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Haven of Kindness

By: Jacqueline Coote
Narrated by: Nancy Hays
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Publisher's Summary

Kim, an RN, who has dedicated most of her life in the caring of others, has now come to realize that she should start thinking of retiring and leaving that part of her life behind her. Kim now wants to fulfill her dream while she still can in order to enjoy the rest of her life. While doing so, she finds herself once again involved in the caring of two people, Beatrice, an elderly yet feisty woman, whose life consisted of many personal tragedies and Bill, a strong and proud minded man, whose past haunts him and who is now stricken with a debilitating disease. Beatrice and Bill haven't spoken to each other in years and while Kim can help them physically, emotionally they will have to heal themselves. A sweet and tender story of dedication, love and forgiving that will warm your heart.

©2014 Jacqueline Coote (P)2020 Jacqueline Coote

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Listener received this title free

Not a fan.

I was looking for something different, apparently women's fiction, and came across this book. I liked the idea of retiring and moving away to live in the wilderness, so to speak. Living in the mountains with a lake in your backyard sounds nice.

On the other hand, the last chapter or two really did me in. I get Kim likes helping people but, at the same time, she comes across as very pushy, manipulative, and someone who likes to get involved in other people’s business, whether they ask for the help or not (take Bill and the old woman), even though she only means well. Her forcing Bill to make up with Joe’s mother was over the top. It shouldn’t matter if both were nearing death’s door. If Bill didn’t want to see her, Kim had no right to force him into doing so just because she allowed him to move in with her, which she pretty much insisted he do, and then tells him he has to follow her rules. I don’t think so. Then to make it even better, Bill’s not ready to give up his independence but there’s Kim only thinking negatively, “Oh, but you’re only going to get worse. You need to move in with me.” Yes, because she couldn’t just continue to visit him since he lives close by. How long had he lived by himself before the fire, probably a long time?

On that note, I had several issues with this short story:

1. The back and forth between the characters' perspectives, in a single scene. I believe this is a no-no in the writing world especially when it comes to a character-driven story, which this is, and not a plot-driven one. I think if a character's POV is used, that character should be important to the story. Yet, there were several side/not-really-important characters whose POV's the reader/listener follows in this book. At times I was confused as to who's POV I was listening to because they would go from verbally speaking to inner dialogue/thoughts, one character to the next.

2. The excessive use of inner dialogue/thoughts. I'm all for the behind-the-scenes look when it comes to how a character truly feels, what they're not saying out loud, etc. Yet, I couldn't figure out why the author would have used so much inner dialogue and not have changed some of it into the narrative, all the "She thought" and "she said," in her head, out of her mouth; and this happened with the side characters as well. It's like she wasn't really telling a story (lack of narrative) because the majority was dialogue.

3. The lack of contractions. When it comes to writing dialogue, I can't help but think that contractions sound much better, more natural than without. "I am going home" as opposed to "I'm going home."

4. The repetition. There was a lot of repetition throughout this short story. Such examples include
"...successful in clearing the SPOT, she looked through the SPOT."
"Getting back to reality, she continued to walk through the house. She CONTINUED to show..."
"...as she VISUALIZED in her mind someone wearing a cobbler-style apron cooking and baking there at one time. She could almost smell and VISUALIZE..."

5. Dialect. Now I can see how having a character who talks differently can add to a story. But, please, tell me I'm not the only one who was somewhat annoyed with how slowly the narrator spoke for Bill? I understand he has neurological issues, and that’s how some people with his condition speak, but I couldn't help wondering how his dialogue was written. Either way, I didn't look forward to any of the scenes he spoke in.

The narrator had a nice speaking voice but needs more practice. The random pauses throughout the story were very annoying; for example, "The boards creaked... underfoot." I'm not sure what the issue there was with the pausing, but based on that, I wouldn't listen to her narrate again. There were also times when it seemed like she had to pause to make sure she knew how to pronounce a specific word or just said the wrong word. Sometimes you can hear a smile in someone's voice, that was the case when the narrator read the part about how Kim looked outside and saw the rowboat; "It looked like it hadn't left the dock in years." For whatever reason, it sounded like the narrator was on the verge of laughing.

Questions/Comments:

Kim thought Bill sounded condescending because he wanted them to call him by his first name and less of a business appointment?

The relationship between Kim and Janet was strange, in my opinion. Common sense would tell you that realtors aren't looking to be your best friend but are hoping to sell a property aka make a living. Yet, Janet was being honest with Kim when they looked at her "dream house," when she repeatedly told her that it needed a lot of work. That's the sign of a good realtor. Yet Kim decided differently when Janet offered positive comments/suggestions about the house while they were walking through it. I just didn't understand that scene; for example, when Kim looks at Janet "with an evil eye" while saying "It's okay" [the house] as though Janet wouldn't pick up on Kim's expression, or that something was off with her, not to mention I had a hard time imagining someone calming speaking "it's okay" while also having an evil eye. Or when Kim described Janet as being a snob and pushy. I didn't get that vibe at all from Janet. Or Kim thinking that Janet was an SOB because she told her that it was cold in the house....

When looking at the books on Bill's shelves, in what seemed like it was just her glancing around, she was able to point out the genres he preferred, historical fiction, nonfiction, informative reading, and fiction. Was she able to do this based on the titles? It just seemed too specific, like had she spent some time there looking through the books than okay, but she didn't.

I wasn't a fan of the fact characters spoke in certain "tones of voice."

There were some questionable phrases; for example, Kim "closed down the lid" of a trunk. That's the use of redundancy there. If Kim "closed" the lid, then obvious the trunk's lid when down. Or Kim ends up using the "hood attached to her raincoat." Why not just say her hood, period. If it's raining and the character pulls her hood up, the reader should be able to figure out the character is wearing a coat/jacket. Or Kim’s tear that went “gracefully down her cheek.” Or the redundancy here: “She said with much enthusiasm in her voice.” Why not just “Said she with much enthusiasm”? Given the character is talking, the reader should be able to figure out that she said her comment, using her voice.

What year was this story taking place in?

The idea that Kim didn't want Janet to know she was interested in the house made no sense to me. If Janet were representing the current owner and/or friends with the current owner, then I could see not wanting to have the owners know she was interested, but I don't remember Janet ever saying she represented the current owner. That's because she didn't. The interesting thing is though is that the bank owned the house so her hiding her true feelings about it "really" made no sense.

The scene where Bill talked about how Joe had tried to save his life didn't work. If you listen/read it carefully (and have critical thinking skills), you'll see that Bill knows stuff that would have been impossible for him to have known; for example, how would he have known that Joe was heading in his direction, was trying to get his attention "several times," had swerved around the IED, was trying to shoot the IED to get it to explode, that Joe had lost control of the jeep, if Bill hadn't even been looking in his direction, instead focused on his own shooting? Sorry but no.

During Bill's story, he mentioned that he'd been at the VA hospital in Albany, New York. If the story is taking place in New York (near the Adirondack Mountains, why exactly would have mention where Albany was? Or how Joe’s parents had resented Bill for Joe’s death, saying Bill should have been looking out for himself. What? Technically he was if he wasn’t paying attention to where Joe was.


I received a free audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Listener received this title free

Short but sweet

A sweet story with acts of kindness from an RN nurse named Kim. This book reinforces how short life is and how a small act of kindness can impact others. I really enjoyed the descriptive imagery that was present in the book.

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Listener received this title free

great book you will enjoy

I throughly loved this book, excellent story that made you think about how short life is and that you need to stop buying things off until tomorrow, tomorrow may not come. we all work hard and we need to enjoy life more. This book/story reminds me to do so. thank you I really enjoyed this book and will recommend this to my book club girls.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Listener received this title free

Forgiveness is everything!!

I really enjoyed this little gem of a book! It took just over 3hrs, I believe, to go on this ride... and let me tell you, Kim is the kind of nurse I want to taking care of me when I get older 😉

There's a huge sense of compassion and forgiveness in this book, those elements are strong, but I must admit there was something that bothered me, simply because I just couldn't make sense of it... (Spoilers Ahead)

The scene where the neighbor with ALS explains his sense of profound guilt, and why it's there - he says he caused Joe's death because first Joe was trying to warn him of danger on the battlefield, but because of massive gunfire he couldn't hear Joe yelling. And besides, he was too focused doing his job searching for snipers. So then Joe and another soldier get in the Jeep and they're driving over there to cover the IED but Joe lost control of the steering, the vehicle flipped, and both passengers died, "they never had a chance" is what he said.

So my question is... How does he know all that? That he was trying to warn him and was coming over to save him? Because if you look at the same exact scene through Bill's eyes, he's looking through his scope, searching for snipers, massive loud gunfire going off all around, then all of a sudden the platoon's vehicle is coming twd his direction and flips, his buddy Joe dying in the wreck. The guy that was with Joe didn't survive to tell Bill any of these details, like "yeah, he tried yelling for you, tried getting your attention about the IED next to you, you couldn't hear him though so we were coming over to cover it" - so how in the world does he have all this guilt of "my best friend died trying to save my life?" How does he know that???

Normally I wouldn't make a point of questioning little things like that, but in this story it's not little - it's a whole ass plot point. It's why Joe's parents, who he was particularly close with, stopped talking to him, why he has this guilt, and a severe need to be absolved from it.

Anyway, other than that one question/small confusion, I really liked Haven of Kindness. The writing/storytelling remind me a lot of Catherine Ryan Hyde, Diane Munier, and Debbie Macomber - it's that good! I want to thank the author for giving me the audio book so that I can share my thoughts and opinions with y'all 💛

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Listener received this title free

Sweet story

I really enjoyed this sweet book. I do wish it had been longer though. I’d like to have gotten to know the characters better. I really loved Kim, she seems to be such a caring and helpful woman. And her relationships with both Bill and Beatrice were beautiful. Really sweet book!

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  • Liz
  • 11-17-20

A pleasant way to pass a rainy afternoon

An easy listen with a moral attached and although rather short still entertaining enough to pass time. The narration is great, the story pleasant with a cast of characters most can relate to. If you like simplicity, kindness and warmth, then this is the audio to put next on your list.