Dawn C. (Meridian, ID)
Next to Love
I think anyone who has loved can relate to this novel, especially during our times with men off to war as their families wait back in the states.Three couples are split apart by war, and this novel encapsulates what happens to them all with circumstances and choices made. I enjoyed it very much as it is in my grandparents time, but carries over to today! I highly recommend this book.
Nan G. (Mazomanie, WI)
Next to Boring
I wanted to like Next to Love. The premise--following a group of friends from WWII until the 60's-- seemed to offer a different twist to the usual "women & friendships" novel. Instead I found myself struggling to finish, in spite of some beautifully written phrases and intriguing plot lines. The characters were one dimensional and felt stereotypical---the girl from the wrong side of the tracks; the good girl. What could have been a fascinating glimpse of history through the eyes of women who lived through it left me cold by the end.
Vivian H. (Winchester, VA)
Heart Rending and Impossible to Put Down
I began reading "Next to Love" during a 10 hour car ride over 4th of July Weekend and was absolutely mesmerized. Despite the fact I was visiting family, I kept sneaking off to read a few more pages and then felt a bit bereft with I as done - it left me wishing for more.
This book tells the stories of a group of friends, ordinary people damaged by WWII and how each person deals with or fails to deal with their own tragedies and grief. It is about resilience of the human spirit, accepting life on life's terms, having courage to change, or wallowing in resentment. The characters in the book rang true for me. I liked the three central women and felt compassion and empathy for each. That is a sign of a good book!
Sandra E. (Bend, OR)
What a disappointment! Being an enthusiastic, voracious, and eclectic reader, I have rarely experienced such failed expectations. Given the rich backdrop of our history (WWII through the Civil Rights era with a nod toward the coming feminist movement), I found he lack of character development disappointing and somewhat astonishing. With that kind of tapestry, what I encountered were poorly-rendered sketches of characters rather than the rich portraiture I felt could have been - and the characters never moved off the canvas for me. Some of the sentences are lovely, and I happen to enjoy the "switchback" chronology the author employs, both in books and film, but I continued reading on awaiting a sense of satisfaction/recognition/empathy which never came. I was left in the final pages with an overwhelming sense of "Is that all there is?" I felt the original story line was terrific, and I frankly expected to receive a heavy tome in the mail - so perhaps it is a case of taking on too much. At any rate, given the potential, I have to rate this one a "2", which I've not done before.
Wandel (Morrilton, Ar)
Next to Love
I found this book very ordinary. At times she wrote beautiful sentences, other times I could hardly follow. There was not one character that I really liked. I felt like there were to many unresolved situations.
Christine B. (st. paul, MN)
Next to love- After the War
Following three women through 20 years of friendship, despair, and unexpected losses in love and life make for a thoroughly enjoyable read. I liked the format of hearing about their experiences through each woman's perspective . Their stores of course are intertwined but make us realize that new beginnings are available to all of us through the love and support of our friends. Even though this takes place after World War II, its story would be just as effective today. I highly recommend this book.
Mary Lou M. (N Royalton, OH)
Next to Love
An extraordinary book! From page one it carries the reader away to another time, when the whole world stood together to win a war that would end all wars. Heart wrenching at times, wives, mothers & girlfriends waiting & praying on the home front for their soldiers/sailors to return to them. The view into three women's lives during this trying time is eye opening and at times you feel as if you are intruding into their private thoughts, hopes & fears. A beautifully written book, one of the most insightful tales of World War II from the perspective of three very different women. Would highly recommend this book, thank you Ellen Feldman for such a beautiful story!