This novel felt a little different from Barbara Delinsky's previous works, but in some ways it also felt very reminiscent of her earlier novels. The pThis novel felt a little different from Barbara Delinsky's previous works, but in some ways it also felt very reminiscent of her earlier novels. The protagonists were a little younger than her usual heroines (normally married women with grown children) and the romantic element came more into the forefront than I'd come to expect from her. That isn't to say I didn't enjoy these aspects of the book, but it definitely deviated from her norm.
I loved the setting of a remote island in Maine. Delinsky has often written stunning descriptions of the scenery in New Hampshire, and here she gives the fiction island of Quinnipeague similar justice. I lived by the sea for the four years, and although I don't miss the crazy cold winds, I do miss the scent of the sea air, and this book brought back fond memories of life in St Andrews and Anstruther.
Charlotte and Nicole are brought together to write Nicole's cookbook about Quinnipeague food, and I absolutely loved the details about all the recipes they hunted down from locals, the mysterious herbs that grew on the island, and Nicole's own cooking experiments. Although I could barely boil an egg when I left home five years ago, I've grown to adore cooking and my husband and I have accidentally fallen into the role of food gurus at our church, so the world of food blogging is all too familiar for me. Delinsky certainly did her research in this area.
Delinsky often writes about issues and betrayals that tear families apart or bring them back together. The one in this novel wasn't the most original issue (although the details about Julian's MS and possible treatments were interesting) and I figured out Charlotte's secret just from reading the back cover. Perhaps I've just read too many Delinsky novels? Honestly, I preferred the details about the cookbook, Quinnipeague and Charlotte's romance to the issues between her and Nicole, which were dealt with rather quickly.
As fascinating as the information about Julian's MS was, I never entirely understood Julian and Nicole's relationship. I realise that Nicole was meant to be a bit of a pushover and that she had to grow over the course of the novel, but I wasn't sure if I completely bought that she would keep her husband's MS a secret from everyone for four years just because he was worried about how it would affect his standing in the medical community. It's a massive burden to bear, and I was surprised she didn't crack any earlier. I struggled to find any redeeming features in Julian's character--he really wasn't terribly sympathetic, even considering his illness.
As I said before, I wasn't expecting a lot of romance when I started this book, so I was pleasantly surprised by how Charlotte and Leo's relationship developed. I guessed who Leo really was even before Charlotte met him, but that didn't make their relationship development any less interesting. Although Leo is initially painted as the island bad boy, he was actually a bit of a beta hero--a loner who cares deeply about his dog, looks after his deceased mother's garden even though she didn't always treat him well, and has a way with words that no one could ever imagine. His sensitivity with Charlotte--especially when things between her and Nicole explode--endeared me to him all the more. He's definitely my kind of hero.
It felt like things were tied up maybe a little bit too neatly by the end of the book, particularly in the epilogue. I was really pleased with how things worked out for Charlotte and Leo--and in fact, for a while I did wonder if they would work things out--but I'm not sure if I needed quite that much detail. I'm not a big epilogue girl.
This isn't one of Delinsky's best novels, and I'm even hesitant to call it a "standard Delinsky". It isn't that it's bad--it's just different from some of her other recent books, like Not My Daughter and While My Sister Sleeps. The heroines are younger, there's more romance, and the relationships take precedence over whatever topical issue Delinsky has chosen to discuss. I don't think I have a preference for either style of book, but I imagine that some readers will prefer the older and some the newer. Personally, I think this book was a good blend of the focus on relationships (between friends, family and lovers) that Delinsky's more recent books have had, and her skill at writing romance that she had when she first broke into the market, as well as her consistent love of New England scenery. This book would be perfect for someone looking for an engaging beach book that's slow moving but has some extra depth. 4*...more
I preferred this romance to the other early Delinsky I read this month, Flip Side of Yesterday, but it still wasn't amazing. The idea of the heroine aI preferred this romance to the other early Delinsky I read this month, Flip Side of Yesterday, but it still wasn't amazing. The idea of the heroine and hero--both widowed young--struggling to get on with their lives and meeting up at the same cabin every month was definitely original, and it allowed the romance to develop slowly over a realistic period of time. I wasn't massively keen on the hero initially as he seemed a little aggressive (a common theme in 80s romances, it seems) but I did warm up to him. This romance itself was very sweet, but the ending was riddled with Big Misunderstandings, and having two so close together didn't seem entirely realistic, especially as the heroine's reaction made it seem like she didn't entirely trust the hero, even though they'd known each other for nearly a year.
It wasn't until I had nearly finished this book that I realised what it was that was missing from it, and from Flip Side of Yesterday--the hero's point of view! Both novels were in third person, with the story told entirely from the heroine's perspective. We never get to learn how the hero is feeling or what he's thinking. I definitely missed this.
Overall, not a bad romance, but I've read much better. It was interesting reading Barbara Delinsky's early writing, and it's clear that she's always had a love of New England scenery. Her descriptions in this book definitely made me want to visit someday. 2.5*...more
I read this book in a reprint collection from 1998 called Rekindled. I grabbed it on BookMooch a couple of years ago, when I first got into Barbara DeI read this book in a reprint collection from 1998 called Rekindled. I grabbed it on BookMooch a couple of years ago, when I first got into Barbara Delinsky's writing, without realising it was a reprint of two of her early 80s romance novels. I've actually read a couple of her early novels, and I really enjoyed one of them (Montana Man) while the other one was just average (An Irresistible Impulse). This one falls into the latter category.
If I'd realised this book had originally been published under Harlequin/Silhouette's Desire line, I probably wouldn't have picked it up. Which I do really enjoy some of Harlequin's lines, I prefer the longer, more family and romance focused Superromances or Special Editions, rather than the sex-fuelled Desire novels. This book isn't bad--in fact, the writing isn't bad at all. It's just the style of romance and type of hero that didn't work for me. If you like Desire novels, you might like this book.
I decided to plough through this book, even if I didn't particularly enjoy it, because it was pretty short. It came in at 165 pages in my edition, and those were relatively small pages with a large font, so it was a quick read. I liked the details about the heroine's work with geology and looking into environmental factors affecting new business developments. Her past in New Orleans intrigued me, but we never really learn a lot about that, although it's hinted at vaguely throughout the novel. Her co-workers were at least a little more than cardboard cut-outs, but I did wish we'd had the chance to see her interacting with someone other than men for the entire book. There's Ross, the hero, Lee, her business partner, and the Senator she's working with on a job. There's a female intern who pops up for a few lines, but that's about it. Maybe it's just a reflection on workplaces in the 80s?
It appears that some parts of the book were updated for the late 90s audience. For example, the heroine puts on a CD rather than a cassette--which given the 80s fashions, seemed really out of place. But then they appear to go for a motorcycle ride without helmets--was this an 80s thing? My dad was a biker in the 70s and 80s and I know that he was in some accidents that could have killed him if he didn't wear a helmet. Maybe it's just because I'm the daughter of a biker, but this scene really bugged me.
My biggest issue with this book? The hero. He reminded me a lot of the hero from An Irresistible Impulse, so evidently this was a popular hero for 80s romance novels. He is such an alpha male, and I just don't like alpha males at all. He's very forceful and domineering with the heroine, to the point where it feels uncomfortable, not romantic. He cajoles her into going for dinner with him, working on business deals, etc, and I can see that it's meant to be romantic, but if a guy was ever that pushy with one of my girlfriends, I'd tell them to run away--FAST. He also insists on calling the heroine "princess" all the time, which isn't a term of endearment as much as it is a reference to her former life as a New Orleans débutante. Chloe makes it clear several times that she's moved on from who she was back then, but he still pushes the "princess" label on her. It's like he won't let her escape the past. I'm all for Chloe reconciling with her family, but that doesn't mean she has to return to being the spoiled, rich girl she used to be.
And of course, as happens in most 80s romance novels, the heroine has never slept with another guy since she was with the hero ten years ago. Of course, he is a man of the world and has been with many women. Although they only had one night together when she was 18, he's the only man for her, and they instantly fall in love again, and he's the one man who can teach her how to make love like a real woman, etc, etc. SNORE. I like my heroines to have a bit more backbone and not get hung up one guy forever, and my heroes to not be pushy jerks. This romance just didn't work for me.
I love romance novels, don't get me wrong. But this story needed a bit more realism, and the hero was more annoying than romantic. If you want to try one of Barbara Delinsky's early novels, I'd recommend Montana Man over this one. The hero is still a bit of an alpha male, but the snowbound-in-a-cabin plot makes the quick romance more believable, and there's a cute baby to add to the mix. This just wasn't my kind of romance. 2*...more
This was a vast improvement on the last romance novel that I read from this author. Barbara Delinsky is one of my favourite writers and I've started iThis was a vast improvement on the last romance novel that I read from this author. Barbara Delinsky is one of my favourite writers and I've started investigating some of her earlier works. While I was disappointed by An Irresistible Impulse, this novel had the typical Delinsky charm. Well developed characters, excellent interaction and chemistry, a cute baby, a couple of subplots and one of my favourite plot devices - snowbound in a cabin! While initially I was a bit annoyed that Quist conformed to the typical aplha male stereotype of an aloof, masculine woman-hater, Delinsky quickly made him into someone that I could sympathise with and enjoy reading about. Both Quist and Lily make judgements about each other and come to realise that first impressions aren't always the best, and end up liking each other...and falling in love, obviously! I appreciated that they both had pasts, particularly that Lily had come from a broken marriage and had a baby. But one aspect of romance novels that has always bugged me is that men are allowed to have been promiscuous but even women who have been married have to have had bad sexual experiences until they met The One. I'm not a fan of this double standard! This book was originally published in the Harlequin Temptation line, so there is a fair amount of sex, some of it described quite graphically. This isn't normally something I look for in a novel, but the engaging characters and plot made up for it. I was particularly pleased with the ending, where the catalysts for Quist and Lily meeting - he looking for his sister and she escaping her husband's family - came to a head. It was nice to know that these subplots weren't forgotten in the whirlwind of romance, and it made the characters and their histories all the more realistic. All in all, this novel did have its faults where typical romance stereotypes emerged, but otherwise this was a sweet romance and a perfect comfort read. 8/10...more
Edit in June 2012: I just listened to this audiobook again as I was in between Audible credits and my my audiobook from the library hadn't yet arrivedEdit in June 2012: I just listened to this audiobook again as I was in between Audible credits and my my audiobook from the library hadn't yet arrived, and I really can't remember why I only gave this book 4.5*! It is definitely one of Delinsky's best novels, and on a second listening, I couldn't find anything I didn't like. It was perfect, and had all the elements of a great Delinsky novel. I'm bumping this up to 5*.
It has been far too long since I read a Barbara Delinsky novel, and that became ever more clear to me as I listened to this audiobook any chance I got - washing dishes, ironing, walking to and from town, cooking dinner, etc. This was one of those books that really got my emotions riled up, but in a good way. There's a definite difference between stirred up emotions over anger at a character, or anger at the way a character is being treated. In this book's case, it was the second one, and I became increasingly annoyed at the way everyone blamed Susan for her daughter's pregnancy. This book brought up a lot of important questions about parenting and responsibility, and in particular: at what stage do you stop being accountable for your children's actions? Sometimes, no matter how much you have talked to your child about a certain issue, they'll still ignore your advice and do their own thing.
There were a couple of issues I had with this book, just based on the fact that I'm Scottish and situations like this would be treated entirely differently over here. For example, a principal could not be fired because her daughter got pregnant, and if a school board did try to do this, the teacher's union would get involved! And over here, I'm fairly certain the legal age for procreating is sixteen, even if you can't drive, drink or vote yet. You can also get married at sixteen. So Susan wouldn't have been held accountable for Lily's pregnancy, which I think is a good thing as seventeen year olds aren't children any longer! So I got pretty annoyed at the sections with the school board as it was entirely unjust to consider firing Susan over the actions of her nearly adult daughter.
This was a very compelling novel, probably one of Barbara's best so far. It ranks right up there along with While My Sister Sleeps, Shades of Grace and The Family Tree. I'm so glad I picked this audiobook as it reminded me of how much I enjoy Barbara's family sagas, especially the way that she looks at situations from the view points of all the parties involved and examines how they each cope with the crisis at hand. I almost wish she'd revisit Lily and her friends sometime, once their children are grown up, and see how their friendships have changed over time. I will definitely be making an effort to seek out more books from Barbara and I'm so glad that Not My Daughter rekindled my love for her writing. 9/10...more
As anyone who knows me will know, I really respect the writing of Barbara Delinsky. I must read at least one of her books every month, and although thAs anyone who knows me will know, I really respect the writing of Barbara Delinsky. I must read at least one of her books every month, and although they can hardly be considered "comfort reads" because of the issues they cover and the way that families are torn apart, there is something very enjoyable about exploring the lives of real people experiencing real problems. I like books that make me think "What if?" Jodi Picoult's novels also used to have this affect on me, but I find that I prefer Barbara Delinsky. The tag-line on the copy of my book reads "Fans of Jodi Picoult will love this" which, in my opinion, isn't entirely accurate. Jodi Picoult deals with issues, whereas I believe that Barbara Delinsky deals with the ramifications of a situation on a family. This book focuses on one event - the family favourite, a runner in her early thirties, collapsing due to heart problems and needing to be on life-support - and how the individual family members react.
The protagonist of the novel is Molly, the youngest sibling who feels overshadowed by her older sister. Now that Robin is lying on a hospital bed and her mother can't bear to leave her, Molly finds responsibilities fall to her. She has to take over her mother's duties at the garden nursery where they both work, as well as fending off Robin's reporter ex-boyfriend whose intentions may or may not be good. In the process, Molly ends up making a new friend, one who isn't interested in her because of who her sister is. He helps her to discover new things about herself, and uncover the truth about what Robin thought about her. By the end of the novel, each family member has changed in some way, from Molly to her mother to her older brother who is starting his own family.
I really liked Molly's character and enjoyed watching her grow and mature throughout the novel. Initially, I wasn't too keen on her as she seemed determined that there was no way that she could come out of Robin's shadow, but as the story progressed this changed. I also warmed up to Kathryn, the mother, who had issues of her own to deal with. My only gripe with this story was Chris, Molly's older brother, who although having his own sub-plot, didn't seem a very well developed character. His story did link in with the main plot but it seemed to be resolved far too quickly and tacked on to the main story in an awkward manner. I also got annoyed whenever one character said "Omigod" (spelt thus) as it made them sound like a twelve-year-old girl!
However, these were my only issues with this book. Otherwise, it contained great characters and brilliant conflict, as all of Barbara Delinsky's novels do. I could really imagine myself being in these character's shoes and wondered how I would cope with a similar situation. There were a couple of teary moments, so be prepared, but by the end of the book I was satisfied with how the characters grew and changed as they learned to deal with the issues facing them. 9/10...more
I wasn't able to load my newest audiobook to my Kindle last week and ended up listening to one of my old favourites, Not My Daughter by Barbara DelinsI wasn't able to load my newest audiobook to my Kindle last week and ended up listening to one of my old favourites, Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky. This caused me to hunt down some of the unread Barbara Delinsky novels I have on my shelves, and I settled on this one because it was one of her most recent books. Perhaps I would have enjoyed this more if I hadn't read it on the heels of Not My Daughter, but I don't think it's quite "one of her best" as the quote emblazoned on the front cover claims.
The entire book takes place in two meagre weeks, so it didn't have quite the same feel as her other sprawling novels that focus on entire months of a family's life. Although I definitely got a feel for the town and the secondary characters, as is usual in Delinsky's novels, I think the book suffered in being mostly told from the mother's point of view. Occasionally we got insights from the daughter, but it felt like at least 90% of the novel was seen through Deborah's eyes, and it could have benefited from some other, outside insights. Perhaps the brother of the dead teacher, or Deborah's father? I'm certain that most of Delinsky's other novels have more POVs and I definitely missed that here.
As for the story and the family dynamics, they were pretty interesting. The premise might not be quite as exciting as some of her other novels, but it definitely made for a compelling read, and I never got bored. Even if it's not one of her best books, it's a good, standard Delinsky novel stuffed full of intricate family dynamics and "What if?" situations. 4*...more
I'm a massive Barbara Delinsky addict and I'm constantly amazed at how compelling her books are and how she can create so many unique characters. I'veI'm a massive Barbara Delinsky addict and I'm constantly amazed at how compelling her books are and how she can create so many unique characters. I've yet to encounter a Delinsky novel that I hate and I've only read one so far that I felt was simply okay. This novel, on the other hand, was fantastic. Although released in 1995, Delinsky is fantastic at painting the portrait of a family dealing with their matriarch's sudden decline into Alzheimer's Disease. The main character of the novel is Francine, who is struggling to come to turns with how much her mother is changing, and taking over the family "business" - writing an advice collumn. Other characters are Grace, declining because of her disease and struggling to hide secrets in her past; Sophie, Francine's daughter who previously went out of her way to rebel against her grandmother and is trying to find her place in the world; Davis, Grace's doctor and Francine's love interest; and new-comer Robin, a journalist whose life was dominated by Grace's collumn who ends up helping Francine. As a result of this large cast of characters, I can understand how some readers could find the many plots and sub-plots difficult to follow. Personally, I love stories with as much drama as this! Hidden family secrets! Secret pasts! Love interests! Yes, I'm a romantic at heart - but this isn't simply a romance. It's a story of families and the ties that bond them together - and building new bonds. I was satisfied with the outcome of the story, even if I did see it coming. And I was pleased with the way that Grace's story panned out. Despite all the drama and new relationships being created, Delinsky didn't fail forget Grace's disease and it progressed in a very realistic manner. My own grandmother was diagnosed with AD when I was about 11 and although she's taken almost 8 years to get to the stage that Grace does at the end of the book, the difficulties that she and her family suffered really struck a chord with me. Even if you're not a fan of this style of novel or of Delinsky's work, this book is worth reading for the depiction of AD alone. And if you do love family sagas and romances, then this an especially deep and meaningful one! 9/10...more
I accidentally read a very spoilery review of this book before I started it, and worried that this would interfere with my enjoyment. As it turns out,I accidentally read a very spoilery review of this book before I started it, and worried that this would interfere with my enjoyment. As it turns out, I probably would have figured out the ending at least halfway through this book anyway, so it didn't matter too much. But please, people, if you're going to discuss the ending of a book in the first couple of lines of your review, mark it as containing spoilers! I only discovered the ending when I did a brief scroll of the page--you didn't even have to be looking for the review.
The writing style is pretty different from Delinsky's usual--and I've read a pretty big range of her books over the years, everything from her Harlequin romances to her 90s sagas and her contemporary "issue-based" fiction. This didn't really fit into any category I'd come across before. Still, it contained the trademark small-town with plenty of endearing (or not so) secondary characters, the kind that made you wish small-town living really was so sweet and close-knit. Delinsky is definitely great at creating communities.
I really struggled to figure out how to rate this book. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, in spite of the sad ending. It was a very easy read, and gave a feeling of hope and optimism despite the sadness. I ended up reading a lot of reviews before I could put my finger on what was missing from this book. First, conflict. I knew something big would have to happen in the end simply because so little went wrong or kept Bree and Tom apart during the majority of the book. It might have made it a sweet, happy Christmas read for the most part, but it made the ending feel so inevitable. Even if it wasn't spoiled for me, I would have guessed what was coming. Second, I'm still not entirely sure what I thought of the "three wishes" idea. I think the supernatural element meshed for the most part, but it was never really explained. One reviewer mentioned that (this could sort of be a spoiler, so I'm going to hide it) (view spoiler)[Delinsky could have taken the concept in a different direction and had the wishes not be real, but the possibility of them gives Bree the confidence to live her life to the fullest. (hide spoiler)] This could have worked just as well, I thought.
It's so hard to write about this book because it is entirely different from anything else I've read in this genre or from Delinsky. It was a sweet, easy Christmas-ish read and it left me with a feeling of hope and comfort in the end, which I didn't expect. I didn't think I'd like this book, especially given the quasi supernatural element, but it seems that Delinsky can pull off any concept! 4*["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This book started out as a 7 but dropped to a 5 by the time I was finished with it. I didn't exactly have high expectations, being fully aware that thThis book started out as a 7 but dropped to a 5 by the time I was finished with it. I didn't exactly have high expectations, being fully aware that this was one of Barbara Delinsky's earliest novels and a category romance at that. But the story started off nicely, keeping my interest with the background of a woman needing a break from life getting jury duty and meeting an intriguing stranger. The jury is situated in a remote cabin for three weeks so that no outside influence can affect their vote and Delinsky painted the setting and the secondary characters quite well considering how short this novel was. Unfortunately, once the two characters got to know each other better my hopes of this being a "sweet, light romance" were shattered. I was under the impression that the Silhouette Special Edition line featured love and meaningful relationships, not sex and alpha males. I didn't really warm up to the character of Ben - while he was kind to Abby, he admitted that he didn't love her and was just attracted to her. That alone is enough to put me off a man! And while Abby worried about this, she ended up happily going along with the no-love-just-attraction relationship, enough that she made a rash decision near the end of the book which could have had a rather negative outcome. Ben was a bit forceful, too, and not in what I saw as a romantic way, which really made me wonder what Abby saw in him. And the way their relationship progressed...I know it's a romance novel, but I'm not terribly fond of the "sex first, love later" storyline. Plus, this book was very heavy on the sex, and not in a tasteful way. Cheesy and awkward descriptions abounded! All in all, this novel started out promising but went downhill about halfway through because of the sex scenes and the lack of a believable, loving relationship between the hero and heroine. I admire Delinsky's ability to create an interesting situation and setting and likeable secondary characters, especially in such a short novel. I just don't think the passion-fueled, let's-fall-in-love-later romances do much for me. 5/10...more
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and was surprised at how complex it was considering it was one of her earlier novels. Reminded me a bit of More Than FI thoroughly enjoyed this story and was surprised at how complex it was considering it was one of her earlier novels. Reminded me a bit of More Than Friends or Shades of Grace. But I will say that there were far too many sex scenes for my liking. To begin with there were just a couple so I didn't mind so much, but towards the end of the book, I swear, there were two sex scenes in three chapters! I just got fed up with it and wanted to go back to the main plot. Plus some of the descriptions in these scenes were so cheesy and awkward - I won't quote here, so you'll have to trust me on that one! I think there were at least five or six scenes in total in this book and some of them could definitely have been cut out, especially when the plot was heating up and then we had to skip back to lovemaking. Her more recent novels are more subtle than this.
I will say that I enjoyed reading about how each member of Mara's practice coped in the wake of her death. I didn't like Peter to begin with but he grew on me as the story developed. Angie seemed more distant than the others but I did find myself getting quite engaged in the way that she dealt with her problems. And, of course, Paige, who I wanted to shake sometimes for not seeing the great opportunities that had just been laid right in front of her!
One of Delinsky's best skills is creating believable locations, and I really got a feel for Tucker, Vermont, particularly the boarding school where Paige worked as a running coach. I think this location particularly struck me as I live in a town that contains a private boarding school, and it was interesting to listen to this audiobook as I passed our local school on my way in and out of town every day. I guess it just made Tucker and its inhabitants seem more real to me.
I like the way that the mystery about Mara's death unfolded, but as with all of Delinsky's novels, the event that occurs at the start fo the book isn't actually what the novel is really about. Mara's death was the catalyst for Paige, Peter and Angie rethinking their lives and making new discoveries and changes. That said, I did enjoy learning about Mara, and looked forwarding to hearing more of her hidden letters.
Overall, a very compelling story that was really just let down by the excessive sex scenes, particularly one very tasteless one that probably couldn't be allowed to be included in romance novels written nowadays - it almost seemed like a rape scene, to be honest. An interesting mixture of romance and women's fiction. Not one of Delinsky's best novels, but definitely what I'd consider to be a "standard Delinsky". I'm not sure if I would have appreciated this book so much if I hadn't been introduced to Delinsky first with some of her later novels, as her books from the early 90s are riddled with graphic sex scenes, but I really did enjoy this story. Maybe not the best book to start with, but this is one of my forays into her back-catalogue that I haven't regretted. 3.5*...more
Nothing can ever top my favourite Delinsky, 'The Family Tree', but I still thoroughly enjoyed this. Published in 1991 this is one of her earlier novelNothing can ever top my favourite Delinsky, 'The Family Tree', but I still thoroughly enjoyed this. Published in 1991 this is one of her earlier novels, and this is clear from her style of writing and the sometimes awkward-and-unneeded sex scenes. The characters, however, were for the most part very believable and made me want to keep reading so that I could figure out all their dirty secrets. In a sense, 'A Woman Betrayed' is a bit like a soap opera - addictive, character driven and full of twists. If you're a fan of Delinsky's more recent Jodi-Picoult-esque novels then this might not be for you, but if you like stories about families and the secrets they have - not to mention a happily-ever-after-despite-the-odds romance - then you should enjoy this. It may have been a bit over-dramatic in places and I never did figure out what Jeff's motivation was, but this was perfect comfort reading to squish in between 'Oroonoko' and 'Gulliver's Travels'. I'll be looking out for more of Delinsky's books - both old and new. 8/10...more
Initially I thought that the premise of this story was a bit flimsy and unbelievable - the husband from one family spontaneously has an affair with aInitially I thought that the premise of this story was a bit flimsy and unbelievable - the husband from one family spontaneously has an affair with a wife from another - but as I progressed with the book I got sucked into the lives and emotions of the characters and found myself understanding their actions and feelings. Delinsky really has a skill with making you believe in her stories and characters, even here in one of her earlier novels. She seems to be making the cross-over from romance to "family isssue" orientated books with this novel, and although there are a few cheesy romance lines here and there and a couple of cliched sex scenes, she focuses a lot more on the ramifications of an affair on two families and how everyone copes with it. It was interesting to see how some people came out better because of the affair, whereas others changed their wholes lives and had to adapt accordingly. Having read one of Delinsky's more recent novels - The Family Tree - I can see how she made the progression from this, her first "issue" book, to the more literary, women's fiction style novels that she's writing today. Although I didn't totally believe in the premise to begin with, and found some of the more romance-y sections of the book cheesy, I did thoroughly enjoy this book, and would say that's it's probably my third favourite of her novels - with The Family Tree coming in first place and The Woman Next Door in second. 8/10...more
I really enjoyed this book - it was a refreshing read. The subject wasn't too hard-going, the characters were all "real people" but there were enoughI really enjoyed this book - it was a refreshing read. The subject wasn't too hard-going, the characters were all "real people" but there were enough twists and sub-plots in the story to make me want to sit and read this all in one go! I didn't enjoy this quite as much as I did 'The Family Tree,' and I think maybe this is because 'The Woman Next Door' was published at least five years prior to 'The Family Tree,' so Delinsky's writing had matured. I was completely gripped by this story, but I felt that a lot of the issues could have been resolved if the couples in the story just communicated with each other. Like Amanda feeling intimidated by Graham's family, particularly his mother. That's the kind of thing you discuss when you're planning to get married, not six years into your marriage. Amanda should have reminded Graham long ago that she was his new family, and although his mother is important to him, his wife comes first. This is just one example of something which I think shouldn't have been such a big issue as it was in this book. I'll definitely be reading more of Delinsky's books, but I hope that not all of her characters have communication problems in their marriages. Oh, and one last thing - this book wasn't as much about Gretchen, the woman next door, as it was about Amanda, who was trying to conceive a child with her husband. Gretchen was more of a catalyst for issues between Amanda and Graham. So the title is a little misleading! 8/10...more
I find myself continually surprised by Barbara Delinsky's older novels. While I think she really found her voice in the early Noughties, some of the sI find myself continually surprised by Barbara Delinsky's older novels. While I think she really found her voice in the early Noughties, some of the sagas from the Nineties are still definitely worth the read, if not quite up to the standards of her more recent books. Despite figuring out who Chelsea's parents were pretty early on in the novel - and who Hunter was in relation to her - I still really enjoyed listening to this book and regretted having to turn it off once the housework was done. This book was big on the romance, unlike some of Barbara's novels, but it still had the typical exploration of small town dynamics as well as a bit of mystery; all of the elements I'd expect from a Barbara Delinsky novel.
While some of Barbara's novels focus on a family or several characters, Chelsea was the main focal point of this book, but her story was compelling enough to satisfy me. Even though I knew who Chelsea's parents were, I couldn't wait for her to find this out for herself. The mental and emotional journey Chelsea took in discovering her heritage made for an entertaining read. I particularly liked witnessing how Norwich Notch changed in front of her eyes as she spent more time there. Initially it had seemed like a narrow-minded, backward town, but as Chelsea got to know the townsfolk my impression of it changes, just as hers did. I particularly liked the character of Donna, and wished that she'd featured more in the novel as her story was very touching, even if I did struggle a little with her romance with Nolan. Even if her husband was abusive and a cheater, I didn't think that gave her the right to commit adultery while still legally married to him.
My biggest qualm with this novel is, as always with Barbara's 90s work, that there was far too much sex in it. Her more recent novels generally only have one sex scene in them, and I can generally stomach up to two or three, providing that they're tasteful. These ones were pretty descriptive, and it's hard to skip these scenes when you're listening to an audiobook! The thing that I can appreciate about the sex scenes in Barbara's more recent novels is that she focuses on the emotions between the two characters who are making love, not the physical descriptions of body parts. The ones in this book were body parts galore, and just downright awkward-sounding in places. If you're the kind of person who cannot stand these sorts of scenes, you might want to skip on this book. I was still able to enjoy this story, even if I got bored during the love scenes and wanted to get back to the actual plot.
While a lot of this book focused on the relationship between Chelsea and Judd and Chelsea's attempts to figure out who she was, I also loved the details about her pregnancy and the birth of her baby. Chelsea's thoughts about her pregnancy were really touching, and showed that this novel was written by someone who has experienced exactly what Chelsea felt. Chelsea's relationship with her father was also heartbreaking to read about, and while I would have liked a little more closure on that aspect, I'm certain that they would have reconciled their differences once he met his grandchild.
Although this isn't one of my favourite of Barbara's novels, it was definitely a satisfying read, even if I did figure out the mystery long before Chelsea did. The number of sex scenes definitely brings my rating down, but I enjoyed experiencing Chelsea's journey alongside her and came to love Norwich Notch just as much as she did. 3.5*...more
I'm afraid I didn't enjoy this as much as other Barbara Delinsky novels. It was mainly written in first-person POV from one of the most arrogant, selfI'm afraid I didn't enjoy this as much as other Barbara Delinsky novels. It was mainly written in first-person POV from one of the most arrogant, self-assured main characters I've ever known, yet I still never felt like I got to know her properly. Barbara Delinsky has written some wonderful novels in third-person POV and I just don't think she can pull off first-person, it isn't in keeping with her style. And while the mystery was pretty interesting - although perhaps a bit too similar to the movie of Erin Brockovitch's life - the story didn't have the same saga and scandals of Delinsky's best novels. I think she tried to do something new with this book and strayed too far from her niche. I expect that those who are interested in Peyton Place and its history would enjoy this book more than I did, but I found the references a bit forced in places and the idea of Annie "conversing" with Grace was just too weird for me. I did want to keep reading to find out whether there was mercury poisoning, but I just didn't connect with the characters in this book. 6/10...more
Ah, typical Barbara Delinsky! Her books are such comfort reads to me, I always know that I'm going to enjoy the story no matter what the subject matteAh, typical Barbara Delinsky! Her books are such comfort reads to me, I always know that I'm going to enjoy the story no matter what the subject matter is. It's the way that she writes the development of her characters and their relationships with each other. I didn't connect with Micah quite as much as I did Poppy and Griffin, but I think this is because I wasn't entirely convinced by the way he rejected Heather from keeping secrets from him and then accepted her back so easily. Heather didn't have much character development of her own but was more of a catalyst for the events than how she dealt with her past. I wish there had been more about Cassie, as there seemed to be a lot of potential for a story about her and her husband their issues with her working too much. Perhaps some of this was covered in the previous book, Lake News, which I've yet to read as I'd forgotten that the books were linked. My only real complaint about this book would have to be that the Camille situation seemed to be revealed at the utmost convenient moment in the plot and that Thea took to Poppy a bit too easily, but perhaps that was natural for a teenage girl who is inquisitive about her past. Overall, another excellent saga from Barbara Delinsky. Whenever I read one of her books I wonder why I waited so long to read it! I must have at least ten of her books on my bookshelves so I'll have make an effort to read more of them this year. Perhaps one a month? 8/10...more