I've come to a point in my life in which I've read it all and everything is beginning to seem like a retelling of another story I read. So it's not ofI've come to a point in my life in which I've read it all and everything is beginning to seem like a retelling of another story I read. So it's not often anymore that I pick up a novel and devour it in a day, find myself just dying to know what happens next, getting completely engrossed in another life and time.
This book did it.
It's fantabulous, a fantabulous, well written blend of scandal, secrets, heartache, and missed opportunities revisited, with a strong feminine lesson. You don't NEED a man. You only need gumption, girl. And courage. If you WANT a man, then by all means, have one, but don't feel you should/must have one.
The story goes back and forth between a modern-day journalist living in the old Barbazon hotel for women turned condos and a small-town girl from the midwest in 1952, also residing in the Barazon. Each woman is facing similar problems in different scenarios, be it their careers or love lives, also family obligations.
I liked both stories. My favorite part about the past story was experiencing life at the Barbazon during that time, the fashion shows on the 18th floor, the girls sneaking their fellows in the stairways, etc. And the clothing descriptions, as I'm a vintage clothing fan. The modern story, I appreciated how the heroine very slowly learned that being without a man was okay, that there was no need to destroy herself and bypass what she wanted in order to have one. I loved watching this heroine evolve with each new revelation she discovered about the past heroine.
I also appreciated that I couldn't and didn't figure everything out by page ten. Far from it. I was just as surprised by the conclusion as the heroine herself.
And this book has it all: troublesome family, questionable friends, romance, scary moments, drugs, jazz singing, mean girls, fashion....
I would normally roll my eyes at a review that states, "Heart-pounding, edge-of-seat adventure." But I'm going to say that. I am aware that is soundsI would normally roll my eyes at a review that states, "Heart-pounding, edge-of-seat adventure." But I'm going to say that. I am aware that is sounds cheesy and cliched, but in this case, it's true. As I read the final rescue scene in this novel, my heart was pounding and I was on the edge of my seat, literally. When I closed the final page and looked at my coworker (I finished reading this on a work break), I actually said, "A woman who saves the day! Exactly my kind of read!" (I was actually more specific in my quote, but to reveal more would be spoilers.)
It's Fallon Navy Base, a woman helicopter pilot doing SARS and bomb clean up and checking into F-18 crashes. It's amazing stuff. I wasn't aware until recently that there was a Navy base in the desert. I was intrigued by life on this base, wish there was more of it, such as the heroine's F-18 ride. More, more, more! I didn't like the casual reveal of that in the middle of the story. I wanted the details.
This woman has more going on than helicopter flying though as she navigates not only the peaks of the Sierra Nevada but the emotions of her heart as she questions her romantic choices and what makes her happy and comes to terms with past abandonment.
The writing is top notch, the story smooth, the action intense. My only quibble is that I felt as though I was thrown into this woman's life all of a sudden. There were lots of things in her past relevant to the tale or that I wanted more of, such as the F18 ride. Basically, I wanted more of this story, this heroine. I would have liked it to have gone a bit more, instead of starting with her at Fallon.
Terrific tale. I cannot wait to see what this author writes next.
Cannot stand this story. I read the entire thing because I enjoyed the nursing stuff very much, but I can't stand the heroes and don't feel it makes gCannot stand this story. I read the entire thing because I enjoyed the nursing stuff very much, but I can't stand the heroes and don't feel it makes good romantic reading to see heroines fall in love and take back douchebags.
The modern woman...wth? He isn't there for the home renovation, for the carrying of baby, he comes back into the picture after the hard work is done...and you let him???? And the past heroine...nothing but a mistress. Seriously? When did that begin getting glamorized? I also didn't buy into the insta love. one wink and the lady is willing to give herself to him.
Just disappointed. Writing was top notch though....more
I loved the funny bits. I actually laughed out loud many times and had people asking me what was so funny. But omg, I loathed the ending so bad it wasI loved the funny bits. I actually laughed out loud many times and had people asking me what was so funny. But omg, I loathed the ending so bad it was ruined for me. Even worse is that I saw it coming from page 5. Too predictable. I kept reading in hopes I was wrong.
I don't like virgins being put with man whores. I wish the author had let the heroine put a few notches in her belt before hooking up with the man whore who cared nothing about her. I felt the heroine was way too dumb and forgiving....more
Well written and engaging. It managed to jump character to character, time zone to time zone without being the least bit jarring. This is hard to do.Well written and engaging. It managed to jump character to character, time zone to time zone without being the least bit jarring. This is hard to do. I appreciated the secrets slowly unveiled and the message revealed in Hilary's story...that maybe it wasn't for HER but for him. This made me think how quickly we are to make things about us and not others. But I really didn't like Emily or Tim. I wouldn't have married either one. If you can't make up your mind... I personally wouldn't accept being on the backburner the way Dan and Charlotte did. I can't say I agree with Charlotte's decision in the end....more
Absolutely amazing novel. It made me laugh, cry, nod my head in agreement, and contemplate some of the complicated choices some are presented with inAbsolutely amazing novel. It made me laugh, cry, nod my head in agreement, and contemplate some of the complicated choices some are presented with in life. What do you choose? The family you were born to or the family you choose? Making your dreams come true or helping someone else obtain theirs? Is denying your religion denying yourself?
I've read many WASP novels and while there was nothing new to me about this part of the story, the Jewish heroine and her conflicts made it interesting. The modern tale was surprisingly the best part though, as all these past conflicts come to a head and a 15-year-old girl suddenly becomes an adult. She has her own conflicts. Be accepted or keep her dignity? Her parents are divorcing.
There are many lessons to be learned in this fantastic, heart-wrenching novel. This one will stay with me a long time....more
Extremely well-done novel. Just when you think you've read every type of novel there is about WWII, this gem enters the picture. I am amazed that thisExtremely well-done novel. Just when you think you've read every type of novel there is about WWII, this gem enters the picture. I am amazed that this is a first novel. The writer did this with such skill. The reader is able to go narrative to narrative smoothly, with no jarring. The characters are distinctive. The Rabbits...is not something I've read about before, the medical experiments done on them, etc.
And strangely enough, I appreciate seeing the war through a woman Nazi doctor's eyes as well. I was weary of this at first and while I didn't feel much pity for her in the end, it did raise new thoughts/debates in my mind. Like what she did or not, she was a soldier acting on orders. I could see the brainwashing there too.
Something else that impressed me: most WWII novels end with the end of the war. This one continued, showing us what happens to each woman and how she copes long after the war is over. At the same time, however, Caroline's tale began to drag for me at this point. I didn't care for the Paul storyline.
I will be watching for more by this author. She did a superb job presenting us with a unique WWII novel with three remarkable or intriguing women who faced many different types of situation that required strength during the war....more
The writing style is just awful. It goes back and forth from not only the daughter to mother, but daughter to mother to past romance between mother anThe writing style is just awful. It goes back and forth from not only the daughter to mother, but daughter to mother to past romance between mother and father and OH, present tense and past tense. It's way too jarring and I couldn't stand it. ...more
I realize this won't be a popular review as I don't seem to share popular opinion on this one. I'm giving this a three because it's very well writtenI realize this won't be a popular review as I don't seem to share popular opinion on this one. I'm giving this a three because it's very well written as far as prose/telling vs showing/descriptions not too much or too little/emotion adequate. I felt in the scenes. I just didn't like the story itself, nor the heroine. We're all a bit dumb and easy to push around when we're young and this woman is a mere 17 when the book opens and is forced into many real-life situations she's not ready for.
But a little over 3/4 into the story, I just plain got sick and tired of it all, the back and forth with Chuck, the mother making all Harlean's decisions, the inability of this little bombshell to stick up for herself and say, "No, I won't pay all your bills for you, MOMMIE."
Having read A Touch of Stardust: A Novel I enjoyed the tidbits and fun facts about the actors/actresses involved in the movie, about the creating of the scenes. This novel didn't have that. It just flitted quickly from one movie to the next giving us very little of the movie-making process and the other actors/actresses. I'd have appreciated more about the movie business, less of the Harlean/Mommie wars and Harleen/Chuck wars.
Very well written and I was pleased with how distinctive the narratives were. I was easily able to tell them apart, but I wasn't fond of them. The menVery well written and I was pleased with how distinctive the narratives were. I was easily able to tell them apart, but I wasn't fond of them. The men were assholes and the women dumb for falling for them, so quick to spread their legs without getting the full story, only to go on and use other men to cover the possible consequences.
I also felt the book lacked history for a historical....more