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The Test

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  748 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
Renowned philanthropist and billionaire Paul Parnell had reached the pinnacle of monetary success, but not without cost. Had he put too much emphasis on work and spent too little time with his family? Determined to leave something far more valuable than money to his six children, Paul instructs his lawyers to create an unusual last will and testament. This unorthodox will, ...more
Hardcover, 265 pages
Published October 5th 2009 by Oceanview Publishing (first published January 1st 2009)
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Apr 08, 2010 rated it liked it
The book The Test by Patricia Gussin was a intriguing idea that was poorly conceived. The Test is a story of the patriarch of the Parnell family, the vastly wealthy Peter Parnell‘s, last dying wish for his successors. This wish is to not to make the same mistakes he did, focusing on business and wealth instead of what really matters. So enters “The Test.”

The problem with this book is not the premise itself, but the introduction of so many characters within the first two chapters. By giving us a
Feb 22, 2010 rated it liked it
This is a very trashy, escapist sort of book that is quite fun. Yes, people make poor choices and sometimes act like soap opera rejects, but it's fun! And several of the characters have enough depth to make you actually care about them. I will say, though, that there were far too many quotation mark errors in this book, particularly near the end. It's like the copy editor started out wanting to do a good job, but then got tired or drunk or something and just gave up. It got to be a bit annoying.
Mar 18, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Wow, this book was all over the place. I gave it 3 stars because it kept me curious to see how things would turn out, but it required MAJOR suspension of disbelief (and a blind eye turned toward some horrific editing and formatting - or lack thereof - in the Kindle format, at least).

The premise is interesting, and immediately many of the characters were vivid enough to keep them straight (I worry when a book features a family tree at the start to help you tell who is who!), but the choices they
Jun 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
An interesting premise which made me want to read this book; a man dies leaving his estate to his family on the conditions they pass a test within a year. They have no knowledge of what to expect from the test, only handwritten letters where the father tells them of his hopes and dreams for them. It was interesting to read, but not quite what I expected and I was a little bored 2/3rds of the way in.
Laura Long
Oct 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brews-books
Entertaining story about family with money--

I enjoyed the story but wished there had been more to it when I had finished. It was interesting how the author weaved the story of Sept 11 into the telling of the family's tragedies.
Oct 31, 2017 rated it liked it
The writing seemed a little amateurish and characters predictable, but the plot pulled me along.
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama, 2017, suspense
this was an interesting book, not to mention a good idea. great build up of characters and story line. I will continue to read books by Ms. Gussin.
Krista Holtz
Jul 09, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
First of all, don't read this book. Just don't.

Okay, first of all, while the writer attempted to make interesting characters, they wound up all being cardboard cutouts of interesting people. I could see this book as a bad Lifetime movie, that's how it was. No one was real. The writer attempted to add flaws and interesting little character quirks, but they wound up just being cliche and expected.

Speaking of expected, I had almost the whole thing figured out from the beginning, and I am NOT one o
Jan 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Paul Parnell is a billionaire who has just died. He made his money but near the end of his life he began to think about if it was too late for his grown children to learn life lessons. So he devised a test – if they wanted their money they could have it. After a year. If they pass the test.

The problem? None of the children even deal with each other. They don’t really like each other. And there’s a surprise sixth child. That goes over as well as one would expect. Some children want the money, oth
Oct 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
When Paul Parnell died, he left behind a fortune in the billions, adult children by three different mothers, and a number of grandchildren and in-laws. Prior to his death, Paul realized that one of the regrets of his life was not being active and available in the lives of his children. His trusted lawyer is instructed to create an iron-clad will that requires his 6 surviving children to examine their lifestyles, morals, and values, and make decisions on what is important to each. The final dispo ...more
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
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There is nothing like a good mystery story, especially one that is set in your hometown. Landmarks that the author writes about are familiar enough to make the reader understand the story more. Philadelphia seems to be the setting for many of these stories (Lisa Scottoline being the master)...I suppose because of the city's historical value.

"The Test" is the story of a billionaire family with roots in Philadelphia's exclu
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
I bought this book because it had really good reviews - a lot of people claimed "they couldn't put it down!". I was not as impressed.

The idea behind the book - a billionaire dying and making his kids prove their mettle before they can inherit - is a good one. But, somewhere along the lines, THAT story got replaced with all of the kids stories, most notably Ashley with her psychopath, hypnotizing fiance. I felt like "The Test" fell by the wayside, with only a small, one-page blip at the very end
Oct 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Billionaire Paul Parnell was a typical tycoon. He spent all his time making money any way he could and it was only in his last days that he realized the cost to him and his family. His six children had little or no relationship with each other, and most expected his money to always be there. So before he died he devised a test to try to bring his family back together and teach them the life lessons he failed to teach them when he had the chance. The only way they could claim their inheritance wa ...more
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was not a terribly well-written or well-plotted book, but I was pulled in by its premise and found it worth the read.

The action in The Test kicks off with a wealthy American businessman at the end of his life deciding that he has failed to instill in his seven children and their families an appreciation for family, community, and faith. So the heirs arrive for the will reading and learn that the estate will not be divided up for one year, and that their father left a note for each of them
Jul 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fictional
This book is well written, and the characters engaging. I found myself thinking about the story when I was away from the book. I cared what happened, wanting to see the characters grow and improve, to change. most did, in one way or another.

Despite this, I didn't enjoy the book. The cover description was misleading: It said it was about a billionaire having a test for his kids, and how they handled it. That was a part of the story, but a minor part. the major part of the story starts with chapte
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I picked this up for $.99 as the Kindle Deal of the Day on Amazon.

The premise seemed interesting. I wanted to know if the family would pass this test and who would get the money.

The good
There was a creepy love-to-hate villains in this story. I had to read to the end just to make sure he got what was coming to him
And an action packed ending. Liked the action and that it kept you guessing, but not some other aspects
Character growth

The bad
Too many characters, and a confusing family tree
A lot of cha
Tammy DeStefano
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
I was drawn to the concept of this book, however, I was disappointed in the execution. The plot was interesting and the characters well defined for the most part. Defining the drama and turmoil in a large wealthy family is not a new idea however, the deceased father trying to make amends for his mistakes by "testing" his children before giving them was. The author confusingly jumps from character to character and skips a months of time. Additionally, there were some unanswered questions I felt l ...more
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I loved the concept, but the story didn't really deliver. Most of the action that is meant to change the characters' lives takes place "off-stage." The funeral is in the autumn with the will-reading immediately following the burial, then...wham! It's Easter. We don't see the characters really struggle (Carla's rehab and Dan's reconciliation with Gina, for example) so there's no way for the reader to connect with any of them. We're introduced to their issues in one chapter, and when we're reintro ...more
Beth Anne
Jun 05, 2009 rated it liked it

this book was a silly, easy read that was more like watching a soap opera unfold. the drama between the members of the richest of East Coast power playing families...the evil villian out to get them...the inheritance left unclaimed until they passed the 'test' was all very dramatic.

the characters were super unrealistic (i've never heard of a family in Philadelphia being that powerful, that famous, that amazing, that well known)...but i didn't really care. the suspense in the story e
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Interesting premise that is not explored to near its potential. The Test, after its dramatic introduction, is quickly reduced to an incidental thread, barely holdng the book together.
One-dimensional, mostly unlikable +/or unrelatable characters. More than half of the book is taken with the stories of the two least likable characters, which made it difficult to want to finish it.
Implausible twists and plot developments and a too-neatly- packaged ending. Much of the writing feels self-conscious,
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed the narration techniques in this book. There are 4 "main" characters (sort of), and the narration for each of them refelcts their personalities. It's a unique approach that I really liked.

With that being said, it's hard to really get attached to a character, and the villain is not very believable. I was not thrilled about the "twist" at the end, either.

Those are my only real complaints, though. The story moves along at an appropriate pace, and there was just enough drama to
Doc Johnny
Jul 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
Mildly interesting premise: Billionaire dies, leaving a test for all his heirs. Heirs include an insecure med-student, a druggie model, a perfect housewife, an ambitious senator, a blank slate farmer, and a pop singer.

The whole thing develops into not much at all. Characters change abruptly with little development, going from cowardly to brave, greedy to generous without much given to the process.

There is a villain and an unnecessary last minute reveal. Overall there is a smidge of interesting s
Mar 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, read-in-2013
The second half of the book was a thrilling page-turner, which is why I went with 3 stars. However, the writing is not that good, and the editing errors in the kindle version are ridiculous. Also, I don't think the title and the synopsis accurately indicate what the book is about. It's basically just a thriller, not a deep novel about family dynamics after the death of the patriarch. The author's note at the beginning was completely unnecessary as well as misleading.

So, it kept me entertained,
Sep 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2009
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Test wasn't what I expected, but it was a good read. The authur gives you a picture of the bad guy right off the bat. I just kept hoping he wouldn't get what he wanted. A father leaves a will, in which he hopes to bring his children closer together, and to give them a better code to live their lives. The family isn't close in the beginning, but they grow close through the trials they must go through. They learn that family is more important than the money they stand to inherit.
Amy Weinreich
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I didn't expect to fall in love with this book and the Parnell family, but I did!!! The idea of a test to receive an enormous inheritance immediately caught my attention, then to find the book was being offered free .... I couldn't resist! Then, once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. I rarely have a book a five-star rating, but I feel this one was decidedly earned. I look forward to reading other novels by Patricia Gussin.
Feb 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
I did not expect this to be such a good read. The story is about a billionare who dies and instead of leaving his adult children their inheritance, he challenges them to pass a test by giving back to society and adhering to moral standards their father wished he had taught them when he lived.
Very good story with interesting twists and turns.
Jul 05, 2012 rated it liked it

.99 amazon daily deal.... An interesting concept....billionaire dies and his will outlines a "test" for heirs before they can get the money... Poorly executed, with some plot twists that didn't seem to be necessary or pertinent to overall storyline.
BUT I liked it...easy to read.. Perfect for the beach. I kept reading to find out who got the money .
Melanie Melancon
The Test

Five stars because this is a story of family, well written, and edge of your chair action. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy a story with a moral as well as action.
Karie Caldwell
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Great idea, but a little cheesy. Overall I liked it ok but it could have been a MUCH better story line because the idea was good. Just seemed too unrealistic at times. I also HATE books that drop the f-bomb. Tasteless.
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Too many characters - drifts halfway 1 2 Jun 17, 2013 10:24AM  
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Patricia Gussin is the NYT best-selling author of The Florida Book Award Winner, "After the Fall," 'Weapon if Choice," "And Then There Was One," "The Test", "Twisted Justice", and "Shadow of Death", all thrillers, and "What's Next...For You?", a non fiction book, co-authored with her husband, Robert Gussin. Her latest novel "Come Home" will be released in November, 2017 She is a physician, a forme ...more
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