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Looking Back

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  1,313 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
They are the most unlikely friends: rich, kind, Cecile; brave, talented Norma; and Amanda, the poor girl they met at college. Now Cecile has married her talented architect, Amanda has married Norma's brother and Norma has found a niche with her work as a teacher and her beloved music. But behind the facade of happiness and friendship lie secrets that threaten to tear the t ...more
Unknown Binding, 400 pages
Published December 6th 2001 by Hodder Paperback (first published January 1st 2001)
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Jayme
Jun 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
Hated it. The antiquated language and 1940s attitudes of the characters was incongruous, given that they were using cellphones and listening to CDs. It felt like someone had put the cast of an old 40s movie into a time machine and dumped them into 21st century New England. I hated all the main characters, felt sorry for their husbands and the plot was so transparent that it was completely obvious what was going to happen. *cringe*
Michelle Robinson
I think this book is well written the charachters are well drawn and are quite believable. The is no neat closure at the end of the book. I like that it felt more real.

I personally could not like this book due to the way it ends. I understand that the ending is probably really realistic and what could actually happen. However, I was so disgusted by Norma and her total lack of conscience that I never quite got over it.

In that this book left a lasting impression on me, I would recommend it. Howev
...more
Elaine
Jul 19, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: january, 2010
This book is set in modern times however all the characters talk and act like they should be part of their parent's generation which gives the story the feeling of being stuck in a kind of time-warp. On top of that complaint, the stories of these 3 old college buddies didn't really generate much interest with me. I ended up just skimming most of this book.
Joanne
Mar 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Started out with an interesting description of three girls who went to college together. As the story unfolds, some of their experiences are interesting and somewhat predictable. The situation one of the women gets into to is so horrific, that perhaps I began to disengage from the story. The ending just lost me. However, perhaps, real life is at times, this complex and heartbreaking.
Francine
Aug 04, 2008 rated it did not like it
I didn't finish this book. Didn't like what was happening
Lisa
Oct 28, 2011 rated it did not like it
I hate to leave a book unread once I start but, I wish I had never picked up this book. It was one of Belva's worst stories in my opinion. And she is one of my favorite authors.
Mary
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A page turner with some great red herrings! Enjoyed the way this story unfolded, liked the "oh, I wasn't thinking along those lines" - nice!
Heather
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
Boring! I really had to work to finish the book. I'm not one to jump ship, hoping something in the end will redeem the book. I'm sorry to say nothing could save this book. What begins as an engaging story about three college roommates; brainy Norma, lovely Amanda, preppy Cecile and their differing futures takes a bewildering stumble into quicksand. When the three women graduate, Amanda, desperate to escape her lower-class background, marries Larry Balsan, Norma's brother, who is in the family re ...more
H Green
send again later
Meryan
Oct 06, 2015 rated it liked it
This is about 3 girls that went to college together, Cecile, who is the confident and rich one. Norma, the smart and gifted one.And Amanda who comes from a poor family in the south and is beautiful and ambitious. After college Amanda goes to stay with Norma for Cecile's wedding.Norma's brother,Larry is in love with and marries Amanda, but she is never satisfied, especially after she sees how rich Cecile and her husband Peter is. Amanda gets a job in a high end store where the owner lets her buy ...more
Vicki
Nov 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rhonda Rae Baker
Sep 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slower moving yet captivating unraveling of family and with hindsight we all know that things could have been dealt with more admirably. I truly believe that Belva Plain has a voice all her own and it comes from real-life drama within families.

This novel was an eye opener and yet not too surprising with how things unfolded although I was caught up with what happened to the family. I strongly believe that family is the most important thing and family must always remain full of unconditional love
...more
Mary
Feb 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Bookmooch
They were the most unlikely friends - kind, rich Cecile, brave, talented Norma and Amanda the poor girl they met at college. But behind the facade lies a secret that could tear the three friends apart. I was searching for a picture to go in this post and came across some reviews of Looking Back - the majority of the readers didn't like the book at all. I have to admit that I loved this book myself but then, I love Belva Plain's work. In my opinion, she was a brilliant author. She will be missed ...more
Avis Exley
Jul 20, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-so-good
Really enjoyed the opening and the relationship of the three girls but grew really irritated by the end. I can't say why without giving away the entire storyline but the affair wasn't at all credible and neither was the betrayal at the very end. The women were all expected to get married and then be little housewives instead of wanting big bad careers but these were educated, intelligent women. I might have accepted this from a book written in the 1940s, when women had few other options, but thi ...more
Mary Therese Mack
This is the second novel I've read by Belva Plain... the story had a lot of potential but the confusion in what time period the book was supposed to be set in caused a lot of confusion. The dialogue and thoughts of the characters was reminiscent of the mid 1900s with virginity before marriage and staying at home afterwards and raising children while the characters used technology like cellphones. I have read that this author is well liked and people enjoy her novels but this one didn't do it for ...more
Dorry Lou
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
I would have given this one 3 stars, as it was quite interesting until it got to the sick part of it.There was no way the ending could be anything but bad.
The story was about 3 girls that roomed together in college. One was very rich, one fairly rich and the other very poor. The book opens with them graduating but still very much in touch with each other. It is about what they do with their lives after college.
I would not recommend it.
Sandie
Jul 31, 2013 rated it liked it
It started out sounding like a chick-lit book of the month. But was much more than that. I actually thought the emotional torture that Amanda endured was well done. People do get themselves in ridiculous situations. However the other betrayal at the end made no sense. I bought this book for 50 cents. Can't recommend it.
Carol Aselton Benoit
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Wasn't sure I was going to enjoy Belva Plain in that it was a mystery or thriller. So far though it is pretty good.

This book was really good. About half way through it adds a really interesting twist, and it became a "can't put it down book." In that I read on my lunch hour, it became more and more difficult. Can't wait to read more Belva Plain.
Mary
Feb 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nook
The story of three young women who were college room mates. Two were from wealthy families and one from a poorer background. They stay involved after graduation. One marrying the other one's brother and then things get complicated with the father in law. Some parts rather unbelievable but an ok story.
Deneice Stark
Mar 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book like I enjoy all Of Belva Plain's books. One thing that I really liked...in alot of books, everyone is beautiful, rich, etc., but, in this book, people were normal...they weren't all beautiful, and they all had some sort of everyday problems. One thing that was different, compared to endings of many books, was that it really wasn't a happy ending.
Carol
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
3 college friends vow to stay close forever. They all live in the same area so that should be possible but life begins to happen to each of them and they are torn apart by the actions of each other. Broken trusts are at the bottom of their troubles and is a good warning that our actions affect many people around us not just us.
Marianne
Mar 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Plain is a very writer, and I did like this book. Having said that, it gave me bad dreams! what a dark sad story. Just goes to prove that the wages of sin is death, in more ways than one, obviously.

Plain delves deep into the human psyche and how inter=related relationships really are.
Sue
Aug 06, 2009 rated it liked it
I finished this book earlier today and am still confused by the ending. I had to read the last page several times but still am perplexed. Overall this was a good book...another one about friendship. I could not find closure at the end.
Vivien Farrell
Typical Belva Plain, great novel though not of the standard of the ' Werner ' novels. This follows the lives of three young women after college. One, Amanda
had love affair with her father-in-law, never a good idea, which inevitably leads to the total unraveling of her life. Hard to put down.
Sherri
Nov 04, 2011 rated it liked it
I enjoy Belva Plain's books but this one was a little different. It didn't draw me in as much as some of her others, I always felt like I was an observer rather then the way some books make me feel as if I'm the character. I liked the story but it wasn't your typical happy ending romance-type.
Laurie Mcclary
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
The story started out slow, in fact I thought about just stopping it. But, I have a terrible cold laying on the couch so I kept on, plus, I have always enjoyed Belva Plain books. Then, the story took a very interesting a twist and I was hooked. Glad I did not put it down.
Nan
Jul 16, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
This was my first Belva Plain book. I made it almost to 100 pages but it just wasn't holding my interest. So I looked up what others had to say and that cinched it for me. I'm moving on. Maybe I'll try her again later.
Sam
Jan 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of novels re friendship
This book is great. I enjoyed reading how the lives of the 3 friends evolved over time. This book shows that hurt sometimes comes from those closest to us.
Tammy
Jun 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Love this author.
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Belva Plain was a best-selling American author of mainstream women's fiction. Her first novel, Evergreen (1978) topped the New York Times bestseller list for 41 weeks and was made into a TV miniseries. At her death, there were over 30 million copies of her twenty-plus novels in print in 22 languages.

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