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Posted August 23, 2011
Very real and compelling
I devoured this book, though it haunted me. Whalen has an uncanny ability to capture the mind of a woman and reveal how thoughts can become devastating actions. Her characters are spot-on real, so much so I wanted to yell at them! I loved that this story moved in the direction it did, as it served as a beautiful cautionary tale. Excellent writing, page turning story.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 25, 2011
This is an entertaining look at images and role models as nobody's perfect
In Essex Falls Ariel Baxter is the mother of three rambunctious sons (eight year old Donovan, six year old Dylan, and four year old Duncan). She works hard at her family photography business while her husband's work schedule leaves them with little time between them. Her prime pet peeve is how cheap her spouse is as he saves for a monsoon.
The Miller family is the next door neighbor to the Baxter brood. To Ariel they are perfect. The matriarch Justine always dresses to perfection, the husband Mark insures the lawn is mowed and nice looking; the two daughters (Cameron and Caroline) are well behaved. Also neighbors are Betsy and Tom; he is Justine's former boyfriend. Ariel ignores single mom divorcee Erica as being impaired by not having a husband-father. Instead she emulates Justine the great organizer.
Intriguing, readers will relish this fine neighborhood tale as Ariel learns perfection is not quite easy to achieve especially usually at exorbitant personal costs. The ensemble cast is fully developed so that readers can compare their traits just as Ariel did when she concludes Justine makes it look easy. However, as she learns more about her perfect neighbor Ariel begins to appreciate the brown patchy grass seems greener in her yard. This is an entertaining look at images and role models as nobody's perfect.
1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 27, 2013
Excellent Women's Christian Fiction Book!Everyone knows someone
Excellent Women's Christian Fiction Book!Everyone knows someone who seems like she has it all together, is always dressed so nicely, make-up on, hair done, Bible in hand or scriptures ready to share, a clean house, baked break or cookies in the oven, and a seemingly perfect life. At least, I can think of a few people in my own life that seem that way to me. Now, that is not to say that they are probably a Justine…with skeletons in their closet and secretly unhappy. However, I have often wondered, “what’s it really like?”.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
If you know someone like that and feel complete opposite, then you will certainly resonate with this book. If you don’t know someone like that, or perhaps you are a Justine-strong A type personality then you will certainly enjoy this book, too. Overall, this is a story that takes us behind closed doors, where church members don’t have access, where the process to do everything perfectly isn’t always shared…only the end results-perfection!
I loved this book and could relate to Ariel as she tries to keep up with the Joneses, so to speak, in a spiritual and Godly way. Her dream is to move into this posh neighborhood, Essex Falls, and she begins working as a freelance photographer to help save money for the move. Her husband, ever so frugal, really doesn’t want to move because it will mean that he will need to take another higher paying job and be away from the family more. However, Ariel soon gets her wish and moves into the neighborhood of her dreams where children play and parents have neighborhood parties. Living behind the main neighbor in charge of these soiree’s, Ariel soon begins to feel inadequate as she tries to maintain a clean home, bake bread and cookies, and manage her children, all with a gorgeous smile and crisp clothes. Justine invites her to a church meeting, where Justine discusses Godly orderliness and Ariel finds herself trying to emulate Justine at home and in the neighborhood. However, nothing is ever as it truly seems.
While Justine is painting this perfect picture of a Godly household, inside, she is hurt and angry, feels empty in her marriage, and soon seeks solace in the arms of an old flame. Marybeth gets so deep into the minds and thoughts of the characters, that the scenarios and actions of each character seem so real and authentic. Both Justine and Ariel have decisions they have to make and decide where their loyalties lie, and determine the fate of their friendship and of their marriages. This is an excellent story and gives great discussion opportunities for a church reading group and book club. I loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys Christian fiction.-Books in the Burbs
Posted January 2, 2013
The story captures you
This was my first book by the author and it totally captured my attention. I HAD to keep reading chapter after chapter. It is a Christian fiction novel but it does not have a lot of Christian "lingo" to wash away a good story. The women in the story make a lot of choices based on their characters and that is where you will see the Christian influence. One negative is that a couple of pages got stuck around page 140-152 and I had to skip to each page in order to read. I would read more books by this author.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 17, 2012
Great story, truely enjoyed it.
I got wrapped up in this book quickly and found myself looking forward to reading more. The author did an amazing job of making me feel like I was there, in the nieghborhood. The story really makes one think of all of the gossip and petty things tbat happen in real life. This could be my neighbors. Not too overly religous, just enough to remind us that God is at work. Normally I tend to shy away from this genre. But, I am glad I took a shot!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 17, 2011
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Posted June 1, 2011
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