Lisa H. (Salisbury, MD)
Through the Looking Glass
Siblings Alice, Griffin, and Dinah, named for characters out of "Alice in Wonderland" lose first their mother in a freak accident, then their father. We get a small glimpse of them in their younger days before the story fast forwards to the adult siblings. All appear successful on the surface, but are struggling with relationships, and perhaps the unresolved issues of growing up without their parents. For the most part, the characters were likable; however I found them a little too cliche, and one dimensional. I wish they had been developed more fully. I would have liked to have had a few more glimpses of their childhood.
I looked forward to the parents perspective of their children's lives as they caught sight of them from heaven. I liked to think of these scenes as their view of earth "through the looking glass." The dialogue in these interludes was idyllic and the best parts of the novel.
This was a pleasant novel, easy to read. I give it 3.5 stars.
Ann D. (Clermont, GA)
Watching from Otherwhere
The three Stenen siblings, orphaned as young children, are going through adult crises unaware that their deceased parents are observing from "somewhere other". Cook's characters are realistic and her writing is spell-binding. You will be left asking yourself if we can ever be truly separated from those we have deeply loved.
Virginia B. (Foster, RI)
"Outside Wonderland" is an enjoyable read. The three siblings left behind by their parents' untimely and sudden deaths are engaging characters who immediately caught my interest. I found myself engaged in their individual struggles to form meaningful relationships and find some happiness in a world they could not trust. The commentary of the mother who fleetingly observes her three children's progress from some other timeless place reminded me of the narrator of "Lovely Bones" who has also died and looks back on the living.
Jan B. (Aiken, SC)
Author Lorna June Cook has a well crafted book that displays the endless love of parents for their children. She does a fine job of depicting the haunting loss young children feel throughout their lives after the tragic death of parents. The book also depicts the bond and support of siblings in troubled times. I liked the characters but wished I'd have known more about them. Overall, I thought this book was a wonderful and reassuring read.
Susan P. (Boston, MA)
For Those Who Like the Idea of heaven
This is the story of three young adult siblings who were orphaned in childhood. Their individual personalities and life events are engaging enough, but the plot seemed a little soap opera-ish (but who doesn't like a little of that?). The parts where their parents are watching and commenting from heaven seemed saccharine and contrived (even if you like that concept). Not everyone has a fascinating life but -- while I wanted to know what would happen at the end -- it all seemed a little one dimensional. Only one or two brief moments were truly tender.
Luisa A. (Flemington, NJ)
This was a very moving book that at times filled me with angst and in the end tied things together. I wish there could have been more insight into their youth - there was a gap between their younger selves and then as adults. That may have helped to better understand the who they were and why. None the less the story was moving and had me wondering at times - what would happen to my children if I was not around to help guide them?
Marta M. (Santa Ana, CA)
Wonderland of a read!
I really enjoyed this book. It was slow going at first but soon I found myself thinking about the characters and was excited to return to them. The characters were well written and made me smile and cry. Choices were made and consequences were paid but all the way through it they supported each other even when they were having a hard time themselves. I loved the fact that their parents were in heaven watching and hoping they would make the right decisions. It gave me hope and was a very encouraging novel. I think it would be a good novel for bookclubs and a fun one for mothers and daughters to read together.