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The Awful Mess: A Love Story

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  952 ratings  ·  64 reviews
This is an alternate cover edition for B00DHX0GNS

Divorced by a husband who wanted children she couldn't have, editor Mary Bellamy has left the Boston suburbs to telecommute from tiny, affordable Lawson, New Hampshire. All she wants is peace and quiet and maybe a cat. But an unhappily-married Episcopal priest who's trying to save her heathen soul might be susceptible to mo
Kindle Edition, 297 pages
Published June 19th 2013 by Sheer Hubris Press (first published June 9th 2013)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  952 ratings  ·  64 reviews

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E.L. Farris
Sep 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was pleasantly surprised by Sandra Hutchison's The Awful Mess. It's rare in today's Indie market to read a book this well-written and well-edited. While I don't usually read romances, Awful Mess is really more of a coming to middle age story. It belongs more in the women's literature or literary fiction genre than in romance.

From the first page, the writing captivated me, and so did the main character, Mary Bellamy, a recently-divorced editor who moves to a small town. She immediately gets inv
Steve Vernon
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, romance
All right, so let me set the stage.

First off, I am a writer of horror.

HOWEVER, lately I have been kicking around the notion of writing myself a romance novel.


Well, for starters I have to blame it on my wife. She keeps asking me just why does a fellow who has actually read THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY three times because he enjoyed it; who yells at his television when he doesn't think that unrequited lovers are moving fast enough - "KISS HER, YOU IDJIT. JUST TELL HER YOU LOVE HER!"; and who
Sarah Oxford
Aug 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
*This book was provided to me in exchange for an honest and unbiased review*

This was the sort of book that reminds me that I am completely unqualified to review literature. Sure, I know what I like and I know what moves me, but reviewing a book like this makes me feel inadequate. How can someone who can write this well, with such delicacy of sentiment and careful integration of personal and social commentary have any interest at all in what I can say about it?! Well anyway, here are my thoughts,
Oct 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
4 1/2 stars.

This was a surprising book. It's a modern twist on The Scarlet Letter, and, as such, it deals with adultery, infidelity, and out-of-wedlock pregnancy, faith, hypocrisy, redemption, as well as newer social themes. It's very well written and edited, which quickly stood out to me, and held me captive. The writing flows and the plot moves quickly, with protagonists that are flawed and real, yet likeable, and secondary characters that fulfill their supportive role. I read it through and c
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A young divorcee moves to the middle of nowhere with a vague idea towards starting a boring new life full of cats and gardening. This book is the story of how she gets pretty much the opposite. It's the perfect summer read for those of us who prefer a little chew in our love stories.

What I loved best about The Awful Mess was its exploration of faith. I read this book the same week I read Jane Eyre, and I couldn't help seeing so many similarities! Both books are deeply concerned with Christianity
Philomena Callan Cheekypee
Aug 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It's not a normal romantic novel. I really enjoyed the story line. It's nothing like I read before. It was an easy going nice read... I got to about 85% & I was glued. A nice wee twist had me ignoring everything around me until I finished this little gem:)
Received from author in return for an honest review.
Oct 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must read....I was really hoping that she would've ended up with the priest...... ...more
Алена Tалапіла
Having read some of the critical reviews I was a bit apprehensive. But good writing in the sample finally won me over – and I am glad to report that the book was quite enjoyable. I sympathized with the main heroine, Mary, and her story is told rather beautifully. Sandra Hutchison has a distinct voice as an author and the writing is consistent. Some of the reviewers have praised the editing and I wholeheartedly agree. I've had my share of badly edited Kindle books; it could've been all the more d ...more
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It would be easy to describe this book as erotic romance, but that would unduly dismiss it as schlocky, hokey fluff. Although it's not devoid of fluff, there's something about Hutchison's writing style that is evocative and moving. And by moving, I don't mean it got me horny. I mean parts of it had me laughing out loud and crying for the depth of feeling (no pun intended) she managed to deftly express with an economy of words.

I've only read a few previous romance novels, just as an exercise to
Julie Gore Fields
Very pleasantly surprised by this book. In-depth character development - so much so, I felt like I really knew these people ! I found myself eager to get back to the story every day. I will definitely read more of Ms. Hutchinson's books. ...more
Summer Morgan
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kept me hooked

I really enjoyed this book, although some decisions/parts drove me a little nuts, like they were just a plot tool and not something a real human being would do or say. I want a Bert of my own though! :)
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the love of a child!

This was a very nice,and a hart felt read and even the way you portrayed your characters was interesting and enjoyable and how you portrayed the abuse was good and true! As a man from a home which my father was a abusing my mother when he was drinking,I vowed to never repeat that trait! And also taught my two son how to be better men in life.
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
The author, Sandy Hutchison (screen name: Alelou), is the Queen of fanfic for a TV show you have probably never heard of. Her stories rack up 10s of thousands of hits within weeks of being posted. She writes romance that is thoughtful, fast paced, addictive, and often uncomfortably real. This book is no exception. In chapter 1, Mary swears off men, moves out into the middle of nowhere, and buys a cat. This is the last boring chapter in a 41-chapter book. The promised awful mess (a love story) qu ...more
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Awful Mess is an entertaining and well-written novel by a dear friend of mine. I read early drafts of this and am very pleased to see how the characters have developed with time and ever-growing skill. It is available only as an e-book, but I hope that many will aaccess and appreciate it.

Mary Bellamy, divorced and happy to be free, moves to a small town in New Hampshire and comes to realize what I, a small town girl, always knew: that everyone knows everything about everyone else. This turns
Writer's Relief
Dec 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book editor Mary Bellamy needs a change of scenery following her divorce from Roger, who has rejected her because she is unable to have children. She moves from the Boston area to the small town of Lawson, New Hampshire, where she hopes to regroup in a peaceful, quiet, romance-free environment. All she wants is to live in a little house with a ginger cat and sunlight falling on her kitchen table.

The cat Mary adopts is black, however, and it isn’t long before she attracts the attention of TWO men
Sep 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, read-2014
Reading the book description I realized that everything it says about the things the main character Mary experiences are the kind of happenings that are common, or at least not rare. Surely you’ve known women who have received attention from a married man or a person whose beliefs contradict stereotypes  maybe even seem contradictory. We’ve all known people who have unexpectedly lost their job or women who have an unplanned pregnancy, even when they believed they weren’t capable of bearing chil ...more
Gina Marcantonio
Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Newly divorced, Mary Bellamy, moves to Lawson, New Hampshire in search of solitude and a new life. But instead she finds herself struggling through an emotional and spiritual journey that shakes her confidence and questions her faith in humanity and love.

“You know what hell is? Hell is finding the love of your life and losing it. And then coming to the sick realization that you only really lost it because you threw it away in a fit of wounded pride.”

This isn’t your typical romance book. Mary is
Milou Koenings
Nov 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was definitely a surprising read. I expected something a lot more tame and sweet - that it isn't. The author did a beautiful job of characterization. It would have been so easy to fall into stereotypes in this story, and she didn't. Even the "villian" was built up subtly so that when he takes advantage of the victim, it isn't that much more obvious to the reader at first than it is to the heroine. And there were some big issues tackled here that most romances avoid like the plague. There's ...more
Helen Stothard
Sep 21, 2013 rated it liked it
I found this a bit of a drag to start with and was a touch concerned it would turn out to be a bible bashing book, I was wrong. Whilst it had religion in it, the offset was Mary and Laura, an unmarried mother and a lesbian! Bert was a lovely character, who despite his strong religious beliefs found a way to make Mary feel loved and cared for.

It was an interesting read with some colourful characters, and I'm glad I stuck with it to the end.
Oct 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good, quick read. Really good for a freebie - it looks like someone actually edited it! All sarcasm aside, it was a good story. The only unbelievable part was one of the characters falling in love after like 3 "dates". I'll let it go though - I guess that could happen? ...more
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Fitting title because the story is a mess

I was disappointed in this book because I really enjoyed Between the Thigh and Rib Bones of desire. This story is oddly paced and disjointed. It’s almost like it wants to be an edgy Christian love story (which is irritating on many levels).

There are way too many characters and side plots to involve in a story this short. The main characters suffer because they don’t get the development they should in order to look at other random characters.

Winslow is fun
Lesa Tobiason beach
Not my normal

The author's writing flows and is easy to read. I enjoyed this story and her characters were likable and human, not perfect.
Mary is just tired of it all and wants to retreat. Left with little money after divorce, she buys an old house and works from home. Unable to have children, healing from her ex's betrayal, she adopts Bob the cat and tries to settle into small town living. Soon she meets 2 men, one a married and miserable priest, one handsome godly man. Add in her ex who's just
Matt Matteson
Sep 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm an 84 yr old man. I don't know what started me reading this book but I'm glad I did. I had difficulty identifying with some of the characters. Roger (the pig) deserved much more than he got. Arthur was just a plain weak-kneed loser who would mess with any available skirt. Winston and his father Bert were almost typical men. Mary I loved although I could have grabbed her by the shoulders an shook her until I had shaken some good sense into her. By that I don't mean her intimate relationship w ...more
Sue Moss
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good writing and plot. Like that the heroine and hero were flawed rallied to find what was important. Good support characters that add a lot to the book. Only had a little problem with the hero's insta love of heroine and his moral issues but found the book very enjoyable. ...more
Margaret Shumaker
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this

I enjoyed this somewhat quirky story of a recently divorced young woman who buys a house in a New Hampshire small town.
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good love story

A pleasant easy read with interesting characters that you love and hate throughout. It also had a few twists I wasn’t expecting.
Lisa Mills
More like 3.5. stars

I really liked the setting as I live in NH. The author did a good job painting small town life. It really can be that overwhelming at times. I also thought she did a good job with the characters. I do feel that you can be morally good 👍without being religious.
Julie Failla Earhart
When Mary and Roger Bellamy’s marriage falls apart, Mary seeks solace in the small community of Lawson, New Hampshire. Lawson is typical of a very, very small town. “Everyone in town knows about the young divorcee from Boston who bought Miss Lacey’s house.” And she’s hardly unpacked!
Mary isn’t a religious person, but she has made her first new friend in Arthur Tennant, the rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. She looks forward to their meetings on the Main Street Bridge. She enjoys Arthur’s
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An offbeat romance story with real-life awfulness thrown in, as well as some musings on the Christian faith. It can almost, but not quite, be considered Christian inspirational fiction, for those of the Christian faith with very liberal views. As an agnostic, this part of the novel didn’t speak to me, but I still found the story overall very interesting and entertaining.

The novel picks up speed in the second half and becomes a page turner by the end. I read it in one night as I could relate to t
Alec Hastings
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Awful Mess is the story of Mary Bellamy's attempts to get her life back in order after a divorce. She moves to rural Lawson, New Hampshire and is befriended by the local Episcopalian priest and chief of police. If a little shaken, she is fairly optimistic. She has rid herself of an abusive husband, retained her editing job, bought a house, and made a new friend. Then, she loses her job at the same time she becomes responsible for someone else. Suddenly, she finds herself headed for disaster, ...more
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Born and raised in the Tampa Bay area, Sandra Hutchison survived her parents' move to the small town of Greenfield, Massachusetts one snowy winter and eventually stopped sulking about it, though it's possible she's still working it out in her fiction. She lives in upstate New York, where she writes and also teaches writing at Hudson Valley Community College.

A former high school teacher, acquisitio

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“ready to go?” “Oh, of course! Sorry!” Mary ran to scoop up her little” 0 likes
“Got a new cat?” the woman at the market asked. “Yes,” Mary said, with a tight smile. She was” 0 likes
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