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Love, Alice

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From the author of Summer at Hideaway Key comes a sweeping new Southern women’s fiction novel about forgiving the past one letter at a time...

The truth lies between the lines...

A year ago, Dovie Larkin’s life was shattered when her fiancé committed suicide just weeks before their wedding. Now, plagued by guilt, she has become a fixture at the cemetery where William is buried, visiting his grave daily, waiting for answers she knows will never come.

Then one day, she sees an old woman whose grief mirrors her own. Fascinated, she watches the woman leave a letter on a nearby grave. Dovie ignores her conscience and reads the letter—a mother’s plea for forgiveness to her dead daughter—and immediately needs to know the rest of the story.

As she delves deeper, a collection of letters from the cemetery’s lost and found begins to unravel a decades-old mystery involving one of Charleston’s wealthiest families. But even as Dovie seeks to answer questions about another woman’s past—questions filled with deception, betrayal, and heartbreaking loss—she starts to discover the keys to love, forgiveness, and finally embracing the future…

432 pages, Paperback

First published December 6, 2016

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About the author

Barbara Davis

8 books1,689 followers
Author of The Secrets She Carried, The Wishing Tide, Summer at Hideaway Key, Love, Alice. (Penguin/Berkley) When Never Comes (Lake Union) The Last of the Moon Girls (Lake Union) The Keeper of Happy Endings (Lake Union) The Echo of Old Books

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 217 reviews
Profile Image for Susan's Reviews.
1,063 reviews478 followers
March 4, 2021
I really enjoyed this rich slice of life book with a hint of romance.
The author states that she was inspired to write this book after reading an article about the thousands upon thousands of unwed mothers who, up until 1995, were sent to asylums and were forced to give up their babies. Alice was one of those young mothers.

Dovie meets Alice's mother, Dora Tandy, at the cemetery where Alice is buried. Alice is buried in the wealthy Tate family plot, with a lovely stone angel marking her grave. There are no end of rumours as to why a mere nanny lies among the graves of the ancestors of the prestigious Tate family of South Carolina.
Dovie is mourning the death of her fiance, William, who took his own life a week before their wedding.
Fate certainly does seem to take a hand in Dovie's life: in her quest to help Dora find answers about her daughter's last days, Dovie's searches lead back to the wealthy Tate family, and their playboy son, Austin Tate.

Alice's letters - addressed to the son that had been stolen from her, broke my heart. Very well written, and you can guess how this will end, but you want to get back to Alice's letters and find out what happened in her own words. This is the first novel by Barbara Davis that I've read, but it certainly won't be the last. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews.
1,043 reviews1,367 followers
February 13, 2017
Dovie spent her lunch hours in the cemetery every day since her fiancee committed suicide. Dovie hoped she would find out why William would kill himself a few weeks before their wedding.

The cemetery didn't tell her much, but she did befriend the caretaker​​ of the cemetery​, Josiah​, as well as come across ​Dora who was grieving the death of her daughter, Alice.

Dovie didn't find relief from her ​own grieving, but she did find Alice and Dora's story​ very​ interesting. Alice was connected to a powerful, wealthy family in town, and had been buried in the family's plot.​ ​That in itself caused Dovie's curiosity to peak and to want to ​know more.

​When Dovie finds letters that had been left and written by Alice, a definite connection between the letters​, Dora, and the Tate family comes to light.

LOVE, ALICE goes back and forth in time using letters written by Alice, facts about the Tate family,​ and Alice's mother to help reveal the secrets of Dora's grief.​

I always enjoy books that go back in forth in time and especially when the mystery is revealed through letters or some other unique ​way.

​I enjoyed Dovie and Dora's friendship and the determination Dovie had to find out the truth. The Tate family was a bit mysterious with Mrs. Tate being pleasant but secretive and her son being closed mouth and a bit unpleasant at times. Dovie knew some secret was kept by the Tate's, and she wanted to know what it was.

LOVE, ALICE grabbed me from the first page because of Ms. Davis' marvelous skill of storytelling and ​descriptive writing.

Ms. Davis’ books are books I don’t want to end simply because of the characters, the setting, and definitely the story line.

LOVE, ALICE is another heartwarming book by Ms. Davis about family, about love, about the love between mother and child, and about choices with characters that you would want to know and spend time with and a town you would want to live in.

This is going to be my favorite of her books even though I loved every book Ms. Davis has written. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and author in return for an honest review.
December 11, 2016
This book takes place in 2005 in Charleston, South Carolina. A year ago, Dovie was getting ready to marry her fiance William. To everyone’s shock, two weeks prior to their wedding William took his own life. Dovie Larkin now spends her lunch hours visiting his burial site, grieving his death and searching for answers. One rainy afternoon at the cemetery, she spies a grieving elderly woman leaving a letter at the grave of Alice Tandy. To protect the letter from the elements, she picks it up and reads it. The letter is written by the elderly woman asking for forgiveness from her child.

Dovie is given access to letters written by Alice that years ago were dropped off at the cemetery. In 1962, Alice was sent away to an asylum for unwed mothers in England. She was sent there by her mother to have the child. Alice’s baby was adopted by a wealthy family in the United States. Alice’s experiences in this asylum were not positive ones and women were treated unkindly.

Dovie befriends the elderly grieving woman, named Dora. Dovie shares Alice’s letters which helps to unlock family secrets. They work together to solve two mysteries: 1. Where was Alice living after she left the asylum? 2. Where is her grown child is today?

The book is told in the voice of Dovie throughout most of the book and through Alice’s letters. There are other characters introduced into the story other than those mentioned. They all become greatly intertwined as they sort out their own sorrows and secrets. This heartfelt touching story had me teary-eyed when I finished it.

Giveaway on my blog until 12/13 https://www.facebook.com/suzyapproved...
Profile Image for Cindy Burnett (Thoughts from a Page).
556 reviews972 followers
November 28, 2016
Love, Alice was a sweet, entertaining read. Barbara Davis creates a likeable and engaging cast of characters that I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know. The Charleston setting and culinary tidbits made me like the novel even better. Dovie Larkin, the main character, is still recovering from her fiancé’s suicide the previous year. Still mourning William, she visits his grave daily. One day while she is at the cemetery, she sees another woman whose grief reflects her own. As the older woman is leaving, she leaves a note on a nearby grave. Intrigued, Dovie decides to read the letter resulting in her attempting to solve the mystery presented by the woman’s letter. While I could tell how the story would end as it was progressing, I definitely relished reading Love, Alice and Davis’s beautiful prose. Thanks to First to Read for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,677 reviews456 followers
December 14, 2016
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life.

I decided to read this book up because the synopsis sounded interesting. I really had no expectations since I have never read any of this author's work before and really hadn't heard anything about this book. I am glad that I decided to pick it up because it turned out to such a nice story. I was pulled into the story right away and really was eager to see everything work out for the characters. I was able to predict some parts of the story but I still really enjoyed the journey.

This was a book that was told in two timelines that focus on two women, Alice and Dovie. Dovie is trying to move on after her fiance committed suicide. She spends a lot of time at the cemetery trying to come to terms with her loss. She happens to see an older woman leave a letter at another grave and feels compelled to take the letter to read. Her life soon becomes intertwined with the older woman and learning the events of the past.

Alice's story is told through her letters. Alice wrote a series of letters prior to her death that were left at her grave in the cemetery where Alice's fiance is buried. These letters eventually come to be in Dovie's possession and she shared them with Alice's mother slowly over a period of time. As Alice's story unfolds, my heart broke for her and everything that she went through.

I think that the dual timelines worked well in this book. I really liked that letters were used to tell the story of the past and thought that it made the book flow nicely. Dovie and Alice both were wonderful characters. Dovie learns not only about Alice's past but some truths about her own as the story moves forward. By the end of the book, Dovie was almost like a new person. She had really come to terms with a lot and had helped her new friends do the same.

I would recommend this book to others. The story was one that has stayed with me. It was a book full of pain and grief but also of friendship, love, and learning to move forward. This is the first book by Barbara Davis but I look forward to checking out some of her other work in the future.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via First to Read.

Initial Thoughts
Nice story even though it was somewhat predictable.
Profile Image for Susan Peterson.
1,522 reviews249 followers
August 2, 2016
Love, Alice is an achingly beautiful book; one that will make you sad and even angry at times, but mostly filled with hope and love. Dovie has been mourning the death of her fiancé for a year, still trying to come to terms with his death, and unable to move forward, spending her days at his graveside. When an ailing woman leaves a letter at the grave of a young woman, Dovie, sensing a kindred spirit, reads the letter, and sets out to ease the woman's heartache. Dovie then receives a collection of other letters left behind at the cemetery, which unearth a family's secrets, betrayals and heartbreak; but she also discovers the power of forgiveness, hope, and above all else, the love a mother feels for her child. The characters in the book are filled with flaws; characters who have sacrificed their own happiness for a myriad of reasons; characters who love fiercely and protectively. This book also opens our eyes to the shame of the Magdalene laundries/asylums, horrible places that were like prisons to the unwed mothers who were sent there. Once again, Barbara Davis has written a poignant, spellbinding book, with a story and characters that will live on in my heart.
Profile Image for Chris  C - A Midlife Wife.
1,482 reviews265 followers
November 30, 2016
This is the third book that I’ve been able to read by this author and so it was with great anticipation that I dived into this read. The author has the ability to captivate you with a combination of history, mystery, and life itself.

Love, Alice is about the hunt to find the truth behind an emotional story. The author takes a look at the fate of a child back when being a single parent was not acceptable.

Told through letters from the past and those looking for the truth today, you are taken on a trip of heart ache, secrets, and a variety of emotions as you devour this story. With the characters looking to heal their hearts and find some peace from the pain and questions they are all suffering from, the journey through this book is a delicate balance and soul searching.

Barbara Davis has a knack for creating complex characters and telling deeply personal stories that you simply cannot put down. The story is unique and will touch you in ways that will stay with you long after the cover is closed.

This is definitely an investment of quality time to grasp the rich story that gives you peace and healing along the way. Barbara Davis offers us a wonderful gift in yet another amazing read.

full review http://amidlifewife.com/love-alice-ba...
Profile Image for Leah.
1,052 reviews58 followers
November 29, 2016
Love, Alice is a novel that suffered from predictable twists and a frustrating main character and with only one storyline worth reading, the book's near 450-page length felt overly long and wholly unnecessary. Maybe other readers would feel more for Dovie's character, but her plight didn't affect me one bit. In fact I feel the novel would be greatly improved if it was strictly a historical novel with no present day aspect. With a lot of editing (the cemetery and a high-end restaurant in the same town share a name which resulted in my intense confusion for a moment) Love, Alice could have potential, but as it stands, I wouldn't recommend this one. There are countless other 'search for baby given up for adoption years earlier' novels out there.

For the full review and more, head over to The Pretty Good Gatsby!
Profile Image for Barbara White.
Author 5 books1,108 followers
May 30, 2016
I'm a huge Barbara Davis fan, the queen of the dual timeline, so I was thrilled to get my mitts on an advanced copy of her latest. LOVE, ALICE is a masterful story about secrets, regret, and grief. Add two wealthy, dysfunctional southern families, a nasty institution for unwed mothers on the English coast, and a stash of letters that turn up in a cemetery lost-and-found, and this is a compelling page-turner.
Profile Image for Dorine.
600 reviews31 followers
December 5, 2016
Recommended Read! LOVE, ALICE by Barbara Davis is an amazing and heart wrenching story of past and present that brought part of my own family’s Cornish history to light. I’ve heard them called workhouses in the murmurs of what happened to my ancestor in the late 1800s during her pregnancy. In this story, we learn the fate of unmarried pregnant women who were sent to do penance until their baby is born during the 1960s. Women work in the “laundries” where they are housed until forced to give up their child for adoption.

The novel begins with a prologue in Cornwall in 1962, describing Alice Tandy’s first impressions of Scared Heart, a convent for pregnant unmarried women governed by nuns. Alice’s mother Dora feels it’s the best place for her daughter, whose boyfriend has recently died. Dora was the unwed mother of Alice and doesn’t want her daughter to face the same hard life.

I love a story told through letters and this one is especially haunting. In the first chapter, we’re introduced to Dovie Larkin who grieves her fiancé at his gravesite in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2005. She befriended the cemetery caretaker and eats lunch with him on a bench overlooking her fiancé’s burial spot, trying to fathom why he committed suicide mere weeks before their wedding. It’s there that she finds a letter for Alice Tandy, written by her mother Dora who visits her deceased daughter’s resting place. The caretaker admits that there have been more letters and finds them in storage for Dovie to read. Dovie can’t allow a mother to grieve her daughter without some answers since she came all the way from Cornwall to find them. What happens to both women is astounding, heartbreaking and beautifully enriching.

I sobbed near the end. The emotion is overwhelming for the entire cast of characters. And yet, there is a semblance of peace and happiness.

In some ways, it’s hard to love Alice. Granted, her life was hard because of the choice made by her mother, but Alice held her hatred too close and for too long.

Dovie is a very sad character struggling to find answers for her boyfriend’s choices. Should she have suspected his inner turmoil? Maybe she did and now she has to live with the consequences? It’s obvious from the beginning that even though Dovie is grieving, she cares for others very deeply. That need to fix what’s broke keeps her curious enough to find answers and help others within the process. These characters heal each other in various ways and in the end, it’s easy to care for them all, even those who can’t forgive themselves.

Although I guessed some of what Dovie eventually discovers, it didn’t make it any less emotional. Prejudice in its many forms lurks in the background, forcing people to act out in ways better left in the past. There are some good lessons about love in this novel.

This story is especially poignant for me because I’ve always wondered how my great-great-grandmother coped with a lifelong separation from her daughter and son. My great-grandmother and her brother didn’t know they left their mother in Cornwall when they were children. Born in a workhouse, they weren’t adopted by strangers because they came to America with their grandmother, the woman they thought was their mother. My great-grandmother didn’t know the truth until she was in her 30s, which devastated her. Shame is the culprit of too many atrocities of the heart.

Barbara Davis is a gifted storyteller. Her pacing is exquisite. I wanted to race ahead to find out what happens but I was so enraptured with the story that I didn’t dare skip ahead in case I’d miss something. For those of you who love a happy-ever-after, this book has one but the journey there is not always so joyful. These characters earn their happiness in every sense of the word.

LOVE, ALICE by Barbara Davis has everything I love in a novel. It tells a story of the past that affects the future. Letters are wisely incorporated to tell that story. Deep-seated emotion tugs at your heartstrings as well as incites your anger. Highly recommended to those who love women’s contemporary fiction with a mystery that reflects the results of history.

Review by Dorine, courtesy of The Zest Quest. Digital advanced reader copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley for an honest review.
Profile Image for Krissys.
1,424 reviews87 followers
December 7, 2016
Love, Alice by Barbara Davis  
The truth lies between the lines...A year ago, Dovie Larkin’s life was shattered when her fiancé committed suicide just weeks before their wedding. Now, plagued by guilt, she has become a fixture at the cemetery where William is buried, visiting his grave daily, waiting for answers she knows will never come.Then one day, she sees an old woman whose grief mirrors her own. Fascinated, she watches the woman leave a letter on a nearby grave. Dovie ignores her conscience and reads the letter—a mother’s plea for forgiveness to her dead daughter—and immediately needs to know the rest of the story.As she delves deeper, a collection of letters from the cemetery’s lost and found begins to unravel a decades-old mystery involving one of Charleston’s wealthiest families. But even as Dovie seeks to answer questions about another woman’s past—questions filled with deception, betrayal, and heartbreaking loss—she starts to discover the keys to love, forgiveness, and finally embracing the future.

Tissues people.. Tissues~!
Massively emotional there is a blend of grief, hope and devastation suffering and healing all blended within this book.
It seems odd that you could find healing in another persons pain but that's what happens here.
I really liked the sense of humanity in this book. These characters were people with faults and with pasts but they connect through them and find a common ground with eachother and the reader.
There are so many different layers to this book and its cast that really capture your heart and tug at the heart strings.
If you haven't read it, its beautiful. I highly recommend.


Barbara Davis








Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a digital copy. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a digital copy in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley.

If any of Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews has been helpful please stop by to like my post or leave a comment to let me know what you think. I love hearing from followers!
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Profile Image for Letty.
600 reviews
November 29, 2016
I like how this book went back and forth from the past in early 1962, Cornwall, England where we first meet Alice in the Blackhurst Asylum for Unwed Mothers, to present Charleston, SC, where were are introduced to the main character, Dovie Larkin, in the Magnolia Grove Cemetery where she visits her fiance's grave daily. After a year, she is still struggling with his death, wanting to figure out why he committed suicide. It is at the cemetery that she meets Dora, who leaves a letter at the headstone of an Alice Tandy. Dovie secretly takes the letter, reads it, and discovers it is Dora's letter to her daughter Alice asking for forgiveness for putting her in the unwed mother's home. Dovie decides to help Dora find out what happened to Alice. More letters are found by the cemetery's groundskeeper, these written by Alice to the baby she had to give up, and he relunctantly gives these to Dovie. It is through these letters written by Alice that we hear her story.

I enjoyed this book very much. Such a bittersweet story about secrets, love, trust, and forgiveness. My heart went out to Alice, so heartbroken at having to give up a child, said child considered a sin by the nuns at Blackhurst, and I was so hoping she would find that baby. While this story itself was fiction, the act of babies being taken from unwed mothers is very real. Such a terrible and heartbreaking part of history. I found the Author's Note at the end of the book very interesting as well and certainly should be read.

A big thank you to First to Read for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Carol Boyer.
427 reviews22 followers
December 9, 2016
Love, Alice is a fabulous novel of heartbreaking, heartwarming, haunting secrets that are bound together with others through grief; it will hold you breathless till the very end. I was totally in love with this book, from the beginning, as Dovie sits daily by the graveside, trying to understand why her fiancé William, committed suicide. One day an older, bent over, sad woman comes to visit her daughters angel grave and there, she leaves a letter. Dovie finds herself taking the letter, even though she knows its wrong. She is deeply moved by what she reads and drawn into more grief, wanting to help Dora. More letters are slowly revealed and just keep the mystery going. There is so many layers to this book, a richness that gives readers a sense of history, beautiful landscapes, a taste of real Gullah food, a sense of the devastating outcome for Alice who has been sent away to one of the Magdalene asylums by her mother, a sense of repartee and humor of relationships that seem not to be working out, Austin, Kristopher, Dovie yet an everlasting hope that things will. The best is a Mother's love for which the heart never lets go. Butterflys and Tsunami's - coexisting emotions, hurt denial, reality, loss, joy, choices, time to heal and forgiveness all so relatable... This book is one you will want to start reading again, because its that good!
656 reviews111 followers
March 29, 2017
Too long for the story that this was.

It was a nice enough story, I wasn't bored reading it yet had no problem putting the book down. Also wasn't anxious to get back to the story. And this makes the novel sound awful which isn't what I want. I guess what I want to say that this was a nice story with pleasant characters but a type of which I have read a number of times. I found nothing really special, striking, or memorable. STILL I realize that any number of readers will thoroughly enjoy Love Alice... I just found it a bit bland and without magic...
Profile Image for Carol Scheherazade.
729 reviews15 followers
August 30, 2016
This was a good yarn! Reminds me of some of the novels I read when I was a kid when I couldn't wait to get done with school so I could finish! Very enjoyable
Profile Image for Zoe.
1,784 reviews159 followers
December 4, 2016
Perceptive, haunting, and profoundly thought-provoking!

This is a heartbreakingly sweet novel that delves into the emotional, physical and mental anguish experienced by young pregnant girls who historically were spurned, institutionalized and forced to give up their babies, and the incredible power and importance of hope and forgiveness.

The prose is eloquent and beautifully descriptive. The characters are determined, intelligent, consumed, and sorrowful. And the story is written in a back and forth, past/present style that gives a wonderful depth and understanding to all the subplots, relationships, and predicaments within it.

Overall this is, ultimately, an intriguing, deeply moving novel about familial relationships, friendship, love, loss, secrets, abandonment, guilt and grief.

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Berkley Publishing, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

All my reviews can be found on my blog at http://whatsbetterthanbooks.com
Profile Image for OpenBookSociety.com .
3,816 reviews116 followers
August 17, 2017

Love, Alice
By Barbara Davis
ISBN13: 9780451474810
Author’s Website: http://www.barbaradavis-author.com/in...
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra


From the author of Summer at Hideaway Key comes a sweeping new Southern women’s fiction novel about forgiving the past one letter at a time…

The truth lies between the lines…

A year ago, Dovie Larkin’s life was shattered when her fiancé committed suicide just weeks before their wedding. Now, plagued by guilt, she has become a fixture at the cemetery where William is buried, visiting his grave daily, waiting for answers she knows will never come.

Then one day, she sees an old woman whose grief mirrors her own. Fascinated, she watches the woman leave a letter on a nearby grave. Dovie ignores her conscience and reads the letter—a mother’s plea for forgiveness to her dead daughter—and immediately needs to know the rest of the story.

As she delves deeper, a collection of letters from the cemetery’s lost and found begins to unravel a decades-old mystery involving one of Charleston’s wealthiest families. But even as Dovie seeks to answer questions about another woman’s past—questions filled with deception, betrayal, and heartbreaking loss—she starts to discover the keys to love, forgiveness, and finally embracing the future.


All I have to say is that I am very glad I persevered. The beginning was (at least for me) very difficult, it seemed to drag on and I just was not engaged. But I kept on reading and finally I became so totally captivated it was difficult to put the book down.

Dovie visits her fiancés grave daily, trying to understand why William committed suicide a few weeks before their wedding. On this particular day, Dovie takes note of an older woman visiting the grave of Alice Tandy. This woman leaves a letter when she departs. Dovie is intrigued…so she picks up the letter and against her better judgement, takes and reads the letter.

“The right thing – the decent and respectful thing = would be to put it back where she found it. Unread. And yet the need to know what it contained continued to gnaw. What harm could there be in appeasing her curiosity, in seeking some thread of insight in the words of a fellow sufferer? The girl was dead, after all, the old woman a stranger she wasn’t likely to ever see again.”

Now Dovie wants to know the story behind the woman’s pleas for forgiveness. This leads to Dovie obtaining further letters that were at the cemeteries’ lost and found that had been written by Alice. What did all these letters say and why is Alice buried among the Tate family plots? Dovie is now hooked and will not let this go.

Along the way Dovie must work with (though reluctantly) Austin Tate. He is sponsoring a gala, which should produce much needed funding for the Charleston Museum of Cultural Arts. Handsome man, good looking woman….sparks fly. And boy do they fly. If two people could misinterpret the actions of another – it is these two. But time allows them to develop their relationship. The journey is bumpy, but well worth the read. I definitely go a good chuckle when they went for dinner at Theda’s family restaurant.

The story of Alice Tandy is told through the letters that were at the cemetery, her trials and tribulations with being an unwed mother in England in the sixties. The reader learns of the atrocities that befall a young girl when forced to live and work for the Catholic Church at the Blackhurst Asylum for Unwed Mothers (commonly referred to as the “Magdalene Laundries”), where unwed mothers were forced to work and live in horrific conditions and then give up their babies once born. I must say, the Author’s Note on this was very powerful and enlightening…so don’t skip that!

Alice makes it her mission to find her child once she is able to leave the asylum, not even knowing whether she had a boy or a girl. Alice’s letters are poignant and at times quite depressing. Alice learns which adoption agency placed her baby and embarks upon a journey that becomes her life’s mission – to find her baby. All the way to Charleston, South Carolina.

The story of Alice and her child, Dovie and her fiancés life and death, and the people in their lives (Austin, Dora, Mrs. Tate, Kristopher and Josiah) is well told and intriguing. Without giving anything away, how can people treat each other the way they do? It is a captivating read which I recommend.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*

Profile Image for Debbie.
353 reviews6 followers
May 7, 2017
I. Loved. This. Book. I have read every one of this author's books and I am so grateful I won a giveaway to get the first ones because she is writes amazing stories and I may not have found her. Love, Alice tells the story of a young unwed mother sent away to a church run laundry. It's a hideous place where the girls are mistreated, exploited, and their babies are immediately taken from them at birth. Jump forward to a grieving fiancé who finds a letter at a grave and decides to read it for various reasons. Alice is the writer of the letter. The threads of this story are expertly woven into a piece of fabric you'll gather around you to make a shawl of reading pleasure. Keep writing!!
Profile Image for Suze.
1,878 reviews1,311 followers
February 9, 2017
Dovie regularly visits the graveyard where she can spend time with her fiancé William, the man she loved. He killed himself just weeks before their wedding. Dovie doesn't know why, but she hopes to find answers by visiting William's grave. At the graveyard she sees a woman who leaves a letter on the grave of a woman named Alice. Dovie can't help herself and her curiosity is getting the better of her, so she reads the letter. While she was looking for information about William, Dovie discovers a complex story about a family she knows via her work instead. She starts to dig and gets more information through letters written by Alice. Slowly she finds out what happened to Alice. How did an English girl end up in a grave on the other side of the ocean?

By learning about the grief of two other women, a mother and a daughter, Dovie can finally start to heal and maybe moving on will finally bring the closure she so desperately needs. Dovie finds herself by reading letters written by a woman she didn't know. Alice's life story gives her the courage to move on. Dovie can't let go, she needs to get to the bottom of the mystery and by doing that she might find out more about her own situation as well.

Love, Alice is a beautiful story about the unfairness of life, secrets, loss, what unconditional love can do to you and hope. Barbara Davis writes about two strong, remarkable women who both lost someone very dear to them in a completely different way. When Alice was a teenager she went through a terrible traumatic experience that lasted a long time. Dovie's nightmare was quite a bit shorter, but due to the multitude of unanswered questions about William's death she can't let go. Both women deal with their grief in their own way. There are many differences, but in their sadness and loneliness there are also similarities. They are being consumed by their grief and strangely enough because of it life brings them chances instead of just desperation. I loved how many emotional layers Love, Alice has and Barbara Davis describes everything the main characters are feeling in an amazing empathic way. She obviously thoroughly understands what she's writing about and that moved me to tears several times.

Love, Alice isn't an easy read. There are many obstacles, difficulties and frightening situations and together they form a heartfelt compelling story. I was greatly impressed by both Dovie and Alice, after all they had to endure love is what makes them pull through, what drives them to live and stops them from giving in to their sadness. Life can be hard, but it can also surprise you in a good way, which is a wonderful message. While the topics Barbara Davis deals with are all heavy this little spark of brightness brings a perfect balance. I highly recommend Love, Alice, it's a fantastically written thought-provoking story.
Profile Image for Rae.
279 reviews22 followers
February 21, 2017
The themes explored in Love Alice, of love and loss, along with its interesting dual setting - Charleston, SC, and the Blackhurst Asylum for Unwed Mothers, Cornwall, England - are what drew me in. A time-slip novel, it follows the contemporary story of Dovie Larkin, a museum manager left grief-stricken when her fiancé inexplicably commits suicide merely weeks before their wedding, and through a series of letters from the past, the heart-breaking journey travelled by Alice Tandy, in the hope of finding the baby she was forced to give up at birth. Although I guessed several of the plot twists in Love Alice, this didn't detract from my enjoyment of the novel, which is beautifully descriptive, vividly portraying the landscape and characters of both Charleston, SC and 1960s Cornwall, England. A story filled with forgiveness and the need to look to the future.
Profile Image for Mary.
620 reviews
February 21, 2017
I really enjoyed this one. We meet young Alice in 1962 through letters she has written to her unborn child. Unwed and pregnant in a small English village, her mother is ashamed and fearful of gossip, and forces Alice to go to a convent to work and slave and give birth to a child they take from her and sell to rich people. My heart broke for Alice. The contemporary story line brings us to 2005 in South Carolina, where we meet Dovie at the cemetery mourning the loss of her fiancée who killed himself. Dovie gets involved in Alice's story through a letter she finds at the base of Alice's Angel headstone.

Alice's story was the most compelling for me. Dovie's was interesting enough, with a bit of snark and humor. Just a bit predictable but still enjoyable.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
508 reviews24 followers
November 22, 2016
I am so glad that I was lucky enough to be a recipient of this book from the author.

If I never read another book t his year, I would have made sure I read this one. This was my first book by Barbara Davis, but it will not be my last. She writes a story so powerful and emotional in how it drew the reader into the story from the very first page. It is a heart wrenching and at times a despair you feel right down to the bottom of your heart. Then it takes you to a healing place where two people find love and a future together. While two more people find a peace that they thought they would never have. Your heart will lighten when you finish reading this book, it will be filled with a profound sense of knowing that even though secrets from the past that can keep people apart, in the end that love can set those secrets free and let them live in happiness,at least I hope you feel the same way I did when I finished it.

It is not often I want to re-read a book so soon after I have read it, but this one has me wanting to read it again and again.
Profile Image for Mindy Tysinger.
219 reviews3 followers
October 30, 2016
First off, a big thank you to Penguin for allowing me to read this early release of Love, Alice. I have never read anything by Barbara Davis but that is certainly going to change. Fabulous read but have your tissues at a ready. Dovie Larkin has been trying to come to grips with her fiancée's suicide for over a year with little success. She spends her days in the cemetary looking for answers that never come. One day she sees an elderly woman leave an envelope on a grave. Even though she knows she shouldn't, she takes the note. Four different women whose stories are braided together to show the ultimate sacrifices of a mothers love and the search for forgiveness and healing. Wonderfully written. I thouroughly enjoyed it. A must for your reading list.
Profile Image for Anna Adams.
48 reviews17 followers
September 8, 2017
I feel like I was duped. I expected this to be a historical novel about the treatment of unwed mothers in the 1600's instead this ended up being more of a romance story.

As soon as green-eyed billionaire Austin hotpants entered the scene I knew that this book was not for me. Austin and Dovie got under my skin and I really struggled to finish this overly long and predictable novel. I'm not anti-romantic but it is rare that someone writes about having it all in a way that doesn't make me want to roll my eyes or throw the book across the room. If you're looking to settle into a historical fiction novel, skip this one.
15 reviews
April 6, 2018
More like a 3.5. For those that highly enjoy romantic novels, it would be a 4 star read; for those that don’t, more of a 3 or 3.5 star. Good writing and enjoyed the history, especially more about the horrible Magdalene Laundries. A little too much ‘beautiful people’ and the overly used ‘boy meets girl/high friction but with high attraction’. Not highly suspenseful, and I certainly figured out the mystery part WAY before the characters did—LOL.
Profile Image for Jennie.
91 reviews1 follower
December 31, 2021
I saw the ending coming from very early on, and it felt strange to me that the main character didn't even guess at it when a revelation came halfway through the book. I thought the gig was up at that point, but no, I was meant to suspend my disbelief for another 150 pages.

The characters felt flat. They didn't feel very distinct, and didn't feel very real. Alice felt too modern for the time she was from - not influenced at all by the society or paradigm that she was born into. She felt impervious to judgement or shaming, and it didn't feel real.

Dovie and Austin - the main characters, they didn't feel very distinct either. They had "character traits" without really feeling like they lived beyond the page.

The strongest part of the plot was Dovie's grieving and her journey to find answers, and the answers that she found felt realistic.

But, overall, a bit meh.
406 reviews4 followers
May 29, 2022
This is historical fiction based on the Magdalene Laundries of the mid-twentieth century.  The Laundries were asylums for "fallen women," AKA unwed mothers, that were run by Catholic nuns.  The young girls who were sent there to "serve out their sentence" of pregnancy were subject to cruel treatment, hard labor, degradation, all intended to bring shame to the mothers. The births were barely attended, infant and mother mortality was high. Babies were taken fom the mothers, sight unseen, and sold.  The fiction that comes from thisreality is the story of Alice Tandy's relentless, lifelong search for the baby she loved so dearly.  This is a much simplified summary of a complex novel spanning three generations and two countries, a novel that explores motherly love, friendship, forgiveness. Though a tad bit contrived in spots, it is still a well written page-turner.
Profile Image for Lorie Briggs.
88 reviews1 follower
September 9, 2018
I have first-hand experience with the suicide and the “why”question is such a big part of the first part of this book. As such, I almost didn’t continue reading it but was I drawn in by the second story line. Yes, parts of it were predictable but that’s okay. I grew to care about the characters and wish I knew what was next for them. Good read.
284 reviews9 followers
November 5, 2017
This was the first book by Barbara Davis ! I loved it! Will differently read more by her:;
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