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The Resurrection of Joan Ashby

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,880 ratings  ·  541 reviews
I viewed the consumptive nature of love as a threat to serious women. But the wonderful man I just married believes as I do―work is paramount, absolutely no children―and now love seems to me quite marvelous.

These words are spoken to a rapturous audience by Joan Ashby, a brilliant and intense literary sensation acclaimed for her explosively dark and singular stories.

When Jo
Hardcover, 544 pages
Published August 29th 2017 by Flatiron Books
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Sarnfield I assumed it would be a new book using the old title showing that she was able to put what happened behind her and move forward.

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Average rating 3.86  · 
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Kevin Kelsey
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Posted at Heradas Review

5/6/18 edit: Heads up, this is available in paperback now.

Finishing this magnificent novel was a bittersweet affair. Sweet because it was a powerful joy to read; experiencing what a writer that possesses such a mastery of her craft can do with words, continually in awe at the bravery of this story, and how she approached it. Bitter because I’ve lived with her character Joan Ashby these past couple weeks, judged her a little unfairly at times, learned as she did, gotten to
Dan Schwent
Aug 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-books, 2017
Joan Ashby was on the fast track to being the next great American novelist until she got pregnant. She spends the better part of the next three decades writing off and on in secret while taking care of her family. Can she overcome age, obligations, and a crushing betrayal to take back her destiny?

This isn't the kind of book I normally read but I'm a sucker when a publisher, Flatiron, in this case, offers me an ARC directly, I usually take it. For most of the book, I was glad I did.

Since people a
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
For me, this book was sort of the road not taken. Like Joan, I never wanted children. Joan, a prodigy writer gets married and after making her husband promise they would never have children, she finds herself pregnant. And decides to keep the baby to make her husband happy.

The writing here is delicious, language to be savored and mulled over. It's an interesting style in that Joan's works are interspersed throughout the novel. In the beginning, I liked this technique because it showed Joan's st
The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas is a 2017 Flatiron publication.

Excellent prose, but lethargic and monotonous-

Joan Ashby became a literary darling in her early twenties, winning awards and spending long stints on the important bestseller lists. She is very focused, refusing to allow herself to succumb to any temptations that might steer her away from her destiny.

But, alas, the thing she swore she would avoid at all costs- the powerful elixir of love- was too strong to overcome.

4.5 Stars

Inspiration. Creation. Love. Motherhood. Children. Sibling Rivalry. Family. Repressing one’s inner self. Regret. Resentment. Promises broken. Dreams crushed. Writing. Commitment. Betrayal. These are some of the themes throughout this story.

At the somewhat still tender age of thirteen, Joan Ashby kept notebooks labeled “Favorite Words,” “Books I Am Reading,” “Quotes Never to Forget,” “Stories,” and “How to Do It.” Within the last one is a list of nine principles, whic
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Why This Book
The publisher of The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, written in 2017 by Cherise Wolas, emailed me late last year to see if I'd be interested in reading the novel. I accepted the challenge and put it on my TBR, agreeing to read within the next few months. As I was cleaning out my TBR, I noticed this was still sitting in my queue, hence it became one of my first reads in 2018.

Plot, Characters & Setting
Joan Ashby as a young girl wanted to be a writer. She wrote all
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
You can now find this review and more at Novel Notions.

I honestly need more than five stars to give.

“She was no longer writing about tragedies that blew apart peoples lives, but about something else entirely: how dreams could keep hope alive and fresh.”

Getting this book was kind of a big deal for me. Okay, it was a really big deal. This was the first physical ARC I ever received. I’ll be honest: being asked to review this book made me feel kind of special, which was a large part of the reason I
Aug 03, 2017 rated it liked it
What happens when you life does not turn out the way you expected?

Joan Ashby is a writer. She writes dark stories which are a big hit. She plans to keep on writing but then finds herself pregnant. She and Martin have made a pact - they will not have children. But once she finds that she is pregnant and he is excited about it, she decides to embrace Motherhood.

She gives birth to two sons while putting her writing on the back burner. Over the course of their upbringing, she returns to writing in s
Julie Ehlers
Aug 30, 2017 marked it as tossed-aside
Bloated and overwritten, The Resurrection of Joan Ashby is a work of immense ambition. Of course, in theory I have no problem with immense ambition, but it needs to seem effortless or the book is not going to work. If the labor and the effort are visible, that labor and effort translate into the reading experience. That's just how it is; I don't make the rules. Perhaps a really fascinating story or characters could have redeemed this book for me, but the characters were absurd (not in a good way ...more


When I’m reading a good book, I find that I immediately start marking passages that I can revisit later, and I typically don’t notice what page I’m on. This was one of those books. I, not only loved the novel, but I also loved the passages included as part of the main character’s work.

Cherise Wolas has created a notable and intimate fictional memoir of an award-winning author. I look forward to reading more from
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a slow burn of a novel.

I'm still finding myself at a loss for words when it comes to describing what the author achieved when she sat down and took on this beast. Where to begin with this review?

Joan Ashby is a brilliant author and she has one rule for the rest of her life-- no children. Then she finds herself married, unexpectedly pregnant and living it up in the burbs. After Daniel comes Eric and Joan loses herself in raising her family and supporting her husband's career. Her wr
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is captivating from the beginning. The characters have depth and were well written. The story was so engrossing. I really enjoyed this read and am so glad I got the ARC. I will be keeping this one for my bookshelf!
Joan Ashby, a talented writer, who at a young age vows not to let a husband or children get in the way of her art, ends up married, then pregnant. Joan falls in love with her first baby, not so much with second. Her first son has the gift of writing, but stops when he discovers at age 11 his mother is a brilliant writer and he compares himself to her and feels like a failure. He feels she has crushed his dreams. His father is a brilliant neuro-ocular surgeon traveling the world restoring people’ ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read2017, reviewcopy
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I stared it earlier and had to take a break when I sprained my thumb, because the book is heavy! But that should not be seen as a reflection of my interest.

The Resurrection of Joan Ashby takes a deep look into the internal life of a female author. Her fiction parallels and adds depth to the story of her life.

Joan Ashby published two books of short stories with great acclaim, and then disappeared! It turns out tha
Maya Panika
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
This novel has been the subject of such extraordinarily high praise, I opened it with a deal of anticipation and high hopes and, though some of it is worthy of its seemingly universal approbation, I was far from blown away and ultimately, very disappointed.
It’s the story of a woman who planned her life meticulously from an early age but whose plans all went awry. Poor Joan. She only ever wanted to be a writer; she was a writer, a very well regarded writer, a best selling author who won accolade
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Joan Ashby is a celebrated author at the peak of her career. She’s been open about avoiding love and motherhood and wanting to give all to her creativity. But then love finds her heart but she makes it very clear to her soon-to-be husband that there will be no children in their future. When Joan finds herself pregnant and her husband is ecstatic at the news, Joan decides to devote herself to her family with all intentions of resuming her career at some point. However, the future holds a betrayal ...more
Jessica Sullivan
This was one of the more uneven reads for me in recent memory. There were parts I absolutely loved and parts I really hated.

It starts strong. Joan Ashby is a renowned, award-winning young writer with her whole life ahead of her. She knows she doesn't want children, that her writing will be her singular purpose. But when she finds herself unexpectedly pregnant shortly after getting married, she is forced to put her writing on hold.

Joan and her husband wind up having two children, both boys, and t
Janelle Janson
Thank you so much to Flatiron Books for this advance reader's copy - all opinions are my own.

This book... THIS BOOK. I can't even describe how amazing this debut novel is, YES DEBUT. This is how literary fiction should be done. It's stunning and gorgeous and lyrical and beautiful - the writing is exquisite! I love Joan Ashby's short stories - I wish there were more of them. They provide a glimpse of how the outside world perceives her. Even thou
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017, september-2017
There is a pretty good book in here somewhere, buried deep beneath endless pages of unnecessary detail. Reading this was like when you ask someone to tell you about paleo, and two hours go by and you're just like, "Why are you still talking?" Could easily chop about 200 pages out of this.
This book has other problems, especially the "betrayal" by the main character's husband: they agreed not to have kids, then when she accidentally gets pregnant he says, "I'm so happy." That is literally the ent
Sue Dix
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an ARC. I fell in love with this book from the very first word. If you love books about the process of writing and the inner workings of an author, you'll love this book. Joan Ashby is a wonderful, three dimensional character that I would love to meet in real life. Cherise Wolas is my new favorite author.
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An immersive experience from start to finish. Truly exceptional.
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Without exaggeration, I am speechless. I can't remember reading a book where I thought I was experiencing a writer who could be one of the greats of our time - it is that good.

The writing is sheer magic, it shines with brilliance, intelligence -- completely original, long complex sentences that leave you understanding life a little better, wishing you had had that insight yourself, and carrying you deeper and deeper into the complex lives of these characters. Wolas does not hold back - she's fi
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
Spending ten days with THE RESURRECTION OF JOAN ASHBY was one of the most immersive, wholly enjoyable reading experiences I've had in recent years. This is an awe-inspiring, fascinating, and engrossing work.
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An accomplished author (ok, literary genius) is persuaded to start a family after publicly avowing to never have children. What ensues is a poignant endurance of the balance between mother and artist, if such a balance is indeed possible. The Resurrection of Joan Ashby layers this question in a beautifully constructed debut novel that has easily come to be one of my favorites of 2017.

From the start there is no doubt that Ashby is a prodigy, something Cherise Wolas proves with ease. The book is
4.5 stars, rounded up

I’m having a hard time writing this review because I know that nothing I say will be able to do justice to how great this book truly is. I don’t feel it’s an exaggeration to say that this book was a “masterpiece,” a uniquely exquisite work that I am overjoyed to have been given the opportunity to experience and savor. From the very first chapter, up until the very end, and even now, having finished the book, one thought that has consistently entered my mind is the fact that
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A sweeping exploration of the way womanhood is inextricably linked with the philosophy of motherhood. Joan Ashby is beautifully defined both by her choices, and the life that chooses her. With sweepingly poetic prose, and an unconventional format that is a breath of fresh air, I loved every part of this book and would recommend it to any reader, young or old. I feel that it's in the class of books that can be reread over the years, and you'll always find new meaning to appreciate each time you s ...more
Rhiannon Johnson
Absolutely brilliant!
This novel has moved into my #1 favorite book spot, pushing out the 3 that were tied for first for years (The Handmaid's Tale, The Red Tent, and The Poisonwood Bible).
My full review to come soon!
Casey Frank
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars
Thank you, Flatiron Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book!

Joan Ashby’s story is an interesting one, and one that the author feels must be told along side with pieces of the fictional writer’s actual work. At first I found this a potentially annoying conceit but came to understand how much Ashby’s writing really informed who she is as a person/character, and why these pieces were so important in how they shaped other characters.

Wolas’s writing, in creating Joan Ashby and
Lolly K Dandeneau
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Via my blog:
'What if she could travel across the sky for the rest of her days, never landing, too far up to be touched by what has transpired in her life, set up perfectly in her little corner of space, with her face pressed up against the window?'

Mothers are creators in their own right, birthing children, supplying a nurturing environment. Some women want to create something other. What does it mean for a writer, the possibility of having children and a hu
Tonstant Weader
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas is one of those books where you read more slowly and more slowly yet as you near the end because you don’t want the book to end. It tells the story of Joan Ashby, a successful young writer who releases two collections of short stories to universal acclaim before marrying, raising children, and not publishing another word for decades. This is that kind of book on steroids. I even delayed writing about it for a day because I wanted to keep thinking a ...more
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Cherise Wolas is the author of the novels The Resurrection of Joan Ashby and The Family Tabor.

The Resurrection of Joan Ashby is a 2019 International Dublin Literary Award nominee, a PEN Debut Fiction Prize semi-finalist, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and Paperback Row selection, an American Bookseller Association Indie Next Great Read pick, a Kirkus Reviews Best Novel and Best Debut

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12 likes · 7 comments
“Joan thinks then that writers have infinite choices and mothers nearly no choice at all.” 7 likes
“Treacheries experienced in childhood are among the most difficult to overcome, or to forgive, as are dreams crushed when one is too young.” 6 likes
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