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"Loss of Innocence is a stunning tour de force by one of my favorite novelists. This coming-of-age story electrifies with the authenticity of the Sixties--the sex, politics, language, mores and music. And Martha's Vineyard, with its heartbreaking beauty, is the ideal setting for an engrossing drama of a so-called perfect family riven by its secrets. Richard North Patterson, always brilliant, is better than ever."—Linda Fairstein, author of The Deadhouse
"Loss of Innocence is an extraordinary novel--profound, emotionally involving and totally addictive. This may be Richard North Patterson's best work: surprising and different, yet with the same ability to penetrate the minds of others--especially women, which is a rare gift."—Stephen Fry, The Fry Chronicles
"Loss of Innocence, second of a projected trilogy, is the compelling account of a family's collapse amid multiple betrayals in the bloody year 1968. The book moves at high velocity, is grandly plotted with a crescendo of an ending. This is Richard North Patterson at the top of his game."—Ward Just, author of An Unfinished Season and Rodin's Debutante
"A snapshot of America at a pivotal moment in history, and a beautifully written coming-of-age novel."—Lady Antonia Fraser, author of The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Must You Go?
"Wealthy, WASPY and protected, Whitney Dane lives a life of privilege under the seemingly benevolent patriarchy of her powerful father. At the family summer home on Martha's Vineyard, political violence and anti-war protests seem far away. But in the course of the season, cracks open in her closest relationships, exposing rot and darkness within and linking Whitney to the larger issues of race, class and corruption that roil the country. Richard North Patterson has created a richly textured romance, deftly set amid the seismic social shifts of 1968."—Geraldine Brooks, author of Caleb's Crossing
"At a time when the â??60s are often vilified, Richard North Patterson revisits that era in this terrific new novel and reminds us that it was a time of moral awakening. Set in 1968, Loss of Innocence tells the story of a young woman's discovery of the true meaning of freedom. Moving into new territory with this coming-of-age novel, Patterson is a great storyteller."—Carol Gilligan, author of Kyra and In Other Voices
"Like male novelists of the Nineteenth century, Richard North Patterson actually looks at the world through a woman's eyes. He tells us the story of a girl born into a derived identity, and her path toward who she is and what she wants. In one life of the 1960s, he symbolizes a movement that keeps changing all our lives."—Gloria Steinem, author of Revolution from Within
"Patterson's family drama thrives on the expected... Patterson writes a family saga of class and money, power and pretense, love and loyalty. Think The Thorn Birds or Rich Man, Poor Man among the Martha's Vineyard moneyed set."—.Â .Â .
"Set in the summer and fall of a pivotal year in American history, 1968... Patterson's latest offers up an appealing family drama set against the backdrop of a radically tumultuous and influential time."—Kristine Huntley, Booklist
"A title that is dripping with summer diversions, youthful passion and ideals, class tensions, and familial disruptions makes for wonderful reading whatever the season."—Library Journal (starred)
Richard North Patterson’s LOSS OF INNOCENCE is a vivid chronicle of an unforgettable moment in American history, deftly paralleling the news headlines with the seismic changes that befall a well-off American family during the summer of 1968. Its themes of love, class struggle, familial obligation, and generational clash are as relevant today as they were a generation ago.
1. While Whitney is the clear protagonist or “heroine” of the novel, is any one character the antagonist or “villain”? What is the main source of the obstacles Whitney must overcome?
2. It is uncommon for a male author to write a novel with a female protagonist. How does Richard North Patterson succeed in doing this?
3. While Charles Dane married into the wealth of Anne’s family, he has also earned his status and prestige through his own intelligence and tenacity as a financier. Discuss how his relationship to wealth throughout his life affects his actions and expressed views in the novel.
4. Where and on whom would you ultimately place the blame for the failure of Whitney and Peter’s relationship? Could their marriage have ever worked?
5. Consider the political conflicts present in LOSS OF INNOCENCE: The justification of the Vietnam War, the growing influence of minority voters, the changing roles of women in the home and workplace, and others. Which of these are still relevant today and to what extent? Are any of them still present but in a modified form?
6. At the beginning and end of the novel, we see a grown-up Whitney reflecting on how her life turned out. Do you think the grown-up rebellious youth of 1968 like Whitney can relate to the rebellious youth of today, or do they have as much trouble understanding the current twenty-something generation as their parents had understanding them?
7. Discuss Peter’s recollection of his father and Whitney’s subsequent musing over whether Peter should have chosen a career that allowed him to work with children. To what extent do Peter’s later actions overshadow the compassionate, selfless side he reveals in this scene?
8. Ben is the only major male character who does not succumb to the temptations of adultery. What is it about his personal constitution and the circumstances of his life that enables him to do this?
9. Most of the major characters in LOSS OF INNOCENCE have hidden lives that they keep hidden from the outside world in one way or another—Whitney dreams of a more independent life, Janine conceals her struggles with substance abuse and eating disorders from her family, Charles has affairs, etc. Based on the events in the novel, does it seem like it is ever a good thing to live this way, or should one always be completely frank and open with family?
10. Discuss the values of Anne Dane and the lives she envisions for her daughters. Is she a sympathetic character? Do her temperament and priorities help or harm her family?
Posted October 25, 2013
First, I was stunned by the high number of "typos!" I'd guess more than 20 of them. There is even a final one in the author's acknowledgement!
But I certainly enjoyed the story. I'd forgotten the significance of the last name of the main character ("Blaine"). And I knew the author was a part-time resident of Martha's Vineyard.
So it wasn't until his "Acknowledgement" that I realized that this book was actually the "precursor" of last year's book "Fall From Grace." How delightful!! So I immediately re-read last year's book and now look forward to the concluding book next year.
9 out of 10 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 November 2, 2013
1968 was a watershed year and the story of that summer told through the eyes of a young woman preparing for her September wedding is brilliant. To read this book is to relive a very important time in history.
5 out of 5 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 November 11, 2013
I'm still uncertain about this latest book by RNP. I've read all his books and this one just doesn't seem like his style. After a few chapters I was tired of Whitney, her family and friends. I don't know why this book wasn't the first of the trilogy, introducing the characters for Fall From Grace". Just seems backwards. The main reason I'm undecided about the book is that the story was somewhat interesting, but not up to the type of books I've enjoyed by RNP. It was borderline trashy romance novel, not suspense, legal thrillers RNP has written in the past. I'll add RNP's books to the "buy when they hit the bargain table" list rather than when first published.
3 out of 6 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 October 27, 2013
After pre-ordering and reading Nathan DeMille's The Quest only to find out that it had been written and published 40 years ago, with some sex thrown it to make it more current. I vowed never to pre-order again until I could read other customer reviews. Unfortunately, Richard North Patterson's Loss of Innocence was on order.I found that the book had numerous typo's.For a newly published book that is not acceptable.Shame on Quercus and Random House! Shame to Barnes and Noble for reccomending books without noticing problems. Shame on the author,whose last several books have fallen flat. He was one of my favorite authors,so I continued to buy his books...but no more. This story was a pre-quel to Fall From Grace and is to be continued with Eden In Winter,which I will not be reading.Sorry Mr Patterson,but having lived through the turbulence of the late 1960's,this book took 267 pages out of 349, to even pick up tempo.
3 out of 8 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 October 25, 2013
This was a well-written, well-crafted story. It was interesting throughout, but my comments are not about the story. The only flaw I saw in this book was the editing. There were a half-dozen spelling or word usage mistakes that were clearly the work of a computerized spell checker. There were others that simply got by the final proofreaders. This is not what I expected from Patterson.
But ignore those and enjoy the wonderful story.
3 out of 5 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 July 13, 2014
The summer of 1968 was a time for turbulent change in men, women, and the world we all lived in. High profile political assassinations, back door dealings, and the war no one wanted to fight for in Vietnam. For Whitney the turmoil is all background noise at first as she prepares for the wedding of her lifetime and goes about conducting daily exploits in her privileged life.
When Whitney comes upon Ben a man her age with so much more life experience the perfect path Whitney had chosen becomes riddled with pot holes. Ben is recovering from the turmoil created when Bobby Kennedy was murdered and the fact that he is about to be deployed to war. He is cynical about life, bitter about his past, and determined not to live the life that everyone expects. All this resonates with Whitney as she has always been the good girl doing everything that is expected of her but thinking that there has to be more than being someone’s wife and mother. Everyone warns Whitney that Ben is corrupting her way of thinking clearly including her fiancé but the realization that you are your own woman capable of making your own choices is not scary but liberating.
For Whitney it is not Ben that forces her to see life through different eyes but her own family that is not the perfect home everyone thought it to be. If her parent’s marriage is not the standard for her achievement perhaps it is time to find something else to go after and try to realize her own dreams which are attainable.
Fabulous read about a time that seems so far away but one we are living over and over again.
2 out of 2 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 October 21, 2013
I don't know if the book was good or bad but this Nook Book sells for $16.49 marked down from $26.95.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I can only read Nook Books as I ave Maculare Degeneration and I need a gray background and large print. BN loss. Patti
2 out of 15 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 April 7, 2014
I enjoyed this 1968 story of Martha Vineyard residents, politics, and a young woman of the wealthy class coming of age. I did not realize it was part of a triology (the 2nd). I would consider it a summer beach read. An easy read that holds your attention.
1 out of 1 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 August 8, 2014
Very well-written, captivating, but some of the family details are hard to follow; try to ignore the typos if you can.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 26, 2014
I didn't realize this was the 2nd in a trilogy. The prologue was a bit confusing, wasn't sure who the characters were.. After reading the book, I went back and reread the prologue, which made more sense then. It was interesting reading about 1968 as I still remember that year well (the year I was married). I did like the characters of Whitney and Ben. I haven't read any of Patterson's previous novels. I might be more inclined to read his earlier ones. Don't think I will read the other 2 in this series.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 22, 2014
Posted February 16, 2014
Well written and evocative of the 60s. Patterson captured the confusion in gender and class roles during that turbulent time. I wish he had clarified the modern day characters as well as he did with the flashbacks.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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