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The Ninth Step

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  554 ratings  ·  69 reviews
A novel of timeless love, loss, and family and the steps we must take for forgiveness.

Livie Saunders is fluent in the language of flowers; she taught the meanings to her fiancé, Cotton O'Dell, but then Cotton vanished without explanation on their wedding day forcing Livie to learn the language of desolation. Heartbroken, she buries her wedding gown beneath a garden pond an
Kindle Edition, 236 pages
Published August 30th 2011
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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  554 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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Joan Reeves
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: women-s-fiction
Move over, Jodi Picoult, Barbara Delinsky, et al. There's a new women's fiction author in town, and her name is Barbara Taylor Sissel! I got my copy of THE NINTH STEP when it first came out and read it quickly because I couldn't put it down.

Fate intervened, much as it does in this book, and I didn't get a review posted until now. If you like fiction that hits all the right notes of heartbreak and redemption, while never sinking into melodrama or maudlin sentimentality, this book is for you.

Nadine X
Nov 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A 'slice of life' redemption story and I had no idea what to expect going in. The writing was gorgeous. Lots of pretty descriptions and metaphors. Really pretty prose. The story itself was compelling. I was more interested in Cotton's story of redemption over a terrible secret and alcoholism than I was in Livie's recovery from a shameful secret and abandonment. They both were realistically broken though and their reunion was engaging. There is a subplot involving Cotton and whether or not he wil ...more
Carol Boyer
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Heartbreak, pulse pounding fear, past secrets, of love lost, and hope for redemption are woven into The Ninth Step, a powerful, emotional book that held me captive till the last page. The characters of Cotton, and Livie, remain in my mind as the title plays out with reality on the wisdom of 'The Ninth Step' - of Alcoholics Anonymous - "Made direct amends whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others". Will Livie devastated, left at the altar on her wedding day, overcome the ...more
Susan (The Book Bag)
The Ninth Step is filled with emotions—love, heartache, betrayal, guilt, friendship, atonement, forgiveness—so many emotions. And all of these emotions are what make this such a wonderful story. The reader feels all of these emotions, right along with the wonderful characters that Barbara has created.

When I reached the satisfying conclusion, I knew I would be reading more of this author's books. I loved it and I'm excited to see what else she has written.
Julie G
Oct 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Anyone who has ever been involved with an alcoholic, or alcoholic recovery, will be familiar with the 9th Step:

[We] Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

It is one of the more difficult of the 12 steps, and is the underlying theme of this novel.

You see, 6 years ago, Cotton O'Dell left Olivia Saunders at the altar without a word. Oh, she did get a postcard, four days later: "Tell Livie it's not her fault. Tell her to forget me. Tell
Feb 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Can a person make amends and ask forgiveness for the secrets, lies and bad choices made in their life, even if the ramifications deeply affected others? Can forgiveness and love still be found within peoples' hearts, when the one that has caused so much pain comes back to make amends? What if you have your own secrets, lies and had made bad choices, can you make amends and forgive yourself? These are the questions and dilemmas that face Livie Saunders and Cotton O'Dell in The Ninth Step.

Livie Sa
Viviane Crystal
Mar 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Livie Saunders was left at the altar on the day of her wedding and has never recovered. She compensates by dressing up and spending the night with other lovers who are absolutely nothing to her. For the love of her life, Cotton O'Dell, is gone; and while she can't forgive him, she can't forget him as well, that is until the day he returns as quite a different young man.

As the novel proceeds, this reviewer realized the story was really about Cotton, a fact that leaves one with a a bit of confusio
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An opening scene with flowers, pleasant countryside and the company of enjoyable people draws the reader quickly in Barbara Taylor Sissel’s The Ninth Step. Hints of mystery and past hurts are subtly drawn, adding depth. And then the deadly spiral starts. By now the reader is hooked and those pages have to turn. No matter how bleak the prospects, somehow the writing holds a promise of hope, and an attachment to these very real and wounded characters keeps the reader seeking that hope.

The story co
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
My first time reading this author and I did so on a recommendation. I truely enjoyed her writing. I felt as if I came to know the characters in this story. I will say, the synopsis was a bit misleading, as you believed this would be Livies story...but I felt the strongest character was Cotton, and he totally captivated me. This was his journey.

That said, this is a story of secrets, failings, disappointment and making "amends". This novel makes you think about how important forgiveness and forg
Rhonda Farrell
Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
A story about life not always going as planned. Dreams of a marriage, family, future together building memories become shattered in an instant. The choices we make can have long lasting effects and not just for ourselves but it can ripple out like waves on water. This story was a perfect example of that. I enjoyed reading this book very much because no one is guaranteed to live a fairy tale life. I loved experiencing what happened from both sides of the story and how each person dealt with what ...more
Jul 31, 2015 rated it liked it
A story about a couple who are both recovering from themselves and the ghosts of bad actions and choices they've made. There was nothing extraordinary or noteworthy, except that it was written quite well and interestingly. Lots of life lessons that even if one has heard them before, the reminder is still welcome. I also finished this in record time, so that's saying something about how the book can hold the reader captive. ...more
Shari Ring Wolf
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good book

I read it slowly, getting to know the characters, who were likable, real, and fallible. The author does wonderful job depicting family dynamics of single parent families and families with an alcoholic parent. She was accurate in describing 12-step programs, not taking liberties for the sake of her story. Her exploration of forgiveness, amends, guilt and taking personal responsibility was thought provoking and not preachy. The pace of the story and dialogue were spot on. I just wish
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Phenomenal story!!

I've not read this author before, however, being in 12 step recovery I couldn't resist downloading this book! So glad I did! I felt so deeply for the characters I literally cried, cheered and yelled with them! I couldn't put this book down, finished it in a day! Highly recommend this story to everyone!
Kristin Walcott Figueroa
Making Amends

This book is a quick, easy read. The characters are quite likable, even the ones with the worst flaws. It’s about forgiveness, guilt, and making amends—or not. My first book by Barbara Taylor Sissel. I will certainly read more.
Nancy Osberg-otrembiak
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing

I can't read enough Barbara Taylor Sissel!!!!!

Thank you for writing such wonderful fiction. You keep me wanting more and more and more!
Ms Rachel Bolsover
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic read

The writer keeps you enthralled from beginning to end. The characters come alive and you get lost in the story and your always wondering what happens next
Tamara Mau
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
The ninth step...

The characters were very real. Very believable. The story could realistically could happen to any of us, given the o
David L. Ellis
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Ninth Step

Good read about choices being made and effects on all involved...
Enjoyed the read and definitely recommend it.
Wick read.
Diane Cressy
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read

I really enjoyed this book and wasn't ready for it to end. The characters were real to me and I could relate on many levels.
Feb 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-read

THE NINTH STEP by Barbara Taylor Sissel
Published by Author
At the request of the author, a digital edition was supplied, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.

Synopsis (borrowed from Amazon): Livie Saunders is fluent in the language of flowers; she taught the meanings to her fiancé, Cotton O'Dell, but then Cotton vanishes without explanation on their wedding day forcing Livie to learn the language of desolation. Heartbroken, she buries her wedding gown beneath a garden pond an
Feb 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Livie Saunders suffered heart break when Cotton O'Dell left her at the altar. She has suffered from torment when her self-esteem was so low that she would go out seeking pleasure and admiration from strangers. But Livie is no longer the lost person she once was; she has a good life, good friends, close family, and a good career as a landscaper. Livie may not have found love but she hasn't ruled it out. Just when she thinks she is beginning to move away from the past, it presents itself again wit ...more
Lyn (Readinghearts)
How does a reader decide whether to read a book? A strange way to start a review, I know, but it is an intregal part of my rating on this book. If an author is new or unknown to me and my reading buddies, often I will choose to read or not read a book based on its published synopsis. Such was the case with The Ninth Step by Barbara Taylor Sissel. I had never given much thought to the title of the book, but it was apparent early in the story that it referred the the ninth step in AA's 12 step pro ...more
Cocktails and Books
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cnb-reviewers
"An incredibly touching story, The Ninth Step shows you what happens when alcoholism takes hold of your life and has the power to change it within the blink of an eye. Livie and Cotton are engaged to be married. They’re happy and content. That is until Cotton disappears. Years go by, and Livie is forced to try and move on after Cotton broke her heart. Just as she’s starting to move on, Cotton reappears, asking her to forgive him for his mistakes, revealing his reason for leaving, and hoping that ...more
Robert E. Vojslavek
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
A Step in Time

This is the second book I have read by Barbara Taylor Sissel. While I enjoyed this book, it fell short when I compare it to her latest work. The author masterfully creates characters you can honestly like...and care about. They all have a past. While some of it's believable, the sticking part for me is that some aspects seem trite, or overkill. Making amends, the ninth step, is key for anyone working a twelve step program. To right a wrong is difficult...equally as hard is determin
Feb 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-book, netgalley, 2012
Full of emotion.

I really hadn't expected to enjoy this as much as I did, but as soon as I began reading I knew that the author had a way with words that was going to make this book a pleasure to read.

Livie and Cotton were in love, a date had been fixed for the wedding. He was a true romantic, he left love notes tucked under a flowerpot or poked into the pocket of Livie's winter coat.
So why did he leave her standing at the altar on the day of her wedding?

As the story unfolds, we learn why he ran
Mar 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook-arc
I enjoyed this novel of forgiveness, redemption, and moving ahead with life. The story kept me interested, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I cared abuot the characters and hoped for the best for all of them. I will be looking for more by this author.

Livie was left at the altar six years ago by the man she loved devotedly. She is stunned, and although life goes on, she can't let go of the past. In order to cope, Livie does things she is not proud of and hides them from th
Pauline Tilbe
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I buy and grab free books for my Kindle all the time. Way more than I can find the time to read. So often, when I get around to reading the book, I don't remember what it was supposed to be about. With a real book, I'd flip it over to see what the summary/description said. I never do that on my Kindle, just start reading and know that I wouldn't have it if I didn't think it was going to be good.
I just finished The Ninth Step thinking it was a book I had borrowed from the library and amnow happy
Gina's Library
Feb 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
I reviewed this book for Netgalley. I gave this book a 4 star rating only because of the ending. I wanted something more.

Now onto my review:
The ninth step in the AA's 12 step program is: Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

That is the tricky part. How do you know when it will help and when it will be picking the scab off of a barely healed wound?

Cotton wants to make amends on his own terms. Sometimes that is the best way, sometim
May 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2012
Dollycas's Thoughts

Barbara Taylor Sissel has written a very compelling story with some unexpected twists.

The character Cotton makes a split second decision that changes not only his life but the lives of others. It sends him into a downward spiral that lasts until he meets the right person to help him put his life back on track. Alcoholism is a terrible disease many people live with staying sober just "one day at a time". Part of Alcoholics Anonymous is their 12-step program. Step Nine is to "ma
Colleen Thompson
Dec 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In the days since this young bride was left at the altar, Livie Saunders has worked hard to put her life back together, steeping herself in the language of flowers and the beauty of the world around her. But her facade has one big crack -- the "red dress nights" in which she falls into the arms of strangers--nights whose consequences are catching up with her just as the painful past comes crashing down. Her errant fiancé, Cotton O'Dell has returned, seeking forgiveness for the unforgivable, rede ...more
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Barbara Taylor Sissel writes issue oriented, upmarket women’s fiction that is threaded with elements of suspense and defined by its particular emphasis on how crime affects the family. Next to writing books she loves to edit them, and with more than fifteen years in the profession, both as a bestselling author and as a developmental editor, she's got experience. Contact her via her website if you' ...more

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