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The Whole World: A Novel (Keene and Frohmann #1)

3.09  ·  Rating details ·  273 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
At once a sensual and irresistible mystery and a haunting work of psychological insight and emotional depth, " "The Whole World marks the beginning of a brilliant literary career for Emily Winslow, a superb, limitlessly gifted author.
Set in the richly evoked pathways and environs of Cambridge, England, The Whole World unearths the desperate secrets kept by its many comple
Kindle Edition, 306 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by Delacorte Press (first published May 13th 2010)
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brrring brrring...

hello? i am phoning in a book review. this cool?

i am just not feeling inspired by this book. it was fine, but it really seemed to be trying too hard on one hand, and then getting careless and plot-holey on the other.

there is just...too much. there are all these storylines that are provocative but are quickly dropped, or seem to only exist because they are supposed to be intriguing, but when they are all together in one book and not really explored, it is just the literary equiv
A classic case of a story that sounded great and, on the face of it, seemed like something I would love, but was executed so badly that it sucked all the potential goodness out of an appealing premise. When I first read the plot summary, I thought it would be more or less impossible for me to dislike this book. Unfortunately, it did a very good job of proving me completely wrong.

The book starts off following Polly and Liv, two 20-year-old American girls studying at Cambridge university. They for
Morgan F
When I won this on firstreads, I got excited. It looked really good.

Polly and Liv, two American friends at Cambridge University, both find themselves for Nick, the perfect English guy. The three work together on doing research for a blind professor named Gretchen Paul, who wants to write a book about her mother, a famous author. But one day Nick disappears and in the aftermath, secrets come bubbling to the surface.

I was not a big fan of this book. I did not like the characters or the writing st
Apr 10, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
This book technically precedes The Start of Everything, which I read last week. It follows a similar style, telling the story through different voices. It also tells the story in less than chronological order, which can be confusing (for example, a character who you know is dead is suddenly narrating). I think this style works all right for her, but it's not one that I am particularly fond of.

The book itself is fine. It doesn't seem to matter much that I read the two out of order (the only thing
Apr 01, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Darcia Helle
While I enjoyed Emily Winslow's writing style, I was not all that enamored with her first novel. In A Whole World, we get to know a group of characters, each from their own perspective. They interact through a series of events that eventually leads to murder. The characters themselves seemed overblown and exaggerated. The plot didn't actually move anywhere until about 2/3 through the book.

I found some things too overdone and other things just plain unbelievable. For instance, I didn't see how a
Feb 25, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received an advance copy of this book free from Goodreads First Reads. Expected to be released in May 2010, this is the first of several novels by Emily Winslow that may feature similar characters. I thought this book would be very appealing because of Ms. Winslow’s experience creating logic puzzles. If you enjoy watching a story unfold from multiple perspectives, you will enjoy this novel. Unfortunately, the book reads like someone started with a puzzle outline and then tried to fit in the na ...more
Feb 25, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I received an advance copy from Goodreads First Reads; I enjoy debut novels and this one seemed to have a lot of promise. The author herself lives in Cambridge, England, where the novel is set and indeed, the opening of the novel, which hints at the disappearance of one of the key characters, Nick, is compelling. However, the promised psychological insights and haunting mystery did not pay off -- for me. There were too many incongruities, coincidences, and unfleshed-out characters with overblown ...more
Christy Stewart
I wasn't expecting much from this book and began reading it with a 'Let's get this over with' state of mind but before I got to the bottom of the first page Winslow had won me over.

The story was good but that comes secondary to the authors style. I was looking forward just to see how she would phrase the next sentence. I would be willing to try and re-read some of my least favorite books if Winslow was re-writing them.
Feb 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent first novel by Emily Winslow. I found it very well written and very hard to put down.
This story starts with a love triangle that moves into a mystery, murder and mental illness. The characters are well written and defined. I think the story could move into a sequel.
There is some discussion of the whole world as it relates to the characters in the story, and how we view our own small world as relates to the larger picture.
I hope Ms. Winslow has more stories.
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Is it odd that my favorite character was the grouchy workaholic police detective?* I thought the story had a lot of promise, and it was certainly a quick read, but I didn't feel like there was really anyone to root for.

*Perhaps not that odd, since he appears in Winslow's new novel too. Definitely going to give that one a whirl.
Aug 04, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Blech. Sometimes you've got to wonder how books get published and reviewed so well. I couldn't even finish this book. I think it was meant to have a gothic "is-this-happening" tone, especially in the perspective of the first narrator, but I couldn't care about her, and didn't understand the point of the novel, even though there were heavy-handed clues bolted down in key places.
Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hard going. Split into four different character segments. Should have read in one go so I wouldn't have lost the plot. Enjoyed her second book, The Start of Everything, much more.
The writer has a very literary style and is captivating in terms of some of the psychology of her characters, particularly mother-daughter relationships. She has a talent for, as she put it in an online interview I read, "arresting metaphors and interesting themes." However, having five different narrators and some loose plotting threads made the story meander. I really enjoyed her descriptions of Cambridge, and I especially liked the detective, Morris Keene. Although this police procedural didn ...more
Alison Hardtmann
I was in the mood for a decent crime novel and so pulled this off of my tbr and found it to be just the thing. Polly and Liv are Americans studying at Cambridge. They meet Nick, a graduate student and become a trio, only Live likes Nick and Nick like Polly. Then Nick disappears just after Polly's mother shows up and many secrets are revealed.

Winslow used to make up logic puzzles for a game magazine, so the plot is both intricate and fits together like a jigsaw puzzle. This is both a boon and a
Lindsay Heller
I honestly don't know what to say about this book. It wasn't bad, per se, it's just that it wasn't that great. Some parts felt well written and carried a decent plot, and other parts seemed to meander all over the place with no real sense of what the hell. The multiple narrator trick is one that's used to death, and not particularly my favorite of narration tactics, but often gives the reader a full idea of an incident. I didn't feel like that was the case here. Clearly we're seeing what happene ...more
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013
Book Description
Release date: May 25, 2010
At once a sensual and irresistible mystery and a haunting work of psychological insight and emotional depth, The Whole World marks the beginning of a brilliant literary career for Emily Winslow, a superb, limitlessly gifted author.

Set in the richly evoked pathways and environs of Cambridge, England, The Whole World unearths the desperate secrets kept by its many complex characters—students, professors, detectives, husbands, mothers—secrets that lead to e
Ella K
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When a popular graduate student goes missing from Cambridge University, the students, professors, and police in his small slice of the world get swept up in the investigation.

Emily Winslow’s debut novel THE WHOLE WORLD features an intricately woven and psychologically wrenching puzzle-within-a-puzzle of as told through the eyes of five characters, each providing equal measures of insight and misguided assumption.

I found myself going through the first quarter of this book slowly, relishing the w
Feb 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Claire O'Sullivan
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reads
A great depiction of Cambridge. A lovely read. Will certainly be reading more of her work.
Mar 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

This was so exciting to open my front door and find that I had been selected to pre-read this book. It was on my doorstep calling my name. This was a very good book, for the first time in a long time I actually looked forward to reading a book, rather than just filling time. I have read daily for over 20 years and rarely say a book is good. My husband will say "hows that book" and my answer is usually okay. This book I was able to tell
I received this book as a give-away from Goodreads. I had wanted to read this book in particular because British mysteries are among my favorites.

This debut novel by Emily Winslow is purported to be similar to early Elizabeth George. Sorry to say I have to disagree. One of the stylistic elements that I most admire about George is her ability to weave her main plot and subplots remarkably well without losing any of the characters and all the while maintaining a keen sense of place. In The Whole W
I am going to start off by saying that I didn't finish this book. I read almost 2/3rds of the way through and just wasn't interested. The book took a long time to get started and then never really went anywhere. I expected a murder mystery and the cover is so cool...but this book goes to show you that you can't judge a book by it's cover. It was really a mystery/psychological study...heavy on the study. The story is told from 5 different perspectives which got confusing. The plotline was falling ...more
Lenore Appelhans
Sep 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Polly and Liv are both Americans studying at Cambridge University. They hit it off and then become involved with Nick, a fellow student. When Nick disappears, it sets off a chain of events that show Polly and Liv how little they really know about each other.

I really enjoyed reading this one. Though it gets off to a bit of slow start, I was soon embroiled in the intrigues and secrets of the characters. The narrative is set up a bit like a puzzle, switching point of views five times through the no
Feb 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book for free as a First Reader. This was actually my third First Read, and I have to admit that it was my favorite so far. I felt like it got off to a relatively slow start, but the action picked up quickly.

The story is told from the perspective of 5 different characters. I've seen this device used before, but I don't believe I've ever seen it used as well. It was not hard to follow the plot, though it proved very difficult to predict the end. I kept thinking that I knew exactl
I didnot know it was a mystery novel when I started with the book. It turned out to be psychological study cum murder mystery rolled into one. This is my first book by this author and I enjoyed the slow to medium pace and the juggling between various characters. The end was a surprise. The gist of the story is such: two American girls, who meet in Cambridge, who are pursuing various courses, end up being friends. They are attracted towards an English student, Nick, the paradigm of all English vi ...more
Aug 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm trying as hard as I can to be objective in this review, as I am a real-time friend of the author. (She's a lovely person, I can assure you!) So, I'll start with the lost star and establish my editorial integrity!

I do agree with some of the other reviewers that there is a plot twist regarding the disappearance that slightly strains the bonds of believeability.

This novel is very much a character study. In a very interesting way, the most significant clues in this unusual mystery are the actu
Feb 25, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
Won a copy of this on Goodreads Firstreads!

I was so excited to win this book and here I am reading it - on page 175 out of 292 and I'm still not all that interested. It's a bit confusing how the author jumps from one person to the other with no warning. I'll update more when I finish.

Well, I just realized that I wouldn't have been nearly as confused if I would've seen the changing of the characters name in the new "Parts". For example: Under Part 4, it says Gretchen - I didn't see this in the ea
Mimi Cross
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The title is one of the things I love about this book; it's evocative and makes a promise.
That promise is kept—the book delivers.

Emily Winslow has written a novel of suspense that includes a fabulous setting.
If you want to go to Cambridge, read this, you'll be there.

I got caught up in the story immediately, but it was the characters that made this book #unputdownable. I read it over a weekend.

As in any good story, all of the characters have unique voices, and Emily Winslow's characters have some
May 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Actually more like 2.5 stars. This was okay, but in the end I was a bit baffled by it all.
The first half of the book I enjoyed. I wanted to know where we were going with all these plotlines. By the end of it I was just disinterested and fed up with it all.
I think the author just tried a little too hard. I felt the characters, while being all obnoxious, were little more than caricatures in the end. I mean it got to be completely unbelievable that these people would act like that, would say those
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Emily Winslow is an American writer living in Cambridge, England. She's the author of the novels The Whole World, The Start of Everything, and The Red House, and the memoir Jane Doe January (HarperCollins, May 2016).
More about Emily Winslow...

Other Books in the Series

Keene and Frohmann (4 books)
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