This is a story that unfolds slowly, with no dramatic event(s) at the end of every chapter as is so common in modern pulp fiction. I enjoyed it very much; but then, I enjoy John LeCarre novels - work that some find ploding. It is not Baldacci. (Whose writings I enjoy but would not need or want to reread). The meaning of the word 'pavane' well sums the development of the story.
Pavane is much better characterized as alternative history than science fiction. There are no gizmos that don't exist in today's world. But ... there is a bit of fantasy.
PS I use the term "pulp fiction" in the best sense. Hawthorne and Dafoe were pulp fiction writers of their time.
It isn't that Mr. Islington doesn't have unexpected plot twists. Every chapter has at least one. The problem is probably me. After enough books with a thousand characters and a zillion turns in the road, I'm a little bored with the trope. At this point I'd rather have many fewer characters, with the few richly done. No more thousand of places, never mentioned until needed, where mortals fear to tread but - wait for it - our heros have to go through. Sound so very commonplace?
The one thing it has going for it is the length. If you are driving cross country and can keep many characters in mind at once and are able to navigate around a mythical world with no map for reference, let along a GPS, this book will keep you occupied ... until you are left hanging waiting for the next in the series.
Laine is a success ... except she fears, to her father.
Her father acts badly. She cuts him out of her life.
In ways that could happen to any of us.
This is a story that any father (me) with a daughter and any daughter with a father should read as a cautionary tale. Others will enjoy the carefully crafted world of Thunder Point, a place fill with real people. Good HEA
I am an unabashed fan of Robyn Carr despite the fact that she writes romances [and women's fiction] and I'm male. She often writes about real issues, both complicated relationships and non-romance life issues, she teaches me a little bit about the world around me (she does her research) that adds to my knowledge of how our world works, and she builds imaginary worlds with depth and plenty of detail. There are things that I learn from her fiction and use to improve my relationships with the women (wife, mother-in-law, daughter and lots of female friends) I cherish.
In other words, most of her books are not the stereotypical 'pretty girl or hunk has a bad relationship and isn't open to love until she (he) unexpected encounters ... the hunk or the sexy chick hiding in plain sight or out of their history.'
This book is pretty much that story. This is a trope and that's ok, is just isn't my preference. (The word trope is used to describe commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices - motifs.)
Why read this book? Thunder Point, the little costal town, is a worthwhile place to visit. The people there have lives with depth. The Promise fills in the canvas. But ... please don't start the series with this book. Start with The Wanderer, book one. You will enjoy the town coming alive as you learn more about the townspeople you meet in one story after another. I recommend The Promise to anyone who has read and enjoyed a couple of Thunder Point novels already.
I just hope that her next Thunder Point books have more heft to them. If you have never read any books by Ms. Carr, start with a book labeled by the publisher "women's fiction:" The House on Olive Street. Excellent in every way.
Ms. Carr, you had an opportunity here to let your readers learn much more about real life on a farm. For one tiny example, you had Peyton kill a chicken for a special meal. You could have let my fellow readers know how hard it is to get pin feathers plucked, a chore I never mastered as a boy. I'd love to know how she got them out that quickly, without leaving a stubble. To give you credit, you did talk about the smell of 'money' ... which is an entirely normal part of life on a farm.
Ms. Plummer: Thank you for making my drives to work and to visit clients and friends more enjoyable, as always.
My standard disclaimer: I didn't receive a free copy, I wasn't asked to review it, and I don't personally know Ms. Carr or Ms. Plummer or anyone connected with the book.
Very interesting debate among the readers/reviewers. However, very few of the reviews appear to be written by men. From a male perspective, I recommend the book.
1. I learned about the Mormon faith. I'm sure that not everything is spot on. But then again, not all of the details in Tony Hillerman's early Joe Chee books were correct. Nor the details in Alexander Upfield's Napoleon Bonaparte Australian aborigine books, either. I like to learn about real things while enjoying a good book. I feel I got more than my money's worth here.
2. I learned about being a minister’s wife. Some of the reviewers argue that she was privy to too much privileged information and thus the book isn't a reflection of Mormon reality. For me, the more interesting question is broader; what is the role of a clergy's (of any faith) spouse (male or female) vis the flock? Again, The Bishop's Wife got me thinking.
3. She used tools from her faith to solve the final crisis. She used her faith to solve two important final crises, tools that would not have been available to a Miss Marple or Ms. Fletcher.
4. Not everyone has a HEA. Thank goodness not every character had a HEA, particularly one female character. For you guys, an HEA is Happily Ever After. Common stuff in romances and feel good books.
5. Makes you care about the characters. When I want to keep reading a book to find out what happens to a character, the writer has hooked me. Mrs. Harrison did this with the female who did not have an HEA. (Identifying spoilers omitted.)
6. Women staying home for families. I'm a guy. I've had a professional career. But I'm married to a woman with a professional career. IMHO, someone has to stay home or cut back for the kids. In my personal case, I'm glad I stayed home for 5 years with two young children. In the book staying home with kids is not belittled. I'm pro-family but pro-women's rights. Politically, emotionally, I didn't have a problem with the emphasis.
7. One reviewer said it is "too churchy." I did not feel preached at.
What did I not like about The Bishop's Wife?
1. A little too stereotypical characterization of the men. Several reviewers comment that most of the men seem to be misogynists. There's some truth to the observations.
2. TDTL For you guys, this abbreviation is used by some FEMALE reviewers on the internet to describe female heroines: Too Dumb To Live. It describes a woman who keeps making the same mistake(s) over and over again without learning from the experiences. Here she makes bad assumptions about most of the men (and women) repeatedly. Put another way, she jumped to conclusions based on skimpy evidence. Repeatedly.
3. Not enough jaw dropping 'oh my gosh' plot twists where we the readers anticipate bad things happening to a lead character.
4. Details that stretch Mrs. Harrison's literary license too far: It seems totally unreal that this woman could get to her age (5 sons, 4 gone from home) without a few close women friends.
Is it realistic that she got to her age without having a single female friend who suffered severe sexual abuse as a child?
As others have pointed out, carrying the trauma of a DOA child for 20 years seems ... unlikely in a woman of faith.
My disclaimer: I bought the audible version of the book; I wasn't given. free copy I'm not a writer nor in the book business nor a friend of the author. I was not asked to review The Bishop's Wife. Thus, I have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
Great narration by Ms. Potter.
I'm a male admirer of Robyn Carr. No, silly, not that kind of admirer. I really enjoy her writing. Her "worlds" are very real to life, the characters come alive. You - I - care about what happens to them. (Note: for anyone following the Thunder Point story, I do recommend this book. See the end of my review.)
Most important for me (and why I recommend Ms. Carr's books to other readers I know personally), is the challenge of conflicts, emotions and human frailties she writes about during the course of the "romance." I relish the way she takes real world human situations, situations that 'but for the grace of God' any of us (male or female, although female first) could have been, are, or will be in, and shows me how they play out. For example, what happens five, ten or twenty years later when two young people start a baby for whom they are unprepared. Or when a long time partner cheats on the other. Or how child abuse plays out when the child becomes adult.
[Don't think child abuse doesn't happen to boys by mothers. I know a man whose mother duct-taped him to his mattress when she wanted to go out drinking with boyfriends over-night.]
There are simply less of the things I enjoy about Ms. Carr's books in The Hero. I care about Devon but not about Spencer. The "real world" problem Ms. Carr addresses (without a spoiler, I'll just say it starts from where Devon begins) is not a 'but for the grace of God' problem I ever expect to encounter. And I found it hard to willingly suspend disbelief. Such as when Eric arrives in town at the end, Ms. Carr. Again, without spoiling the book, I don't want to go into specifics of what didn't resonate well..
Because I am not a typical romance reader (I prefer "women's fiction" aka "people's fiction") you may enjoy the romance in this story more than I did. "Romance" as I understand the term is not why I've enjoyed all of the 8 or so Carr novels I've read so far, anyway. I care little if significant guys are hunks. Not at all, in fact.
Good news. For fans of Thunder Point, I do recommend this book. It connects the dots, fills in the gaps, in the relationships of several of the couples we meet in other Thunder Point books. The narration is, as always top notch. Thank you Ms. Plummer. Although these books are pretty easy to read as stand-alones (as I did at first), I recommend starting with book one. It is a joy to watch Thunder Point fill up with "old friends."
Disclaimer. I don't personally know Ms. Carr, I have nothing to do with the writing or publishing businesses, I'm not a writer myself, I wasn't given a free book and no one asked me to read it. Thus, I have nothing to disclaim.
I’ll start and end with a disclaimer. I’m a guy without any significant background reading romance genre books. Related books I read tend to be a bit more “women’s literature:” Sandra Dallas, Jane Smiley, Molly Harper and Willa Cather. (Plus several of Ms. Carr’s, such as Four Friends.) I’ve recently read a new paranormal romance writer, Ava Louise ("Intergalactic Matchmaking Service"), and an established one: Patricia Briggs. Among the men whose romances I read are Charles Martin and Nicholas Sparks. I have no history of reading “bodice rippers” although I’ve read enough bad / poorly written books over the years to know quickly what I won’t like. So, please understand I have a definite, but limited, basis for comparison.
The Newcomer is probably my fifth or sixth Robyn Carr book, more than I’ve listened to by any other Audible author except Molly Harper and Charles Martin. Why do I like her books so much? There is grit and complexity. In The Newcomer several themes – issues – are developed. How to raise children as a single parent (and then find love) is one, a common theme in these genres except … not all of the single parents are women and there are several examples illustrated (not just one) with different skills or lack thereof.
Another, smaller theme, is what happens when a person in a relationship withholds important relationship changing information because (s/he) thinks the other can’t or won’t cope. Again, multiple examples.
Finally, the biggest issue I saw in The Newcomer concerns what happens when one parent (not necessarily married) parts ways with the other because of a child or children … and then what happens when there is contact between that parent and the child(ren) many years later. Once more, we are treated to several examples of ways this might happen, ways the parent with custody of the child(ren) might respond when the missing parent re-emerges, and how children might respond. And ... how does the custodial parent facilitate the reintroduction, or not? Within limits Ms. Carr lets me decide how best such situations might best be handled … realizing there is no one right way that fits all. Again, men are not always the dopes. Although in real life we too often are, I accept.
Sounds a bit boring, doesn’t it? Well, I care about characters Ms. Carr creates (a sign of good writing) and enjoy the worlds they live in, worlds that do not require "willing suspension of disbelief" because the little details are off. (Ditto.) Ms. Carr keeps me reading and wanting more. In fact, my biggest problem is limiting the number of her books I buy to less than the number of credits I have available.
What about sex? Well, all these romance words make an appearance: Needy, claimed, hungry and length. And more. I’m not about to tell any woman if there are enough of these for your nighttime reading. I personally skip a few of these scenes (they just aren't quite sufficiently erotic from my male perspective), so perhaps you will find a sufficiency for your taste.
My ending disclaimer: I’m not in the writing or publishing business; I’m a reader. I don’t know Ms. Carr personally. No one asked me to review the book and I did not receive a free copy. In other words, this is just me and my thoughts.
A fun quick story in the half-moon hollow series. We see Dick C. (I won't spoil it) in a walk-on role. I do NOT recommend this book as your first exposure to the series but I HIGHLY recommend the series. Indeed, if I were coming up with Audible's list of 'first listens" one of the books by Molly Harper White narrated by Amanda Ronconi would be on the list. I don't normally even like paranormal novels. Who knew? Jon
I try to write a review only when I think I can add something. If you've read some of the reviews you will see:
1. This isn't a romance. Agreed from my view point as one of the few guys to review this book, too. The cook has no special depth to him and our heroine's idea of attracting him by buying herself a one-way ticket to Europe is lame. What either one sees in the other is never made clear.
2. It is a fantasy. Agreed. It is the story of a not so young woman learning she has a paranormal ability while living in the world the rest of us inhabit. Fantasy.
3. "Cute Story" If by that the reviewers mean that there is a germ of a good idea in the magic - it comes in many flavors - yes, I agree. To whet your appetite let me just mention one: paper birds fly.
4. Wonderful narration by Amanda Ronconi. YES!!!
What I will tell you is this: Ms. Marsh's fantasy community - the falls - could grow in the next book(s) into an enjoyable place to spend a few reading hours. The idea that magic can come in so many forms has plenty of room to grow. And our heroine? Well, she's not quite TDTL (too dumb to live); she just might be able to learn from her mistakes and become an adult by book 3. I am not a fan of books where the same dumb mistakes are repeated over and over.
My considered advice: Look for a Magic title by Ms. March on sale. Try it. If you are a Ronconi fan (as I am) buy it when you run out of Molly Harper books.
This is a book about a woman who has been weak and used for most of her life - but not all. She had a baby when young and kept it. She tried to be the country club wife to a Texas jerk and when she fled him ... but she didn't have the sense to bring along enough money to support her two children. She left her kids home alone way too often seeking pleasure / the good life. Not my favorite back story. [I say this as a guy who stayed home with 2 kids for 5 years. It isn't easy. But, looking back, those were 5 wonderful years.]
She flees to Cape Hatteras. She finds the gumption do get work as a handywoman. What she discovers is what all of us - guys and gals -- want to find. The power of a few strong grandmother-age women. Her boss and friends, her "landlady." They help her find some pride in herself.
Neither man in the story (the bad boy surfer boyfriend and the good boy school teacher) are fully developed. We never do learn what motivates them Without the power of a central idea I would not have kept listening.
What is that idea? Well, I would not buy this book looking for a love story; it isn't. If you want one, see almost any of the books by Charles Martin.
So, what is the idea for which I give this book 5 stars? I won't spoil it except to say that I am in awe of the woman who grew the prayer box(es) over a lifetime well spent. Her story is intriguing, moving and Ms. Wingate makes it feel real. I wish I knew her.
I agree with most of the negative things said about the narrator's inability to speak clearly except ... I do like her voice. If she can learn to convey soft sentences without whispering inaudibly ... she could be better than average. Not Amanda Roconi but worth listening to.
I've read a lot of history. (Fiction and "summer reading" too.) Along the way I've been exposed to the "story" of Western Civilization many times. Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Crusades, Ages (many), Wars (Too Many), kings and queens and tsars and Popes and dictators and Vikings, and voyages of discovery. Et al. Etc. Yada Yada.
What I missed out on was a basic survey of the past two thousand years from a non-western perspective. Ansary offers the basic survey course of what he calls the Middle World and the course of Islam I needed. And didn't know I needed. [Although I've read a fair number of books by non-westerners.]
Ansary reads his own work. In this case it works quite well. He adds the emotion, the emphasis, that only an author can provide. His voice is pleasant to listen to, too.
My wife, with a science backgrounds, found Destiny Disrupted as essential, as beneficial, as I did.
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