The perfect title for this little gem. Not your typical depressing story of a dysfunctional family. This is written with poignancy, is creative and huThe perfect title for this little gem. Not your typical depressing story of a dysfunctional family. This is written with poignancy, is creative and humorous at times, and mixes this with a big dose of reality, albeit not all pretty, but with much hope and determination.
Set in New Jersey, we become acquainted with the main character, Silvia, who is in her early 20's, a recent graduate with a Fine Arts degree. She is dealing with her own eccentricities. We don't understand her initially, but as the story develops we can see how her personality/character developed as a result of her childhood and her place in the nuclear family. You can't help but like Silvia, she is the peace-keeper in this family which is always fighting. Silvia's fathers alcoholism is at the root of this families issues, but it trickles even further back. We see how it sadly affects each member of this family, who deep down do love each other. In the case of Silvia and her siblings, it not only affects them, it molds them into what they become as adults. That is the sad reality about this disease. I found myself alternately smiling at Silvie's machinations, applauding her determination and admiring her insight of the goodness in each of her family members, even her Dad.
Personally, acquainting myself with each character in this novel was an enjoyment, with Silvia's brothers especially. Your heart goes out to them as try to cope with what they're dealt. I've read some complaints about the language here, and yes, there are plenty of "expletives" used in frustrating and volatile moments, but I know for a fact that this is commonplace in Jersey-ites. They don't even think about it, it's what they're used to. All of the characters in this dysfunctional family are well educated, and smart, but are disjointed by all the fighting in their family. Silvia wants to "fix it" at least for just one night. One nice family dinner for her younger brothers graduation from high school. Getting them all to agree is her challenge. The alcoholic father is a Judge, of all things. One can't help but wonder if he's smart enough to be a Judge why he can't see what he is doing to those he loves most, or take the steps to fix it himself, but realistically we know that is also commonplace with alcoholics. They often don't think they have a problem, everyone else does.
As the daughter of a portrait artist, I liked the way the author worked in Silvia's artistic abilities, and how appropriate that was to the novel's satisfactory conclusion. I found myself thinking about the characters long after I finished this, so I'm happy to hear there is a sequel coming up. It makes one proud of the human spirit, what it can overcome when it is motivated by love to do so. My mother was a "Silvia" in her lifetime, and for the same reason, so the message here mattered to me. Thanks to this author for giving us that insight without dragging it out into a long, dismal and depressing novel. Kudos to Ms. Mattioli, she has started her career well :)
I liked that it grabs your interest right away. What I didn't like is the far-fetched scenario of a woman even thinking of saying " I love you" to herI liked that it grabs your interest right away. What I didn't like is the far-fetched scenario of a woman even thinking of saying " I love you" to her rapist. We are led to believe that this weird, cruel rapist can have loving qualities???? The ending throws you for a loop too. Say what??? Won't spoil it for any potential readers, but it let me down....more
3.5 stars for this one. I've been on a marathon of Hilderbrands works. This isn't one of my real favorites but I liked it very much. It's contemporary3.5 stars for this one. I've been on a marathon of Hilderbrands works. This isn't one of my real favorites but I liked it very much. It's contemporary fiction based on events we can clearly relate to in today's world. This fictional work parallel's the actual events surrounding the arrest of financier Barry Medoff's... but in a fictional novel that focuses on what it must be like for the wife of a man who is arrested for bilking many out of millions, in a ponzi scheme. How a wife must learn to live with the stigma attached to her, who is innocent of any wrong-doing, but must help the authorities find "the money" to prove her innocence. No one believes she could have possibly been oblivious of his shenanigans. Not when she transferred 15 million dollars to her and her husbands personal account just days before he is arrested, because she always did what her husband asked her to. She flees the press incognito to hide-out in Nantucket at her best friends beach house while she decides what to do. The novel also takes us back in time to her relationship with her best friend and her brother and why marrying the man she did, affected the outcome of their relationships.
Ms. Hilderbrand has a knack for drawing us into her characters, this was no exception. Easy to relate to, easy reading. Her fans won't be disappointed. ...more
2.5 Stars I agree with Pamela who reviews here in Jan. 2011: “This is one of those stories that has all the components of greatness--a well-conceived,2.5 Stars I agree with Pamela who reviews here in Jan. 2011: “This is one of those stories that has all the components of greatness--a well-conceived, interesting trajectory, mystery, betrayal, tragedy, paralleling societal and family injustice and feminist themes.”
There are also some moments of lovely prose and intuitive perceptions. That is why I award it 2.5 stars, but it could have been so much more, perhaps with better editing. What it was, was difficult for the reader to grasp what was going on. Right from the onset, it starts off with two little girls, who are sisters, playing together. But in the second paragraph it jumps to Iris, we don't know who she is at first, but she is in present day, the little girls were in the past. You have to read on and figure this out. I'm talking paragraphs, not chapters, there are no chapters. It's one continuous monologue. I normally enjoy novels written in the past and in the present, but usually the author will make it easier on us by titleing the chapter with the year of what's taking place, or by the name of the character at least, that is not the case here.
I have never read anything written like this. Sometimes you can't figure out who is talking, or thinking or reminiscing. Sometimes sentences aren't even finished, but jump to another subject... this is usually from the one sister with Alzheimers, Kitty, who's thoughts and memories ARE jumbled, that's apparently the reason it is written like this, but it doesn't make reading this a simple pleasure. I don't want to work that hard to enjoy a novel. I don't read until bedtime and it may be the last thing I feel like doing. It's hard enough to read about Alzheimer's and mental illness, but when it's jumbled all together like this, for me it is not the kind of writing I enjoy.
It is difficult to review this novel without spoilers, but there is a lot that is going on and they are intermingled. In my case, and others in our book club, as we read it together, we had to go back and re-read some snipettes in the beginning to better understand other incidents that happened as consequences. One sympathizes for Esme and wants redemption for her, but we never see it coming, not even in the ending.
The ending is so strange, it then it just STOPS and as Pamela says in her review, “feels like an unclosed circle.” Not my cup of tea. ...more
This was much more than a beach read. It does take place during summer on a beach in Nantucket, as this author is from there and bases her novels fromThis was much more than a beach read. It does take place during summer on a beach in Nantucket, as this author is from there and bases her novels from that area, which makes one want to visit there if you haven't been. Three women come to Nantucket for the summer, each with their own emotional baggage but to support Vicki, a lung-cancer victim, who will be receiving chemo while she is there. They meet Josh at the airport, a 22 year old college student in his senior year who ultimately is hired to help care for Vicki's young children during their stay.
Josh was my favorite character. I also really liked Vicki, her reaction to dealing with her cancer sounded very believable and how most women her age would feel. It wasn't maudlin, just realistic. Brenda (Vicki's sister) was fired as a University professor for having an affair with a student, but the reviews don't mention that her student is older than she is, she isn't a pedophile, and she they evidently really fell in love with each other. The timing was bad, she still broke the rules and paid the price. Melanie (Vicki's BFF), was extremely interesting. You'll have to read it to find out how her summer went.
This has several poor reviews, mainly because of the infidelity, and self-centered-ness of some of the characters, but they were such interesting people. I could see this ringing true to the circumstances. I found myself looking forward to picking this novel up again at the end of my day.
I wanted more when this ended. How did the odd summer Josh spent in the company of these women affect his choices in life? The character of Peter Patchen, Melanie's husband, the unfaithful one, is supposed to be Asian, tall (?) and handsome. What kind of a name is Patchen for an Asian man? I'll have to research that one. He wasn't developed too well, but we didn't care.
This ends with a lot of things up in the air. What happens to these characters after the summer is over we have to assume, except for Vicki, the epilogue helped there, but all in all, Hilderband does a wonderful job of getting the reader to feel connected and like we know the characters, which is what we want in a good read, summer or anytime.
I didn't know what to expect from this, but it was our book club selection for the month, so I acquired it and did not read any of the reviews until II didn't know what to expect from this, but it was our book club selection for the month, so I acquired it and did not read any of the reviews until I finished it (2 sittings later). I can't understand the negativity of some of the reviews. It was not raunchy. It was not a "Water for Elephants" just because the main character Tobias, traveled by box car with a hobo, during the depression, doesn't make it so. It's also not "preachy" or "dirty."
What it was, is funny, original, entertaining, yet had a good message, and some controversial impressions of phrases from the bible, which engages us in contemplation about what is interpreted by many of different faiths, not just the Baptists. Tobias was a young man coming of age in 1936, with a sense of humor, and hormones leading him around by the you-know-what, yet he was always respectful, kind, kept most of his thoughts and curiosities to himself. You can't help but like Tobias, and his traveling mate, Craw. I thought the character of Craw really added to the story and helped Tobias mature into the fine young man he became.
I think it came together at the end pretty well, except for dwelling a little in the supernatural (which has me rating it a 4 instead of 5-star) it didn't detract from the enjoyment of the humor and wit with which this author writes. Our book club members (and their spouses) all liked it and recommended it for either gender....more
Baldacci's newest protagonist is an assassin, whose missions usually eliminate really bad people. He doesn't usually know a lot about his victims, onlBaldacci's newest protagonist is an assassin, whose missions usually eliminate really bad people. He doesn't usually know a lot about his victims, only that the world will be a better place without them. One can't help but like Will Robie, and also feel sorry for him. He can never let his guard down and be normal, can't fall in love, can't settle down. His conscience doesn't bother him because he does what he does best, and that is eliminate the scum of the world. It's not about the money, but the mission. It's his lot in life.
When he is faced with a questionable mission that doesn't seem to fit the usual parameters, he is faced with hard choices. The choice he makes is sudden, and changes his life drastically. Now he is the hunted, and the novel revolves around the ramification of his choices, and intersects the lives of many, including a 14-year old girl also running from her parents murderers.
Baldacci also does what he does best. His characters are well developed and realistically human, the pace is fast, the situation complex, and the suspense keeps you riveted. Don't start this late at night or you will be up way longer than you intended to be.
Hilderbrand never disappoints. She develops her characters so well that one feels as if you know them. Usually the locale of her novels are set on NanHilderbrand never disappoints. She develops her characters so well that one feels as if you know them. Usually the locale of her novels are set on Nantucket, but in this one she takes us to a small island across the waters of Nantucket called Tuckernuck. It is privately owned with only about 30 residents living there.
The four main characters in this novel are Birdie (short for Elizabeth) who is in her mid-50s, newly divorced, her two single daughters, Tate and Chess (short for Francesca) who are needing a break from their professional lives, and her sister India, recently widowed with grown children). They decide to take a few weeks to stay at their old summer home on Tuckernuck, which has been in the family forever. It is badly in need of repair, but it gets done in time for the ladies arrival. They each need to get away from their own problems, and need to rekindle their relationships with each other.
This has drama, love, tragedy and humor, everything we’ve all experienced in one form or another. It’s a mothers love for her children and the men in her life, sisters love/hate relationships, and about healing. I looked forward to picking it up at the end of my day, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Recommended for lovers of women’s fiction. Hilderbrand makes her fiction believable, which is what it’s all about....more
I reserve 5 stars for the exceptional and unforgettable. This was really good, however, I looked forward to picking it up at the end of the day, the oI reserve 5 stars for the exceptional and unforgettable. This was really good, however, I looked forward to picking it up at the end of the day, the only time I usually read.
An appropriate title for this novel would've been The Last Call... for many reasons. Those of you who have read it will understand why... the bell, Fiona's circumstances, and the closing of the Blue Bistro at the end of summer. This is not a spoiler as it is disclosed early on, when Adrienne, the main character in this novel is hired to work there.
Personally, I loved learning about the high-end restaurant business in an entertaining way. I just never realized how much is involved, from taking reservations to clean-up at midnight. I loved how the crew settled in with their home-made "crackers" at the end of the day. I loved how they had a "family meal" together before guests start arriving, all of it. The menu sounded delectable, delicious, and the reader feels oneself truly "there" with them all, or wanting to be. The Cuban chefs, the quirky personalities of the wait staff, the owners of the Blue Bistro, all of them were a pleasure to get to know.
Adrienne is the daughter of a dentist and has had one parent since she was 12 when her mother died. She has never gotten over it or accepted a new relationship her father has with the woman who is his hygienist. Throughout the novel she emails her dad, and we the readers, are privy to the correspondence back and forth. This seemed realistic and I liked very much her relationship with her Dad. Adrienne has roamed continents working at hotel chains, but settles down one summer in Nantucket when an opportunity arises that she can't turn down, learning the high-end restaurant business. She finds a home with all the characters here that are involved in running the Blue Bistro. This is a love story, but much more. It took a quirky turn at the end and I "Oh, no'd!" there for a bit, but after it was explained was satisfied with why. I will continue to read Elin Hilderbrand, and recommend this to anyone who likes food, cooking, and who likes to get involved in a good story. ...more
It's been on the best-seller list forever, and on the library request list I was 367th in line, so I decided to buy it after reading the preview on kiIt's been on the best-seller list forever, and on the library request list I was 367th in line, so I decided to buy it after reading the preview on kindle. I admit that it has engrossing, teasing, taunting, plot points (Diane Chamberlain's words, spot on).
I gave it such a low rating (between 2/3--the 3 only because it was hard to put down) as it has no redeeming depth, no empathetic characters, no heart tugging moments (any that are "real" at any rate) but like a bad accident, you keep looking. At first you don't like the husband, then you don't like the wife, because it seems you were mistaken and as a reader, manipulated. But it does keep your interest, although for this reader, even the ending wasn't satisfactory. For those that might find profanity objectionable, this is right up there with the worse of them - the F word is used so often it has no impact after awhile, which of course is what its purpose is.
Another thing that really bothered me was that the character Margo was called "Go" by her brother and sometimes (especially at the beginning of a sentence) it throws you off thinking Go is a word. I found this disruptive, many authors are doing that, shortening real names to a ridiculous nickname, and it isn't necessary. ...more
This gives us a great look at what goes through someone's mind in the last days of his life. Too bad it took going into hospice for the main characterThis gives us a great look at what goes through someone's mind in the last days of his life. Too bad it took going into hospice for the main character to realize that people have more to offer than what we see on the outside. Bonnie is a man in his 70's facing his immortality. It's now down to a week or two and he is sent to a hospice center for the last of his days. All his life he had been prejudiced against blacks, against gays, against teens with tatoo's and piercings, and yet these were the first people to befriend him in hospice. To sit by his bed when he was too ill to fend for himself. It surprised him, and he was forced into taking an honest look at himself and realized how he had treated "these kind of people" when he was younger.
We all now people like him, my own father is like that, and he is 91 so he is never going to change, but I sure wish he was still able to read. I think it would be an eye-opener. Yes, I read him some lines, and did tell him about it. Unfortunately, dementia is getting in the way of anything we tell him, sadly, he won't remember it tomorrow.
One of the things I loved most was that this main character (think Walter Matthau) has such a good sense of humor, even in facing death. He makes you chuckle with his comments and realism, and that was the gift he gave to his new friends in hospice with him. I think that alone bought him some redemption for past injustices, that he brought laughter into the lives of others suffering through their last days. Even one of the nurses commented in the first day or two of his stay there that she hadn't heard laughter in the lunchroom, well, ever.