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Seventh Heaven

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  7,975 ratings  ·  581 reviews
Nora Silk doesn’t really fit in on Hemlock Street, where every house looks the same. She's divorced. She wears a charm bracelet and high heels and red toreador pants. And the way she raises her kids is a scandal. But as time passes, the neighbors start having second thoughts about Nora. The women’s apprehension evolves into admiration. The men’s lust evolves into awe. The ...more
Paperback, Reprint, 272 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Penguin (first published 1990)
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Rachel I think Billy lost his clairvoyance because he didn't need it anymore; he gained the ability to interact socially and more outwardly with others, and …moreI think Billy lost his clairvoyance because he didn't need it anymore; he gained the ability to interact socially and more outwardly with others, and since he had found his clairvoyance burdensome, he was able to leave it behind.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,975 ratings  ·  581 reviews

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Jun 15, 2007 rated it it was ok
Alice Hoffman being one of my favorite authors was the main reason for me to pick up this book. I must say that it is one of my least favorites of her catatlog.

The story starts out interesting, slating the story in a small town during a time in America when women are supposed to stay in the kitchen and raise the children.

When the character Nora Silk is introduced, she is the antithesis of the other female characters. She dresses in black, wears pants and hoop earings and makeup. The whole point
Paige P
4.5 stars

While on vacation, I picked this up at a help yourself book shelf next to the pool. The book was yellowed and musty, but I have always enjoyed Alice Hoffman's writing. Once I read the first paragraph, I was hooked and pretty much read non stop until I was finished. How did I miss this little gem by Alice Hoffman.

The story begins in 1959 in a middle class, suburban neighborhood. A divorcée with 2 children moves into a neighborhood where people can hardly utter the word "divorced" withou
Kaethe Douglas
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: witches, beloved
1991, January 1
2016, January 5

In the 25 years since I first read this, I confess I'd gotten a little vague on the details. Long Island suburban witch, I recalled correctly, but the two boys had become two girls in my mind, probably conflated with the movie Mermaids. I thought there was a lot more magic. And oddly, 25 years ago I didn't notice that Hoffman used "witch" as a sort of substitute for "slut": not in the shaming sense of promiscuous, but in the vague way that any young woman with auton
Susan's Reviews
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
(Keep in mind that this book is set in 1959.) When newly divorced Nora moves to Hemlock Street, her neighbours view her with suspicion. This was one of my favourite Alice Hoffman reads. I loved her magical, quirky storytelling.
There were some interesting "blasts from the past" in this story. Nora becomes a Tupperware saleswoman - and this is how she expects to pay her mortgage and support her family!?! Tupperware must have been very expensive back in the day! To this day, this is the one element
'Nathan Burgoine
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is another fantastic book from the author of 'Practical Magic,' 'Blue Diary,' and 'The Probable Future.' Nora Silk is not the typical woman of 1959 Long Island. She's divorced, has two children, and never seems to care if they get dirty while they play. She wears high heels and black stretch pants, and her nails are always done in bright colours. Her eldest son, Billy, tends to pick stray thoughts out of the minds of people around him, and James, only months-old, eats anything he can find i ...more
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
My first taste of Alice Hoffman's writing and for me, this book at least was mediocre in both content and enjoyment factor. At the start of the book I felt it was going really well and I was looking forward to more of the same but the book kind of derails and gets overcrowded with too many characters that you don't really care about or connect with and a really weak plot.

On Hemlock Street, the houses are identical, the lawns tidy, and the families traditional. A perfect slice of suburbia, this L
Jan 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Holly by: my mom
My favorite Alice Hoffman, this book uses its setting and characters very effectively to show how the looks of the American dream can be deceiving. When the main character moves to 1960s suburban American, her very presence makes life less perfect and yet somehow more real for the other people who live there. Like most Hoffman, this includes elements of magical realism, including a ghost who haunts not her killer, but his brother, and a mother who uses old spells to keep her child save at school ...more
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Classic Alice Hoffman. Read it slowly and savor it.
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An entirely satisfying story from a master storyteller. Like many authors Alice Hoffman details the minutiae of her characters' lives, but unlike most she does it for good reason: things connect. Details weave together & become much more than the sum of their parts.

Seventh Heaven is set on Long Island in 1959/1960, in a 6 year old housing development near the Southern State. It was written long before Mad Men was born or thought of, but fans of Mad Men should love this story, though it is much
Aug 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
I don't read novels like this one very often but I should probably do so! Alice Hoffman was recommended to me and I happened upon this book at a local thrift store. It was very enjoyable -- being a slice of life from 1959 to 1960, an era that I lived through as a young boy. The novel reminded me a lot of Rabbit Run by John Updike or of Peyton Place, one of my favorites. It definitely does not show the idyllic life of the 50s as portrayed in such TV shows as Leave It to Beaver or Father Knows Bes ...more
Jacqueline Masumian
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Full of exquisite writing, Seventh Heaven takes us to a suburban Long Island community in 1959, a world of Tupperware parties and Formica kitchen tabletops and Fritos with sour-cream-and-onion-soup dip. It's a neighborhood of identical houses, and conformity reigns. The characters are on the brink of breaking out of their severely strictured 50s society, but as the story quietly begins, they don't know that. They're doing just fine.

This novel has multiple principle players: Nora, a young divorce
Oct 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I really love Alice Hoffman; she tells a good story. This is my third read by her, after Here on Earth and Turtle Moon. Seventh Heaven is a slice-of-life story set on a suburban street in 1959-1960. The houses are practically identical, and life, from the outside, looks idealic. Then Nora Silk moves into one of the houses, and things begin to change. Nora is a single mother (divorced) of two little boys, which was an anomaly in the 50's. She isn't exactly welcomed with open arms, though some of ...more
Cathryn Conroy
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Wow! Wow! I would give this book 10 stars if I could. The writing is divine, the plot amazing and the characters so real I think I know them personally. And maybe I do. This is the story of the same kind of neighborhood I lived in from age two to nine from 1956 to 1963.

It's 1959. The houses on Hemlock Drive are identical. The men take great pride in their lawns. The kids play outside until the moms call them in for dinner. All the moms stay home and bake cookies for their kids. It's a safe
Jun 16, 2011 rated it liked it
In the late 1950s in suburban America, women stayed at home and tended their children and husbands. Brand new houses were built all the same in a cookie-cutter fashion. When Nora Silk moves into one of these neighbourhoods and she has no visible husband and dresses provocatively, she is looked upon with suspicion and ignored. But what happens is the street is turned upside down.

Other families on the street include: the McCarthys, boys, Ace and Jackie, and their patient father dubbed "the saint"
Nov 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Seventh Heaven is Alice Hoffman’s 9th stand-alone novel and tells the story of when attractive divorcee Nora Silk came to live in Hemlock Street, Long Island with 8 year-old Billy and baby James. Set in the late ‘50s, it captures the dispiriting feeling of suburbia. As a divorced woman, Nora found her presence posed a threat and prevented her from being part of the community. The story is told from several different characters’ perspectives. Hoffman gives us beautiful prose and evocative descrip ...more
Not as good as I was hoping for, but still interesting. Hillary Huber narrated the audiobook. 3 stars.
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021-books
Alice Hoffman is quite a writer. Amazingly, the outcast newcomer, Nora Silk, brings a whole neighborhood together in the late 1950s haze of manicured lawns and perfect but seriously flawed people. From Joe to Jackie to Stevie to Ace to Billy, the male characters are poignantly portrayed as having deep emotional needs beneath tough or mean or scared exteriors. And her female characters feel a need for community they had only faked before Nora came to town.
Aug 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2 stars. At first this seems like a happy suburban drama. A neat recently finished street with houses full of wholesome civic minded families in 1960 USA. Slowly it reveals itself as we glimpse behind the doors and into the daily lives of these families. It’s a dark place of prejudice, domestic violence and jealousy where even those who appear happy are not.
Alice Hoffman is great at describing daily life with a forensic eye for the details that create an emotional response in the reader. Whi
Ginger Harvey
I do enjoy books by this author. I finished this book because it's book one for 2020. I found the story to be good but there were so many characters that the story didn't flow. It felt choppy and all over the place. ...more
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
"Seventh Heaven" takes place in 1959 and 1960, on a single street in a new neighborhood on Long Island. The families who live there differ economically and culturally but they share values and are more alike than not. The women want nothing more than to make casseroles and pies, raise their children, look after their husband's clothes and clean house. Their kids hang out together. The husbands expect good meals, well-behaved children and in their free time to mow their lawns and take care of the ...more
Oct 17, 2016 rated it liked it
I have such mixed feelings and simply cannot get a handle on my feelings about Hoffman's writing. I always end up dissatisfied, but I keep reading her books! I also can't ever seem to bring myself to DNF them.

Here's what the publishers say about this book "Nora Silk doesn’t really fit in on Hemlock Street, where every house looks the same. She's divorced. She wears a charm bracelet and high heels and red toreador pants. And the way she raises her kids is a scandal. But as time passes, the neighb
Read all my reviews on

Seventh Heaven is far from a seventh heaven. In late 1950s' suburban America it's all important that whatever you do, you do not stand out. People living in houses that all look the same, acting the same. When Nora Silk moves in, a recently divorced mother-of-two she's looked upon with the greatest possible suspicion. And slowly the rest of the street learns that her difference is not necessarily a bad thing.

The 1950s in this book gave
Nov 17, 2015 rated it liked it
I was put off by the title Seventh Heaven, it reminded me too much of the TV series and I automatically labeled the book as cheesy and saccharin. Pleasantly surprised to find out I was wrong about that, but can't say that I loved the story either.

Nora Silk, divorced with two small children, moves to the suburbs of the late 50's, with stay at home moms, tidy homes and meatloaf dinners and the neighborhood and its residents start to erode from there. The novel blurb is a little misleading, Nora a
Jun 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: made-me-sad
Dark and sad, and a little heartbreaking. Not what I usually feel when reading an Alice Hoffman novel.
Jun 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: chick-lit
This book has a lot of focus on roles women play and breaking the societal norms. It has a cool atmosphere and a feeling of sadness that all of Hoffman's work has. ...more
Nov 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book had me rolling my eyes. Not sure what else to say other than don’t waste your time.
R.K. Cowles
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
3 3/4 stars
Alice Hoffman is a fantastic writer. I have read many of her books and have been left in awe at the end of many of them; some had me feeling an uneasy melancholy or had me outright sobbing. Seventh Heaven is probably one of my least favorite books of hers. The characterization is excellent as always, and the plot set in the 1950s about an unconventional woman who moves into the suburbs is promising, but the story and characters just never really gelled for me. But I will always pick up a Hoffman ...more
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Perfect for a holiday weekend, the houses on Hemlock Street all look alike in this 1950's neighborhood, but the families within are not all the same and neither is the world evolving around them as the 1960's dawn. Full of character insight and tinged with a bit of the wonderful magic Alice Hoffman brings to stories. ...more
Jun 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
In 1960 Nora Silk moves into a "fixer upper" in a suburban neighborhood where everyone appears to be living the perfect life - she is not bringing perfection with her. However we soon learn that perfection is only an illusion from the outside looking in - Alice Hoffman is a joy to read and she always takes one on an interesting journey. ...more
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500 Great Books B...: Seventh Heaven - Alice Hoffman 1 9 Jul 13, 2014 08:41PM  

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Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The World That We Knew, The Rules of Magic, The Marriage of Opposites, Practical Magic, The Red Garden, the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, and The Dovekeepers. Her most recent novel is Magic Lessons. She lives near Boston.

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