Showing posts with label Women. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Women. Show all posts

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty


4.21  ·  Rating details ·  402,999 Ratings  ·  31,756 Reviews
Download or read online for free Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive

“They say it's good to let your grudges go, but I don't know, I'm quite fond of my grudge. I tend it like a little pet.”

“All conflict can be traced back to someone’s feelings getting hurt, don’t you think?”






Reviews


 Probably the funniest book about murder and domestic abuse I'll ever read. 
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This one was 480 pgs. that read like less than 300. I was thoroughly captivated, found this to be brilliant in plot, structure and tone. Gulped it right down.

On the surface this was about a group of parents whose children were starting kindergarten. We have the typical cliques, the do-goobers and many, many who think their children are oh so special.Over parenting to a T. Working moms against stay at home moms, fulfillment vs. involvement. Humorously told, there are so many times this book had me laughing, some of these moms were so over the top, absolutely absurd.

Under the surface was another layers, the author tackles many issues, among them bullying, spousal abuse and others. These women and their marriages all have issues, problems with their marriages, dealing with traumas from the past. Considering everything that was tackled in this book it should not have worked but it did, and that is to the author's credit.

Everything leads up to trivia night at the school and that will bring revelations, disasters and many will find themselves changed. Loved every minute of this one.
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Liane Moriarty has done it again – written a book that kept me up way too late because I couldn’t put it down. 
She has a knack for creating characters who are so believable they could easily be someone you know. Big Little Lies is a story of parents acting badly. It is also a smart and witty story about the real lives of children, teens, friends, husbands, wives, second wives, and exes. You are teased from the beginning with something awful that happens at the annual Pirriwee Public School fund raising. You know the what but not the who or the how. Along the way you discover some of the dangerous little lies that people tell just to be able to face the day. I couldn’t wait to get to the end to find out what happened that night but at the same time I was sorry that I wouldn’t be reading any more about the inhabitants of Perriwee.
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You know how sometimes you get to the end of a book and you wish you could wipe it from your mind, just so you could have the pleasure of reading it for the first time again?

This is one of those books.

I can't think of another author off the top of my head who does relationships so well and with such humour as Liane Moriarty. Her characters love and laugh, rub each other up the wrong way, extend the hand of friendship, spread gossip, resolve to do better, cry and keep secrets -- just like real people.

In Big Little Lies, the little lies we tell ourselves and others -- sometimes to disguise the big ones -- blow up into murder and mayhem at the P&C Trivia Night at the local public school. Though we know someone has died from the beginning of the novel, we don't find out who it is till the end, as we go back through the histories of the participants to uncover the nagging jealousies and seething problems that led to the fatal moment.

So we spend the book in a state of breathless anticipation and worry. Who died? Was it bubbly Madeline, struggling to connect with the teenage daughter of her first marriage? Or beautiful Celeste, whose perfect life hides an ugly secret? Or was it single mum Jane, trying to start afresh, who finds that playground bullying isn't just for the kids any more?

Moriarty will keep you up late flipping pages as you follow the story of these three and the colourful characters who surround them, desperate to find out who died -- and why. The answer is enormously satisfying.
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I think Stephen King summed up Big Little Lies perfectly when he said it is "a hell of a book, funny and scary." I found it to be like the first two seasons of Desperate Housewives before the show started to slowly fall apart (and I've seen every episode so I feel like I'm right... right about the comparison to the book and the fact that the show was never all that great after the first two seasons, but the bigger question is why did I watch all of the show in the first place, and I'll never really know the answer to that question, but I'm OK with it and can live with myself).

The moms in Big Little Lies are written so well. I loved all the different stereotypes represented in each of them and how the different dynamics played out between them and their families. I'll admit, I was a little confused early on and could have used a family tree to help me see who belonged where (and that only got messier along the way), but Moriarty kept me updated in subtle ways to make sure I was tracking with her as the story unfolded.

Hang on, taking a quick coffee break.

Alright, much better. There are a couple of other takeaways from the book I want to share.

First off, the whole suburban-everything-is-awesome facade in which the book is firmly nestled, and in which I find myself now. I really loved how the book started out in a fun, whimsical way by introducing me to the various characters and making me feel like everyone has everything together and life is just so swell all the time. Then, as the book rolls along, more and more is revealed from the past, mysteries are solved, and you learn that these women's lives just aren't what you thought they were. And, man, isn't that life? All of us walking around all carefree making sure everyone thinks we are just fine and dandy thank you very much, and maybe there aren't things as dark as some stuff in this book happening, but we are all stressed out with kids and jobs and life and whatever. Anyway, I just liked that slow descent into the darker layers of the major characters in the story. That's all I'm saying.

So no spoilers, but I thought it was important for me as someone who isn't a woman to read about how events can shape the lives and thought of someone who is a woman. That's a lot of unnecessary words. What I'm trying to say is you never know how much your actions can impact another person. In this case, the words and actions of men had a deep emotional impact on women. Some of it was tough to read, and to know that stuff is happening that we often don't even know about is scary. It's bad enough that so much evil and darkness exists out there, but what about all the stuff that hasn't been brought into the light yet? Life is hard.

And, last but not least, the minor characters chiming in at the end of many chapters to kick in a little foreshadowing was an excellent plot device. That trivia night was something I was anticipating from the very beginning. The timeline worked down to that single night, and there was lots of statements from police questioning sprinkled in early so the mystery slowly rolls down to that night and a little beyond. It made the book so easy and quick to read, but it wasn't some mindless page turner to just get through for mild enjoyment. It was written really well, and the payoff in the end was worth it.

I may have to get some more Liane Moriarty in my life. I never thought I would say that out loud, but here we are. Looking forward to the HBO series!
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     "A murder. A tragic accident....
    Someone is dead. But who did what?"


WOAHHHH!!!! This book was freaking amazing!!!

It was a total genre change for me -- this is women's fiction and mystery, not romance -- but I was just in the kind of mood where I was craving something totally different than what I usually read.... so I tried this one! And I was BEYOND impressed with it.

Like holy WOW impressed.

The writing was  fantastic  — starkly honest, detailed, introspective, observant, multi-sided… the story kept me guessing right up until the end. There were these  twists  that totally shocked me (I mean like jaw-drop omgdidnotseethatcoming shocked) and I just had these chiiiiiiills run through me at some of the reveals.

This author really just "gets" people and interactions on a very deep level in a way I’ve seldom seen before. Gah. It was powerful . I mean really. Holy woman power!!! I loved the writing, I loved story, and can honestly say that it had one of the single most satisfying endings ever. EVER.

So... what's it about?

It has a large cast of characters, but focuses mostly on three women's lives. They all have children entering Kindergarten in the same year. They're lives are vastly different but closely connected in ways that even they don't realize at first. And there's a murder. Someone dies at a trivia night. But you don't know who. And you don't know who killed them. No clue! Part of the whole mystery is figuring this out, and it's done in such a cool way -- a fascinating mix between the story of the weeks counting down to that night mixed in with snippets of interviews being given after that night of people describing what happened.

I'm not going to say a word more but I will assure you that the ending delivers on every level!

This whole book really highlights how the same event can be seen in so many ways, from so many different perspectives, and from each of those sides, it can appear vastly different. You never really know what someone else is thinking or going through, what they're capable of, what secrets they're keeping...

Gah. Fascinating!!!

Just so you know, this is not a dark read at all. It's very serious at times, very light at others. But it's also not dark and it's not scary. A few people were asking me so I thought I'd clarify that.

Actually I saw someone describe it as a "juicy drama" and I think that's the perfect description!

It's just the kind of story that raises a million questions in your mind. It makes you THINK, keeps you wondering, theorizing, questioning everything. It's detailed and engaging. Can you tell I loved it?

There are some very serious themes -- domestic violence, single parenthood, motherhood in general, bullying, murder, secrets, and more. It's almost scarily accurate in many of it's depictions.
Hehe this was my status update from 91%:

    GAAAASPPPPPPPPP — did NOT see that coming!!!! Holy SHITTTTT!!
    CHILLS. O_O
    HOLY. FUCKING. SHIT.
    I mean WOAH. WOAH. WOAHHHHHH.



This author is just so skilled. The plot was cleverly woven and it just delivered all the right details at all the right times. In fact, I think I actually have all of a certain chapter highlighted. ALL of it.

It was an incredible reading experience. I totally get why they’re making it into a movie (with Reese Witherspoon & Nicole Kidman) because I could literally picture it in my mind as I was reading.

I have a ton of quotes highlighted in my book, but in case you're wondering why I don't have them included in this review, it's because in retrospect, I realized that given this type of story, they might not make sense out of context. So I'm just going to let you read the book for yourself and read them that way!

I've also read another book by this author, The Husband's Secret, and even though I thought that one was really good, I actually loved this one more because I was much happier with this ending. This one left me with such a strongly good feeling while The Husband's Secret left me feeling a little... unsettled (like the price paid was too great)... but this one was just WOW.

I highly recommend it!

Rating: 5 STARS!!
Standalone women's fiction/mystery (not romance).

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No lie...I loved this book :)

I read this book almost exactly a year ago. I didn't write a review as back then I usually updated that I read a book and gave it a rating. Plus it had a zillion ratings so I didn't bother. Looking at the reviews it seems to have quite a range of ratings.

But recently I decided to write a short one as I recently heard what I thought was exciting news. Well exciting for me as a lover of this book!!

I was looking through the new line-up of fall TV shows and came across a 2016 TV series entitled "Big Little Lies". At first I thought it was a coincidence but then looked on IMDb and it said for the series summary:

Things take a dark turn for a group of moms whose perfect lives begin to unravel.

So far not a lot more information but it does say it's starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. I love Reese and l am so excited to see her in this. I love the fact that it is a series and not just a movie!

Now as I'm typing this I'm wondering if this is old news. I read through some reviews and didn't see it mentioned but if it was oops... it's new to me though!!

Murder at a school trivia night ....

I loved the characters and story-line and I was guessing right up until the end. Full of wonderful brilliant characters, lots of school gossip and politics, drama, mystery and humour.
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I can't NOT give this book 5 stars. There's truly nothing I didn't like about it. It's one of those special books that completely captured my attention—while I was reading it, I was lost in the characters' lives. 
And that's one of the things that makes this book soooo good: the characters. Moriarty is a master at crafting vivid characters from the first page. I felt like with each introduction of a new character, I had a grasp on their personality pretty quickly. But they weren't boiled down to that single moment of characterization; they were complex, flawed people who you could root for and empathize with. On top of that was a well-crafted, engaging and suspenseful plot that kept you turning the pages. I was never bored. And her writing style was substantial and had a lot to say about real issues. This book isn't afraid to go to some dark places, but it brings with it a bit of comedy and sometimes even a little sappiness that satisfies your appetite for a little bit of everything in one book. It's definitely a book that compelled me to read on, and also to want to read more from this author...and I'm sure it'll be one that stays in my mind for a long time.
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5 huge stars. I’d give it 6 if I could!

This was one of the most captivating books I’ve read. An emotional joy-ride and an absolute favorite!
Based in a small exclusive coastal town in Australia. It’s orientation day into kindergarten when one boy is accused of choking a little girl. For the parents it’s a moment when bonds are formed and lines are drawn in the sand.

A full complement of emotions are cleverly weaved throughout. Laughter, tears, smiles and pain. Three wonderful friends (Madeline, Celeste and Jane) brought together on that orientation day by their children. The adventures they share together as well as their private struggles at home. Broken dreams, broken hearts and broken families. And the healing of hearts and souls.

"Every relationship has its glitches. It's ups, its downs."

Everything revolves around something as simple as trivia night at the school. Then a situation arises that has both police and media questioning everyone present. The responses from the interviews are hilarious! I was always on the look-out for more of these little gems as a tasty bonus, near the end of every chapter.

There are two distinct sides to this book. The fun, whimsical side that leaves you with a permanent grin on your face, desperately wanting to be part of this group of friends. Then, of course, there’s the dark side that proves you never really know what goes on in the privacy of one's home. Even between the closest of friends.

There are three sides to every person…the side we show to everyone else, the side we show to friends and loved ones, and the side we show only to ourselves.

In other words, this book is simply about life. Those we love and those that make us crazy. Very often, one in the same!

I loved every minute of this book. Occasionally shaking my head at the silliness.

Never expecting a twist in this story...I got a delicious jaw-dropping moment! Like icing on a cake.
I absolutely adored this book! I am so sad it's finished. Now onward to the TV series!
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*4 Stars*

Big Little Lies is an engaging story filled with murder and mystery, centering on the lives of three “school moms” and their problematic circumstances.

I've never watched the show, but this book gave me a sort of sinister, Desperate Housewives vibe.

This story is told in third-person narrative and methodically shifts focus between these three unstable women as the plot slowly creeps up to the night of the murder.

The writing was fantastic: Intelligent, realistic, and held my interest pretty securely. The characters were believable and imperfect. I felt that each of their reactions to the problems they were given were spot-on…maybe even a little too perfect, at times.

For example: Each character displayed predictable responses to certain "conditions"—reacting exactly how you’d expect them to, given their circumstance. On top of that, everyone’s backstory seemed to thoroughly explain their future behaviors and I couldn't help but feel it lacked some originality.

What I loved most about this story was the natural ease of the dialogue and the truly mysterious plot that kept me guessing straight to the end. Not only are we unaware of the identity of the “murderer”, but the murdered remains a mystery for the majority of the read, as well.

The cattiness between this cast of women was well-executed, as was the degree of competition amongst them. There was plenty of drama to go around. I LOVED the journey, even though I felt the outcome wasn't quite as fulfilling as the buildup.

That said, it has been a couple days since I’ve finished this book and I find that I’m still thinking about it—a sure sign of a great read!

Kristin (KC)
Oct 29, 2014
Kristin (KC) rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychological-thriller, thriller
*4 Stars*

Big Little Lies is an engaging story filled with murder and mystery, centering on the lives of three “school moms” and their problematic circumstances.

I've never watched the show, but this book gave me a sort of sinister, Desperate Housewives vibe.

This story is told in third-person narrative and methodically shifts focus between these three unstable women as the plot slowly creeps up to the night of the murder.

The writing was fantastic: Intelligent, realistic, and held my interest pretty securely. The characters were believable and imperfect. I felt that each of their reactions to the problems they were given were spot-on…maybe even a little too perfect, at times.

For example: Each character displayed predictable responses to certain "conditions"—reacting exactly how you’d expect them to, given their circumstance. On top of that, everyone’s backstory seemed to thoroughly explain their future behaviors and I couldn't help but feel it lacked some originality.

What I loved most about this story was the natural ease of the dialogue and the truly mysterious plot that kept me guessing straight to the end. Not only are we unaware of the identity of the “murderer”, but the murdered remains a mystery for the majority of the read, as well.

The cattiness between this cast of women was well-executed, as was the degree of competition amongst them. There was plenty of drama to go around. I LOVED the journey, even though I felt the outcome wasn't quite as fulfilling as the buildup.

That said, it has been a couple days since I’ve finished this book and I find that I’m still thinking about it—a sure sign of a great read!

▪  Genre/Category: Adult Contemporary/Mystery
▪  Steam Caliber: No steam
Romance: Not a romance
▪  Characters: Well constructed
▪  Plot: Murder mystery that follows the lives of three school-moms who've become friends.
Writing: Fluid, intelligent, engaging.
POV: 3rd Person Perpective
▪  Cliffhanger: None/Standalone
▪  HEA?
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19486412-big-little-lies

Fairytale by Danielle Steel

Fairytale by Danielle Steel 


4.17  ·  Rating details ·  860 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
Published October 10th 2017

Download or read online for free Fairytale by Danielle Steel
 Fairytale by Danielle Steel
The perfect book for the holidays: Cinderella set amid the wine-making estates of modern-day Napa Valley, complete with an evil Parisian stepmother.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A wonderful, beautifully told tale from America’s favorite novelist, Fairytale is a captivating example of the truths that will always withstand even the darkest storms, and a reminder that sometimes fairytales do come true, and good prevails over evil in the end.

Camille Lammenais has grown up in the beauty of the Napa Valley, surrounded by acres of her family’s vineyards. Her parents, Christophe and Joy, still deeply in love after two decades of marriage, have built a renowned winery and château modeled after Christophe’s ancient family estate in his native Bordeaux. Camille has had a perfect childhood, safe in her parents’ love. After graduating from Stanford, she returns to help manage Château Joy, her lifetime goal. But their fairytale ends suddenly with her mother’s death from cancer.

Six months after losing his wife, the devastated Christophe is easy prey for a mysterious, charming Frenchwoman visiting the valley. The Countess de Pantin is the essence of Parisian seductiveness and sophistication. Within weeks they are a clandestine couple, making love like teenagers, glowing with their secret. Camille, still grieving for her mother, is shocked by the news that her father intends to remarry. Then she begins to see past the alluring looks, designer clothes, and elegant manners of the countess, while her innocent father is trapped in her web.

When tragedy strikes again, Camille is at her stepmother’s mercy, and that of the two evil stepbrothers who appear. Camille needs to fight—first for her legacy, and then for her very life. But as she grapples with the plots being carried out against her, the countess’s elderly, kind, clever mother becomes her only ally, and a childhood friend emerges as a prince worthy of any fairytale.

Deeply in love, Christophe and Joy Lammenais built Chateau Lammenais into a small but renowned Napa Valley winery and an idyllic home where they raised their beloved daughter, Camille, who takes on increasing responsibilities for the estate they all treasure. But after Joy’s early death from breast cancer just after Camille’s graduation from Stanford, a lonely Christophe soon falls prey to the machinations of a sophisticate from his native France—who moves, with her two reprobate sons, to consolidate her power over Camille and the property when Christophe is killed in a plane crash. With a French “fairy godmother” on the scene, however, the son of a neighboring vintner to assist, and a grand Harvest Ball on the horizon, lovely Camille may make some potent magic of her own….



 

Reviews


Do you enjoy fairytales?
Danielle Steel Has written a modern day Cinderella, set in a Napa Valley wine making estate.
Camille, the daughter of Joy & Christophe Lammenais, was brought up in the winery she loved.
The winery was born to the Lammenais’ with great love, dedication and devotion to its success.
Following Camille’s graduation from Sanford, her beautiful and loving mother passed away due to breast cancer. Christophe became a lonely man that fell prey to a woman from his native home of France. She soon moved in, along with her two sons ( envision the evil stepmother & evil stepsisters.)
Camille’s father is killed in a plane crash & so the story evolves....a Harvest Ball & a Fairy Godmother.
The magic will unfold before your eyes... Don’t forget to add a handsome Prince.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was magical and flowed with ease.
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I found this to be a very entertaining book! Who doesn't love a good fairytale?! Yes, it's a bit simple and predictable but that didn't stop me from staying up late to finish it! I read it fast and couldn't put it down. It's a good story that made me anxious and excited to get to the "happily ever after".
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A modern day twist on a classic "Fairytale" - complete with the wicked stepmother, evil stepbrothers, a fairy grandmother, and of course prince charming. A bit of a different story from Danielle Steel and I really liked it. Good conquers evil -- 8 out of 10.
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"The tides were coming in so fast she felt like she would drown" -Fairytale by Danielle Steel

Fairytale is the new release by author Danielle Steel, and once again, she does not disappoint. This is a modern day version of the classic Cinderella story, but with a few added twists.

Christophe Lammenais always knew he would own his own vineyard someday, as making wine is in his genes. His family has been making famous wines in Bordeaux for many centuries. He goes to Stanford to take graduate classes in viticulture and oenology, and this is where he meets the love of life, Joy. Not only does he fall in love with Joy, but he also falls in love with Napa Valley. They soon marry, and they begin to build their life together at their vineyard in Napa. He builds a house on the property reminiscent of his homeland, and they call it Château Joy. Joy gets pregnant, and they have a beautiful daughter named Camille. As the years pass, they continue to grow the family business and their life is everything they wanted it to be.

As we all know, all good things come to an end. Everything changes during the summer when Camille turned seventeen. Camille is accepted at Stanford, and Joy, who is forty-four years old, is diagnosed with breast cancer. Her treatments are successful and Joy gets through it. She is in remission for five years, and during a routine mammogram, she is once again diagnosed with breast cancer. This time, she doesn't survive.

Life without Joy becomes quite an adjustment for Christophe and Camille. Camille steps into the role her mother had running the family business, and overseas the day to day operations while her dad focuses on the wine making.side of the business. Life goes on, but it isn't easy for either of them.

Christophe attends a vintners dinner, and this is where he meets the beautiful Countess de Pantin (Maxine). Maxine is persistent, and Christophe quickly falls under her spell. The two begin secretly dating, and on the one year anniversary of Joy's death, Christophe tells Camille that he is marrying Maxine. Of course, Camille is not only hurt by the sudden news, but she is also skeptical of Maxine and her motives. Unfortunately, Camille's instincts are correct!

The story that unfolds is truly heartbreaking for Camille. I could go into more details, but I do not want to reveal too much of the story. Maxine is truly the horrible stepmother, and her son's are even worse than the stepdaughters in the original Cinderella. The only positive thing to come out of the marriage is Maxine's eighhty-seven-year-old mother, Simone. Simone sees right through Maxine, and to say they have a strained relationship is an understatement. Simone and Camille instantly bond, and their relationship is one that is truly genuine. Simone is Camille's fairy godmother, and so much more.

This is truly an amazing story. It is filled with love, romance, heartache and heartbreak. It is also a story about survival and not giving up. The relationship between Camille and Simone is brilliantly written and completely heartfelt. I was literally shocked at the extent Maxine was willing to go to in order to get what she wants. Evil stepmother does not even due her justice. Danielle Steel does an amazing job with the portrayal of Maxine, as I truly hated her and all she stood for. The quote at the beginning of my review stayed with me throughout the story. Camille is a strong woman, one that puts up with far more than needed. She may have felt like she was drowning at times, but she always managed to keep her head above water, despite the difficulties she was facing.

Overall, I feel Danielle Steel perfectly weaves together the classic Cinderella story with a modern day twist. This story invoked a wide range of emotions while reading it, which is a testament to the author's writing style. I loved following the journey of Camille, through good and bad times, and I hope you love this story as much as I did.
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The plot for this very modern recounting of Cinderella includes all the best details from the original fairytale; an evil stepmother, wicked step siblings, and a handsome prince. Camille Lammenais lives a fairytale existence her entire life until her mother passes away leaving Camille and her father, Christophe, alone in their beautiful chateau. Camille loses herself in her work and her father falls under the spell of an unscrupulous gold digger.

Set in the lush Napa Valley vineyards, the story unfolds as Camille’s father marries the seemingly well off Maxine, a newcomer to the Valley, and brings her family over from France to live at the estate. When Christophe unexpectedly dies, Camille is left to deal with the stepfamily. Unexpectedly, Camille’s only ally is Maxine’s French mother, who clearly sees her daughter for what she is.

I enjoyed the story very much. At times the characters are infuriating. I wanted Christophe to see Maxine in a realistic light, and I wanted Camille to stand up for herself. However, the emotions that the characters elicited made me enjoy the book even more. The novel is truly written life a modern fairytale with romance and intrigue. A captivating read that will pull you right into the story!
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Fairytales Can Come True At 5 Stars!!

This was just top notch. Steel does it again!!
Camille is the daughter of parents who own a great winery in the Napa Valley who have had a great marriage and life. Then something happens to her mom and later this calculating evil woman named Maxine comes into her father's life and all hell breaks loose. She also has two sons that are awful but I can't tell you more or it will ruin the story for you.

This really is kinda like a fairytale story the way Steel set out the story. But I have to say it's a very good one. I couldn't put it down, I was hooked from the beginning until the end. I really came to Feel for Camille. I could feel her hurting and her pain. But I also felt her joy and happiness. When you can feel those things for a character in a story you know its good!

I highly highly recommend this book to one and all. Thanks again Danielle Steel for sharing another great one with us your talent has no bounds.~A Faithful Reader
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I love all of Danielle Steel's books. She writes about true events and things that would happen in real life. This book is very good is starts out about a family that have one daughter. 
The couple are happily married and they own a vineyard. The mother dies of cancer and the father proceeds to date and then marry a horrible woman who is after his money. He goes on a business trip and his plane goes down. He leaves his widow a sum of money and the rest of the estate to his daughter. The mistake he makes is leaving the stepmother to help run the estate until the girl turns 25. the women is very greedy and she tries everything to get the money. She wants the girl to buy her out and when that doesn't work she puts her in the barn and gives her room to one of her two sons. Then the night of the ball one of her sons sets the house on fire. The stepmother and brothers get arrested and the daughter lives happily ever after with the neighbor boy and a new step grandmother.
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I have been a Danielle Steel fan from her very first book. 
This book made me laugh, cry and want to schedule a check up. I got so involved with the characters that I could not put the book down. I wanted to leap into the book and take out the Stepmother and her kids.I feel like I went to the valley on vacation and met a new friend. Ms. Steel has a talent that just draws you in and keeps you thinking of the characters long after the book has ended. Honestly, as a fan and regular Steel reader, I found that I liked this book even more than most of Danielle Steel's recent books.
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What can I say about this book?
The author took me on a journey + I am not sure if I wanted to stop.
I cried + I laughed
This story truly reminded me of Cinderella ( No doubt ! )
I was rooting for Camille through the whole book.
I loved the ending.
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34002972-fairytale

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  12,261 Ratings  ·  2,133 Reviews
From Taylor Jenkins Reid comes an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top—the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid download or read it online for free here
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Filled with emotional insight and written with Reid’s signature talent, this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it takes—to face the truth.



Reviews


Evelyn Hugo going to tell me just enough to keep me on the edge of my seat but never enough to truly reveal anything?


I can't say for sure what drew me to this book. It's not the kind of thing I usually pick up, and I haven't read anything by Reid before. But something about it intrigued me. So I checked out the kindle sample. Just a couple chapters, I figured, because I probably wouldn't like it anyway. And I was HOOKED.

It's perfect, easy beach read material. It's not particularly deep, it does not take the genre to new levels or make you think about something new, and yet it DID feel different. Evelyn Hugo's story was so delicious and compelling that it stood out, and kept me turning pages in a desperate need to discover the stories behind her seven husbands, and the answer to the one question everyone wants to know: who was her greatest love?

The framing of the story reminded me a lot of The Thirteenth Tale. Like that book, in The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, a young woman - this time an ambitious journalist called Monique Grant - goes to interview an elderly woman. Unlike The Thirteenth Tale, this elderly woman happens to be one of the most famous actresses in the world.

Evelyn Hugo has lived a life in the public eye, but she is full of secrets. Only she knows what happened behind the scenes in her long career of scandals and highly-publicized heartbreaks. Just like the fictional world of the book longed to know the truth-- so did I. Reid and Evelyn's habit of giving you just enough to leave you wanting more was incredibly exciting. Throughout, we are encouraged to wonder why someone like Evelyn Hugo would specifically request a relatively-inexperienced journalist like Monique. Why Monique? What is Evelyn hiding?

The more I got to know Evelyn, the more I fell in love with her. She has made a lot of controversial decisions during her career, but she knows it and she also knows she'd probably do it all again. She's played the Hollywood game, dated famous men to further her career, and used her body to get what she wants. She has experienced the full force of the industry's sexism and, in some ways, capitalized on it. She is deeply flawed and aware of it. She has traded important aspects of her identity for more fame, more roles, more money. She was a badass Cuban woman working in an industry that didn't like women to be badass or Cuban. She manipulated and she lied. Despite everything, I liked her.

I stayed fully engrossed in the story of Evelyn Hugo - and of Monique Grant - from the opening chapters when Evelyn demanded an interview with only Monique, through decades of Hollywood in all its shimmering ugliness, right until the ending's final reveals. I enjoyed every moment.
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Evelyn Hugo, born Evelyn Elena Herrera, daughter of Cuban immigrants, grew up poor in Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of New York City. By 1955 she was in Hollywood.
Evelyn is beautiful....as tall and slim as a ballerina, with straight thick eyebrows, oversize almond shape eyes, blonde hair, ( dyed only after she arrives in Hollywood to help her get acting roles), rich, powerful, charming, and exudes a casualness and confidence that makes her all the more radiating.
This enchanting lovely woman was humble - down to earth in areas that mattered. Yes, she had seven husbands, too!

I was quickly bewitched, fully captivated by Evelyn Hugo. It was her calm wisdom - humble but direct speaking that moved me. She made a distinction about words and how they can be misleading, that made me want to SCREAM OUT AND SAY THANK YOU FOR THAT!!!!!!
There was a scene early in the book where it was very clear how one word could induce shame. Words really can hurt and paint evil pictures.... preaching...assumptions before asking.... sarcasm.....etc.
I sat and thought about all the times people have used words - not chosen them carefully - and as a result I'd feel hurt or belittled. I'm no better. I also thought about times I did the same to others. Words do hurt and damage the spirit- and the trust of relationships. Ms. Hugo, 79 year old Hollywood legend, handled those 'wrong words' with grace, correcting - teaching- inspiring her new-friend at the time while having compassion for 'herself'. Her purpose was not to hurt her friend who spoke the wrong words - but also not to allow for the misleading word to be, "misleading".
I started reading 'slower' ( wanting to take in every word out of Evelyn Hugo's mouth), when I realized this Hollywood notable Starlett was sincerely deserving- and worthy of the fans she has -- a celebrity to love!!!
I soon discovered this classy gorgeous woman had acute self-awareness, high levels of emotional intelligence, clearly socially aware, and relentlessly lived a full life of many experiences filled with joy and challenges.
I felt like I was given a gift - absorbing wisdom from this 79 year old woman. Her life experiences were fascinating, glamorous, scandalous and she herself was .....*extraordinary*. I was learning from this fictional character.

Monique Grant, Evelyn's new friend, 35 years old, is an unknown reporter at 'Vivant', in Los Angeles. Evelyn wants Monique to write a book about her life story. Everyone in the journalism community- including Monique's boss, Frankie, were shocked that Evelyn asked for Monique. ONLY Monique -- or no deal at all!!! There are some complications for Monique to figure out with work--plus her husband, David just left her....( not even married a full year), but her life is about to change.

Why did Evelyn pick Monique to write her book? We wonder right away!!!
We also want to know about Evelyn's life - her husband's - and which one she loved the most. We have many questions as we take this journey-- and it's delicious- with many insightful life lessons and messages.

Intimacy - closeness - trust - and real friendship grows as Monique listens to Evelyn's life story. Monique is past the point of remaining objective. She knows how specular of a human being Evelyn is. Against all of her journalistic integrity Monique feels a full range of emotions for her.
Monique begins to feel a deep connection and love with Evelyn. There are many juicy stories that get revealed about Evelyn's past marriages, relationships, and movies she stars in, "Father and Daughter", "Little Women", and the title role in "Anna Karenina", however when Evelyn begins to share about her present day life......a secret door becomes unhinged. Both women will have to face the truth together.

My final words.... THIS NOVEL IS EARTH SHATTERING FABULOUS- FANTASTIC -WONDERFUL -soooooo GOOD I can barely stand it!!!!!! It's 'not' what you think it is!!!!!!
I laughed, I cried, and thankful that this book kept me cozy company while sick in bed!!!!!

Many Thanks Atria Books, Netgalley, Jamie, ( my friend who demanded I 'not' wait for the audiobook book as planned - that I RUN over to Netgalley and begged for this book and then drop everything and start reading if given the opportunity -- bless you Jamie Girl.... and last to Taylor Jenkins Reid... ( you really out-did yourself with this novel... amazing!!!! Love You for it!!)
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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a 2017 Atria Books publication.

A story so well written I had to remind myself it was a work of fiction.


The cleverly titled novel appealed to my interest in old Hollywood, the scandals and cover-ups the public never had the slightest clue existed.


Evelyn Hugo is a faded movie star in advanced years who has decided to write her life story- a deliciously scandalous tell all with a sharp focus on her seven marriages.

To help with this task, she lures Monique Grant to her home under false pretenses, but soon seduces her into agreeing to take the job, by making her an offer she couldn’t resist.

The story moves slowly at first while Evelyn settles into her story and Monique learns how to handle Evelyn, often using Evelyn’s own advice against her to gain leverage.


But, once they have come to an understanding, Evelyn’s story takes center stage and what a story it was.



The first question Monique asked Evelyn is:

‘Who was the great love of your life?'

It seems like a reasonable enough question, considering Evelyn’s numerous marriages, but it turns out to be much more complicated than what it may seem on the surface.

I admit, I sat literally spellbound and mesmerized by Evelyn and her turbulent life as an actress and movie star, and the amazing twists and turns her life took in search of personal peace, love, and contentment. Her storytelling was an Academy Award performance.

Evelyn made concessions along the way to fame, allowing herself to be recreated by erasing her Cuban heritage and features, as well as leaving her first husband for a chance at fame and fortune.

Her love life takes many twists and turns as does her career, but what the public witnessed was nothing at all like what went on behind closed doors. Her life was like the old Hollywood is all ‘smoke and mirrors’ adage personified.

While Monique is the interviewer, her life and background deserves a close look. She is depressed over her failed marriage and her seemingly dead -end position at work. This gig is worth the incredible risk she takes, but she could never have guessed the monumental impact Evelyn Hugo would have on her life.

Naturally, I thought of Elizabeth Taylor and her many marriages, but the story also had a hint of Marilyn Monroe’s humble beginnings as well. However, a few of Evelyn's leading men mimicked or could have been modeled after real movie stars from that era as well.

But, the most significant points come from the relationships Evelyn developed, outside of the public eye, and how they managed to keep the situation a secret for so many years.

Each husband is given their own chapter with a special title that applies to them personally or to Evelyn’s relationship or opinion of them.

I disliked many of them, and really loved others, as did Evelyn. But beware of Evelyn’s spin on things. She is determined to tell this tale her way and her outlook is often a matter of perspective.

As things progress, I began to see how Evelyn’s influence on Monique begins to take hold. She gives good advice even if it sounds selfish, greedy, or cold. She didn’t get to be the great ‘Evelyn Hugo’ without some verve.

Although there are strong passages regarding sexuality, and the hidden secret lives people were forced to resort to in those days, for me, the powerful transformation Monique undergoes under Evelyn’s tutelage is what sticks with me the most.

Now, this story could have worked as a fictional tell all from Hollywood’s golden age, but there are a couple of 'Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night'moments you won’t see it coming, which left me utterly speechless and completely flabbergasted. My emotions exploded in a million different directions at that point.

The conclusion is riddled with rich bittersweet irony, but couldn't have been more fitting.

Overall, this is an incredibly well written story, very atmospheric, multi-layered, thought provoking, and utterly hypnotizing. Someday, I would like to re-read this one so I can absorb all those nuances I missed leading up to that stunning conclusion.

This one was so good I had a little book hangover for a couple of days. Highly recommend!!
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So here is a little secret.....when I travel via plane, I make a b-line to the sundries shops in the airports to read the 'rag' magazines. I will stand in there and read a bunch of them cover to cover. I love it.
Something about those juicy stories that you think 'they can't be true, right', something about getting the glimpse of the stars and the outrageous stories, it's a guilty pleasure. Reading this one by Talylor Jenkins Reid, gave me that same wonderful, guilty pleasure feeling. But this one, I enjoyed so much more.

This was my first Traveling Sister Group Read and it was so much fun discussing this one with everyone. Here you learn the life story of starlet Evelyn Hugo. From when she was very young living in NYC, to making her move to Hollywood, and through her yes, seven husbands. It was quite the scandalous read. When I saw early review of this one, I was hooked. And that cover...gorgeous. I don't want to say too much other than to read this one. It truly was a great read that kept me enthralled the entire time. I listened while on the exercise bike and just didn't want to get off, I wanted to keep listening. The audio was very good, winning an ear phones award, and the voice of Evelyn just drew me in like she was talking to me. Not normally the type of book I read. But every now and then, you need a juicy story, that almost borders on 'chick lit'. (Is that wrong to say?) So glad I read this one.
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4.5 Stars!

Traveling Sisters Group Read which I read along with Brenda, Holly, PorshaJo, Jennifer and my Mom, Linda! It was another awesome experience to read THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO with this wonderful group of ladies. Thank you everyone who participated in this group read!

THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO by TAYLOR JENKINS REID was a surprisingly good read for me that I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish! It was a fun, wicked, and an absolutely engaging read!

Highly recommend this glamorous, scandalous, touching, and emotional saga!
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32620332-the-seven-husbands-of-evelyn-hugo

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand


3.98  ·  Rating details ·  16,261 Ratings  ·  1,443 Reviews
The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand download or read it online for free
The Identicals
by Elin Hilderbrand
Nantucket is only two and a half hours away from Martha's Vineyard by ferry. But the two islands might as well be worlds apart for a set of identical twin sisters who have been at odds for years. Just because twins look exactly the same doesn't mean they're anything alike--and Tabitha and Harper Frost have spent their whole lives trying to prove this point. When a family crisis forces them to band together--or at least appear to--the twins come to realize that the special bond that they share is more important than the resentments that have driven them apart.
Set on the elite islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, The Identicals follows twin sisters who, after years of estrangement, trade lives in order to save their relationship. Mistaken identity hijinks and plenty of romance ensue.
— Book of the Month




Reviews


For me, Elin Hilderbrand has become synonymous with summer. Her new release means it’s time for my annual trip to Nantucket—okay, not really, but a girl can dream, right? Or remind her husband incessantly, for the entire time it takes to read said book, that they need to find time to take an actual trip to the island. So, I’ll just go with, my proverbial bags are packed instead—bikini, flip-flops and floppy hat—and I’m ready to stick my toes in the sand, bask in the sun and let everything, other than the sound of the waves, drift away with her new book in my hands. Sounds like heaven, right?

A little sibling rivalry is only natural, but what about being estranged from your twin sister for fourteen years? The really incredible part about it, Tabitha and Harper have lived only eleven miles apart for all of that time. Sure, they’ve resided on different islands, one on Nantucket and the other on Martha’s Vineyard, separated by miles of ocean water, but still. Is there any worthy excuse for not making the short ferry ride over to see your sister?

Surprisingly enough, the downfall of their relationship started with a game of rock, paper, scissors. And not just any game. This particular bout with chance was the determining factor—which twin was going to live which parent, after the divorce. With a win, Harper ended up on Martha’s Vineyard with their easy-going dad, while Tabitha's loss landed her on Nantucket, doomed to live under the weight of their mother’s expectations. Can you say resentment?

Fast forward and the twins are now pushing forty and living completely different lives. Harper is pretty irresponsible and has garnered a bad reputation, only made worse by her latest error in judgement. Meanwhile, Tabitha is a single-mother to an out of control teenager, working in her mother’s failing store, and struggling to move on from her past. It takes the death of their father to bring the twins face-to-face and align the stars for a 'switch' of sorts. A timeout from their actual lives might be just what they need to gain some perspective.

It’s not an easy thing, getting past the years of resentment, hurt and ultimately blame. High on the drama, gossip and family dynamics, Elin Hilderbrand keeps things interesting, to say the least. Rest assured, there isn’t a dull moment with these ladies around.

From the acknowledgements, you can tell this one was sort of near and dear to Elin Hilderbrand’s heart, being a twin sibling herself and of course, calling Nantucket home. Throughout the story, she pays homage to the things that make Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard special; it’s a love letter of sorts to the two islands and might even come in handy as a travel guide *wink, wink*. She feeds into the apparent rivalry going on between the two islands, which I thought was was a nice touch and fitting for this story of twin siblings.

Favorite Quote
“The most underrated force at work in the universe is that of coincidence. And yet who among us hasn’t been at it’s mercy?”

Summer isn’t official to me until I’ve read Hilderbrand’s latest book and when I saw that The Identicals was a book about sisters, I was pretty excited. Sister relationships always intrigue me, but a book about twin sisters is even more appealing to me, there’s just something fascinating about the bond they share and the unspoken connection between them. Full of Hilderbrand’s trademark style, this book delivered on all levels and I think it’s the author at her best.

Following in the footsteps of her other books, this is told through various perspectives. Tabitha, Harper and Ainsley all narrate and as Ainsley is Tabitha’s teenaged daughter, it lent a YA feel to her chapters that spiced things up. Tabitha and Harper are twins that have been estranged for fourteen years and they wind up switching locations for the summer; Tabitha heads to Martha’s Vineyard and Harper heads to Nantucket. Apparently there’s a rivalry between the two places and the women both vehemently believe that their home is the superior spot. Part of the charm of Hilderbrand’s books, for me at least, is the idyllic setting of Nantucket. I really enjoyed the addition of Martha’s Vineyard this time, it was cool to get a glimpse of somewhere new in addition to the comfort of the Nantucket setting.

There is a reason that Hilderbrand is hailed as the queen of the summer beach read, she’s more than earned that title, this is her nineteenth novel after all. But it’s more than that, she really has all of the necessary components to create that perfect blend of an ideal summer read. There’s juicy scandal, gossip, family dysfunction, decadent and mouthwatering food descriptions, rich characterization and a vivid setting. To me, nothing is more purely entertaining than one of her books and I’m always completely wrapped up in the world she crafts.

For an easy, breezy beach read, look no further than the works of Elin Hilderbrand—her latest is so evocative you can almost hear the sound of the waves and feel the sand between your toes. 
Set on the elite islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, The Identicals follows twin sisters who, after years of estrangement, trade lives in order to save their relationship. Mistaken identity hijinks and plenty of romance ensue.
— Book of the Month

This is Hilderbrand's usual entertaining story of family dynamics filled with the tastes and scenery of Nantucket, but in this book she adds Martha's Vineyard to the mix. 
Despite finding the characters pretty much unlikable in the beginning (which almost turned me off from continuing but GoodReads reports were so positive I decided to keep reading), they redeemed themselves as the story progressed. There were no big surprises during the course of the story and it ended up pretty much the way I suspected it would.

I do have one issue about how the characters behaved. I'm very sensitive to not drinking and driving and the main characters did a little too much of that, especially Harper when in the beginning she was imbibing a six-pack of beer along with Jagermeister shots while driving to meet her lover at a beach.

For me, Hilderbrand's books run hot and tepid with this one being somewhere in the middle.

Harper and Tabitha Frost--identical twins--grew up thick as thieves, the best of friends. But their parents' divorce at seventeen cruelly separated the girls, with each being allocated to a parent and sent off to live with them on a separate island. 
Harper goes with their more laid-back father, Billy, to Martha's Vineyard, while Tabitha goes with their formidable and exacting mother, renowned fashion designer Eleanor Roxie-Frost. The twins' relationship is then further destroyed by a tragic event in early adulthood. They've barely spoken since, and it's only the death of their father that forces them to reluctantly reunite on the Vineyard for Billy's memorial service. It also allows Harper a chance to see her popular but rebellious teenage niece, Ainsley, who is struggling under Tabitha's freestyle, lax parenting. Harper and Tabitha are set in their ways--and resolute about never forming a friendship. Can Billy's death change the way the twins feel, or is it too late?

I've read a handful of Hilderbrand's novels by now and many of her books have a similar, beachy feel, often with a focus on twins (this makes more sense now, knowing that Hilderbrand is herself a twin) and wayward teens. There's always rampant gossip on Nantucket, which is her usual locale, yet you'll always be left wanting to visit (and in this case, the Vineyard as well). Things are typically a bit predictable and there's always a romance or two thrown in.

Still, this book especially peaked my interest as I have (young) twin daughters. I was pleasantly surprised by the plot and quite captivated by the book. It's a perfect beach read. Obviously you're not going to find a literary masterpiece, but if you're looking for escape, it's perfect. The plot is exciting, the characters complex enough (and up to their elbows in trouble), and the summery location makes you feel as if you're at the beach, experiencing the crazy gossip as it happens. I found myself quite drawn to all the characters--which doesn't always happen in novels like this--and especially liked headstrong teenage Ainsley and poor Harper, who just can't seem to get her life together.

Sure, things happen rather as anticipated at times and some of the characters' changes are pretty foreseeable. But they are a fun group and the supporting cast really adds depth to the story. The epilogue is a cute addition, as well. Overall, this is a pleasant, entertaining beach read and a step above many in the genre.
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32498122-the-identicals

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty


3.55  ·  Rating details ·  122,826 Ratings  ·  12,489 Reviews
Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty download or read it online for free
Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong?

Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.

Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.

Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?

In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations of our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm.


Reviews


4 stars... another enjoyable read by Liane Moriarty!

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Edited 12/06 - Winner of GRCA for fiction!! I guess that even with the polarized reviews, readers overwhelmingly voted for it!!

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First off -- the elephant in the room. Many readers didn't enjoy this book as much as others by the same author. I didn't think twice about rating it 4 stars - really enjoyed.

In considering my review, I noted many lower ratings and saw some disappointment expressed. One of the key themes (and I agree with !) is that patience is needed while reading. Yes, the story is about what happened at a barbecue to upset the lives of the 6 adults and 3 children involved. The story goes back and forth between "before" and "after" the barbecue and the reader is left hungry for details -- what did happen? The what happened unfolds painfully slowly. I tried to guess as I was reading and was not even in the ballpark.

Because patience isn't one of my virtues, I had to keep reading. I went so far as to be a bad Buddy Reader and not stick to the agreed schedule. Just had to keep reading to find out about the barbecue....

Why I liked this book

I love reading stories with well-developed characters. Sometimes a book may have a great plot, but if I hate all of the characters - I may struggle with enjoying it.

This book had an interesting plot (if slow to develop) -- and unique, colorful characters.

The adults are very different people at very different places in life. Some of the tidbits that come up are fascinating -- hoarding, exotic dancing, cello playing, seeking fertility treatment, whiling away the hours at a job (instead of working).... Some of the characters are likeable -- others, not so much. I didn't completely connect with any of the characters, but found their backgrounds fascinating -- and told with humor. A crotchety neighbor was also intriguing to read about....

" Everyone had another sort of life up their sleeve that might have made them happy."

I recommend Truly Madly Guilty to fans of Women's fiction -- especially readers of Liane Moriarty . As other reviewers have noted, some patience is needed as the story of the barbecue unravels. My suggestion is to read this book when you can consume it quickly ! I have enjoyed all of Moriarty's novels (some more than others) except for Three Wishes -- which I want to read soon!!

What do people want from their lives? What is important to them and what trade-offs are they prepared to accept to achieve their goals? And how do we deal with the surprising and sometimes shocking situations life throws at us? These questions seem to me to be at the centre of Moriarty’s stories of modern day suburban life, set in and around Sydney, Australia. There’s normally quite a bit of humour, a cast of colourful characters and a sting or two in the tale. I thought her last book Big Little Lies was sensational, her best yet – could she do it again with this one?

There’s a set in stone format to the author’s story telling. The reader is advised that something has happened that has thrown lives into turmoil. This can be via a series of conversations we overhear or by other means but one thing is for sure, we won’t know the full truth about the ‘incident’ or the ‘secret’ until the last knockings.

The cast this time around:

- Clementine, husband Sam and children Holly (5) and Ruby (2). Sam’s moved up the career ladder to a new job in advertising and Clementine is a cellist, longing for the opportunity to be a permanent member of an established orchestra.

- Erica and Oliver. Childless career types who are somewhat lacking in humour. God parents to Holly and Ruby. They both had challenging upbringings, courtesy of troubled parents.

- Vid, his wife Tiffany and daughter Dakota. Vid is a larger than life party animal, Tiffany is sexy and alluring and with a colourful past. They are neighbours of Erica and Oliver.

The scenario here is that the three couples and their children have recently attended a barbeque at Vid and Tiffany’s house. It’s caused a huge outfall and all three couples are ruminating over the ramifications and the potential damage to relationships and future plans. All sorts of emotions are on display. We initially pick up the period shortly after the event but as we move through the book these passages are interspersed with a fractured but detailed breakdown of the fateful day itself.

There is less humour here than in some of the author’s books, but the individual stories of the three couples keep the interest alive and the dialogue is as sharp and true as ever. There are some genuine surprises stored up too, though the ending itself didn’t exactly provide a bombshell moment. In fact, the main events of the barbeque are declared quite early on and it’s the ramifications and side-stories that maintain the interest thereafter.

It is an enjoyable tale and it does have some real depth to it. I read most of it perched on a beach bed in the Mediterranean and this helped establish, in my own mind at least, that it’s a pretty good holiday read. But this book doesn’t have the impact of her best work and I’m now wondering why Morriarty sticks so rigidly to her basic structure – maybe it’s time for a change as I think it’s getting to feel just a little tired.

I once saw one of my favourite authors state how much she enjoys the writing of Liane Moriarty which peaked my interest considerably and was the driving factor in me reading TRULY, MADLY, GUILTY, my first story by this author.

The suspenseful and mysterious story arc centers around a fateful BBQ and three contrasting couples who each grow in stature as the trajectory of the story develops. The BBQ is a day that rocks their lives and the catalyst for the suspenseful element and feel of the story. The exploration of split second decisions, themes of guilt, negligence, culpability, responsibility and the human psyche pertaining to how different people deal with guilt, how they resolve it, the way some do not feel it is all absolutely fascinating.

The style of Liane Moriarty took me a moment to settle into, initially I felt like the story would miss the rush of feeling I seek when reading but the slow burn of the story had my complete attention by two thirds of the way in and the beauty and thought provoking nature of the feelings ultimately shone through. The time frames jump around unexpectedly which caused me on occasion to have to read back a little to ascertain where and with whom I was currently with, making the transitions appear somewhat jarring. However, by 30% I became accustomed to the unusual style of this author finding that I enjoyed the way the writing made me think a little more, adding to the suspenseful nature and I became completely engaged and intuitive to the writing clues that established the time frame. The third person narrative toggles between the present and the past event of the BBQ providing a full all round perspective and visual of each character’s thoughts, feelings and actions ensuring every element of the story is revealed by the end of the novel providing a very satisfying feeling to the reader.

I found myself falling in love with the writing of this author. The drops of intrigue she intelligently layers, her rich visual descriptions and faultless characterisations showcasing perfect development throughout the story arc. Their individual agenda's and histories are revealed to the reader depicting the complicated relationships of friends, spouses and good people who make mistakes. The interlacing of the past, the present and the individual stories of each character is brilliant. The plot thickened as I deduced certain aspects and tried to work out others, I think many readers will enjoy being able to solve certain aspects of the puzzle, I certainly did. The last 10% of the novel ties everything together brilliantly and secured this story as a five star read for me. A mysterious tale of how the seemingly ordinary lives of three couples are spiked with extra ordinary events showing how split second decisions can have catastrophic results. TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY is a compelling read that made me think and to me that makes for an incredible reading experience.

Note: TRULY, MADLY, GUILTY is a STANDALONE story
Genre: Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Women's Fiction

This is one of those long, drawn-out stories that's more about character assessment and the hardships of life than it is a story based on its plot.

This is about 3 couples and how they react and cope with something that happens at a BBQ one afternoon. By the time Liane Moriarty unveils the secret, you'll be just over halfway done with the book.

I feel I should warn you though: Please don't expect the twist to be overly shocking, twisted or scandalous. I did have that expectation, merely because the topic was built up so much and was cleverly avoided. It kept me turning the page in anticipation, only to feel anti-climactic.

That's ok, all is forgiven because the writing is superb. Liane Moriarty is quite skillful at weaving deep epiphanies, innermost feelings, etc. into her books, and yet you won't get confused or lost in the shuffle. She manages to do this while fluidly whipping back and forth from past to present.

That requires great skill as a writer, and is something I personally admire, because it allows me to trust her blindly enough to sit back and soak in her story.
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26247008-truly-madly-guilty, www.amazon.com

All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister



All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister

All the Single Ladies
by Rebecca Traister
A nuanced investigation into the sexual, economic, and emotional lives of women in America. In a provocative, groundbreaking work, National Magazine Award finalist Rebecca Traister, “the most brilliant voice on feminism in the country” (Anne Lamott), traces the history of unmarried and late-married women in America who, through social, political, and economic means, have radically shaped our nation.

In 2009, the award-winning journalist Rebecca Traister started All the Single Ladies—a book she thought would be a work of contemporary journalism—about the twenty-first century phenomenon of the American single woman. It was the year the proportion of American women who were married dropped below fifty percent; and the median age of first marriages, which had remained between twenty and twenty-two years old for nearly a century (1890–1980), had risen dramatically to twenty-seven.

But over the course of her vast research and more than a hundred interviews with academics and social scientists and prominent single women, Traister discovered a startling truth: the phenomenon of the single woman in America is not a new one. And historically, when women were given options beyond early heterosexual marriage, the results were massive social change—temperance, abolition, secondary education, and more.

Today, only twenty percent of Americans are wed by age twenty-nine, compared to nearly sixty percent in 1960. The Population Reference Bureau calls it a “dramatic reversal.” All the Single Ladies is a remarkable portrait of contemporary American life and how we got here, through the lens of the single American woman. Covering class, race, sexual orientation, and filled with vivid anecdotes from fascinating contemporary and historical figures, All the Single Ladies is destined to be a classic work of social history and journalism. Exhaustively researched, brilliantly balanced, and told with Traister’s signature wit and insight, this book should be shelved alongside Gail Collins’s When Everything Changed.





Reviews


  • Before picking this book up, I read a lot of articles about it and interviews with the author. When perusing the comments sections of these articles, the criticisms that I've read of unmarried young women tend to fall into one of three camps: they are selfish leaches (the assumption here being that they're all single mothers on welfare); they're narcissistic and immature; or they’re man-hating feminists out to destroy the fabric of society.

These assumptions about single women are so frustrating and often off-the-mark, yet they remain deeply ingrained in many parts of our culture. But it cannot be denied that more women over the age of 18 are choosing to delay marriage or to forgo it entirely than ever before. Traister's goal here is to examine the reasons for this trend, as well as how the trend affects not just women – economically, socially, psychologically – but also men and society as a whole. It's fascinating, well-researched, and broad. It was so wonderfully validating to me, even (and maybe especially) as a 31 year-old woman who only recently got married. I seriously can't remember the last time that I marked up a book so much. It's the book I was looking for last year when I picked up Spinster.
This is a topic that I have lots of capital-F Feelings about. I’ve talked about this around here before, but the best advice I’ve ever received in my life was when my mother told me to wait until I was 30 to get married. She told me to live on my own first and make sure I did the things I wanted to do before settling down. I didn’t consciously decide to wait until I was 30, life just kind of worked out that way, but it was absolutely the right thing for me and I am so glad it worked out that way.

Until I was 25, I thought I was going to marry the guy I’d been dating since high school. We broke up for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggest was that I moved away for grad school and it gradually became obvious that it would not be easy to bring our visions for our lives together in a way that made sense. I was also realizing that I wasn’t experiencing life as fully as I wanted to because I was trying to make that relationship work. I’d never been in another relationship, I was just taking for granted that this one was the right one for me. It didn’t make sense to sacrifice so much for something I was just assuming was right.

By the time I did get married, I’d been around the block enough times to realize that could say with a great deal of certainty that, yes, my husband does actually have all the qualities that I want and need in a husband. I also believe that our relationship is significantly healthier because I took some time to focus on myself. I wasn’t always happy when I was single and I wasn’t always secure, but I learned how to embrace the things I liked about myself and make them shine, how to distinguish between balance and sacrifice, and how to function without feeling like I was dependent on someone else. Those are all things that make me a better person and a better wife, but I never would have learned them if I had stayed in that one relationship.

So I could probably write a review as long as this book itself sharing my many (many, many, many) thoughts on the topic of marriage in America, but to keep this from spiraling out of control, let me just say that the thing that frustrates me the most about those comment section criticisms is that they almost always throw the burden onto the women’s shoulders. Women are narcissistic or selfish if they don’t want to get married, but you rarely hear the same said of men. They just haven’t found a good woman yet. Single mothers are labelled morally deficient sluts setting bad examples for their children, but that ignores the roles that the absent fathers play in the women’s single status—it’s not always the woman’s decision to be a single mother, for any number of reasons, and, when it is her decision, it might be the better alternative to staying with an abusive or unreliable guy (and if you’re going to argue that they shouldn’t have gotten pregnant by an abusive or unreliable guy in the first place, let’s have a conversation about access to birth control). Finally, and perhaps most frustrating: women are the ones accused of destroying society when they’re not married. Not only does this imply that women are supposed to be the moral shepherds for men, it suggests that marriage is the only way to be moral or the only way to contribute to society.
There’s a quote in this book from Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, in which he expressed his concern for women who were putting off marriage and motherhood until their late thirties or forties, saying that they were going to “miss so much of life.” Which made me want to find a time machine just to punch that man in the face. Why is it so hard to wrap the conservative Christian brain around the idea that A) there’s more to life for some women than just marriage and motherhood, B) waiting to pursue those things means that you get the chance to experience the other stuff first, and C) experiencing those other things might actually make you a better partner and a better parent in the end? I'm sorry, Mitt, but if I'd gotten married to that guy I would have ultimately spent the rest of my life in the same small town and never experienced a zillion different things that I got to do instead. I wouldn't have traveled, found a career path outside of random office drone, or met people who are different from the same white, small-town Protestants that populated my high school. I probably wouldn't have learned how to better manage my budget or fix a broken showerhead or take care of myself when I am sick.

Personal growth isn't selfish. Learning to take care of yourself on your own isn't selfish. It's healthy and it's important and it's wonderful. And it's all stuff that I learned to do because I was single. I genuinely don't think I'd have gotten there if I was still focusing on that relationship.

There’s another side to the conversation here, which Traister does address to some extent: marriage among lower income women is declining, and it’s doing so for different reasons than among middle- or upper-class women. Ironically, it’s low-income women who would perhaps benefit the most, economically speaking, from a marriage that provides two incomes. I do think that this book might have benefited from even more examination of that subject and how the concept of marriage can be adjusted to make it a little more favorable towards women in poverty. Traister also spends some time looking at trends among women of color but in general, I do feel like she puts most of her emphasis on middle-class white women. (She seems to assume that many of single millennials felt primarily inspired by Sex and the City, an assumption that bothers me a bit as I was never a fan of the series. I almost wish she’d looked a little more at the representations of marriage-vs-singledom and feminism in other media outlets, too)

This book isn’t necessarily a judgement on the institution of marriage. Traister isn’t arguing in favor of not getting married—she’s actually married, though she did so later in life. She’s filled her book with anecdotes from women from many walks of life who have different approaches to marriage and how it may or may not fit into their lives. This may not provide a lot of new material for women who’ve read up on the many trend pieces and articles written on this topic over the last decade, but this is among the first books to cohesively and comprehensively tie all those trend pieces together in one place. Reading it was a great experience.

  • 4 high stars. I started listening to non fiction audiobooks about two years ago, and I continue to be blown away by the high quality of so many books. All the Single Ladies falls into that camp. A mixture of history, sociology, interviews and autobiography, All the Single Ladies makes an argument for the positive aspects of women postponing marriage or not marrying at all. In the end, Traister argues that there should not be one model for women to follow in their life trajectory. And there should be more support for those who don't follow conventional paths. While this may seem like a truism, what makes All the Single Ladies interesting are all the disparate strands of information and insight that Traister pulls together.

Oddly, while I don't fit her topic particularly well, the message really spoke to me. My husband and I married relatively young and before we had any idea what our work lives held in store. But I could still relate to what Traister had to say because what I did feel was compelled to avoid some of society's expectations about how our relationship and family life were meant to work. This has worked for us, but I recognize that I'm lucky. I've seen many female friends and colleagues over the years who have borne the brunt of achieving "work-life" balance while their male partners advanced unimpeded in their careers and unfrazzled in their home life.

This is a pretty big digression. But I think it would be hard for most women to read All the Single Ladies without reflecting on their own lives, and the lives of their friends, mothers, sisters and daughters. A powerful and interesting read. Thank you to Goodreads friend Julie for recommending this one when I asked her for suggestions for contemporary feminist writings. Highly recommend for anyone on a similar quest.

  • This is my favorite nonfiction book I read in 2016. It's just fantastic. It has tremendous breadth and depth of historical and social research, and I also liked how Rebecca Traister included examples from both pop culture and the personal experiences of her and her friends.

I listened to this on audio, but I loved this book so much I want to get my own copy and mark my favorite quotes. Highly recommended to anyone interested in the history of the women's movement, or those wanting to read more about modern social changes.

Favorite Quote
"The vast increase in the number of single women is to be celebrated not because singleness is in and of itself a better or more desirable state than coupledom. The revolution is in the expansion of options, the lifting of the imperative that for centuries hustled nearly all (non-enslaved) women, regardless of their individual desires, ambitions, circumstances, or the quality of available matches, down a single highway toward heterosexual marriage and motherhood. There are now an infinite number of alternative routes open; they wind around combinations of love, sex, partnership, parenthood, work, and friendship, at different speeds. Single female life is not prescription, but its opposite: liberation."

  • I have so many splendid female friends, and quite a few of them have felt incomplete without a boyfriend. Despite their immense amounts of compassion, intelligence, and ambition, society floods them with the message that they are incomplete without a male romantic partner in their lives. Thus, I loved Rebecca Traister's All the Single Ladies because she drives home the point that many women live without male partners and achieve long-lasting success and happiness. 
Using a compelling mixture of statistics, interviews, and critical analysis, she shows how single women have changed the United States for the better by pioneering social change in the realms of reproductive justice, workplace gender equality, and much more. With a warm and intelligent writing style, she conveys that women are so much more than their relationships with men, and that by staying single or marrying later, they can help create a more just world as well as higher-quality relationships with their friends, family members, romantic partners, communities, and themselves. One of the many quotes I enjoyed that articulates how society often conceptualizes single women:

"When people call single women selfish for the act of tending to themselves, it's important to remember that the very acknowledgement that women have selves that exist independently of others, and especially independent of husbands and children, is revolutionary. A true age of female selfishness, in which women recognized and prioritized their own drives to the same degree to which they have always been trained to tend to the needs of all others might, in fact, be an enlightened corrective to centuries of self-sacrifice."

I appreciate that Traister wrote this book, as single women endure so much stigma in society because we assume that they want a male partner or we think less of them when they do not have a man. Traister raises several incisive points to combat these ignorant and outdated notions, such as how many people in romantic relationships and marriages actually feel unhappy, but we assume the opposite because of how society glorifies romance. Furthermore, the increasing amount of single women reflects their rising economic and political power, as they can create fulfilling lives for themselves instead of depending on men as the patriarchy once forced them to. Traister also does a solid job of framing her commentary in an intersectional way, by highlighting how black women and poor women suffer even more from institutions that only value women who have male partners. One quote that captures how white people benefit from the exploitation of women of color:

"The nation's history has included many iterations of the privileged white co-option of black, and often poor, habits and behaviors, which, when performed by white populations, have drawn different kinds of attention. When white flappers danced to black jazz beats, they were culture-shifting rebels; when, in the mid-sixties, white women busted out of their domestic sarcophagi and marched back into workforces in which poor and black women had never stopped toiling, when Betty Friedan echoed Sadie Alexander by suggesting that work would be beneficial for both women and their families, that was when the revolution of Second Wave feminism was upon us. It has long been the replicative behaviors or perspectives of white women - and not the original shifts pioneered by poor women and women of color - that make people sit up and take notice and that sometimes become discernible as liberation."

Overall, a fantastic book and the best work of nonfiction I have read in 2017 so far. I would love to read a follow-up book about how men's emotional constipation contributes to the rise of single women and how men can learn to get in touch with their emotions, so that they can provide nurturing and caring, essential components of any relationship. Perhaps I will write this book myself, as Trainer and other amazing female authors have women covered. I would recommend All the Single Ladies to those who want to learn about the joys and revolutions experienced and created by unmarried women, an important demographic in contemporary society.