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Holly Helscher

Holly

Cincinnati | Member Since 2008

573
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 97 reviews
  • 172 ratings
  • 814 titles in library
  • 57 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
99

  • The Time Traveler's Wife

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Audrey Niffenegger
    • Narrated By Fred Berman, Phoebe Strole
    Overall
    (4352)
    Performance
    (1706)
    Story
    (1731)

    Clare and Henry have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was 36. They were married when Clare was 23 and Henry was 31. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

    Scott says: "Epic Drama & Love Story through Time Travel"
    "Inconsistent"
    Overall

    This book started out well. Henry, the time traveler, happens upon Claire as a child and she becomes his stability factor throughout his time travel. They marry and we live with them. The concept is intriguing. Throughout the first half of the book, the author handles the concept extremely well. The reader gets used to the back and forth nature of years as Henry travels for periods of time and Claire waits. They age and life progresses. The novel moves forward at a decent pace with the plot developing nicely. Then we get to the second half of the book. I don't know exactly what happened here except that the author didn't know how to wind it up and began giving us fuller. I don't care about how to make paper. I don't need the sexual content (and neither did the book). I don't need long passages in different languages. None of that moved the plot along and none of added to any character development. In fact, it did the opposite. It served to demonstrate that both Claire and Henry are self absorbed, egocentric individuals who care for nothing except themselves. As the book reached the last 25%, the author attempts to pull the threads back together and in fact does some very stunning writing that actually draws the reader into some of the real emotion of the relationship between the two. But it is inconsistent. I nearly didn't finish it because it got slow and cumbersome, which is a shame since the beginning showed such promise. The narrators read well, but couldn't seem to manage consistent pronunciations. I don't know what that was about. It was irritating. If you purchase the book, read the first half and then fast forward to the last 25%. You won't miss too much. And beware. This book is dead serious and doesn't have a lot of humor. I suggest readers be in a melancholy mood to read it. In the end, it is depressing and sad and as is always true, broken hearts are ugly and not at all "romantic.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • One Kick: Kick Lannigan, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Chelsea Cain
    • Narrated By Heather Lind
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (83)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (79)

    From the author of the critically acclaimed New York Times best-selling Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell thrillers: The first in a nail-biting new series featuring Kick Lannigan, a young woman whose complicated past has given her a very special skill set. Famously kidnapped at age six, Kick captured America’s hearts when she was rescued five years later. Now, twenty-one, she finds herself unexpectedly entangled in a missing child case that will put her talents to the test.

    Marci says: "Good book. I hope the series gets better."
    "One Kick Kicks to the Top of Books"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Kick Lannigan kicks herself to the top of my favorite mystery heroines in this first of what I hope to be a great series by Chelsea Cain. Finally emancipated from a narcissistic mother who has exploited Kick's rescue from a kidnapping years prior, we meet Kick in the early stages of her figuring out who she really is. She is talented in self-defense, but still not mature in accepting what has happened to her in her life, although it is not for lack of trying.

    Enter Bishop who wants to take her back to the years of her childhood when she lived with her kidnappers. And who exploits her obsession with missing children.

    The set up is quick. The action is continuous. There is personal growth exhibited by the characters and there are not too many people to keep track of. The tension and twists never end; not even at the end. The book is so good that I had a hard time deciding whether to risk getting my electronic equipment wet while I took it into the ocean with me. In the end I put it down, but was quick to get back to it. I finished it in less than a day.

    Cain sets up a great heroine with a great cast of characters. I can't wait until Book 2 comes out. Heather Lind, the narrator, reads it very well. I hope she continues to be the narrator because she has now defined the characters through their voices.

    This is a terrific read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Silkworm

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2763)
    Performance
    (2566)
    Story
    (2561)

    When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows.

    H James Lucas says: "A well-worn genre enlivened with fresh characters"
    "Slow Going"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In this second of Galbraith's (aka JK Rowling) Strike series, the pace is inchworm slow. There was much filler through the use of a book within a book. And that book is pornographic at best. And we, as readers, have to be told what each allusion within the second book means since we have no idea of the characteristics of the people it refers to. And that's because we don't know the circle of fictional publishers it references.

    Galbraith has liberally borrowed from other classic mystery writers to develop the plot and even the end scene to write this cozy mystery which is not nearly as good as the first book in the series. I kept reading in the misguided notion that the pace would improve only to be disappointed hour after hour. While the characters are intricate and well done, there is only so much we can take about Strike's poor care of his leg and Robin's continued inability to express herself. If she can't express herself, how can she have enough assertiveness to become a detective?

    While I did not enjoy this book nearly as well as the first one, its chief failing is not giving the reader sufficient information to attempt to solve the mystery along with Strike and Robin. Perhaps others could sniff out the few scattered clues and finger the murderer along with Strike, but for those of us who need a few well placed clues to keep us at least guessing, this failing contributed to the overall dullness of the book.

    Robert Glenister, the narrator, however, is excellent. He makes each character stand out by reading this novel with a good range of voices and tones, both male and female.

    I realize this review is in the minority. But that's to be expected in the reading community. We all like and dislike different things.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • And Then it Happened

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Linda Green
    • Narrated By Suzie Aitcheson
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    Mel Taylor was thirteen years old when she found her Mr Right. Twenty years on they remain blissfully in love. She has the man she adores, a gorgeous daughter, a great job and a dream home. But Mel's seemingly perfect life is spoilt by a dark secret and a niggling fear that her good fortune can't last for ever. Despite her husband Adam telling her to live for the present and stop worrying about the future, Mel can't shake the feeling that someone is about to call time on their happiness. And then it happens.

    Leisha says: "HAVENT YET FININSHED BUT LOVE THIS STORY"
    "Dark Chick Lit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was the first book I'd ever read by Linda Green. Given the dark nature of the story, I'm reluctant to trust her again.

    Throughout the story Mel, the wife, alerts us to something terrible she'd done in the past. This impacts many of her decisions, and one in particular. Adam, her husband, knows that Mel's perspective on life is one where she waits for the other shoe to drop into her very happy, perfect life.

    Then the shoe does drop.While I don't mind a bit of tragedy in my chick lit, or realistic situations, I do mind that light beach reading doesn't have a lighthearted resolution. Although probably a "true to life" ending, it was depressing.

    However, it is very well written.The juggling Mel does is appropriate.The inconsistent support she receives adds to the depth of the novel. Mel and Adam's daughter is simply adorable. The pace is good. Green's talent as a writer is evident.

    As always, Aitcheson is a wonderful reader. She is one of my favorites.

    It's possible that this type of story line is not typically Green. But since this was my first read by her, I cannot comment on that. If you can accept a dark topic and an ending that is unsettling, then by all means the book is fine. If you want something more along the lines of a Sophie Kinsella novel with lots of humor, then bypass it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Attachments: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Rainbow Rowell
    • Narrated By Laura Hamilton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (681)
    Performance
    (603)
    Story
    (605)

    Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder, coworkers at The Courier, know the newspaper monitors their office e-mail. But they still spend all day sending each other messages, gossiping about their coworkers, and baring their personal lives like an open book. Jennifer tells Beth everything she can’t seem to tell her husband about her anxieties over starting a family. And Beth tells Jennifer everything, period. Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill still can’t believe that it’s his job to monitor other people’s e-mail.

    Julie says: "Just what I'd hoped for"
    "Chick Lit With a Twist"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    From the author of acclaimed Fangirl and Eleanor & Park comes this take on the idea that big brother is watching.

    Lincoln has what he considers to be a questionable, third-shift job in IT. He reads all the emails that come through and flags them for inappropriateness. He does his job as expected until he reads the emails between Jennifer and Beth. Intrigued, he continues to read them until he becomes so engrossed in their personal exchanges that he decides he won't flag them or give the women a warning.

    Set in the Y2K panic, Lincoln preps his newspaper for the perceived, yet unlikely automatic IT shut down of the newspaper on New Year's Eve. Yet all the while he questions the integrity of what he's doing as he continues to read Jennifer's and Beth's written conversations. And he questions the ethics of the whole job.

    This is a great novel told from Lincoln's point of view. He is shy, nice, courteous and somewhat geeky. Ultimately he makes a decision that changes his life and also impacts the lives of others. This decision tears at the reader's heart making you want to jump into the book and help him.

    Rowell does another excellent job of writing and portraying real lives of people we live and work with every day. We get pulled into knowing each character and find ourselves caring about them. We want the guy and the girl to win the day and cheer for happily ever ever. Yet we are never sure of the outcome because we know how real life works. The good guy doesn't always win. Will Lincoln?

    Hamilton reads the story very well. I highly recommend the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Selection: The Selection Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Kiera Cass
    • Narrated By Amy Rubinate
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1318)
    Performance
    (1200)
    Story
    (1210)

    For 35 girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime: the opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth... to be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels... to live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her, and leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want.

    Shannon says: "You might want to wait... if you hate cliffhangers"
    "Cinderella Without a Glass Slipper"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a lovely trilogy, young adult novel that has elements of fantasy and a reality show all rolled into one. Through a country wide selection process covering eight casts, America, in artist cast five, becomes one of 35 teenaged girls to be considered by Prince Maxim for his wife. The 35 girls travel to the palace and begin the competition. Right off the bat America demonstrates her hot temper and tendency to make critical errors that get her into trouble. Yet Maxim finds her intriguing, although the King finds her unsuitable, creating many problems for his son.

    Throughout the trilogy, the competition continues and girls get cut as Maxim dates them on the palace grounds. Sylvia, the girls' mentor presents them with projects designed both to teach them social graces and work expected of a princess.

    While Maxim deals with the ever increasing anger of his father over America continuing in the competition, America deals with the fact that her hometown boyfriend, Aspen, in cast six, has followed her to the palace to become a guard. This creates the love triangle she copes with while simultaneously dealing with the idea that Maxim may love one of the other girls in the competition. Her feelings bounce between Maxim and Aspen, and Maxim and her competitor Chris. All the while Northern and Southern rebels attack the palace, keeping everyone in danger.

    All of this creates the tension that is built up from book one. Each book dwells on fewer and fewer competitors, and we get to know bits and pieces of many of them until in book three we are down to five, and then four. And then two.

    Cass does a great job of showing us America's confusion with learning about love, and a different life in general. And while America loses her sense of self from time to time, she manages to retain the core of her spirit and sense of right and wrong. The same can be said of Maxim and Aspen.

    As a reader I fell in love with the characters and was impressed with Cass' ability to show us different characteristics of each one. Cass maintained the tension and gradually increased it. If there is one criticism of the books, I would say that America developed her trust, and revealed essential parts of herself too slowly. Occasionally I wanted to shake some sense into her. But then I had to remind myself I'm reading about a 17-year-old girl from my much older age. Then her continual uncertainty made more sense.

    This three-book series is entirely suitable for young girls. It is a love story set in a war-torn background, but there is no graphic sex or violence. There are some scenes of intimacy and gunfire, but all are appropriately written so it can be read by teenagers without parental guidance, although I can easily see mother and daughter reading it together. It will retain the interest of both.

    Rubinate reads the story beautifully and I could not detect a single error. The voices are distinguishable and her enunciation and tone are ideal for the story.

    I polished up this series in two weeks, reading it driving to and from work, during my lunch hour, remaining in my car when I got home, while I made dinner, and even while I showered. I highly recommend the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The One: Selection, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Kiera Cass
    • Narrated By Amy Rubinate
    Overall
    (710)
    Performance
    (649)
    Story
    (650)

    The time has come for one winner to be crowned. When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown - or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose - and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants.

    Katheryne says: "Fabulous Final Installment"
    "Cinderella Without a Glass Slipper"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a lovely trilogy, young adult novel that has elements of fantasy and a reality show all rolled into one. Through a country wide selection process covering eight casts, America, in artist cast five, becomes one of 35 teenaged girls to be considered by Prince Maxim for his wife. The 35 girls travel to the palace and begin the competition. Right off the bat America demonstrates her hot temper and tendency to make critical errors that get her into trouble. Yet Maxim finds her intriguing, although the King finds her unsuitable, creating many problems for his son.

    Throughout the trilogy, the competition continues and girls get cut as Maxim dates them on the palace grounds. Sylvia, the girls' mentor presents them with projects designed both to teach them social graces and work expected of a princess.

    While Maxim deals with the ever increasing anger of his father over America continuing in the competition, America deals with the fact that her hometown boyfriend, Aspen, in cast six, has followed her to the palace to become a guard. This creates the love triangle she copes with while simultaneously dealing with the idea that Maxim may love one of the other girls in the competition. Her feelings bounce between Maxim and Aspen, and Maxim and her competitor Chris. All the while Northern and Southern rebels attack the palace, keeping everyone in danger.

    All of this creates the tension that is built up from book one. Each book dwells on fewer and fewer competitors, and we get to know bits and pieces of many of them until in book three we are down to five, and then four. And then two.

    Cass does a great job of showing us America's confusion with learning about love, and a different life in general. And while America loses her sense of self from time to time, she manages to retain the core of her spirit and sense of right and wrong. The same can be said of Maxim and Aspen.

    As a reader I fell in love with the characters and was impressed with Cass' ability to show us different characteristics of each one. Cass maintained the tension and gradually increased it. If there is one criticism of the books, I would say that America developed her trust, and revealed essential parts of herself too slowly. Occasionally I wanted to shake some sense into her. But then I had to remind myself I'm reading about a 17-year-old girl from my much older age. Then her continual uncertainty made more sense.

    This three-book series is entirely suitable for young girls. It is a love story set in a war-torn background, but there is no graphic sex or violence. There are some scenes of intimacy and gunfire, but all are appropriately written so it can be read by teenagers without parental guidance, although I can easily see mother and daughter reading it together. It will retain the interest of both.

    Rubinate reads the story beautifully and I could not detect a single error. The voices are distinguishable and her enunciation and tone are ideal for the story.

    I polished up this series in two weeks, reading it driving to and from work, during my lunch hour, remaining in my car when I got home, while I made dinner, and even while I showered. I highly recommend the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Elite

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Kiera Cass
    • Narrated By Amy Rubinate
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (948)
    Performance
    (856)
    Story
    (859)

    The selection began with 35 girls. Now, with the group narrowed down to the Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon's love is fiercer than ever. The closer America gets to the crown, the more she struggles to figure out where her heart truly lies. Each moment she spends with Maxon is like a fairy tale, filled with breathless, glittering romance. But whenever she sees her first love, Aspen, standing guard, she's swept up in longing for the life they'd planned to share.

    Katheryne says: "This fan girl enjoyed it...love triangles and all!"
    "Cinderella Without a Glass Slipper"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a lovely trilogy, young adult novel that has elements of fantasy and a reality show all rolled into one. Through a country wide selection process covering eight casts, America, in artist cast five, becomes one of 35 teenaged girls to be considered by Prince Maxim for his wife. The 35 girls travel to the palace and begin the competition. Right off the bat America demonstrates her hot temper and tendency to make critical errors that get her into trouble. Yet Maxim finds her intriguing, although the King finds her unsuitable, creating many problems for his son.

    Throughout the trilogy, the competition continues and girls get cut as Maxim dates them on the palace grounds. Sylvia, the girls' mentor presents them with projects designed both to teach them social graces and work expected of a princess.

    While Maxim deals with the ever increasing anger of his father over America continuing in the competition, America deals with the fact that her hometown boyfriend, Aspen, in cast six, has followed her to the palace to become a guard. This creates the love triangle she copes with while simultaneously dealing with the idea that Maxim may love one of the other girls in the competition. Her feelings bounce between Maxim and Aspen, and Maxim and her competitor Chris. All the while Northern and Southern rebels attack the palace, keeping everyone in danger.

    All of this creates the tension that is built up from book one. Each book dwells on fewer and fewer competitors, and we get to know bits and pieces of many of them until in book three we are down to five, and then four. And then two.

    Cass does a great job of showing us America's confusion with learning about love, and a different life in general. And while America loses her sense of self from time to time, she manages to retain the core of her spirit and sense of right and wrong. The same can be said of Maxim and Aspen.

    As a reader I fell in love with the characters and was impressed with Cass' ability to show us different characteristics of each one. Cass maintained the tension and gradually increased it. If there is one criticism of the books, I would say that America developed her trust, and revealed essential parts of herself too slowly. Occasionally I wanted to shake some sense into her. But then I had to remind myself I'm reading about a 17-year-old girl from my much older age. Then her continual uncertainty made more sense.

    This three-book series is entirely suitable for young girls. It is a love story set in a war-torn background, but there is no graphic sex or violence. There are some scenes of intimacy and gunfire, but all are appropriately written so it can be read by teenagers without parental guidance, although I can easily see mother and daughter reading it together. It will retain the interest of both.

    Rubinate reads the story beautifully and I could not detect a single error. The voices are distinguishable and her enunciation and tone are ideal for the story.

    I polished up this series in two weeks, reading it driving to and from work, during my lunch hour, remaining in my car when I got home, while I made dinner, and even while I showered. I highly recommend the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Warnings of Gales

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Annie Sanders
    • Narrated By Kim Hicks
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (38)

    Three women rent a holiday house in Cornwall for the summer. Each brings with her children, baggage (in every sense), and expectations, in this sparkling follow-up to Goodbye, Jimmy Choo. There's control freak Imogen; fluffy and easygoing Sophie; and Jo, a friend of Sophie's who was roped in at the last minute when the first choice of housemate pulled out. A sardonic East London GP, all she really wants to do is put her feet up. Can these three polar opposites ever get along?

    Holly Helscher says: "Tale of the Development of Female Friendships"
    "Tale of the Development of Female Friendships"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Although Sanders has taken a slight detour here from her usual plots, this was an interesting tale of three women who develop a friendship. Imogene, Sophie and Jo rent a house for about three weeks to take a summer holiday. All three have kids and bring them along. Imogene and Sophie are married and their husbands join them on weekends. Jo is the odd woman out, although develops a love interest with the kids' surfing instructor.

    Annie presents the continuums of the women's characteristics well, and in a fashion Imogene and Jo grow as people throughout the course of the novel. Sophie remains nearly the same. Sophie is the one who knows each of them and has pulled them together for the holiday even though Imogene and Jo hadn't known each other previously.

    The chief flaw in this novel is Jo, who has no redeeming qualities. As a reader, I feel I was supposed to like her. But I couldn't. Sanders took me time and time again to the brink of liking Jo, but failed to take me over the top. For example, Jo is irresponsible in telling her summer housemates where she is going and when she'll be back, all the while leaving the other two to tend to her son. Most people would not do that. She comes off as mean spirited and aloof; rude and lacking in any type of social grace. At one point Sanders writes a scene in which Jo doesn't know how to do the Heimlich maneuver, and Jo is a doctor! It seemed odd.

    Sanders develops the tension among the women and within the house very well. But the climax is forced and far too near to the end to make a difference to me as a reader where Jo is concerned. By then Jo is someone I want to get away from and stay away from. On the other hand, in spite of her high levels of organization and insistence on being a Walt Disney type of mom, Imogene is someone I liked and would like in real life. Yes, from time to time she may make me feel inferior as a mother because I wouldn't "do all that," but I can easily accept Sophie's conclusion that people have different talents and interests and it doesn't mean that you are less than. It just means you are different.

    Sanders is excellent at representing the kids and kid dialogue. She is also good at showing us what it's like to have a holiday with other families and how it can become grating on the nerves.

    If you enjoy Sanders and expect her usual chick lit formula, you will be disappointed in the book. If you can accept that she has written something different here, you will enjoy it. The usual plot line (for her) does not impact her writing skills. As far as the narration, I thought it was adequate, although at times Hicks lost track of the characters and had to right her boat. But those moments were not significant enough to detract me from the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Summer Rental

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Mary Kay Andrews
    • Narrated By Isabel Keating
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (475)
    Performance
    (352)
    Story
    (350)

    Ellis, Julia, and Dorie. Best friends since Catholic grade school, they now find themselves, in their mid-thirties, at the crossroads of life and love. Ellis, recently fired from a job she gave everything to, is rudderless and now beginning to question the choices she's made over the past decade of her life. Julia—whose caustic wit covers up her wounds—has a man who loves her and is offering her the world, but she can't hide from how deeply insecure she feels about her looks, her brains, her life.

    Sharon says: "Perfect fun summer reading!"
    "Not the Best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When three young BFF females take to Nags Head for a month long vacation, the reader expects some chick lit fun in the sun. But Mary Kay Andrews misses her usual mark in this book. While the plot itself could have been delightful and full of Andrews' wit and Southern Charm, it fell flat. Andrews must have dialed this one in. Its primary sin was info dumping of the women's common child and teen experiences. Enough already! Get on with it. The most interesting aspect of the book was Madison, a loner who Dorie befriends in a diner and brings her back to the house, without prior approval from her buds.

    Every author is entitled to a bad write now and again, so I accept that Andrews was in a rush when she wrote this. I can forgive the narrator because she did have to go back and forth between a Southern accent and a Jersey accent, but there were times she she forgot which character she was reading. That may have been the funniest part of the book.

    If this is your first Andrews read, don't give up. This is not a shining example of her true writing talent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • My Husband Next Door

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Catherine Alliott
    • Narrated By Alison Reid
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (18)

    When Ella married the handsome, celebrated artist Sebastian Montclair at just nineteen she was madly in love. Now, those blissful years of marriage have turned into the very definition of an unconventional set-up. Separated in every way but distance, Sebastian resides in an outhouse across the lawn from Ella's ramshackle farmhouse.

    Holly Helscher says: "No Real Tension"
    "No Real Tension"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ella married Sebastian with the plan of them both being famous artists. The plan didn't quite work out, although Sebastian made a name for himself before losing his muse. The two separated, but not quite. After the family moves to a farm two kids later, Sebastian jettisons himself to one of the outer buildings and soon becomes the husband who lived next door.

    Early on in the book as Ella thinks back to when the two were madly in love, there is a brief reference to a secret which bonded the two in a special way. After that we are given a parade of characters stemming from Ella's parents, to Sebastian's aunt, to Ludo, the gardener with whom Ella is having a non sexual affair. Throughout the book Ella whines. We are constantly in her head and the action is minimal, as is the tension. And the secret? We never hear about it again until the very last pages of the book. At that point it is irrelevant because unless you are an extremely determined reader, you'll never finish the book.

    The dialogue is superficial at best and Alliott doesn't get the teenage dialogue of her children right. It is unrealistic, particularly in Ella's son. Even at 17 or 18, no kid that age would talk like he does, even in a permissive home which Ella seems to cultivate.

    The book itself is dull, slow paced and pointless. There are no real laughs. The character that is the most well developed and who shows real personal growth is Ella's mother. Ella, herself, is whiny and overreactive on multiple levels. The reader grows weary of her early on, but continues reading in hope that something, anything, will happen.

    This is my first experience with an Alliott novel and I have no intention of buying another one. The narrator, Alison Reid, does very well, but I feel sorry for her that her talent was wasted on such a poor novel.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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