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Where or When

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  7,389 ratings  ·  650 reviews
Charles Callahan is reading the Sunday paper when an alluring and oddly familiar photo catches his eye: it is Sian Richards, his first love, a face he has not seen for more than three decades. He is entranced by her image, flooded by memories of their teenage summer together, and utterly conpelled to make contact with her again. Charles sends Sian a letter, knowing all the ...more
Paperback, 241 pages
Published October 4th 2005 by Mariner Books (first published 1993)
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Brandee Shafer I am sure he died given that his car went over a bridge and into the ocean.

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Average rating 3.30  · 
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 ·  7,389 ratings  ·  650 reviews

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Dec 01, 2008 rated it did not like it
I have to put this one in the 'Hated it' category. It's truly one of the most terrible books I've ever read with the most selfish characters imaginable. It's about a couple who reunites after only knowing each other after meeting in a summer camp when they were 12. Supposedly, they "fell in love", but their continued love story which knows no bounds, not even the bonds of marriage, and is less about love and more about lust. You'll find more smut than the worst Harlequinn novel between the pages ...more
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ok, first, they were 14, not 12. If you don't believe a person can fall in love at 14, don't bother reading this, or "Romeo and Juliet," either. Second, some of the sex scenes were graphic, but it was not "smutty" and nothing like a Harlequin novel. Anita Shreve is a gifted writer, regardless of whether you personally like her characters. Third, who reads fiction for moral guidance? It's a novel, about fictional--and flawed--characters, not a self-help book.

I found the descriptions of the chara
May 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I love this book because it interposes the akward innocence of deep young love with the carnality of mature love. The book is summed up in this quote: "Was there, or could there ever be, he wondered then, and wonders now, a reconciliation between innocence and sexuality?" It does this by intertwining present day sex sessions with flashbacks to the intensity of young adolescent love in which every gesture and touch meant something.

The book is about old innocent first lovers who meet again 31 yea
Susan Espourteille
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have to say I am shocked by all the negative reviews of this book. I found it phenomenal, a tour de force of love, lust, destiny and confusion. I saw the ending coming almost from the very beginning, yet I was compelled to read on, compelled to find out how they reached the inevitable train wreck.

I'm not sure why many people dislike books simply because they dislike, or cannot relate to the characters. Many masterpieces of literature have despicable characters; the story and its denouement a
Nov 21, 2010 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 25, 2008 rated it liked it
I'm not really sure how to rate this book. While it was good and I had to finish it to see how it ended, I was repulsed by the story also. The writing style was a little different than what I was used to and it took a little while to figure out who's point of view you were reading. Like I said before, the story was compelling and kept you going, but at the same time, I was repulsed by the story. I think it was the fact that I didn't agree with what they were doing and felt like you have to be ol ...more
May 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
Jan 26, 2008 rated it did not like it
Anita Shreve is my favorite author but this book was horrible. I hated the main characters, I hated the premise and found it totally unbelievable. They met for one week at summer camp when they were twelve? And fell in LOVE? And now, in their adulthood, they are going to leave their spouses to be together? It just really didn't do it for me.
Mary Durrant
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A heart wrenching sad love story.
Can we rekindle young love?
People live unhappy lives and only realise when they find what they have been looking for, but is it too late?
A very moving book that will stay with me !
Dec 30, 2008 rated it did not like it
I usually enjoy Anita Shreve quite a bit. This story was a sad story as well as repulsing. I just can't stand how selfish humans can be. This was not Shreve's best book.
Feb 26, 2013 rated it liked it
I have so many conflicting feelings about this book that I really hesitate to presume to write a review. In the first place: this is such a childish plot, it's more like a Nicholas Sparks book. Two people meet 30 years after they fell in love at camp and spent only one week together when they were age 14. Who does that in real life?!

In the second place, this book is really an anachronism because so much of the communication is based on desperate letters sent by overnight mail and phone calls mad
Mirvan. Ereon
Despite what other people said, I really liked this book. it was well-written and the story was very intriguing. Young love, coming-of-age, reunion and infidelity, things I love to read in a novel every day. Besides, this book is so dear in my heart for it discusses first love, losing it and then finding it back again after years of waiting and almost forgetting that there was still a person out there who still remembers you. Maybe this book gave me some hope that this could also happen to me. W ...more
Helena Halme
May 30, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading this bleak book about an affair between two people who fall in love at the age of fourteen, and rekindle their relationship decades later when they are both in their forties, much less than other books I've read by Anita Shreve.
I felt the plot moved too slowly in this novel, and I had difficulty in believing the premise of the book: that teenage love can survive 30+ years. The passion of the relationship was well described, as was the see-sawing of the lovers' feelings from eu
Sep 14, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2010
Awful book about two adulterous scum. Had I known that was what this book was about, I would have never picked it up. I did read the entire thing, but simply to learn something of why these types of people think as they do - abandoning a real life - a spouse and children to have a little fun. Waste of a life. Waste of a book.
Linda Lipko
A recent acquisition at a local library sale, this was a quick, enjoyable read. When Cal and Sian were young teens, they met and fell in love at a Catholic summer camp. Years later, Cal happens upon an article complete with a photo of Sian who is now an accomplished author of poetry.

Tripping down memory lane and thinking fondly of those long ago memories, allow Cal a respite from his coastal life in Rhode Island were the economy is fast in a downward spiral. Fearing the loss of his nice house, h
Jun 17, 2019 rated it liked it
What is it about love that can't be controlled? Is it just the hormones, or emotions running deep? If love matters so much, then is love right even when it stands to break existing families, separating children? What is important?
This book reminded me slightly of Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, where you stand to question the idea of fidelity. They say, if you are not happy with somebody, then there is no point continuing in a loveless marriage. And if you find true love elsewhere, even if both parties a
I can't say too much about this without giving away spoilers so I will just settle for it was interesting and let it go at that.
Irina Shapiro
Nov 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is a story about missed opportunities, lost love, and the visceral nature of reality and it's power to crush even the most humble of dreams.
Aug 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Just long enough. Kept me interested as I wanted to know what was going to happen to the lovers-leaving their spouses or leaving each other....
Shonreichon  Sareo
Oct 31, 2012 rated it did not like it
The sad thing about this book is that it is not believable at all. And it's not in the fantasy genre, so no excuses. I'm a romantic to the core, but I highly doubt that these two very immatured people found love at the age of 14, and that too in a week's time. Uh huh, I'm not buying that! More like lust, if you ask me.

Charles comes across to me as an irresponsible, deranged man who just wants to escape from his financial troubles. Also, it's quite amazing how he is broke, but he magically alway
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
The author presents a very graphic portrayal of that common query “What might have been?” of two people grasping with a gap of 31 years since first meeting as young teenagers. Their dilemma is in balancing erotic love with morality and responsibility, both having relatively normal but not completely satisfying marriages and children they adore, but with both marriages besought with what seem like relatively trivial personal issues, but very serious financial problems.

The very enlightening narra
Nov 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I normally enjoy reading books by Anita Shreve, however, this book was nothing like her other books in not only the style of which it was written but also it's contexts.

Where or When is about 2 people who met at camp when they were in their late teens. They fell in love during that week and then they both went on to live their seperate lives. Fast forward 31 years and they meet again, fall back in love and start an illicit affair - both are married with children.

I had great difficulty reading t
Michael Graeme
Jul 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
I haven't read anything by Anita Shreve before. Not sure if this was written for a predominantly female or male readership, but as a guy I found sufficient depth, sensitivity, and insight into the middle aged male psyche here to send shivers down my spine. Published in the early nineties, the subtext of the story is one of financial decline, depression, businesses closing,... therefore every bit as relevant now in 2011 as it was back then.

The male and female leads here are middle aged, both marr
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Guess I'm not a hopeless romantic. This book was a little too sappy for me. To me, the love of your life is the one with whom you weather all of life's storms and sunny days, not the person to whom you were physically attracted during one week of your childhood. Total destruction and devastation were the result of the betrayal and selfishness that came from chasing a dream that was probably too good to be true in the long haul.
Oct 02, 2008 rated it it was ok
2 stars because I just positively love the style of this author but eek the plot was so sad and wrong. Great example of how wickedness never was happiness. I had to skip several paragraphs throughout because of the explicitness. But I do love the author's style and enjoyed a few of her other books.
Carolyn Hanson
May 10, 2017 rated it liked it
A satisfying story of love/lust that is driven by middle aged dissatisfaction. Anita Shreve is good with words, so I could easily suspend disbelief or distaste for the main character for the 240 pages.
Jun 21, 2019 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charles is struggling. Every day he drives out to the coast and looks across to Portugal, dreaming of a life different to the one he currently lives, one that is complete with lacklustre marriage, failing business and a house that the bank might take from him any moment. One day, picking up the paper, he sees a photograph of a woman he fell in love with when they were both 14, he hasn’t seen her since but is compelled to write to her.

This book is devastating. It’s beautifully written, heartbrea
Fran Burdsall
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Her literary skills are unparalleled in this novel. It's like watching a slow moving train wreck. You know this love story cannot have a happy ending if you have an ounce of common sense. Still you wish with all your heart that these star crossed lovers can ride off into the sunset with a happy ending.
Jul 01, 2018 rated it liked it
This novel didn't grab me like so many from this author. I didn't agree with the characters' decisions and didn't care for the ending. My takeaway is that if you are unsure about changing your life, maybe you should take a beat before proceeding.
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Anita Shreve was an American writer, chiefly known for her novels. Shreve's novels have sold millions of copies worldwide. She attended Tufts University and began writing while working as a high school teacher. One of her first published stories, Past the Island, Drifting, (published in 1975) was awarded an O. Henry Prize in 1976. Among other jobs, Shreve spent three years working as a journalist ...more

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