the Eighth Wonderby Kimberly S. Young
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Nicole Benson is a self-made woman. She put herself through school, sacrificing marriage and children for her career. In the summer of 1997, at the age of 35, she finally graduated with a Ph.D. from NYU, but her life is thrust into chaos when her father, the only person she’s ever leaned on emotionally, is diagnosed with terminal cancer. After fifteen years in New York City, Nicole leaves everything and everyone she knows to teach for a year in Bradford, Pennsylvania to be close to her father in nearby Buffalo. Now, trapped in tiny Bradford, she has never felt more alone in her life. . . until she meets Tom Ryan. At 44, Tom represents what Nicole longs to be: settled, secure, and clear about his purpose and direction in life. Emotionally scarred, he and his wife of 23 years survived the death of their daughter to leukemia. Tom and Nicole’s story begins as a journey of self-discovery for both of them but turns to bittersweet tragedy when their friendship becomes love. Nicole risks offering what she has never given before, her heart; and Tom has never felt happier or more conflicted when he falls in love for the second time in his life. Their lives become intertwined and changed forever when they both must face the most difficult decision of their lives.
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This is a good romance that deals with the taboo of adultery. Many people may not like this book because of that, but that does not make it a bad story. There have been many movies that made a lot of money that dealt with the same thing (Unfaithful, Eyes Wide Shut, etc). This was a good book that dealt with the love between two people. The author did a great job of describing The Kinzua Bridge. The love that Tom emanated in his words were felt, and truly beautiful. The loss of Lisa was devastating and it is felt throughout the book. I am giving this book a 5/5. I was given a copy to review, however all opinions are my own.
A Forbidden love story written with compassion and sincerity. Becoming one with the characters Tom and Nicole in their struggle to be together even if they knew it was risky and wrong. Odds stacked against them but as Mildred pointed out in the book Love is not always fair regarding the things we know is important or make sense. Nicole, an independent, intelligent strong woman was used living life as she sees fit. Loving the lifestyle that her independence afforded her. Not willing to be committed to one man. Leaving a trail of failing relationships behind her. But at the age of thirty five when confronted with mortality through her father's sickbed she realized that she too needed stability, love and security. Meeting Tom Ryan he was all that and more. He was the first man she really cared for and loved. Willing to put every thing aside to be with him. But Tom Ryan was a married man, struggling with the death of his thirteen year old daughter. His cold marriage and a distant son. And at forty four he was going through life, doing what was expected. Being part of the community dedicated his life to the every day activities of the older people. He still loved his wife but they had no communication after the death of their daughter, each living separately from the other in their own world. When he met Nicole she was a breath of fresh air. Loving him even if he was pudgy, grey with no future to promise her. In between you learn more about them as the other characters featured in the story. Allison, Jennifer, Mildred and Carol that contribute to the questions they faced everyday. Each in their own way help them making life-altering decisions. Nicole's search for another position at the University of Colombia while her one year contract is coming to a close in Bradford. Tom's willingness to help and listen knowing that her leaving means he will stay behind and the end of their affair. As reader you get involved with their thoughts, the questions they faced. Knowing their decision would cause a ripple effect in other's lives. Tom struggling with his feelings for his wife, trying to connect with her and we see that at the end cleaning the room of Lisa it had a huge impact in there married life and the turning point in the choices to be made. He could never leave her, never loose the respect of his son, never betray them for his own happiness and at the end we see how these two people come to the same conclusion. To separate and never return to that place of happiness and love even if their hearts were aching for each other. The story of the Kinzua bridge neatly woven into the plot to make the story believable and real. The connecting point in their relationship and the one place they could be their self. Having their own rituals as a couple, growing as people and just be. The camp site that was left for her in his will and after eleven years of separation he still had her on his mind giving her the biggest of all. His photo still on her desk telling him how she loved him. Heart warming to the end as she take up the pen to write her story.
At age thirty-five, Nicole Benson leaves her New York life and moves to Bradford, Pennsylvania to be closer to her dying father. While in Bradford she feels very lonely, missing her friends and her New York life. Then she meets Tom Ryan. Tom, forty-four, is a secure and settled into his life, which is exactly what Nicole wants. The only problem, Tom is married for twenty-three years. His marriage is just hanging on after the death of Lisa, their young daughter. As Nicole and Tom’s relationship grows, the both fall in love, but where can this love go? When I was asked to read The Eighth Wonder I realized it was about extramarital affairs. I accepted the review hoping there was more to the story and there definitely is. This is a story of a woman, whose mother left her and her sister when they were just kids. This woman, Nicole, has made something of herself, but just isn’t satisfied with her life. She meets Tom, who is in a good place professionally, but his marriage is struggling after his daughter dies. Tom and Nicole meet, become friends, and eventually lovers. They also help each other realize what is missing in their lives and guide each other to happiness. Although cheating is so wrong, no excuses accepted, this is a loving story. A story that touched me, right in my heart, and part of me was actually hoping that Tom and Nicole would find some way to make it work. Another part of me was hoping Tom’s wife would find out and there would be a loving renewal in their marriage. The ending brought tears to my eyes and was not even close to what I was hoping for, but was still a great ending. I loved this story. There was so much love and caring shown. Please everyone read this novel.