Katherine S. (Seaford, VA)
The Gift of Forgiveness
This is a believable, tightly written book about painful mistakes made by likeable characters. Ben & Helen's marriage and life dissolves in slow motion after a death spiral by Ben. Their teen daughter is collateral damage, but somehow there is hope through forgiveness. A Thousand Pardons is a jewel of affection and redemption.
Elisabeth W. (Durham, NC)
Landing On Her Feet
I enjoyed A Thousand Pardons which is about a woman putting herself together professionally after being a stay-at-home mom knocked back by an unexpected divorce. A Thousand Pardons has a similar, contemporary feel to Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, but with less morose undertones. One of the reasons I related to this book is because it points up the financial vulnerability of the stay-at-home mom. It takes a lot of trust and courage to give up the ability to support yourself by letting go of your career to take care of children for the long term. I do think this book is targeted toward women 40-60 and would promote some interesting book club discussions!
Barbara W. (Watertown, NY)
Confession is good PR
Themes of transgression, confession and forgiveness are woven throughout this novel. The author also nimbly demonstrates how people in the most intimate of relationships can be so clueless about what the other person is really like. The fact that one character works in a public relations agency gives an uneasy picture of how character and truth can manipulated to fit our ideas of remorse and redemption.
Dorothy L. (Manalapan, NJ)
Forgiveness needed for A Thousand Pardons
I was looking forward to reading this book because it sounded interesting and the author had fine credentials. Unfortunately, for me, it was disappointing from the beginning and didn't improve all that much as I plodded along. I thought the dialogue in the opening chapter was unrealistic as written. The scene with the psychiatrist was not true-to-life. I had difficulty understanding Ben's unhappiness. Perhaps a smattering of flashbacks throughout the novel showing different periods of their marriage would've helped. I felt the strongest part of the novel was the middle section. It was refreshing to see the "injured wife" not stand by her man. Instead she was the focus instead of her husband and I liked seeing her grow and develop as a person in her own right instead of an appendage to her family. I wasn't that interested in the Hamilton episode. It seemed implausible to me as did the ending. What I thought was intriguing was that Sara chooses a boyfriend like her father--one who seemingly has "everything" but in reality has very little. There was little preparation in the novel for Sara's preference for her father at the end. Again some flashbacks of her relationship with both parents would have been helpful in understanding the way they behave when the story opens. It was not a particularly good book. It was not really bad. I wouldn't recommend it and I think there are better books around for book club discussions.
Mimi F. (North Venice, FL)
A Thousand Pardons
I always am fascinated by the ability of a male writers to develop a plausible female character and I believe that Jonathan Dee accomplished that task. Helen was believable and likeable as the main character who faced with adversity copes and indeed excels as she recreates herself by being true to her basic tenets. I thought that Sara reacted as a teenager caught in that situation would and I found it easy to dislike Ben, but I did understand Helen's feelings at the end. I felt that the disjointed tableau involving Hamilton weakened a novel that was otherwise strong in character development.
Charles T. (Asheville, NC)
Admit You're Wrong
An engaging book where a woman, whose family has fallen apart because of her husband's attempted fling, finds herself working for a Public Relations firm and, through her personal honesty and candor, becomes an expert in crisis management for corporate accounts. The main theme of the book, and the title, revolves around the concept that if a company or an individual simply admits their wrongdoings there is a good chance they will be pardoned. The tactic is difficult for many of her clients to accept. Their first reaction is to bluff and stonewall and refuse to admit any responsibility for what has gone wrong. But the main character's sincere and calm advise, to admit mistakes and ask for forgiveness, convinces them to give it a try and it works. The theme of the book is clear but in most instances the characters glide through crisis and catastrophe without suffering appropriate consequences.
Debb R. (Grand Island, NE)
Take your time with this one.
This is one of those books that takes time to absorb and enjoy. I love Helen and Sara...... Ben, not so much. Lots of twists and turns and an unexpected ending. If you have a snowy weekend in front of the fire, this book is a perfect addition!