Windus (first published 1997)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 30, 2007 Janice rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm technically not even done reading this book yet and I'm seething with hate for it. Seething!!

The entire plot of this book is that love gives you license to be selfish, irresponsible and act like a jerk. I hate the two main characters SO MUCH. They deserve everything that happens to them. I can see the conclusion coming a mile away as well. It's taking everything I have to finish it.

Oprah - you got this one SO wrong!

Awful. Don't bother.
Zoe B
Apr 09, 2008 Zoe B rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved, loved, loved, LOVED it!!!! Ok so if this book was food, it would be a hot fudge brownie with caramel sauce - really, really good, at first comforting, but then it makes you kind of sick. Now this isn't a book for everyone, not everyone can stomach so much passion and long lost love. I, on the other hand, could ingest this stuff until the cows come home - and no sweet has ever been too much for me (cotton candy - bring it on! Candy apples - bring em on!).

I was immediately whisked away and
Joe Mossa

i may have become a snob after reading so many important books in the past three years,but this writing is terrible. if i were to count the cliches hoffman uses ,i wouldn t be able to follow the narrative. after i read that she was imitating WURTHERING HEIGHTS, i decided i had a duty to finish the book which i had thrown down in disgust after reading page 213. read my other posts to see what happened there. charles dickens got away with melodrama so i guess we can excuse a contemporary writer f
Jan 04, 2009 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: female-author
This is a dark romance. A woman goes back to her home town for a funeral, taking her teenage daughter with her. The woman comes back into contact with an old lover who had a strange hold over her when she was younger. It's an oddly compelling story.
Karen Powell
Horrible novel- how'd it make it on Oprah's list? Hoffman spent so much time trying to align the plot to "Wuthering Heights" that she forgot to be original and make the story her own. The result is a perversion of Emily Bronte's tale that completely misses the point. [return][return]March travels back to her hometown with her teen daughter Gwen for the funeral of her Nelly Dean-esque housekeeper. There, she meets up with Hollis, her childhood love that got away. The renew their love, but Hollis ...more
Sep 01, 2011 Melissa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Congrats Here on Earth, you win the title of my leave favorite book of all time. Never in my life have I loathed a book so much. We are reading this book for my book club this month, and from the start I was skeptical. You know I love Oprah, but one thing I know for sure is that we do not have the same taste in books. Oprah picked this book as her book club pick back in 1998 and I honestly don't know what she was thinking. The book itself is written beautifully - I mean thank goodness - because ...more
Dec 09, 2008 Alayna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Parts of this book were very good - it sort of wraps you into this small town, nostalgic way of life, that I really appreciated. It was good to read now, at the end of October/November as things get cold, since the FALL and WINTER weather actually really comes alive for her.

I just am not convinced, can I say that...I didn't really like the turns the characters took, and I didn't really feel the characterization very much. They were more stereotyped and superficial than I could fully get behind.
Nov 10, 2008 June rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to June by: Elissa
Shelves: romance
This was a quick read for me. A scary portrayal of infatuation, fear and love. A sad portrayal of what happens when someone loves 2 people. I really like the character, Gwen - I thought she was a great representative for teenagers.
Apr 06, 2011 Virginia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This quite possibly rates the worst book I have ever read. The characters range from stupid to hedonistic The only reason I finished was that I hated the main character so much, I was hoping to read of his undoing. I did briefly believe that either the friend Susie or the daughter Gwen would make this a much more enjoyable book by putting Hollis in his place, but alas that happens quite anti-climatically with him destroying himself, and they end the book not as near as strong characters as could ...more
Nov 13, 2007 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Literary Lovers/ Hoffman fans
What I've learned from this book: that if you read enough Alice Hoffman, you eventually get so used to her writing that you can't put her books down. Now that might just be a generality, but after a few hits and misses, I've really enjoyed her last three books and this one, much like "The Ice Queen," was really fantastic.

March returns to her hometown to mourn the death of a woman she and many others held dear. But she also returns to a world in which, as a young girl, she was immersed into a lo
Recognize this story? Wealthy father brings home street urchin, sister likes him, brother not so much. Already damaged by life on the streets and experience in juvie, he is pushed over the edge by the brother's rough treatment. Obsessed with acquisitiveness, he takes off for parts unknown, makes his fortune, and returns to buy up everything that belongs to those who've annoyed him.

If you guessed Wuthering Heights, you'd be correct - one reviewer drew that comparison, and rather gushingly. This b
Jul 13, 2008 Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay... can I just say... "Wow. Wow. Wow."

Alice Hoffman really makes me happy. She's full of fanciful quirk -- not the harsh, dry quirk of carefully selected oddness, but a more delightful whimsy that seems to spring straight from the emotional side of nature.

This book really won my heart, even though the ending was contrived and lacking in climax, which honestly, I'd half-expected since this book falls somewhere under the mainstream/literary spectrum. Okay, okay -- I saw her setting the climax
Jun 10, 2009 Victoria rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alex Wells
I'm a big fan of Alice Hoffman, especially when her books veer into the magical or the mythic, in books like Practical Magic or the Ice Queen. But even when her characters aren't blatantly magical, her stories have a mythic, and even allegorical quality, that I love. This is true of Here On Earth, which is the Bluebeardian story of a woman who comes back home and revisits the desperate love affair of her childhood.

This book gives the first impression of being a romance, but it doesn't take long
Nikita T. Mitchell
I must say that I am in love with this book. It has made it to the top of my must read list (for others of course). I have read a lot of reviews online of the book - there are tons since it was an Oprah Book Club selection. I realized that many comparisons are made between this book and Wuthering Heights by Emile Brontë. Let me just say that I read it in highschool and strongly disliked it - its not nice to say hated, you know. I must admit it seems like Hoffman stole some of her basic plot from ...more
Apr 13, 2011 Kristen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 13, 2007 Charity rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alice Hoffman has written a new version of Wuthering Heights, this time set in a remote, modern day New England village. Hollis is the dark-eyed orphan heartthrob brought into the Murray household. March is the spitfire who falls insanely in love with Hollis (and he returns the favor). Alan is March's slimy brother who persecutes Hollis. By and large, Hoffman follows the original plot faithfully, but it is her own lyrical prose which puts a pleasant spin on Brontë's dark tale of obsessive love. ...more
Dec 26, 2008 Anita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this is a good read, it is a somewhat odd book. It deals the underside of "love" - in this case, obsession, control and abuse. This is the mother's story. The daughter's story deals with redemptive of qualities of love. And other supporting characters demonstrate other sides of love: selfless love, forbidden love and disappointed love. As I write this, I realize I should have liked this book much more than I did, given the themes. The problem may be that the primary character - the moth ...more
Oct 07, 2010 Magmaetoll rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The main idea of this story is about a girl who goes back to her home town with her daughter and falls back in love with her childhood sweetheart who's not very sweet. She left her husband and ended everything good in her life for this man. She learns her lesson and leaves before it's too late. That's all. This book took almost halfway to actually get into. Once you do get into it, you read and you read and then the climax comes and there's some sort of closing. It's the way 99% of books are wri ...more
Dec 02, 2012 Judith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful treatment of some familiar themes: "coming home" and "abusive relationships".

March Murray returns to her childhood home when the woman who was her caretaker - nanny, housekeeper, cook - dies. Judith Dale took over when March's mother died when March was very young, and stayed in the family house after the Murray family had all left it, by permission. March is here in Jenkintown, on the east coast, with her teenage daughter Gwen, to attend the funeral and to attend to Judith's remainin
Feb 18, 2012 Delores rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This story is not a feel good story. It isn't romantic or sappy. The characters have serious flaws and many of them are unlikeable. However, the book was a compelling read about love. The good, the bad, and the ugly sides of love. Its about the depths a person will go to, or the things a person will forsake, ignore, or settle for in the name of love or what they believe is love. This novel portrays a rather dark side of love that borders on an obsession or a sickness in the case of Hollis and Ma ...more
Feb 27, 2013 Nranger7 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hated this book when I started it, but it became hard for me to put down. It's a dark novel and I wasn't sympathetic to many of the characters. I'm glad I stuck with it, though. Even after finishing the book, I'm still thinking about the story and the characters.

I didn't like the main character, March, (which always makes a book difficult to get through) but the story had a bunch of questions and I kept reading to get the answers. Some questions (for me at least) never were answered which is
Hoffman did a wonderful job in writing this book. The characters have a lot of depth and are brought to life with her vivid words. Her writing style in this book is very descriptive and sometimes poetic. The way she describes love is so profound, it’s not the sort of description that is lengthy and you want to just skim over, no, it’s lyrical and holds your interest.

Now, the characters, hmmmm, where to begin? They are so real and my distaste for March and my strong dislike for Hollis are also r
Aug 27, 2009 Ashleigh rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book but try as I might, I couldn't find very many redeeming qualities in it. Both the setting and the characters were stereotyped and cliched and I had a difficult time taking the novel very seriously. It was set in a stereotypical small town with very predicable characters such as the outcast, the gossip,and the recluse. As far as fiction goes, this novel brought nothing new to the genre and only succeeded in boring me with shallow characters who had no qualities t ...more
Rebecca McNutt
I wasn't expecting much from this book to begin with, but my god, this was so bad! It had no creativity or originality; it was so generic it wasn't even funny. And the dialogue all sounded choppy, forced and artificial. The characters were totally unmemorable, there was very little imagery and it dragged on at many parts.
Sep 24, 2015 Barb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the magical overtones in Alice Hoffmans books and this one was no exception. Unfortunately, magical thinking does not work for March, the main character.
Feb 15, 2014 Joe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A love story, but not of the kind of love you see on Hallmark cards or in romantic comedies. This is about love as obsession, bitter accommodation, incest, immolating abuse, love that's dark, cold, soul destroying. There is a sunny love story here, but it's between girl and horse, perhaps, in the end, the only kind that can last. There's a lot wrong with Alice Hoffman's book, partially redeemed by a suspenseful final third that delves with psychological perception into the deeply twisted motivat ...more
A retelling of Wuthering Heights set in modern times - with a few key changes, the main one being that the Catherine equivalent doesn't die of a hissy fit and decides to get back with the Heathcliff equivalent years later.

Wuthering Heights at first glance seems to be perfect material for Hoffman. It has many of the elements she normally includes - messed up family dynamics, isolated or rural settings, non-happy endings...

And yet, it doesn't quite work. Hoffman is kinder to March than Bronte was
Dec 16, 2012 Chy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Okay, so the impression I get is Hoffman wanted to take as many parallels of Wuthering Heights as she could in modern times, and then do a, and then if this had happend sort of thing.

But y'all, one of the reasons books like Wuthering Heights are so spectacular is that you don't need anyone to tell you what would have happened if some particular part of the story went along a different line. The story is so well written, the characters so well defined, that if you have a "what if" question like t
3/5.0 starts

“Unfinished business always comes back to haunt you, and a man who swears he'll love you forever isn't finished with you until he's done.”

I've been seduced by Alice Hoffman's dark storytelling many times. However, this adult fiction of hers is unquestionably modeled from Wuthering Heights (maybe one of her favorites..?) so you may abandon all hopes for unpredictability.

Before you write this off, I just want to say that Hoffman's skill with words never fails to draw readers in. Her
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Endicott Mythic F...: Here on Earth - Discussion 11 47 Apr 09, 2014 03:01PM  
Judith Dale and love 2 37 Nov 04, 2007 04:56PM  
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Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing. She currently lives in Boston and New York ...more
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“You build your world around someone, and then what happens when he disappears? Where do you go- into pieces, into atoms, into the arms of another man? You go shopping, you cook dinner, you work odd hours, you make love to someone else on June nights. But you're not really there, you're someplace else where there is blue sky and a road you don't recognize. If you squint your eyes, you think you see him, in the shadows, beyond the trees. You always imagine that you see him, but he's never there. It's only his spirit, that's what's there beneath the bed when you kiss your husband, there when you send your daughter off to school. It's in your coffee cup, your bathwater, your tears. Unfinished business always comes back to haunt you, and a man who swears he'll love you forever isn't finished with you until he's done.” 226 likes
“When all is said and done, the weather and love are the two elements about which one can never be sure.” 168 likes
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