The Wishing Hill: A Novel

( 11 )

Overview

What if everything you knew about your life was wrong?
 
Years ago, Juliet Clark gave up her life in California to follow the man she loved to Mexico and pursue her dream of being an artist. Now her marriage is over, and she’s alone, selling watercolors to tourists on the Puerto Vallarta boardwalk.
 
When her brother asks her to come home to wintery New England and ...

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The Wishing Hill: A Novel

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Overview

What if everything you knew about your life was wrong?
 
Years ago, Juliet Clark gave up her life in California to follow the man she loved to Mexico and pursue her dream of being an artist. Now her marriage is over, and she’s alone, selling watercolors to tourists on the Puerto Vallarta boardwalk.
 
When her brother asks her to come home to wintery New England and care for their ailing mother, a flamboyant actress with a storied past, Juliet goes reluctantly. She and her self-absorbed mother have always clashed. Plus, nobody back home knows about her divorce—or the fact that she’s pregnant and her ex-husband is not the father.
 
Juliet intends to get her mother back on her feet and return to Mexico fast, but nothing goes as planned. Instead she meets a man who makes her question every choice and reawakens her spirit, even as she is being drawn into a long-running feud between her mother and a reclusive neighbor. Little does she know that these relationships hold the key to shocking secrets about her family and herself that have been hiding in plain sight.…

CONVERSATION GUIDE INCLUDED

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
**Chosen by Ladies Home Journal as a Great Summer Read**

“A luminous novel of buried secrets.”—New York Times bestselling author Caroline Leavitt

"A story about love, loss, secrets, and finding out where we're really supposed to be."—Maddie Dawson, author of The Stuff that Never Happened

"A novel that sings: of love for a child, regret for life, and the quiet triumphs of survival and finding each other again."—Susan Straight, National Book Award nominee for Highwire Moon and author of Between Heaven and Here

"Vivid [and] compassionate." —Margot Livesey

"Robinson's first novel sparkles with warmth and wit while tackling the prickly sides of a mother-daughter relationship. . .With deeply emotional passages tempered by humor and some surprising romance, Robinson's portrayal of family members striving to forge deeper connections after self-imposed absences is compelling. Fans of Martha Southgate and Heidi W. Durrow will enjoy this tender, full-hearted tale of quiet triumphs, mended fences and new connections."—Booklist

"There are relationship twists aplenty, relationships rearranged and reassessed, relationships that grow and others that die, and brand new relationships to explore. . .Robinson's fiction debut is a good beach read for those who like to reflect on the complexity and messiness of family relationships."—Kirkus Reviews

“So appealing and addictive.”—Novel Escapes (4 ½ stars) 

"An easy and engaging read, The Wishing Hill is an excellent choice for book lovers who can relate to the sometimes thorny aspects of family life.”—Merrimack Valley Magazine

Kirkus Reviews
To love or not to love, and how? And just exactly what is love, anyway? Those are the questions 40-year-old Juliet Clark faces when she gets a call from her brother asking her to return home to care for their aging mother, who is recovering from a broken hip. Juliet is in the throes of a divorce she didn't want, and she's pregnant, to boot--although not by her soon-to-be ex--and doesn't much like her mother anyway. But she loves her brother, and his lawyerly persuasion prevails. She leaves her freewheeling artist's life in Mexico for a Massachusetts winter with her self-centered, demanding, theatrical mother. Desiree hasn't changed, and the pair resume bickering as if Juliet hadn't lived away for decades. Thus begins what at first appears to be a typical mending-a-mother/daughter-relationship story. Thankfully, about a third of the way through, a series of small revelations lifts the book out of its potential slide into predictability. There are relationship twists aplenty: relationships rearranged and reassessed, relationships that grow and others that die, and brand new relationships to explore. When Juliet finds the answer to her question about love, it leads her to make tough decisions about the course of her life. Robinson's fiction debut is a good beach read for those who like to reflect on the complexity and messiness of family relationships.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451415943
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/2/2013
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 603,213
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Holly Robinson is an award-winning journalist whose work appears regularly in national venues such as Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle, Huffington Post, Ladies’ Home Journal, More, Open Salon, and Parents. Her first book, The Gerbil Farmer’s Daughter: A Memoir, was a Target Breakout Book. Robinson holds a BA in biology from Clark University and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts–Amherst. She and her husband have five children, two cats, a grumpy hamster, and two very stubborn small dogs.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 2, 2013

    This is novel at its best. The story¿s sharp eye allows no one t

    This is novel at its best. The story’s sharp eye allows no one to take shelter, and it doesn’t flinch; it is simply and breathtakingly honest . . . A stunning accomplishment. I relished each moment that the author gave us in the book. The writing was superb and shows the intelligence and immense talent that has made the author a bestseller.

    Robinson did a very good job of creating characters that were relatable and interesting. The Wishing Well brilliantly melds together themes of family, hope, loss, secrets, and a mature once-in-a-lifetime kind of love. The result is a tremendously moving story that is destined to make bestselling author Holly Robinson a novelist to whom readers will return again and again.

    The book deals with family, love, loss, finding yourself, and the mysterious ways that life can impact us when we least expect it. The characters were very well rounded and had unique personalities and quirks that made each one unforgettable for the reader. The beauty of this book comes from the intricate details. It speaks volumes about the true nature of people and how we all deal with tough issues in life.

    Terrific book. I can't recommend it highly enough.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2015

    Braceynoellamuel

    I love this book i just read this hole thing it is cool

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2014

    awesome story.....I felt as though I was at the window watching

    awesome story.....I felt as though I was at the window watching the story take place.....brilliant story teller

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  • Posted March 5, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I loved the characters in this book and their interesting storie

    I loved the characters in this book and their interesting stories. 

    Contemporary Fiction is such a broad category that to label the book as such is really not telling the reader anything.  On the other hand, I am always a bit leery of labeling a book as Chick-Lit because I think that many readers make assumptions about the book based solely on that.  In fact, I used to think that I was not a big fan of "chick-lit" but as I have read more and more books in this genre I realized that I do like chick-lit, but that I am just picky about the books I read.  I find that if the characters have something other than the run of the mill personality or back story.  I am more likely to enjoy the book.  Likewise, if the plot is varied and the issues presented unique in some way, I am more likely to enjoy the book.  The Wishing Hill by Holly Robinson fits both of these criteria for me. 




    The main characters in The Wishing Hill are three women whose lives are linked together in an unbreakable way, although we may not understand what that is at the beginning of the book.  Juliet is a women coming up on middle age who finds herself suddenly on her own.  Her husband has left her and the bohemian lifestyle they were living, leaving her surprised and wondering where her life is leading now.  On top of it all, she finds herself unexpectedly pregnant after years of thinking that she is infertile.  Desiree is Juliet's mother, an aging actress who is used to being the center of attention and afraid that life is passing her by.  Claire, Desiree's neighbor, is a single woman in her 60s who has never married, but still is in love with the married man who she had an affair with in her early twenties.  All of them are strong women in their own way.  Even the male characters in this book were unique.  In fact, I would love to read a book where any one of the male characters were the main focus, that is how interesting they seemed to be. From Will, Juliet's staid, middle class brother, all the way to the divorced contractor working on Juliet and Desiree's house. 




    The storyline of The Wishing Hill did not disappoint, either.  It is more than just the a story of three women with intertwining lives.  Although the main focus of the book is on how the three women's lives intersect, we are also treated to their separate stories, which I found very interesting.  As with the male characters, I think that any one of these stories could have sustained a book all on their own.  You might think that having all of the stories in one novel would be confusing, but Holly Robinson uses different points of view and travel between locations to weave them together until they make one seamless story. 




    Holly Robinson's insights and superb writing talent made this book a joy to read and one that I would easily recommend to my friends, or even buy for someone.  As for me, I am looking forward to other novels by Holly and hope to read much more by her.




    Thank you to Holly Robinson for making a copy of this book available through the Sisterhood of the Traveling Book in exchange for my review.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2014

    Good Characters, Abrupt Ending

    This book held my interest, despite being a bit repetitive and corny at times. I like the message about how people aren't merely black and white, that each of us has imperfections and makes the best decisions they can with what they have. Interesting characters, but the ending seemed a bit abrupt.

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  • Posted November 29, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A good find for women's fiction readers with a great heroine who

    A good find for women's fiction readers with a great heroine who overcomes a sad childhood and marriage to find love and family. Too little romance for my taste, but that's what I get for picking up a women's fiction novel. The writing is excellent, the characters lifelike, the situations plausible.

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  • Posted September 5, 2013

    uliet has been dumped by her husband, is pregnant, and now has t

    uliet has been dumped by her husband, is pregnant, and now has to return to her home in New England to care for her mother whom she ran away from years ago.  What Juliet doesn't realize is that going home will reveal secrets that will forever change how she views her family and her future.




    The setting begins with Juliet, a successful artist living in Mexico.  Her husband, Michael, has left her and she has recently found out she was pregnant.  As she struggles with how to handle the chaos in her life, her brother, a successful and busy lawyer, asks her to return to the states to care for their mother after a fall breaks her hip.  Not surprisingly, Juliet agrees to care for her mother and this is where the story gets interesting.




    Juliet's mother, Desiree is an actress and is completely selfish and truly someone you will love to hate while reading the book.  She is negative, self-absorbed, and pouts if her daughter and friends don't cater to her. Desiree is definitely a drama queen in more ways than one. She makes everyone around her feel inadequate. You really feel quite sad for Juliet for having to deal with her mother.  While Juliet is home, we are also introduced to Claire, Desiree's neighbor.  Desiree and Claire do not get along and Juliet can't understand why since Claire has been nothing but kind to her.  As you can imagine, this is where the secrets come in.




    Juliet is also quite smitten with the handyman she hired to remodel her mother's home to make it more accessible once she returns.  Once Ian finds out she is pregnant, Juliet is afraid he won't give her a second look.  Ian's character though is quite surprising and I felt like he was a stable outsider for Juliet in giving her the advice and support she needed at just the right times.




    This story had several twists and turns and seemed to take its time in getting to the resolution of Juliet's problems.  Even though each step of the way was fairly predictable , I still cared enough about the characters to keep reading.




    The author has a great talent for describing settings, places, and things so that you could imagine yourself in the room.  For example:




    She could remember the nubby fabric of the couch and how her fingers fit through the webbed circles of the crocheted afghan, the smell of her mother's rose perfume, and the touch of Desiree's fingers in her own hair, gentle and unhurried. Page 112




    As the author described Juliet's paintings, you could envision the vibrant colors and scenes she was creating and wished you could hang them in your own home. Thankfully, Juliet's art allowed her a diversion and brought a sense of peace in her life.  You may not be completely satisfied once you finish the novel as the author doesn't tie up all the loose ends.  You are left to wonder about the relationships and decisions made and imagining how you hope they will turn out.




    This would make for a great book club choice as the characters and their decisions will give you lots to talk about.  The relationships in this book, though dysfunctional, will mirror some of the most "normal" of families. Even though this novel is full of regrets and missed opportunities, you will realize that behind all the secrets, there was a great love for each other.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I liked this book but didn¿t love it. I thought the story was b

    I liked this book but didn’t love it. I thought the story was basically good but parts of it really dragged for me. I really like the author’s writing style but I was never really invested in the story. I didn’t feel as though I couldn’t wait to pick it up again when I had to put it down. The ending is what really disappointed me. There was a lot that was left completely unresolved for me and this caused my opinion of the book as a whole to slip drastically.

    The characters in the book are very well developed and suited for their respective roles in the story. I really did like Juliet and I thought Claire was very intriguing. I also enjoyed the romance that developed between Giles and Claire. It was quite interesting to watch the relationship between Claire and Juliet as it progressed in stages. The characters and their relationships were really the most enjoyable aspect of the book for me. I will probably read more of this author’s books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2013

    Bored by it

    I guess i can understand in a way the 5 ratings but really, i couldn't wait for the book to end. At first it held my interest when the focus was on Juliet. But then it branched out to Claire, i kept skipping pages just to get through it. I had a difficult time with the sisters relationship. Then there is a relationship between Juliet and her brother Will that leaves you flat. Her relationship with Ian does the same...no energy, no substance...boring. had it been solely a book from Juliet's perspective, it would have been good. The author did not develop Juliet enough as she tried to spend time developing Claire. It would have been better for two books and really developed her main characters; she did not and the book was boring and dull.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The Wishing Hill by Holly Robinson This book is about Juliet, a

    The Wishing Hill by Holly Robinson
    This book is about Juliet, a painter who comes back to Boston to care for her mother who fell and broke her hip. In the nursing home she develops an infection and that puts her back in the hospital.
    Juliet's brother comes from CT to help out. Desiree, their mother was an actress and is now in her 70's.
    CLaire the next door neighbor remembers Juliet and saves her from going through the icy pond. The story tells of her life and marriage.
    Love what the title means and remember my daughter speaking of this same thing that happened around their house near Seattle. My grandson calls them fuzzballs. Love the link in this story about them.
    Claire and Desiree have their own secret and they are not sure how Juliet will take the news...
    Love the detailed descriptions of the different places and Juliet's paintings.. Especially liked hearing of the knitting for the charity-didn't see this coming!
    Love the path her career takes her to, so she can freely express herself.
    I received this book from Edelweiss by Penguin Group (USA) Inc.in exchange for my honest review.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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