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Posted August 21, 2012
Posted on Romancing the Book's blog
Reviewed by Ursula
Review COpy Provided by the Publisher
This is a very short story, but a well written one. The opening grabs you right away when you ‘feel’ what Emma Grace felt upon her return to her childhood home after 10 years. A horrible and frightening event happened when she was only 17 that left so many lives changed; Emma Grace’s, Noah’s and Margaret’s, Emma’s grandmother.
The characters were well developed for such a short story, but there was still enough mystery surrounding Emma Grace and Noah, that the ending is surprising.
The one thing that pulled me out of the story a time or two was the author’s use of some of her descriptive words. She used words that seemed more to impress rather than enhance the story. There were a couple of times they didn’t seem to be the right choice. For example; “They often parked at the end of the drive and took pictures of the condescending mansion most thought beautiful.” I think I know what the author was getting at, but ‘condescending’ seems to be an odd choice of words.
Even with the occasional odd descriptive word pulling you out of the story, which thankfully is only in the very early part of the story, it is a good read. The ending is surprising, but there were a few comments in the story that made more sense once you reached the end.
I enjoyed the bittersweet story…while the twist ending was wonderfully done, one can’t help but wish life could always be, “Happy Ever After”!
Posted June 16, 2012
I don't know if it's a novella or a short story, but (at about 67 pages) it's a very quick read. In fact, that's practically my only complaint: TOO SHORT!
Immediately after finishing this story, I went back to the beginning and read it again. And I NEVER do that with a book!
But I had to with Hawthorne because ... well, I can't tell you without spoiling it for everybody. Suffice it to say that I was so surprised that I re-read it to see what I'd missed. When you read it the second time, folks, it's a completely DIFFERENT story!
Yeah, I know, you're skeptical. Well, I'm serious: I've never done with a story what I did with this one --- immediately read it again.
I already knew Sarah Ballance was a talented author, but this is the first of her books that I've read. Now I'm itching to latch on to another one!
Posted February 4, 2012
"Hawthorne" by Sarah Ballance was a good short story that draws you in from the very first read to the end. It is a very quick read so get ready! Ms. Ballance writing is very amazing and being so powerful it will move you to tears. The story has some paranormal romance and mystery that has a lots of unexpected twists that will surprise you with a great ending. The characters will be remembered long after you have finished her readings ....simply amazing.... Emma Grace Hawthorne, Noah Garrett, Margaret Gray Hawthorne,Doyle, Randy Franklin, Abigail, Henry, Gil, Wade, and Alma. I found the plot of the story,the characters, the setting description and the the mystery were simply wonderful. I will say the ending was not saw coming! Wow! I would definitely recommend "Hawthorne" as a excellent read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 24, 2012
This novella held a little of everything for me. It brushed on romance,(which I love), kept me in suspense and had me wanting to read more from the very first page. I'm not a huge fan of scary movies or books, cause I can't sleep at night. But this was light and though an eerie feeling crept over me while I read, I simply couldn't put it down. That says a lot for me. Through the descriptions I was able to sympathize with characters emotions, and could picture the scenes unfold before me. I was right there. A book well done in MHO. I will be purchasing another book from Sarah Ballance.
Posted January 23, 2012
Sarah Ballance has a way with words. This story was incredible and from the first sentence I was hooked. Not only was the story descriptive, well thought out and detailed, but her characters were so real I felt I wasn't just reading, but right there with them living every scene.
This was an amazing read and I couldn't step away until I'd finished the story to find out what happened to Noah and Emma Grace at Hawthorne manor. I loved the intrigue, romance, setting, characters, descriptions, mystery...I loved it all!
Well done Sarah Ballance!
Posted October 13, 2011
I really loved this story one because it's set in Louisiana and two because it deals with an old, haunted southern manor. Once again, Sarah Ballance delivers a beautiful story and the writing, of course is superb! The ending caught me by off guard I have to admit, in a good way. I was so drawn into the story and the descriptions that I was genuinely surprised by the ending. I found myself re-reading parts of the story for hints or clues. Overall, this was a fantastic novella! I highly recommend reading this story, a great one for Halloween! If nothing else you have the opportunity to donate to a great cause which is the Japan relief. In turn you will be helping Tsunami victims with your donation.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 9, 2011
Well the cover certainly depicks whats inside once you have read it !! ** Cover love **
Once again Sarah does not dissapoint !! A wonderful written story that will draw you in from page one and leave you speechless at the very end. !!!! ** adds in daannannaaaaaannnn **
Emma Grace has returned home to Hawthorne Manor to say goodbye. She has found her first love - unbelievable family secerts and a mistake in which she alone could right.
Not only does she find her freedom and is able to move on in life, she also gets to say one last goodbye.
** My thoughts **
Oh my !!
Sarah has created a story that will leave you heart broken, teary eyed, gob smacked and captivated by the twists and turns that become about.
An ENDING - that is certainly unpredicable by any means, it will leave your heart shattered, - mouth agape and Im sure mesmerized by the crafted story in which Sarah has weaved throughout.. A ghostly story, magically written to encase your heart , fall in love with both the characters and a plot that glides right throught till the very end.
A quick read that will stay with you, Im sure !! But great for a cuppa and time out moment !!
Remember things are not quite what it seems..
Posted September 3, 2011
Considering this is a charity title, I should have gotten to this one so much sooner and for that I apologize both to the author and to those that the charity benefits. Charity information will be at the end of the review. All that said, I'm kind of glad that this one ended up getting left until now because with Halloween right around the corner this is the perfect time of year to read this one. Hawthorne is full of ghosts, a haunted manor, long buried family secrets and, of course, romance. Emma Grace is haunted by her past at Hawthorne Manor and the last thing she wants to do is return but when news reaches her of her grandmother's death she is drawn back. Emma needs closure but returning also means seeing her childhood love, Noah, again. Noah stayed at Hawthorne Manor as an employee, helping Emma Grace's grandmother. He hopes to one day see Emma Grace again, but he's not really very optimistic about that really happening. When she finally returns, all the old feelings come to life between the two of them again. The beginning is sufficiently creepy and suspenseful enough to immediately grab your attention. The descriptions of the old manor and the landscaping surrounding it are vivid. You can see yourself in the deep south, with the moss hanging from the trees and the air humid enough to almost see. The emotions of the characters are so real that it makes you remember your first love and your first heartbreak. The author does such a good job with the atmosphere that you almost feel like you are in another time, or in a bubble hidden from the rest of the world. Short length stories like this sometimes leave me feeling like they are incomplete. It's hard to write something that can paint a complete picture, develop characters that people fall in love with and have a satisfying conclusion within such a short amount of pages. I've read many novellas that I really liked but was left feeling like it would have been better as a full length novel with more time to really develop the story/characters. That was so not the case with this one. While I would have loved this one to be longer, just simply to spend more time immersed in this world with these people, I didn't feel cheated at all by the end. I read this book within an hour or so. Once I started it, I couldn't put it down. I loved these characters and by the end I wasn't sure how to feel. I wanted to cry and smile at the same time. When I finished it, honestly, all I could do was sit there - a little awestruck. These characters and this story will stay with you long after you have turned the last page. Ms. Ballance has earned a new fan. I can't wait to check out more of her work. Charity information: All proceeds sent directly from the publisher to charity in support of Japan disaster relief. Your contribution through the purchase of this and other AP charity titles is greatly appreciated!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 15, 2011
Hawthorne is a well crafted love story with a touch of mystery and paranormal. I thought the characters were very believable and I found myself completely immersed in the story. I was so surprised at the ending. Hawthorne is one of the best short stories I have read in a very long time. I highly recommend this book. For the price, take a chance; you'll be pleasantly surprised and the proceeds are directed to the Japanese disaster relief charities.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 14, 2011
HAWTHORNE had me intrigued right from the start. I loved the cadence of Ms. Ballance's words. She paints a fantastic picture. It has everything: mystery, romance and a prodigal returning home.
The story took quite a few unexpected twists, especially at the end. I highly recommend this story for anyone who likes a little mystery.
HAWTHORNE is a charity release. All proceeds from the sale of this short story will go to Japan disaster relief.
Posted August 14, 2011
Author: Sarah Ballance
Publisher: Astraea Press
Genre: Paranormal novella
Note: 100% of the proceeds from Hawthorne benefit Japan disaster relief charities.
Emma Grace left home ten years ago and never looked back. Why? Because a horrifying accident and an encounter with the unexplained left her with scars that never healed.
But Emma is coming home, the death of her beloved Grandmother the catalyst for her to face what happened all those years ago.
She knew that she might see Noah, but what she didn't expect was that he still could affect her heart. It's going to make coming to terms with what happened and saying goodbye to the past that much harder.
Not to mention the fact that the unexplained still lurk in the shadows at Hawthorne Manor and as much as Emma Grace tried to forget them, they never once tried to forget her..
This is my first opportunity to review a novella and all proceeds of this book go to charity. What more could a girl ask for?
A good read perhaps?
Hawthorne wasn't just a good read it was a great read! I really wasn't sure what to expect when I picked this up, I admit I don't usually read novellas. Only because sometimes they feel incomplete to me, like the story could go on but didn't.
This was not the case with Hawthorne. It was a full, complete story. When I put it down I didn't feel like there was anything missing, all the elements of a great story were there. There was good characterization, which to me, in a novella, is key. The writer has to have a good skill for imparting the character to the reader quickly but thoroughly and still move the story along. I will say the only thing I wished for was maybe better description of what the characters looked like. But even that set my imagination to work, creating a picture in my head of the perfect Noah. ;)
The storyline was well thought out. It included romance, mystery, paranormal, gossip and even had a good climax towards the end. The author did a great job moving the story along, flowing everything together with ease.
The setting of the book was great too: An old manor, modernized by money and for convenience, yet still somehow stuck in the past and clinging to its history. The image my mind conjured was of sweeping rooflines, romantic balconies and a quiet expanse of lush lawn with the sweet, heavy fragrance of blooming flowers floating through the air. It is the perfect setting for all things paranormal, where things appear perfect but aren't.
And let me just say that my favorite part of this novella was the end. I won't say much more because I don't want to give it away (what fun would that be?) but I will say that it was fabulous and something that was unexpected.
I highly recommend this novella for anyone who loves to read paranormal. It's an easy read, a quick read and it is great for transporting you away from your own mind and into someone else's. I live in the south, where the heat is sometimes unbearable and the air is heavy with humidity.some days I just want to stay inside with my air conditioning and a cup of tea and pretend that it isn't blistering outside. Hawthorne was the perfect excuse to do that. Even if you don't live where the heat keeps you in, you can take this book outside with you and enjoy it on a brilliant summer day.
You won't regret it. And what makes it even better is that by buying this book you will be helping others in need. Hey, it's all in a day's w