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Golden State

3.56  ·  Rating Details  ·  827 Ratings  ·  180 Reviews
Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Jacquelyn Mitchard, and Anna Quindlen, Golden State is a powerful, mesmerizing new novel that explores the intricacies of marriage, family, and the profound moments that shape our lives.

Doctor Julie Walker has just signed her divorce papers when she receives news that her younger sister, Heather, has gone into labor. Though theirs is a s
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 4th 2014 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2014)
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Diane S ☔
Mar 02, 2014 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
3.5. I found this book intriguing. There is so much going on over the course of one day: Dr. Julie Walker has just signed her divorce decree, the vote for the succession of California is taking place, her jeep windows have been broken, her sister is in labor and she is to deliver her baby, she has broken her foot and a friend who always wanted to be more than a friend, a vet suffering from post traumatic stress is holed up in her office and is holding three of her fellow workers hostage. All thi ...more
Larry Hoffer
Feb 23, 2014 Larry Hoffer rated it really liked it
"What I believe is this: there is no divine flow chart, no elegant spiritual mathematics through which our lives are processed. Events occur, we respond to them, we make choices, and our lives are shaped accordingly."

Julie Walker's life has been shaped by many different events. Her father died when she was young; her mother raised Julie and her younger sister, Heather, in a small, stifling Mississippi town which Julie couldn't wait to leave. When Julie left for medical school in San Francisco, s
May 04, 2014 Alena rated it really liked it
Probably more like 4.5 stars. Loved it.

In Golden State, Michelle Richmond perfectly captures a woman and a society “on the brink.” The time is the present, a single day in fact, but California is on the verge of seceding from the United States and Dr. Julie Walker’s life in San Francisco is falling apart.

“I never expected to find myself here, on the edge of the continent--childless, possibly jobless, with broken bones and a broken marriage, citizen of a broken country. But here I am, and I must
R.S. Carter
Mar 26, 2014 R.S. Carter rated it really liked it
Golden State begins in the midst of turbulent crisis. A new life is coming into the world, being born into chaos within chaos. An injured doctor and laboring mother are holed up inside a hospital hotel room with furniture pushed up against the doors and windows barricaded. Outside, a disgruntled civilian is holding people hostage in the VA hospital and help is nowhere to be found. The police are elsewhere and a hostage situation is nothing when California itself is in a complete political upheav ...more
Jun 19, 2014 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club
This was a quick read that started out really intriguing and ended just kinda interesting. It's set against a backdrop of a city under siege - California is voting to secede, it's election day, and people are rioting. There's also a gunman holed up at the VA hospital with three hostages, and the main character's sister is across the street in labor. The main character, Julie, is injured and trying desperately to get to her sister without stepping into the line of fire.

This seems like a pretty ex
Michelle Richmond has been a favorite writer since THE YEAR OF FOG. Her writing is smart, literary and articulate but is also amazingly dreamy. Her love for San Francisco, the setting of THE YEAR OF FOG and GOLDEN STATE: A NOVEL, is also beautiful thing.

In GOLDEN STATE, Dr. Julie Walker has just finalized her divorce from a husband she still loves when her sister, Heather, goes into labor, a sister who has caused her a lot of heartache in the past. En route to deliver Heather's infant, San Franc
Nov 02, 2013 Kaitlin rated it it was amazing
Golden State
by Michelle Richmond
Releases 2/4/14
This book was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Finish Time: 6 Nights. This was a definite page-turner. It’s the sort of book that presents the “almost-end” of the story first and then works its way back. So the story jumps from present time, to earlier in that same day. And actually includes a lot of back stories to understand how the characters got to the point they are. I had so many questions as the book started; what i
Jan 01, 2014 Amber rated it really liked it
Thank you Bantam Books for an "advance uncorrected proof" of this book.

Golden State is a novel set in San Francisco. It is about a woman named Julie and it takes place when Californians are voting whether or not California should secede from the United States. Julie is also involved in a hostage crisis. The book takes place over one day, but memories from Julie's past are strewn across the book so that the reader can understand her story and why she is in her current situation. Julie is a doctor
Feb 28, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was ok
I hate giving this book a two. I loved Michelle Richmond's other books. I was so excited to read this but ended up disappointed. I didn't hate the whole book. I think the whole part of state secession could have been left out, it didn't seem signifigant to the plot for me. At times I felt the book was confusing. I did love the parts that dealt with Julie and her family. The book is closer to a 3 than a two.
Aug 07, 2014 Snotchocheez rated it liked it

The good news (for me, anyway): Michelle Richmond's Golden State is better than anything I've read by Picoult, Quindlen, or Mitchard (the three carrot-dangled authors listed in the blurb to entice readers not familiar with her writing). I was intrigued by the idea of the secession of California from the US, and its metaphorical significance to a crumbling marriage. (i also liked exploring the back story of the protagonist, VA Hospital physician Julie Walker, whose path from Mississippi to the Go
Jan 04, 2014 Connie rated it really liked it
I picked up a book years ago that was entitled "The Year of The Fog". I devoured it in hours. I absolutely loved it. I rushed out, purchased multiple copies and sent them out in the mail to the only readers I knew at the time. I then proceeded to read her other works. Sadly, that's been over 7 years ago! I've never forgotten how much I enjoyed TYotF and I often browse looking for a new release from Richmond. I joined up for her newsletter via her website and heard very little. Then FINALLY!!! I ...more
Feb 10, 2014 Cindy rated it really liked it
This mesmerizing story takes place in the course of one day. Dr. Julie Walker is not only finalizing her divorce but also on her way to deliver her sister's baby when a hostage situation occurs. I'm not really fond of stories where all the action happens in one day however the author takes you on a journey into the life of the main character, Julie. The story opens in the present and then backtracks to a few weeks leading up to the hostage situation and then again to the very past past where the ...more
Mar 29, 2014 Victoria rated it it was ok
Shelves: lit-fic, family
About five years ago, I recall reading and enjoying Richmond’s debut novel, The Year of Fog. It may have strained my credulity a bit, but I remember it was fast paced and so I was curious to read this one, her most recent novel.

Though chronologically speaking, the bulk of the book takes place over the course of one fateful day, the novel covers much more of the characters’ lives than that. Richmond uses the secession of California from the union as a larger metaphor to reflect the separation of
Cheryle Fisher
Dec 20, 2013 Cheryle Fisher rated it really liked it
I won an advance uncorrected proof copy from The Early Reviewers give-away through LibraryThing. Overall this was a very good book, but several things seemed unnecessary to the story. One being the vote for California succession and the other being the scenes with Dennis who is holding co-workers hostage. The story did not flow easily as there were too many disconnections.
Ayelet Waldman
Apr 02, 2014 Ayelet Waldman rated it it was amazing
I loved this novel. I love the high concept conceit (California seceding!) but more than that I loved the characters.
Jan 01, 2014 Denise rated it liked it
This novel takes place in the course of one very busy day in the life of Dr. Julie Walker. On the day that California is voting to possibly secede from the U.S., Julie is finalizing a divorce, breaks her ankle and has to walk on it across the city to deliver her sister's baby and also contend with a hostage situation. The story of her estrangement from her sister and how her marriage fell apart are told in flashbacks. Because of the various story lines that are intertwined, the flashback format ...more
Jan 30, 2014 Laurel-Rain rated it it was amazing
Julie Walker's escape from her childhood home in Mississippi to a new life in California was a way to put her troubles behind her. Leaving her younger sister Heather, with her many issues, was a part of that process.

Now, years later, with a career as a doctor and a husband who is a radio personality, Julie has everything she wants. Except for two things: The family she lost one day because of one irresponsible night and Heather's unforgivable mistakes, and a marriage that seems irrevocably broke
Apr 06, 2014 Erin rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Julie Walker is a doctor who is going through a divorce and is on her way to help her sister deliver her baby. Flashbacks show there was something that made the girls go from being close friends to complete strangers. The streets are filled with protestors and a lot of commotion due to political reasons. Julie finds herself in the middle of a standoff which has her realizing what is important in this world. This one day makes Julie think over what the past has led her to and she is wondering if ...more
Apr 20, 2014 Mary rated it it was ok
this novel is very didactic with a clearly stated lesson to be learned at the end. This is not a genre I'm very fond of.

I also found the paralleling of the narrative and the voting on having California secede from the union didn't work for me. It seemed just kind of thrown in there to add some sensational value maybe?

Finally, half the story is taken up with the main character trying to cross the city in the midst of kind-of riots around the voting, and that part just was really boring to me.

Cindy S
Feb 21, 2014 Cindy S rated it really liked it
The timeline of this story basically takes place within one day with many forays into the past thru flashbacks. Julie Walker is struggling with loss and forgiveness when a "friend" makes her the center of his very public unraveling and turns violent. A bittersweet, moving story that begs to be savored and read slowly but is impossible to put down. Sadness and despair give way to hope and light.
Feb 17, 2014 Julie rated it it was amazing
So far, this is my favorite read of 2014. The characters are complex, and the plot takes several surprising turns. This is the first book I have read by Michelle Richmond, but it won't be my last. I am looking forward to The Year of Fog next.
Carol Carlson
Feb 24, 2014 Carol Carlson rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this book down. Characters were very believable. I loved this book!!
Feb 24, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it
There are many threads running through this novel. Dr. Julie Walker is trying to help her laboring sister while dealing with a violent stand off when California is voting on whether to secede from the United States. Amazingly, it works. Julie's story is told through flashbacks (ranging from years ago to earlier that day) and the present day events, which was sometimes hard to follow. But the story -- with its keen characterization of relationships -- had me riveted. Its Bay Area setting was a bo ...more
Aug 29, 2014 Cynthia rated it really liked it
Great story and very well written. Kept you really engaged.
Kris Calvin
Feb 27, 2015 Kris Calvin rated it it was amazing
A literary-political-suspense novel. High ambitions. Does the author succeed?
I shouldn't have liked Golden State. And I definitely shouldn't have loved it. But Michelle Richmond's storytelling gift is tangible. I found myself shedding my literary biases and enjoying every minute of it.
I usually find the use of alternating timelines in fiction at best annoying, and at worst fatal to my connection with the plot. And in Golden State that structure is employed to a dizzying degree. "The Past", "Day
Sonya Doernberg
Nov 01, 2014 Sonya Doernberg rated it liked it
I knew there was a book I read after The Bookstore and before The Realm of Last Chances. Now, what was that book? Oh, yes, it had a funny and somewhat original subplot--the state of California wants to become its own nation--to secede from the United States. California leads the nation in innovation, productivity, and GNP. And what does the state get in return for such great contributions? A budget deficit! That's the logic behind the secession movement in the book.

Now as I struggle to remember
May 10, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it
SPOILER ALERT - I liked how to story started in the present and then goes back and then up to the present time. It was intriguing and made it hard to put the book down. I thought the relationship between Julie and Tom was a realistic portrayal of some challenges that can come with a marriage relationship and that of losing a child.

Julie's relationship with her sister Heather was complicated. I admired how at the end she and her sister were on better terms with each other. I can definitely unders
Apr 03, 2014 Patty rated it it was amazing
Golden State
Michelle Richmond

What it's all about...

Tom. Julie, Dennis, Heather, Ethan...all names of characters who play a key role in this book. Every character in this book seems to be going through a crisis that comes at a time when California wanted to secede. Julie is going through a personal crisis along with the state crisis and a hostage crisis. Whew!

My thoughts after reading this book...

This is one of those amazing yet maddening books that begins with a mystery...well...a puzzle. Hint
Nelda Brangwin
Mar 08, 2014 Nelda Brangwin rated it really liked it
Richmond's newest book is set, like her others, in California. Told in first person, by a medical doctor, Julie Walker, it occurs at a time when California has voted to secede from the US. Moving back and forth in time through flashbacks the reader learns how Julie got to be tending her about to give birth sister, as a hostage situation takes place in the VA hospital where she works. I read this book in ARC form in December. The story is so well-told and the characters so believable the story li ...more
Jun 24, 2015 Vicwelborn rated it really liked it
really liked it.. something a bit different which is always great
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I grew up in Alabama and have lived in Northern California for fifteen years. My next novel will be out in the summer of 2017. My books include the novels Golden State, The Year of Fog, No One You Know, and Dream of the Blue Room, and the story collections Hum and The Girl in the Fall-Away Dress.

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“I understand how families become estranged, not by design, but by embarrassment. You come to a point when so much time has passed that it seems impossible to make the first move” 1 likes
“We tend to see life as a continuum, Julie, but really, it's a series of phases, generating a series of different selves. You leave one life behind and start another. And each time, a different version of yourself emerges.” 1 likes
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