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Safe Within

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  107 ratings  ·  31 reviews
A novel of how family happens—whether you like it or not

Elaine and Carson Forsyth have returned to the tree house—Elaine's childhood home, a cabin nestled high in the branches of two oaks beside a North Carolina lake—where forty-nine-year-old Carson has chosen to spend the waning days of his life. As Elaine prepares for a future without her beloved husband, the
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 12th 2012 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Average rating 3.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  107 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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May 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Newly widowed, 40-something Elaine and her 20-something son Mick are trying to figure out how and when to restart their lives after the death of Elaine’s husband--Mick’s father--Carson. Meanwhile they are living in Elaine’s childhood home, a tree house built by her bohemian parents near a lake in the North Carolina hometown that Carson wanted to come back to for his final few weeks. Apart from the usual difficulties of life after the loss of a spouse, Elaine is forced to deal with her stubborn, ...more
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
The most common theme that I have noticed in Page's books is the idea of forgiveness, and this book had a lot to do with coming to terms with things long past and learning to deal with these past hurts. This book was very much the same, the idea of this woman having to learn to forgive her mother-in-law following the death of her husband, was the focus. Although it stands to be said that it was more about Greta, the mother-in-law forgiving everyone else.

I found this book to be pretty
Aug 15, 2012 rated it liked it
This would have been a 5 star............The ending was NOT what I thought it should be. Felt like it should have been "fleshed" out more.
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lrbg
My neighborhood book group read this after one of our members met the author. Unfortunately, I did not like it.
I felt the tone was self-conscious and contrived and as a result, I never had the feeling that the characters were acting or thinking with integrity. The characters also had too much wisdom and understanding, which resulted in unrealistic relationships. Finally, the deeply flawed Greta had a warm and mature relationship with Mattie but was unable to see the slightest good in her daught
Andrea at Reading Lark
Review Posted on Reading Lark 6/15/12:

Safe Within tells the story of family drama surrounding the marriage of Elaine and Carson Forsyth. Secrets from long ago still hound the couple and have caused Carson's mother, Greta, to deny her grandson his entire life and refuse to have anything to do with any member of the family other than Carson. Things might have stayed in their constant pattern of distrust and anger if it hadn't been for Carson's diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. The cancer w
Jun 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Elaine and her dying husband move back to their childhood home of North Carolina, to spend his final days. After he dies, Elaine and their son, Mick, aren't quite sure what to do, but it feels like they should stay in town for a while longer, so they do. Their only relative in town in Elaine's mother-in-law, Greta, who's never liked or approved of Elaine and has spent her entire life believing that Mick was not her husband's son - that he's the product of Elaine having an affair. Greta has refus ...more
Jan 19, 2013 rated it liked it
I received Safe Within in exchange for a review. I found that I was having trouble reading for any length of time, in the beginning. It wasn't that the story was bad, it just seemed to be too slow to unfold. When I kept at it I found the story got moving, for me, about one quarter of the way through. At that point, the story came to life and I found that I was thinking of excuses to sit and read, not the opposite. The story is about death, but it is also about the living and the lives that need ...more
May 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
On a beautiful lake in North Carolina, in a treehouse cabin, Carson and Elaine Forsyth have chosen to spend his final days.

It was Carson's idea to return to the lake and to the home where Elaine grew up. In the small town where the two of them first met.

But that same small town also hosts the gossip, resentments, and secrets from the past. And Carson's mother Greta, who has not spoken to Elaine for twenty years. And who, for whatever reason, will not accept their son Mick
Elizabeth (Stuffed Shelves)
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: in-my-library
What is the book about?

Elaine and her husband Carson, who is dying of pancreatic cancer, are returning to their childhood home in North Carolina. They stay with Carson's mother in a cabin by a lake, where it might just be Carson's final resting place at only 49 years old. Carson's mother, Greta holds a lot of grudges towards Elaine because she believes Mick, their son, isn't really Carson's son.

After Carson passes away, Elaine and Mick are put in a situation where they fo
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Wow, this book might be for anyone who might not get along with their inlaws, because I am pretty sure Greta at the beginning of this book can trump them all.The tension between Elaine, Mick and Greta are so thick I was actually uncomfortable reading about this at first, especially when you mix in the grief caused by the death of a parent, husband and son.

Carson Forsythe was beloved by his family - his mother Greta, his wife Elaine, and his son Mick. Unfortunately, Greta had always hated Elaine
May 28, 2013 rated it liked it
This would be a good beach read--light, fluffy, but able to hold your interest.

I really liked the portrayal of the small Southern town and the people who lived there. In fact, the town may have been my favorite "character" in the book--it seemed to have more heart, more secrets, than any of the people who inhabited it.

The main character, Elaine, was okay, but didn't seem very real. For instance, we're often told about how much in love Elaine and Carson were, and all the c
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a savory kind of book. Although not long and wordy, the author sets the scene of complicated family relationships weighted down by the realities of life, the present and the past. Written in flowing prose, the book bounces between points of view and provides a more complete picture of the complexity of the individual, the relationships in differing schemes, and the town.

Elaine and Mick return with Carson, husband and father, who is dying of cancer, to the town where they bega
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Carson is dying. Elaine brings her husband home to die and comes face to face with her estranged mother-in-law, a woman who has refused to speak to her for twenty years.

I should have known what I was going to get with a cover like this one. The cover shows two pairs of women’s legs in rolled-up pants, hanging out of a canoe, with a book in their laps. The story, of course, has absolutely nothing to do with canoes or reading at all, but the cover photo does foretell that the story ins
Joy Gerbode
Jul 30, 2016 rated it liked it
The story was an interesting one, filled with many twists and turns. I found it difficult to keep track of the characters, and particularly which character we were talking about, as the story jumped around in time; it took a lot of concentration. I also found too many different conflicts all presented in one story; although this may be true to life for some people, it certainly isn't representative of the kind of life I have lived, so it was sometimes tough for me to relate. I also didn't care f ...more
May 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Carson and Elaine have been together a long time they have a grown son. But carsons mom don't like Elaine or their son. Rumors were that while Carson was away at school Elaine cheated with her best friend Jameson and that Elaine's son isn't carsons so his mom never wanted anything to do with them. But Carson has passed away and his mom is needing some help. Their all trying to find their new place in the world without Carson
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: modern-chick-lit
This is not a happy book. But, it is a good book. It's quite sad. A loss of a loved husband, a mother-in-law from hell who is going blind and helpless, misunderstandings of the past that haunt people 20 years later, and a variety of other problems. That isn't to say this is a hopeless book. In fact, the book is very much about hope.
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book but I just could not get beyond the second chapter. The premise is intriguing but the character development is awkward. There are too many new characters introduced and flashbacks come too early in the novel.
Kristin (Kritters Ramblings)
Check out my full review at Kritters Ramblings

A main character that is twice my age, but a story that hit very deep in an emotional sense - I thought this book had a less than positive central story, but the reader doesn't feel left down in the dumps.
Aug 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
P loved all the characters and all the angst
Aug 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting philosophies. The characters in this book are gritty, imperfect. When the book ends, one is aware that the story continues.
Mar 25, 2013 added it
Shelves: not-for-me
Unfortunately, I found the prose mediocre and decided to leave the book. Story was not compelling enough and there are so many wonderful books yet to be read.
B. Lynn
Jun 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Families intrigue me and this one is no exception. Well-written, as so many are. Compelling even.
May 12, 2012 rated it liked it
This book was difficult to muddle through. I didn't really understand the overall plot, and the ending didn't really resolve much.
Jun 01, 2012 marked it as to-read
Shelves: first-reads
"I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads."
LInda L
Oct 28, 2012 rated it liked it
A good book, but very sad. I commented on this before, but as many are: it's gone.
Julie Dalle
Jul 04, 2012 rated it it was ok

KiNd of boring. Very slow, predictable (of what little plot there was) and typical.
Dec 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book just didn't do it for me. Open plots. Ending disappointed me I expected more.
Meredith DeBrunner
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good story, really draws you in. The ending leaves you wanting more, but still leaves you feeling that there has been some closure.
Karen Brown
Oct 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
May be the first time I have given this author less than 5 stars. Good but not her best.
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