Freelance journalist, now living in Israel. Audible books listener for 30 years, when I had to pretend to be blind to get access.
Generally speaking, I don't care for the old-woman-telling-scandalous-tales-from-her-youth genre (Margaret Atwood, Nevada Barr, Tana French, etc etc) but for whatever dumb reason, I seem to end up buying them without knowing what I'm doing. My fault, not paying close enough attention, apparently. Anyway, in this one, the underlying story isn't all that bad, it's just that the endless Russian fairy tale that the old woman tells runs on like War and Peace. On and on and on, it never seems to end. So after the third installment of the fairy tale -- rendered in a really grating attempt at a Russian accent -- I discovered that one could simply fast-forward through the telling of the tale, and not lose much of anything. Granted, the ending doesn't make much sense when you do that -- but other reviewers have noted that the ending doesn't make much sense anyway. I did enjoy the interplay between the two very different sisters, and the cold mother is something I personally know about, so that hit home. I just wish Hannah had left out the Russian tale -- the characters she created were worthy of a fine story all by themselves, without that endless, droning, never ending rendition of young love in a cold climate. But I learned my lesson: from now on, I will read ALL reader comments. Even if the official book reviewers don't care to disclose what the story is really about, usually some reader will do so. Thank Gd for the internet and reader reviews!
Kristin Hannah has fast become one of my favorite authors. She knows how to tell a woman's story. They have so far (I have read this and Firefly Lane) been a bit dramatic and extreme, but believeable. In this case, it was a bit tiresome as the two sisters squabbled back and forth over the same issues, but that is reality in a family (I have three sisters). And the mother was a bit extreme in her hesitancy (refusal) to connect emotionally with these two daughters. But the mother's tale was riveting. This was delightful to listen to (if you can call the struggles Anya went through delightful). I will get more books by Hannah to listen to and recommend others do the same.
I wanted to enjoy this book, but it I was frustrated by the wooden characterization and the slow pace. More frustrating was the fact that the story seems to hinge on certain realizations that I could see coming almost from the first chapter.
Love the story and there are lessons to learn! Women go through a lot and also have a lot to learn. Will definitely try others books from this author.
Awesome! It was an interesting way of introducing the story line over generations. The story was never finished until the last page. How could you not feel the joy and the pain of the mother as a child and her daughters struggle to understand her. It just gets better and better. I loved this book. I will listen again and again.
A little slow to start, but once it got rolling, I was hooked. A story within a story, spellbinding and captivating. Enjoyed it so much I listened to the last 40 minutes three times! Well written and totally would recommend!