Marie A (Warner, NH)
Out of the Past...And Into?
When I received this novel, I couldn't wait to read it. I wish I could say that it held my interest. I can't because as I read page after page, I became like the characters--stuck in the past with ghosts from the past, waiting for and hoping for something to happen, waiting for e-mails or phone calls, and ruminating about what might/could happen in the future. I found the characters unremarkable in a plot that lacked depth. Without hesitation I can say that this is not a book I shall reread, readily recommend, nor long remember.
Sandra H. (St. Cloud, Minnesota)
The First Warm Evening of the Year by Jaime M. Saul
How easy it can be for our lives to fall into a pattern, to accept the known over the unknown, and fall into a never-ending routine. We can be so accustomed to the everyday that we forget a time when life was exciting, when we welcomed the new and looked forward to the unexpected. That is where the characters in Jaime Saul’s novel find themselves. All are in their 40’s and have put behind them the exciting days of their youth and early adulthood. Laura and Geoffrey shared a unique friendship in college. Laura married a fellow musician and became part of a well-known jazz group that had gigs worldwide while Geoffrey remained a bachelor who became successful in the arts, had sophisticated friends and a girl friend who demanded nothing of him. Marian, Laura’s best friend, married her brilliant high school sweetheart and together they developed an innovative and successful landscaping business. But then Laura dies of cancer at age 42 and names Geoffrey executor of her will. Arriving in her home town of Shady Grove, NY, he meets Marian and suddenly realized that “No one had ever quite looked at me like that. That’s when I fell in love with her.” But this is not a harlequin romance. Rather, it is a beautifully written story of how love can, if we are willing to let it, change our lives. As the title suggests, for Geoffrey and Marian their meeting is indeed “the first warm evening of the year” that suggests many more to come.
Diane D. (Blairstown, NJ)
I liked the book, though it bothered me that Marian didn't seem to be able to get past the death of her husband. After all those years, you would think she'd be able to get on with her life. The characters in the book were interesting and described in depth; I had to feel sorry for what they put each other through. At times I wanted to shake all of them!
It surprised me that I wasn't sure, till the end, HOW it was going to end. That was unusual.
I imagine it would provide enough discussion for a reading group, so I would recommend it.
Marjorie H. (Woodstock, GA)
I liked this book at first. The author gets inside the head of Geoffrey in a very interesting way. Somewhere along the line, the book fell apart. Yes, it's a story about love. Love reflecting, love looking forward, tenacious love and love that is unsure and undefined. I think I understand where Mr. Saul was trying to go, but somehow it never took off. Marian was profoundly irritating and I wished, more than once, that Geoffrey had taken the hint and gone home. Eliot's loyalty, or whatever it was, his basketball, tennis, etc., kept him in his own little world.
The repetition of the Marian/Geoffrey theme held the story back and the ending was anti-climactic. I wished it could have been better. Mr. Sauls is an excellent writer who could have done better.
Catharine L. (Petoskey,
Not Much Going On
Geoffrey, a 42 year old bachelor, is asked to be the executor of his friend Laura's estate. Once, best of friends, he hasn't seen her in 20 years. He meets Marion, her best friend, who lost her husband 10 years before and is still mourning. Both Geoffrey and Marion are in convenient relationships, but that changes when Geoffrey falls in love with Marion and convinces her to take a chance on love again. This book wasn't stimulating enough for me. A book for a lazy afternoon at the beach - quickly read and forgotten.
Sylvia G. (Scottsdale, AZ)
For romantics only
Don't pick up this book unless you believe in love at first sight, enjoy seemingly deep conversations that are mostly puzzling, and don't mind a book with absolutely zero plot line. At page 153 I had simply had enough. I plowed through because I owed you this review. There is a literary tone to the writing, but without true poetry or insight as in a real literary work of art. All the bellybutton gazing was exasperating and nothing really rang true. I've read some incredible books lately, this was not one of them.
Sue P. (Richardson, TX)
The First Warm Evening of the Year
This book is definitely character-driven, and I truly liked the protagonists. Some may find it a bit slow; however, there is a great deal of depth here. A gentle romance, but a powerful one.