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Cranberry Queen
Kathleen DeMarco
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Cranberry Queen

3.33  ·  Rating Details ·  1,223 Ratings  ·  143 Reviews
Diana Moore, a thirty-something professional in New York City, is brooding over rumors about her ex-lovers beautiful new girlfriend, when the unimaginable happens: a terrible car accident in which her entire family is killed. Seeking refuge from her well-meaning friends, Diana heads out of the city and ends up in the Pine Barrens, an oasis of simple living in New Jersey wh ...more
Published (first published January 1st 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Once in a while you stumble upon a book that, while it may not be the most well crafted writing in the world, it touches something inside you and causes you to dig deep inside yourself and reflect on life.

Cranberry Queen was one such book. I picked it up over a year ago, as possible fodder for one of the OBCZs. I've passed it by multiple times when glancing over the stacks, trying to choose my next read. I picked up up now, because I'd hoped it would be a title that could qualify for a challeng
May 28, 2007 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gals who like to read
Shelves: kick-ass-covers
Great story--I actually balled at the end. Lay off, I was fragile. Some books you just read at the right time in your life, and this was one of them.
One of my first chick-lit books; will always have a place in my heart.
I feel in love with the cover...
Lyn (Readinghearts)
Jul 01, 2010 Lyn (Readinghearts) rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lyn (Readinghearts) by: Jennifer and Colleen.
This book was a recommendation to me from two of my best GR buddies. These ladies and have a lot in common as far as reading goes, so I was excited when Jennifer said that she came across this book at a book store and really liked it, then when Colleen read it and also liked it. Sure enough, right off the bat, I could tell I was going to like the voice of the main character (the story was told in the first person). She was sarcastic, but it was a witty sarcasm, which I really enjoy. Three pages ...more
Jun 16, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing book. Instead of doing a review (because in all honesty, I just loved everything about it and that isn't helpful on it's own in a review) I'll add some of my favorite quotes.

"He-the Monster-is now dating someone whose name begins with "L". I think her name is Lola or maybe, possibly, Lolita. (Tiptoeing off the tounge. How lovely. Lovely Lola Lolita) The Monster, everyone say is much better now. He doesn't drink (I'm not around) and he doesn't smoke (I'm not around) and he doe
Sep 29, 2007 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who like unrealistic coincidences
A quick read but one that didn't quite work for me. Diana Moore is fleeing New York City to escape a recent family tragedy and in a moment of distraction hits an old woman on a motorcyle. The woman is fine but this chance encounter leads Diana to a new set of relationships and a beautiful location, the Pine Barrens in New Jersey. I liked how uncomfortably realistic Diana's inner life is and the descriptions of the setting are evocative, but the overall plot had some believability issues that I c ...more
May 23, 2012 Crystal rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I have two words to summarize this book... Don't Bother!!!

The main character has absolutely no depth whatsoever. She is so self-centered and egocentric that she takes the accidental death of her family as a personal assault on her. According to her, all eyes must be on her, and the only voice heard is hers.
I could not relate to such a child like, immature character. I only finished it to see how it ended, and even that was a disappointment.
Aug 26, 2011 CD rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A screenplay styled treatment about a tragedy and drama plagued woman that borders on self-indulgence by the writer.

Not recommended.
Not the most captivating book and the main character irritated me, but the writing was good. Disappointing ending...was expecting something a bit meatier overall.
Jun 22, 2008 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining piece of fluff. Cute book for the beach - especially since all of it takes place in NJ. :)

My favorite part of this book is this excerpt:

"...I turn off at Exit Nine. New Brunswick. A river - the Camden? the Roanoke? (no, idiot, that's in Virgina)-streams underneath the overpass. I go onto Route One, South. No reason.
But Route One isn't working either. It is lined, at first, with green lawns and trees, buffeting the entrance to either Johnson & Johnson's massive headquarters or
My friend loaned me this, which seems to be a theme amongst it's readers, it being passed down from one person to another. My copy is nicely worn and dog-eared like crazy.

I did like this book, I thought it was nicely written with some beautiful prose thrown in here and there, and it did tug at my heartstrings at times. I, like many others have been witness to terrible tragedies, and we yearn to deal with the conflicting emotions pressed upon us, but do not know how. I especially related to wanti
Jul 02, 2013 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: old-favorites
I had a completely different expectation when I decided to pick up CRANBERRY QUEEN by Kathleen DeMarco. I anticipated an easy, breezy, light-hearted read, but it ended up being so much more than that.

Diana Moore, 33, cannot get over the day her ex-boyfriend - affectionately name "The Monster" - dumped her for another woman. Life can't possibly get worst than the love of your life breaking your heart into a million little pieces. But it does. In one shot she loses her entire family in a horrific
Sep 29, 2011 Candace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
This was an interesting book. You really felt like you were in her thoughts.
This story is about a women who has a total life altering event ..... Her family ( mother father and brother who is about to be married) was killed by a drunk driver. Now she has to learn how to go on and pick up the pieces of her life. Only she doesn't know how. She tries to run away from her NYC life and ends up crashing into a little town in New Jersey. It is here that she finally is able to do some healing and gain
Jul 23, 2011 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At 33, New York City professional Diana Moore is already grieving over an ex-boyfriend referred to only as "The Monster" who couldn't stand to be with her any longer. Suddenly thrown into a deeper hopelessness when her parents and only brother are tragically killed in a car accident, Diana quits her job, jumps in her Volvo and takes off for parts unknown. She runs into Rosie (literally), a 70-year-old woman on a motorcycle and her granddaughter Louisa in a part of New Jersey she's never seen bef ...more
Dec 09, 2010 Danielle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: just-fun
I just started this book, and so far, it's a good read. About a young woman who ends up in the New Jersey Pine Barrens after her parents are killed in a car crash (it's not nearly as heavy as it sounds!)


I really enjoyed this book (Suzanne, I think you would really like it!) It has a surprisingly light touch, considering the topic - meaningful without being heavy. The use of the location is really terrific, and the secondary characters are all authentic and interesting. It reminded me a lit
Nov 03, 2012 Vickie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit, 2013
Diana Moore is a 33-year-old woman living in NYC who suddenly finds herself an orphan after her mother, father, and brother are killed in a tragic car accident. After over a year of living in a haze, she takes off and ends up in a cranberry bog in southern NJ. The book, up to this point, is tragic but a good read of her emotions. After this point, no pun intended, the book bogs down.

The second half of the book takes place over 2 days but it seems like an eternity. She is surrounded by some irrit
This book starts with a family tragedy changing Diana's life, and, like Diana herself, it doesn't recover. After being unable to cope with her newly fragmented life, Diana leaves home without knowing where she's going. She finds herself in a beautiful landscape with strangers who are willing to take her in. There are many opportunities for a great story to evolve, but instead too many characters are introduced that cannot be kept straight, and everyone's lives and problems are only dealt with in ...more
Feb 29, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The description on Goodreads is inaccurate - it must be for a different book! This one is heartbreaking; on page five, Diana gets the horrible news that her parents and brother have been killed by a drunk driver. Had I known this going in, I probably wouldn't have started. As it was, I wasn't sure whether I wanted to continue. I can't imagine going through a tragedy like that and didn't want to read about someone who had. I had tears in my eyes several times throughout the book. But having lost ...more
Nov 18, 2010 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The main character, Diana, suffers a tragic loss. In the face of that, she runs off to the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, where she is "befriended" by a young woman and her family and friends. Much of the rest of the book focuses on the two days she spent there. I really could not get into this book, particularly because I found the "friend" Louisa to be extremely irritating. There is also a strange subplot about love at first sight, and another about Diana's father's former best friend coming out ...more
Aug 06, 2012 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
The description on Goodreads is inaccurate. It must be for a different book!

Diana, age 30, receives life-changing news involving her family. Her friends try to help her come to terms with this news however Diana tries to escape her life (there is also a boyfriend involved) jumps in her car and ends up in Pine Barrens which is a rural corner of New Jersey. Here nobody knows her and she is able to take a hard look at her life and begin to like and love herself again.

There are many quirky characte
Nina Teal
Dec 12, 2013 Nina Teal rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well, it was really tough getting through the first 1/4 of the book. I'm not into rich people who are so selfish and self centered they can't figure out how to live with all the wealth and security they have and think only about themselves.

Sure there is a big tragedy, but think of all the hundreds of people who don't have the finances or the friends or the backup that could be in the exact situation not to mention all the folks who have lost families due to flood or fire or hurricanes or warfar
Mar 23, 2008 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: poetic people who enjoy visual and visceral reads
I really loved this book. From the reviews I thought it might be more lightweight, chicklit fare (not that I mind that) but it was quite emotionally complex. This was a book about navigating loss, loneliness and a need for self understanding. I liked that it was not overly melodramatic considering the shocking nature of the tragedy that the main character Diana experienced. I think perhaps some parts were a little too far-fetched for me (ending was slightly trite) but the language and writing st ...more
girl writing
Beautifully written book. "Sometimes I see the two of us as old ladies, rocking on a chair on somebody's porch arguing over something neither of us considers important. Other times, I see our friendship as a sealed envelope, intended to be understood but never opened." It's so interesting how some authors (like DeMarco) take us into characters so well in so few pages that you want to finish reading to find out about them. The main character suffers a tragedy and her grief is expressed so realist ...more
Aug 30, 2014 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the beginning of this book, I connected with the narrator on a deep level. I enjoy her humor and wit. By the end of the book, much of that connection was lost simply because I could no longer relate to her circumstances, perhaps because she started to seem more like a younger girl at a summer camp than a thirty something, but I was still interested in how her life turned out in the end. I would recommend it if you're looking for a quick read, though it isn't all sunshine and roses, particular ...more
When I first picked up this book, I will admit, I didn't read the back of the book jacket (and I think my experience reading it was better for that reason). I was caught by the title, and just wanted to read more from that.
The first few pages of the book led me to believe I was reading just another run of the mill fiction story about a whiny, 30-something, whose life wasn't complete because of her luck, or lack there of, with men. I was surpised to read that the story became much more weighty th
Oct 05, 2012 Dianna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
This is about how Diana Moore tries to cope with the tragedies in her life. Her boyfriend left her (3 years ago!)and still is on a poor pitiful me roll. Then her whole family dies in a car accident which left her in a state of shock. 4 months later while still trying to make sense of her life, she gets in her car and drives with no destination in mind. Her mind is not clear at all. Ending up in a small town in New Jersey her life begins to change thanks to the town's quirky characters.

I enjoyed
Mar 13, 2010 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was really taken with Kathleen DeMarco's 2001 novel "Cranberry Queen" (Hyperion, $12.95, paperback, 254 pp.)

Maybe because it had an unforeseen twist and was refreshingly, engagingly witty. But mostly because I started it on a plane ride filled with what seemed to be an unusual number of babies and wanted to be absorbed in a good story.

Check out the rest of my review on my blog, Balancing the Books, at
Jul 30, 2008 Kimberly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ehhh. The author has a lot of potential; her writing is smooth and her imagery well placed, but the story is lacking. I found the main character to be somewhat annoying, but again, I often find first person assessments of psychological well being to be as much. It reminded me of The Bell Jar, all about a woman who should be shaken for feeling sorry for herself too much of the time.

Otherwise, the story lies on a solid premise, but doesn't deliver believable interactions. All that said, I would ki
Feb 15, 2010 Jackie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were a few passages in this book that I went back and reread multiple times because they contained such perfect insight, and I could easily relate to how the protagonist was feeling. I could also see the vivid colors and beauty of the setting.

This book could have been really cheesy, but the author skillfully avoided making it too precious. My one complaint was that there were too many cute metaphors, but other than that this was a very enjoyable read and I recommend it.
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“This time, there are no tears. This time, there is only emptiness and I feel it set in the straight line of my mouth. I am not strong enough for this. I want an earthquake, a hurricane, anything - even a devil, the one with the cloven hoof - Mrs. Leed's unfortunate 13th child - to rush out and stomp on me, break me into little pieces and hurl me to the stars, let me go back with those people I love. Please.” 58 likes
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