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The Secret of Clouds

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  177 ratings  ·  119 reviews
From the #1 international bestselling author of The Lost Wife and The Velvet Hours comes an emotionally charged story about a mother's love, a teacher's promise, and a child's heart.....

Katya, a rising ballerina, and Sasha, a graduate student, are young and in love when an unexpected tragedy befalls their native Kiev. Years later, after the couple has safely emigrated to A
Published February 19th 2019
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4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  177 ratings  ·  119 reviews

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Miranda Reads

Deep down, I believed a story could change us, and that if we read it deeply enough, a good book could transform our souls.
Maggie, a passionate and zealous English language arts teacher, has been given the assignment of her life - to home-tutor a sick child (Yuri).

Yuri, child of Ukrainian immigrants Sasha and Katya, has spent most of his life trapped indoors due to a heart condition.
You only get to be a kid once in your life and I'm not getting that chance.
He has to take special precaution
Angela M
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it
I was hoping to enjoy this more, given so many high ratings on Goodreads, but while there were some things I liked about it, it fell short of being a story that will be memorable for me. Maggie Topper is a teacher charged with tutoring an eleven year old boy, Yuri, who has a heart condition that keeps him from attending school. They develop a relationship that affects both of them in a positive way. My emotions were certainly touched at times, but other times, it felt melodramatic. I loved some ...more
Holly  B
An emotional story that flowed beautifully.

The author's storytelling made this an emotional journey for me. A teacher, Maggie Topper goes the extra mile to connect with a home-bound student, Yuri. I was able to relate to Maggie and the teaching environment.

Two stories are told.

The backstory of Sasha and Katya and how/why the fled Ukraine.

An unexpected tragedy.

A ballet career in Kiev.

Parents undying love for their son, Yuri.

A dedicated teacher who re-evaluates her life and what she values the m
Diane S ☔
Dec 03, 2018 rated it liked it
It I just so hard to write a review about a book that proved to be a good read, a three stars read. Readers always want to read books that have ratings above the simple good. There is, however,a reading place, time for these books, books that are perfectly fine, a story that reads quickly but is written in my opinion, simply. Quick, easy to read stories, are often enjoyable in times of stress, or during busy times of year, like now.

What I enjoyed: the story flowed very well.
A teacher who
Dorie  - Traveling Sister :)
I was interested in this novel because my daughter has taught 8th grade for 15 years and having raised four daughters I have always been grateful for all of the great teachers that my girls had throughout the years. That said I found that this book was a mediocre read for me.

There are two storylines here. The book is written from the point of view of Maggie, the main character in the book. Maggie is a new teacher recently having changed careers having found her work in a PR firm in New York to
Katie B
I had a feeling about 20 pages in this would be an emotional read, and sure enough I was right. Whether you are a parent or not, I think it would be hard not to develop an attachment to a sick child. Yuri for sure is what drove the story.

Maggie, a young teacher, has agreed to help tutor Yuri, a boy who is not able to attend school due to his heart condition. His parents, Sasha and Katya, left Ukraine to live in America after the Chernobyl disaster. While Maggie is busy teaching Yuri reading and
Dec 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: ew
The Secret of Clouds has two parallel story lines. Maggie is a young teacher, trying to find her way personally and professionally. She makes a connection with a young student, Yuri, who has a serious heart condition and must be taught at home most the time. The other story line involves Yuri’s parents, and their move to the US from the former Soviet Union in the 1980s. The Secret of Clouds could have been much better, but it suffered from simplistic writing, a very predictable plot and unsubtle ...more
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Guest review for Harlequin Junkie.
Awesome story! Highly recommend!!
♥ Sandi ❣
3.75 stars Thanks to Edelweiss and Berkley for a chance to read and review this ARC. Publishes February 19, 2019.

If there were a place that everyone could find each other after they passed, Yuri a small Ukraine boy, dreamed it would be a family cloud.

A heartfelt novel with a great story line and wonderful characters celebrating teachers, of all ages. Music played a major role in this novel, letting you believe that even it was a cherished character. There is so much creativity in this book, bo
This book...oh my, after finishing it, I had to sit with tears running down my face as I let all the poignant, heartbreaking yet wonderfully inspiring emotions from The Secret of Clouds course through me. I cannot imagine reading this book without being affected in some way by the incredible characters, heartening plot, or Alyson Richman's breathtaking, lyrical writing. This is my first time reading a book by Richman, but it definitely won't be my last.

As many of you know, I've been an English L
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
When tragedy strikes the City of Kiev in Ukraine, Katya and Sasha are blissfully unaware of what is happening to their world. All they know is that the days are unusually warm and the water is like a bath and they delight in it. Years later when their son, Yuri, is born in America, they learn that unseen forces from that long ago time has caused their baby to be born with a heart condition. He needs to be protected from germs so is unable to attend school. A young, dedicated teacher Maggie is as ...more
Lisa Wolf
The Secret of Clouds is about a young teacher, Maggie, whose enthusiasm for her middle school students and her passion for introducing them to the joys of reading and writing seems limitless. Maggie is asked to take on an additional role, tutoring a 12-year-old boy named Yuri who is unable to come to school because of a health condition. Hesitantly, Maggie agrees, but soon is completely charmed by this lonely boy and becomes determined to help him regain an interest in the world around him.

Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maggie is a young, enthusiastic English language arts teacher who enjoys challenging her sixth grade students to find beauty and meaning in the written word. She has decorated her classroom to reflect the theme of “The Mind is a Powerful Tool”. When her school’s principal asks her to tutor a student at his home, Maggie is a bit apprehensive. Yuri is a child who loves to learn and would like to be at school, but because of his health problems, he must stay at home. As the school year progresses, ...more
Pam Jenoff
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book tells of Yuri, the young son of Ukranian immigrants who is isolated from other children because of a rare heart condition. When Maggie agrees to come teach Yuri at home, she develops a special bond with the boy and finds herself transformed. A magical story of unlikely friendships and the ways in which teacher-student bonds can change our lives.
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The cover of this book is beautiful and the great news is that the story within this cover is even more beautiful. It's a wonderful story with characters that I quickly loved and cheered for while I was reading. It's an emotional and heartwarming story about teachers and how they strive to teach and encourage their students. As I read it, I thought about several teachers who did the same for me.

This novel is about the lives of two main characters - Maggie a 6th grade language arts teacher whose
Novel received courtesy of Elisha at Berkley Publishing Group

"The Secret of Clouds" is a novel that will be beloved by the teaching community. As teachers, we are looked down upon and disrespected so much these days. As a teacher, I found the book to be uplifting, heartbreaking and validating.

Maggie Topper teaches 5th grade language arts. She left a high paying job to pursue her passion. She is devoted to her students and finds creative ways to reach them. Before school starts, her principal ask
Susan Peterson
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sigh....that feeling you get when you finish a book that you don’t really want to end, a story that feels like a window to your soul. The Secret of Clouds is a love letter to teachers and to the students whose lives they touch. Alyson Richman has once again transported me with her lyrical writing...and her words are transformative as well. This is a story of a young teacher and her student, a very sick boy with hopes and dreams like all other 12 year olds; I enjoyed the banter between Maggie and ...more
Read, Run, Ramble
Thank you, Penguin via First to Read, for offering me a copy of this book!

The Secret of Clouds is a sweet and touching novel. I enjoyed reading about Yuri so much; he was a great kid! However, and I'm the minority here, I felt the book was mostly too "fairytale" for me. It seemed each time an obstacle arose for Maggie a solution usually somewhat kitschy or cliche would just appear and work. I don't know - it just didn't feel like there was as much struggle as you'd likely feel with a novel fac
James Sorensen
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I won an ARC from a Goodreads First Read giveaway.

This is the first of Alyson Richmand's novels I have had the pleasure to read. Ms. Richman is widely know for her wonderfully written books dealing with historical fiction. With "The Secret of Clouds" she has stepped out of her comfort zone with this beautifully written novel about the relationship between a teacher and a most special student.

Maggie Topper is a 6th grade English language arts teacher at Frnaklin Intermediate, on Long Island, star
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
I quite enjoyed this sweet novel and I especially liked the Ukranian part of it plus the coverage of the Chernobyl catastrophe that people still suffer the influences of. The writing was rather lovely and I surprisingly enjoyed the romance. The only two drawbacks were that there was too much focus on baseball (at least for someone who doesn't care about it) and at times the book was too saccharine sweet. But it was an enjoyable read nonetheless!

A big thank you to the publisher and the Edelweiss+
Linda Zagon
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lindas Book Obsession Reviews “The Secrets of Clouds” by Alyson Richman , Berkley, February, 2019

WOW!! I loved everything about Alyson Richman’s novel “The Secret of Clouds”, and I feel that she has absolutely outdone herself. Alyson Richman is an amazing storyteller, and I appreciate the way that she vividly describes her colorful cast of characters, and her landscape. Noted is the unique and fantastic way that the author appeals to our senses through Music, Art, Literature, Song and Dance.

Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways, kindle
Not great.
Predictable. Repetitive. Stale.
This is the story of a teacher who tutors a student too ill to come to school. Of course, he’s the most special student of all, abc she devotes herself to him, learning valuable lessons of her own.
The author does handle Yuri, the sick boy, & his mother with better skill than the main character. There is more depth & texture to them, more immediate access to their emotions. It’s a shame the whole thing wasn’t written through that lens instead - it
Linda Zagon
Nov 04, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Lindas Book Obsession Reviews “The Secrets of Clouds” by Alyson Richman , Berkley, February, 2019

WOW!! I loved everything about Alyson Richman’s novel “The Secret of Clouds”, and I feel that she has absolutely outdone herself. Alyson Richman is an amazing storyteller, and I appreciate the way that she vividly describes her colorful cast of characters, and her landscape. Noted is the unique and fantastic way that the author appeals to our senses through Music, Art, Literature, Song and Dance.

I received a review copy of this book from Netgalley. This does not affect my rating or opinions.

DNF at 57%.

The thrill of teaching children is that they don't edit themselves, like adults do. Truth can be found in every classroom, and I savored that purity like a refreshing glass of water.

The beginning was so beautifully written, ballet scenes and start-of-school-year-optimism, casual rep for immigrants and illness. I was captivated for the first 20-30% of this book — vivid secondary characte
Jaymi Couch
Feb 08, 2019 rated it liked it
A sweet and touching story of a teacher and the impact she and her student have on each other. It was a tribute to teachers, especially English/Language teachers. There were references to many wonderful books as Maggie experiences a life changing year tutoring a 6th grade boy named Yuri.

Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever read a book that you’ve wanted to savor every word? Wishing that it wouldn’t end?

That’s Alyson Richmond’s The Secret of Clouds. She has penned a novel that will stay with me. Maggie, Yuri and Katya are stamped on this book readers soul. And I am a better person for having invited them in.

Highly highly recommend.
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve read and loved The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman so I couldn’t say no to the opportunity to read her first contemporary novel. Historical fiction fans, do not worry. The historical back story of this one means you can absolutely follow Richman on this journey.

This novel brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion. The relationship between Maggie and Yuri was so special and I think all teachers will find it relatable in some way. I loved how the letter writing became a central theme, as
Jenny Belk
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This one is for the teachers and the special students that leave their imprint on their hearts. It is for the child who feels left out because of a disability.
Told with empathy and a strong understanding of how much listening and going the extra inning can change a child's life for the better.
A touching story of love and friendships, sharing and caring.
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a touching novel about embracing life. If you want a book to cuddle up, one that will work its way into your heart and leave you inspired, this is the novel for you.

I need to comment on the love between Katya and Sasha. I believe that these two have been living with some type of stress during their whole relationship. When they left Kiev and settled into America, I felt that they had to have known that they might be harboring some harmful effects of the disaster that had just occurred. No
Sharma Brenneman
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I fell in love with this book almost immediately. It is a beautiful story about a teacher and a homebound student and how their lives are intertwined. I was especially touched by the letter writing assignment to your 18 year old self. My sons were given the same assignment and the letters were in their diplomas at graduation. They could not wait to read those letters. I have those letters to this day. I was emotionally involved with the characters almost from the beginning. Inspiring read.
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Alyson Richman is the author of six historical novels including "The Mask Carver's Son," "The Rhythm of Memory (formerly published as Swedish Tango)," The Last Van Gogh," and three international bestsellers: "The Lost Wife.," "The Garden of Letters" and "The Velvet Hours." Her books have been translated into 20 languages. She loves to travel, cook, ride her yellow bicycle, and do ballet. She curre ...more