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Harriet Wolf's Seventh Book of Wonders

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  2,208 ratings  ·  378 reviews
A brilliantly crafted saga about three generations of women and their secrets, including the discovery of a final unpublished book by the family matriarch, a revered and reclusive author.

Harriet Wolf has a final confession. It can be found only in the final book of the series that made her a famous writer. But does that book exist?

This absorbing novel spans the entire twen
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published August 18th 2015 by Little, Brown and Company
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Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,208 ratings  ·  378 reviews

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Jan 05, 2019 rated it liked it
"This is how the story goes: I was born dead - or so my mother was told"

Harriet Wolf was a famous novelist and recluse. Her daughter and granddaughters frequently get questioned by her fans about her books. There is a rumor circulating that she has a final manuscript and the public is curious if it really exists. Her daughter, Eleanor just wants to be left alone. She doesn't like answering questions about her Mother's books. But when Eleanor is hospitalized, her daughter Tilton calls her older s
Diane S ☔
Dec 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
A wonderful book about mothers and daughters, their complicated relationships and how easy it is to misunderstand each other. Three generation of women, Harriet, who has died had written a series of six best selling books, there is a rumor that a seventh exists. Professors, scholars and book, aficionados the world over are anxiously waiting for it to surface.

Eleanor her daughter who has made many mistakes, holding tight to her daughter Tilton after letting Ruth run away at sixteen. Interesting
A story like no other! I must PONDER before reviewing. ---- Pondering now complete. Swirling images reined in, thoughts reasonably forthcoming, having dissected through the chaos - somewhat.

"If I'd wanted to be a moralizer, I'd have done so . . . As a novelist, my job is to make things up. As a reader, yours is to sort morals out for yourself."

Yes, indeed, a story like no other. I feel as if I've just resurfaced from falling down a rabbit hole with Alice, Gatsby, Daisy and Wolfshiem, Salinger, J
"My mother wore a powder that smelled like a field of flowers! She would wring out a sponge and the water made its way down my back."

I have no words. The words have been left in the book.

How do I, a simple reader, review this universe of a novel? How do I stand outside and declare, when I perceive myself a mere body of light in context?

Truly and really, I can't.

I might try to describe...

Harriet, the sickly baby, removed by the father from the fragile mother at birth. Sent to live in an instit
Melissa Crytzer Fry
May 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Where to begin with a book so rich and full? Let’s start with the beginning lines: “I was born dead – or so my mother was told …I was mute and sallow and already a bleeder, one red bead poised at each nostril.”

For me, it’s this kind of intrigue and beautiful use of language that drew me in immediately. Throughout the novel, it became clear the author’s poetry background, as the story is laced with lyrical metaphor and carefully constructed sentences.

Writers and readers alike, I think, wi
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
Wow. This book was amazing. It's not a dessert book, not light nor sweet. It's more like a steak - you have to work at it, thoughtfully chew each bite until it's all gone and you feel pleasantly full. Baggott wrote of her characters so lovingly that even at their worst, you kind of love them too. Harriet was amazing. And Eppitt! I would have loved to have heard some of this story from his point of view but even without it, the story feels complete. A beautiful story of first love and the bonds a ...more
Sep 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chic-lit
This novel opens in the voice of Harriet Wolf, providing the reader with the information that she was born in 1900, mute, tiny, and bleeding from the nose. The attending physician told her father that she “wasn’t fit”, so her father asked the Dr to take her away to the Maryland School for the Feeble Minded. Her mother was told that she died. So begins the story of Harriet’s intriguing life. Harriet eventually becomes a popular author who writes the escapades of the fictitious Daisy Brooks and We ...more
Ron Charles
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman” isn’t the first “found” manuscript to capture the public’s attention, but has any other literary discovery ever generated such boundless frenzy? You can bet editors and publishers have noticed. That rustling you hear is the sound of scholars rifling through special collections in the world’s libraries while hopeful relatives smash apart antique desks. Hallelujah — here’s Agatha Christie’s dry-cleaning bill! And there’s an ironic Post-it Note from David Foster Wal ...more
Jessica Jeffers
Jun 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
It's been a long time since I've read something that I've felt genuinely excited about. I don't know if that's a function of the books I've been reading not being particularly exciting or if it's a function of my life being kind of insane lately. Either way, this was such a fun book, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. A full review to come.
Mary Lins
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: complete
"Harriet Wolf's Seventh Book of Wonders" by Julianna Baggott, swept me up in the first pages with it's fascinating and unique plot, beautiful prose, accessible structure, and most especially, it's vivid and varied characters.

Near the turn of the last century, Harriet was born dead; she tells us this right away. She rallied but her father didn't trust her to remain alive so he told her mother than she was stillborn and sent her to the Maryland School for Feeble Children. Who wouldn't want to kee
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
IF you think that it is wonderfully special and mystical when your lover insists on describing your love affair as 'bloomed' when he means 'doomed' and 'blessed'...then this book may appeal to you.
IF the words that spring to mind when you see a breastfeeding infant are 'rabid piglet'...then this book may appeal to you.
IF you think that a series of books will become a world wide sensation when the first book is a children's book, the second is a book about the same children now teenagers in a dys
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
I could feel my expectations crumble. I was intrigued by the concept. Reclusive author has one book that was left out of her amazing, classic series. Burdened with this legacy is her only daughter, Eleanor, and through her the author's (Harriet) granddaughters, Ruthie and Tilton. What unfolds is a story of these four women, their family and coming to terms with grandma Harriet. Or so I thought.
Despite some of the similarities to 'Go Set a Watchman' this book obviously isn't about that (or the a
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very rarely do I ever pick up a book that I have never heard of. If you know me, you know I have heard of most new books from one of my bookish friends or another. But I just happned to literally knock this book off the shelf while looking at another. I picked it up, and read the cover and was intrigued. And to be honest, I loved it.

The story of 4 women, and how their lives turned into the women that they present to the world. It is a tell that shows you how much we don't really know about thos
Sep 09, 2015 rated it liked it
What a wonder of a book! As Harriet Wolf, her daughter Eleanor and her two granddaughters Tilton and Ruth each gradually reveal themselves, it became impossible for me to stop reading - I was so caught up in their stories. This will be a fantastic book group choice because of the way that it explores the ties between mothers and sisters, and the power of stories. And the love story is unforgettable!

Thank you to Little, Brown and Company and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book.
Kate Maruyama
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Revealed in wonderful, absorbing layers, Baggott once again forges into new territory in this family drama that crosses generations and consciousness. The voices within the book, of Harriet, her daughter and her granddaughters are individual and strong and the story resonates with images that echo throughout each of these points of view. A lovely read.
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Baggott writes in four distinct voices in this book: Harriet's, her embittered (but funny) daughter Eleanor, Ruth, Eleanor's daughter who ran away from home at 16, and Tilton, the youngest daughter, whom Eleanor has a Munchausen syndrome by proxy relationship. Each one has their own relationship to Harriet's books: Harriet herself, who transformed a tragic life into novels that succeeded both popularly and academically; Eleanor, whose jealousy of Harriet's fondness for her characters shapes her ...more
Betsy Robinson
Aug 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
A lovely story of a multi-generational dysfunctional family, well told. Also a love story.
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love multiple perspective stories, and the way that Baggott also weaves this into a multi-generational story is beautiful. You fall in love with the intensely flawed characters. You realize important aspects of family and life with them. Although the book jumps back and forth between stories, they all connect in a tight little knot and move along in a coherent and cohesive manner. Gorgeously done
Jan 24, 2015 added it
This book was amazing, with spiraling depths of psychological problems and makes a person wonder what actually happens in a person's mind. Julianna Baggott has outdone herself on this new and intricate hit book. Read an advanced copy.

Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
This was such an utterly perfect "Christie book". It was told by 4 different women in the same family, one of whom is a famous writer, all of them have different mental and other issues. Everything was very layered, so the more I think about it the more I liked this book. Sooooo good.
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an amazing story, well written, great character development. It covers three generations. It shares the lives of Harriet who was born more dead than alive, and I won’t say more, just read it if you like stories about quirky characters and unusual families.
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it

I liked a lot about this book—mainly the chapters told in Harriet’s voice. It was about a writer and her family and what happens when she leaves a 7th book unpublished until her family absolutely has to publish it. Well-written but it lacked a certain emotional element for me.
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Very slow with mostly unlovable characters. It took me a long time to finish and it was only redeemed by the last 100 pages. However, I did love this line, "It's like a life is a pact that gets wound from the hands of one generation to the next, but if you don't tell your life, if you don't hand it over, you're cutting the string. The the next generation has no tether. They float off like an astronaut, alone." Okay, that line alone makes me round up to a 3.
Mar 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, ebooks
I am always drawn to books about books. This was an impulse kindle buy and it was generally good but it took me a while to get into it.
Harriet, born in the early part of the last century, is weak and her survival is questionable. Worried that his wife become too attached, only to lose her, Harriet's father sends her to the Maryland School for Feeble Children. Labeled a "Moron", Harriet is anything but. In fact she is a genius and later writes a series of novels now considered as classic literature. At the home she falls in love with Eppit Clapp. It is their love story upon which Harriet has loosely based her novels. Having spen ...more
Feb 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
A famous, reclusive author who has left a body of work that still intrigues readers and a mystery in the form of a resolution to the series she wrote? Ok, tell me more. Turns out, the author (the Harriet Wolf of the title) is dead and the mystery remains. Harriet's daughter Eleanor is an overly protective mother, her granddaughter Tilton is an agorphobic heavily allergic shut-in, and her granddaughter Ruth is just trying to lead a normal life (albeit one married to a leading Harriet Wolf scholar ...more
May 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Famous author and notorious recluse Harriet Wolf is rumored to have a long-lost manuscript, the seventh and final book in her famed series — and if it exists, it just may hold the key to her ultimate confession posthumously.

Told from the perspectives of each of the four Wolf women (Harriet, the matriarch of the family, her daughter Eleanor, and her granddaughters Tilton and Ruth) and spanning three generations in narration, this book is astounding -- a heartrending story of love, loss, and rede
Oct 10, 2015 rated it did not like it
You know that saying: One of the differences between the North and the South is that in the North they hide their crazy relatives in an upstairs closet when company comes, while in the South, we bring ours downstairs and put them on display in the parlor so everybody can enjoy them? Well all four of the ladies in this book should hope to be honorary Southerners, because they were ALL crazy. And not just a little crazy. However, since they were from the North, one can only assume they were safely ...more
Lauren Tetrick
May 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this one-- and what's better than a book about a book? The writing was lovely, and I've dog-eared so many pages because I loved so many passages. Stick through the first 50 pages-- it'll be worth it!
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. I loved that it is set in the East Coast, from where I’m from, and the towns were all familiar. The relationships between mothers and daughters that are explored in this were heartwarming and heartbreaking. This really was a great book.
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Connect with Julianna Baggott on Facebook:

Check out the new novel -- PURE

Also writes under the pen names N.E. Bode and Bridget Asher.

Critically acclaimed, bestselling author Julianna Baggott is the author of eighteen books, most notably her recent novel PURE, the first in a dystopian trilogy, a New York Times Book Review's Editor's Cho

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