Customer Reviews for

Next to Love

Average Rating 4
( 28 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Wonderful historical fiction about friendship...

This is a perfectly wonderful story about three friends who meet when they are very young and stay by one another as their lives and perspectives change dramatically over time. The narrative gives the reader perspectives from each about the same incidents in the histor...
This is a perfectly wonderful story about three friends who meet when they are very young and stay by one another as their lives and perspectives change dramatically over time. The narrative gives the reader perspectives from each about the same incidents in the history of the world at, then coping with the aftermath of war and in their own personal lives. Beyond being an engaging story, it is beautifully written.

posted by MattCH on August 18, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

I must be the only person that read this book that thought it boring. I did not like how it went back and forth in diffrent time periods. The ending was so so.

posted by 18403605 on October 2, 2011

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  • Posted August 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful historical fiction about friendship...

    This is a perfectly wonderful story about three friends who meet when they are very young and stay by one another as their lives and perspectives change dramatically over time. The narrative gives the reader perspectives from each about the same incidents in the history of the world at, then coping with the aftermath of war and in their own personal lives. Beyond being an engaging story, it is beautifully written.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent novel, highly recommend

    I could simply say that this was one of the best books I've read this year and be done with it but that wouldn't be very fair, would it? So here goes.
    Babe, Grace and Millie are great main characters with an equally strong supporting cast. They are the girl from the wrong side of the track working to support herself, the debutante with her husband's family taking care of her and the orphan convinced that she's earned the right to have her husband come home alive. The maid just wants her son to go to college and scrubs and cooks to make it happen. The father who's lost his son is angry at all those who survived and came back. They are all well-written, they all ring true and as I was reading the book I felt like I knew if not someone exactly like them but people who have their personality traits. The relationships between friends are very spot-on in that while they'll do anything for each other they don't always like each other very much. Marital relationships are equally balanced and very realistically require work, which we especially see in Millie's case.
    It was a little difficult at first to follow the course of events because the book isn't done in strict chronological order. It's done in sections by point of view, with Babe's being the dominant one, and chronologically within those sections so the accounts of events overlap each other and by the end of the book we have a fuller picture of everything that happened and how the events shaped the different characters.
    Next To Love is a rather ambitious project in terms all the subjects covered in it and I love that Feldman didn't shy away from the difficult and the traumatic. It's all there: racial tensions, separation between social classes, position of women in society, raising children without their fathers there, rebuilding families once the fathers have returned, soldiers returning to their lives and suffering from not being able to go back to normal. While the first three may not be a dominant concern any more the rest on this list are still relevant for us today. We are a nation at war after all, we have children growing up with one or both parents only a memory and a portrait on the mantle, we have soldiers coming back with PTSD and reliving what they've seen time and time again. As Feldman said closer to the end of the book "there is no after to war".
    There's so much more I can talk about but time is short. I loved it for the characters, the language, the narrative voices, the powerfully unhurried development of the story, for not revealing plot twists before their time but merely hinting at them, for keeping me on the edge of my seat on occasion and in the end making me wish the story didn't end. Now go read it and discover for yourself why it's so good, there are plenty more reasons between those covers.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 2, 2011

    I must be the only person that read this book that thought it boring. I did not like how it went back and forth in diffrent time periods. The ending was so so.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Nostalgic Look at War, Friendship and Family

    Next To Love is the story of three women and the role World War II plays on their lives. In the beginning of the story Babe, Grace and Millie all end up sending their men off to fight World War II. The three women have to deal with the separation of war and the constant fear of receiving bad news. Babe works in the Western Union office and gets to see the news that will change peoples lives on a daily basis. We see the women dealing with their lives back home while the men are off fighting the war. Grace is a young mother and wife, while Millie is expecting her first child as their husbands leave to fight the war. All three women have been friends since childhood and stand by each other during this difficult time.

    The next part of the story deals with the women and how their lives change after men come home, and the war is over. I really don't want to say too much as I want this review to be spoiler free. Let's just say the war has long lasting effects on all involved. There are losses and demons to be dealt with.

    As the storyline continues, we see changes in American history that also brings changes to the three friends and their families. Reading this book made me realize how much our country changed in the time period that the book takes place, 1941-1964. I knew the Women's Movement and the Civil Rights Movement changed life as it was but never gave much thought to the technology changes during this time period. I never thought much of the correlation between all these changes and the war but after reading this book, I see now how World War II played a role in our country's changes.

    The author has written this book in a way I found most unusual. Some of the time periods and chapters overlapped. It sounds confusing but as long as I read the heading on the chapter with the date, the story flowed smoothly. The story was told through the viewpoint of each of the women. I found it interesting to read about a certain event through the eyes of two different women. The way the story was told was very effective.

    I enjoyed the nostalgia of this book. It took me a very different time in our history and made me understand my mother a bit more, seeing she lived through this time period herself. I enjoyed taking this journey with Babe, Grace and Millie. I highly recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    "NEXT TO LOVE" (REVIEW)

    "NEXT TO LOVE" BY ELLEN FELDMAN (REVIEW)

    I cried, I laughed, there were even some places I where I couldn't do anything but sit with my mouth wide open in complete mysticism.

    This story of Babe, Grace, and Millie is one you will never forget. The journey with these three women through World War II and beyond is simply remarkable.

    The characters are real and you find yourself living through them instead of just watching the story unfold. It doesn't matter how many books you've read about World War II or what aspect they were written from, you will be forever changed by the story through the eyes of these three remarkable women.

    -Kitty Bullard / Great Minds Think Aloud Book Club

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2014

    Ending was too abrupt. I thought this was a good book and it def

    Ending was too abrupt. I thought this was a good book and it definitely is a nice read, however, I thought the ending was completely inadequate. I turned the page expecting to find the final chapter, but there was no more. Other than that, there were times that I thought it was a bit disjointed, but overall it was OK.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2014

    SIGNS FOR LOVE

    SOME OF THEM

    You start listening to slow songs<p>You have trouble focesing on a promblem/conversation.<p>You start to daydream more often if you already daydream.<p> Im not nameing anyone, but i bet you were thinking about him/her the whole time while you read this.<p>:D<p>

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2014

    'Fun' party at teenage dream

    Pleasr cum

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2014

    To Brad

    Slaps you.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2013

    Great book!!

    I really enjoyed this book about three women who are friends from their childhood and grow together as their life changes and their husbands go off to war.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2013

    To below (RANDOMNESS QUESTS)

    Read my post at random second result. It was an honest mistake. Stop being rude, please. I should call you a name back... but I won't. I tend to be more respectful, and you... call me names for simply making a small mistake. I did NOT do that on purpose, fyi. SORRY BOUT THAT GUYS! :3 Anyway... QUEST ONE: 'frogclan' result twelve QUEST TWO: sorry, there is a small mistake. Read my post at 'random' second result, the quest is at 'portal' first result. THANKS FOR UNDERSTANDING! :) ~RaNdOmNeSs_QuEsT~

    0 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I won this book in the mystery giveaway by Random House. Thank

    I won this book in the mystery giveaway by Random House. Thank you to Random House and Ellen Feldman for the opportunity to review this book.
    Synopsis:
    Grace, Babe, and Millie are friends that live in South Downs Massachusetts. The time is 1942 prior to the draft and the beginning of the World War Two. Once America is attacked each woman must face time alone and be there to support one another in friendship. Grace is home alone with her daughter Amy while Charlie fights in the war. Millie is dying to marry Pete before he heads off to fight and marries Pete. Babe and follows Claude her man to the camp and marries him. The women support each other but who will survive? What will life be like after the war?
    My Thoughts:
    I felt this book has a poignant view about World War II. This book reminded me of the film Flags of Our Fathers where we see how the war impacted the soldiers who participated. In this book the author shares what it was like for those who survived the war and those who did not? The book is very well written and compels you to come along for the ride with these women.
    There are many emotions involved in this book. The soldiers who survived the war came back changed men from who they were before. My father described this experience with my grandfather. He asked questions like would dad been different had he been able to deal with his feelings after the war. This conflict affects the relationships between the wives and the soldiers. Your emotions are pulled between to the two sides.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2012

    Bad...

    I bought this book after "The Help". I anticipated a different writing style, I loved the different views "The Help" provided and maybe that's why I hated this book. Anyways there are these painful descriptions that are unbelievable and unnecessary. I couldn't finish it.. and it was sad and unhappy and a bring me down. BLAH!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2012

    Good read

    Holds your attention entertaining

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  • Posted April 15, 2012

    There is no plot to this book at all. It simpy follows the day t

    There is no plot to this book at all. It simpy follows the day to day life of three women. At the beginning of each chapter, it tells you what month and year the chapter covers and whose point of view it is from, but within each chapter, there will be flashbacks. With no lead in or ending. It seems like stream of conscioiusness writing, with little editing. Cannot finish this book. Halfway through and I give up.

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  • Posted March 19, 2012

    Review: Next to Love

    This story follows three childhood friends, Millie, Grace, and Babe, from the beginning of World War II when their men are called to war and continues after as they must all pick up the pieces and carry on through life after it has ended. Grace struggles when her life takes an unexpected turn and has difficulty leaving the past. In Millie's efforts to move on with the future, she finds that her past catches up with her despite all her attempts. Babe is burdened by a secret that haunts her for years to come. After the war, she knows her reality is much different from what others believe from the outside looking in. No one can escape the horrors of war, but the real difficulty lies in rebuilding.

    This is another read that took me a few pages to get into, but I eventually became hooked and enjoyed the read. This is not a story that merely takes place during WWII, but rather focuses on how three friends and other individuals in a small town cope with WWII and its effects. It can be sad at times but just when I was convinced that some of the circumstances was hopeless, I would find myself a believer once again. I loved how real the characters felt. They were flawed and interesting. The story provided a lens into the lives of many characters. Luckily the titles were great clues to which character was speaking. Though, I think the reader would be fine without it.

    Overall, this is a very good emotional read. It isn't at all predictable and I think it would make a great book club book.

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  • Posted January 17, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent novel

    This novel brilliantly depicts the effects of war and its aftermath on the men who fight and the families they return to. Though this begins as a WW 2 story, the evolution of the trauma of war continues to be realized in the succeeding decades. Very worthwhile.

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  • Posted January 10, 2012

    WAR, FRIENDSHIP AND TRUE LOVE

    I ENJOYED THIS BOOK, DAD AND TWO UNCLES ARE WW 2 VETS THIS NOVEL OPENED MY EYES AND HEART TO WHAT THEY MAY HAVE EXPERIENCED DURING THIS TIME IN AMERICA. I LOVED THIS STORY AND ALL THE CHARACTERS, I WANTED THE STORY TO GO ON AND ON, I THINK ITS A TRUE LOVE STORY.

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  • Posted September 5, 2011

    Good read

    Good fast read. Liked and enjoyed main characters. Liked the way the story was set up. Only thing I can say is although I liked the characters, I didnt feel warm with them as I have had with past characters in books. But definitely worth reading. Love the view points it allows the reader to see.

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  • Posted August 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Powerful look at young love forever devastated by war

    Babe, Grace, and Millie forged a friendship on the first day of kindergarten and it would seem they are destined to remain by each other's sides when as young wives their husbands ship out in 1942.
    But then comes that day in 1944 when sixteen telegrams are delivered to their small town and lives are changed forever. On the surface, the women remain friends and support each other, but the reader has a window into the private heartache the three face as the aftermath of World War II follows everyone right into their suburban homes of the 1950s and 60s, creeping into their kitchens and their bedrooms. You'll witness children growing up without knowing their fathers, but being expected to be true to them, and you'll witness the unromantic, but enduring healing of true love. Author Ellen Feldman writes about doing much research for this book, and I felt that waa apparent during the early chapters of the book. When I read the letters between the young husbands and wives, I could almost hear their young, hopeful voices
    repeat and repeat, "After the war, after the war," but as Babe's husband makes clear twenty years later, "There is no after the war." This is a book about lost dreams and lives that are changed forever, but it also a book about survivors, even those who don't want to survive. Other reviewers have mentioned the emotional distance among characters and between story and reader that the author created. I believe that distance adds to the realistic tone of the book. We, as readers, are learning their secrets, but they remain hidden from each other and to some extent still hidden from us.

    I received NEXT TO LOVE as an e-galley from NetGalley, and this review expresses my personal opinions.

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