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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller Jane Green delivers a riveting novel about two women whose lives intersect when a shocking secret is revealed.

From the author of Another Piece of My Heart comes the gripping story of two women who live on opposite coasts but whose lives are connected in ways they never could have imagined. Both women are wives and mothers to children who are about to leave the nest for school. They're both in their 40s and have husbands who travel more than either of them would like. They are both feeling an emptiness neither had expected. But when a shocking secret is exposed, their lives are blown apart. As dark truths from the past reveal themselves, will these two women be able to learn to forgive, for the sake of their children, if not for themselves?

©2013 Jane Green (P)2013 Macmillan Audio

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Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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    89
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    84
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    55
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    12
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    12

Performance

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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    83
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    55
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    51
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    12
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    16

Story

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    84
  • 4 Stars
    69
  • 3 Stars
    49
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    10
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  • Story

Two families' lives in shock

This is a story of two wives who have to share the shock and grief of learning something that unexpectedly impacts both their lives and that of their families. At first I wasn't very sure I liked the book, thought I had stumbled into some lightweight Chick Lit (and I still think it leans that way), but eventually I became engrossed in listening to the story, feeling I had to hear how it all worked itself out.

Although there is this secret that dominates the book, it is far from what I found most compelling. On several levels and generations there were mother-daughter stories that stretched throughout the book (and even, briefly, a mother-son one). Also the relationships among women as friends (or not friends) dominated much of it as well. Oddly, I found the "secret" that ties the two families together to have been less powerful than the individual portraits (the "family pictures" that give the book it's title, even though it also refers to a specific key incident within the story) to have been what made it worth listening to.

For reasons I did not understand, everything about Sylvie and her family life was told in third person, while Maggie's world was all described in first person. Maggie was the more self-absorbed of the two, while Sylvie was more concerned with others, so it could have been that, or it could simply have been a means of pointing to which woman was being focused upon at different times in the book.

I almost gave this story fewer stars based on what seemed to me to have been way too many and too blatant sex conversations between characters at various times. Either I'm so old that I'm out of touch with what younger people talk about, or else this was just inserted to make the book "hot enough" to appeal to some people. Whichever, it detracted from the story so much I almost put this book down several times. The author needed to decide if this was a steamy romance novel, or a serious book that explored the lives and emotions and psychological dynamics of people living their lives together. I decided in the end that the author's intent was to present an otherwise good and well-woven story of how people met and coped with a tragedy that affected two families, and must have felt some need, which somehow escaped me, to have inserted women having lurid conversations about sex here and there to give it an (unneeded) extra punch. Since the story was intriguing regardless, I recommend the book!

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Emily
  • United States
  • 05-10-13

Narrator ruined it for me

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I wanted to enjoy this book based on the reviews but I can't listen to the narrator any longer... It's like she speaks in a series of giggles... Even the parts that should have a more serious tone are tinged with her flirty sing-songy voice. People don't talk like this. I picture her in the sound booth with little cartoon bluebirds fluttering around her and sitting on her shoulder.

What was most disappointing about Jane Green’s story?

The narrator

How could the performance have been better?

Different narrator

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Ugh!

What was most disappointing about Jane Green’s story?

The story could have been so much more interesting.

What didn’t you like about Amy Quint’s performance?

The whole book was read in a sing song voice. I found rather annoying.

Any additional comments?

It was an awful book. I struggled to get through it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Enjoyed the story, but not the narration.

If you could sum up Family Pictures in three words, what would they be?

Predictable, with unlikeable characters, yet somehow engaging.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I think I preferred Eve to them all. She seemed the most consistent. Though most of the characters were almost flat and felt somehow unrealistic.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

It seemed like the narrator had an affected voice. This might just be her natural way of speaking, but I found it distracting. The only character that was okay with this way of speaking was Maggie, as her character was supposed to be affected.

Who was the most memorable character of Family Pictures and why?

There wasn't much depth to these characters in my opinion. The only woman who I enjoyed was Sylvie's friend. She seemed the most real.

Any additional comments?

Though I was anxious to hear how the story turned out, I was disappointed that we never got to hear from the character who the whole story revolves around - Mark. The story was hard to take not of the main plot, but because it seemed like the children were afterthoughts in their parents' lives. For Maggie this odd behavior had an explanation, but Sylvie did not seem involved with Eve at all either despite her setup as being a polar opposite of Maggie. Sylvie seemed content to just let Eve go to New York, disappear for a few days, and then ignored the whole anorexia thing for quite a while. It just doesn't jive with what the author seemed to want to portray about Sylvie's family v Maggie's family.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Predictable but Nice

Upon reading the summary of this book, I had a feeling how the plot would go. Let's just say I was right. As for you, whatever you are thinking this book is about - it is. Besides the predictability of the storyline, it was a good listen. It kept my attention throughout and it was a nice light listen, which is ironic because a lot of events in the plot are not anything to take lightly.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Worst narration ever!

I read the reviews on this book before listening and many poorly rated the narration but I had read that before on other books and hound the narration didn't ruin the book. That is not the case here. Not only was her voice annoying but her tone was always wrong. In somber, serious moments her voice was high and vapid, which really through off the entire story. I only kept listening because Jane Green is one oft favorites and my loyalty to her saw me through to the end but it was hard. I won't listen to anymore books by this narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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good read

Good character development -- good story of these 2 women who find themselves drawn together unexpectedly.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Laurie
  • Florence, KY, United States
  • 08-15-13

Green is slipping

I liked Jane Green's earlier books, but this was fairly dull. No big surprises, pretty predictable; really so-so.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Not the Great Jane Green I adore!

Where’s Jane? Surely she didn’t write this book!! It’s as if she has two great ideas for two books and smooshed them together and got a sub par book. I’ve read almost everything by Jane Green. I love her writing style but it didn’t shine through in this book. It was choppy and didn’t flow easily from one time period to another. I’d suddenly find myself asking how we traveled in time without there being and discussion of very important details.

Way too much time spent on mundane details that have little or no importance and then a launch in Time that doesn’t explain Two really important details of the book.

I could not wait for this book to be over. Slow, agonizing and I couldn’t cozy up to any of the characters. The Mom’s... ugh.... made me want to gag. The kids.... really?? The girls? Wow!

Nothing here worth listening too. Maybe has I read it I would think differently, but a bad book is bad no matter how it’s dressed up. Sorry Jane, this did t do it for me.

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  • DFW
  • South MS
  • 09-13-17

You Just Never Know

What did you love best about Family Pictures?

It was very intriguing to see that one man could be married to two women and keep it a secret from both of them.

What did you like best about this story?

Each woman thought that the other one had the perfect life but they finally found out that neither of them were perfect or had a perfect life.

Which character – as performed by Amy Quint – was your favorite?

Maggie.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. I had to stop and think about what was happening and speculate about what would happen next and what I might do in this situation. Apparently it does happen in real life...

Any additional comments?

Good book. Worth the credit or the $$s.