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Next to Love
"A lustrous evocation of a stormy period in our past; highly recommended for...
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Overall, what did you think of "Next To Love"?

Created: 02/19/12

Replies: 31

Posted Feb. 19, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
BookBrowse

Join Date: 11/16/10

Posts: 38

Overall, what did you think of "Next To Love"?

Overall, what did you think of "Next To Love"?


Posted May. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
laurag

Join Date: 04/16/12

Posts: 9

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I enjoyed this book very much. It was an interesting way to learn about the World War II. The different scenarios brought to life by these three women and the men they loved were very well done. Having a parent's love and loss in there was also thoughtfully done.


Posted May. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
mollyb

Join Date: 05/02/12

Posts: 4

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I really liked Feldman's writing style. Interesting, not redundant. Spare but interesting. Easy to read.


Posted May. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

Posts: 298

Expert

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I find the WW II era one of my favorite fiction settings. WW I, as well. It's difficult reading about the trauma suffered by those who served but it makes me feel grateful, too, and humbled.

And I agree with mollyb re: Feldman's style. You describe my feelings exactly. I don't care for overly flowery prose and she does a wonderful job not forcing any of the emotion, letting it come out in the actions of the characters.


Posted May. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
melissay

Join Date: 12/11/11

Posts: 6

RE: Overall, what did you think of

"Next to Love" was an enjoyable read. My mother was a young woman during WWII and I thought of her often while reading it. The book's perspective of life during the war is slightly different than what is often portrayed. We are shown not only the love and the sacrifice but, also, the grief, the fear and the dark side of human nature. The characters seem real and it was easy to see how their stories entertwined.

I would recommend this book to friends and am glad I was selected to preview it.


Posted May. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Hulananni

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 16

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I enjoyed this book throgoughly. So much so that I 'posted' about it a couple of weeks ago before the discussion even opened. Although I was a young girl in pigtails during WWII my older sister was a teenager and had some of the issues the characters in the story had. With the ongoing 'situations' in the Middle East I was reminded of how little has changed re family/deployments/death. I have recommended this book to friends as a window to what life was like in the 40s and the aftermath of WWII.


Posted May. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
kathrynk

Join Date: 05/21/11

Posts: 31

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I am glald I read it. It gave me some insight to my own mother's struggles during those years. i also found it interesting given what our military families are dealing with today. So many of these young families are facing horrible challenges with devastating diagnosis and loss. Given that very real connection today on top of what has already been discussed about female relationships I think it would be a great book discussion group choice.. I find myself thinking about the bood. That's a good thing!


Posted May. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
naomib

Join Date: 05/02/12

Posts: 3

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I thought it was a good book but not great. I found flashes of brilliance in Feldman's prose, and I liked the weave of stories. Her characters were genuine, believable and--yes--lovable. The beginning chapter was brilliant and vibrant, and the book opened a window onto many aspects of WW II I had not thought about, mostly the PTSD of those returning and those who waited for those who returned. My father served in the Royal Canadian Army but stayed largely in England. My mother was a refugee from Eastern Europe, so I saw a whole other side to the war through her.

I did get somewhat bogged down by the hand-wringing grief, I must admit.


Posted May. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
BamaCarol

Join Date: 04/16/12

Posts: 29

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I thought the book was OK but not wonderful. I think that I would have liked it better if there was only one point of view as the voice of the book instead of three. I felt like there would have been more depth of character with only one main point of view - I found myself wanting more details from each character and instead it seemed like you would get a little information and then 'poof' on to the next one. I did find it very good with the effect of PTSD and like another reader, felt like it gives us more insight into what the current veterans must be feeling returning from the Middle East. My father served in Korea but never discussed it much and I have always been interested in the WWII time period.


Posted May. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
EileenL

Join Date: 02/02/12

Posts: 8

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I agree with a number of posters that the book was good but not great. While I liked the charactars very much they seemed one dimensional. Many of the events in the book were predictable. It seemed almost as though the author tried to conver too much ground and in the process diluted the story. I did like the time period and the issues of that time.


Posted May. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
carolg

Join Date: 05/02/12

Posts: 1

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I enjoyed the book but did not think it was "great". I would have liked the author to have spent more time developing the friendships of the three women while concentrating on their lives during the war. I liked the first half of the book much better as the second half covers too much in too few pages. However, the reading was enjoyable and I learned some interesting things about this important time of our history.


Posted May. 03, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Linda Shaw

Join Date: 06/14/11

Posts: 1

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I, too, enjoyed the book a lot but did not find it great, although the author can certainly turn a phrase and the reading was enjoyable. The author introduces the main characters fairly quickly and I found that if I put the book down for a couple of days, I had to re-aquaint myself with who was married to whom, etc., something that perhaps would not have been necessary if the characters were more fully developed. Most stories of WWII concentrate on the war itself so like others here, the details about what life was like for those at home was insightful.

Overall, I'm glad I read it but it is not in the top tier of books I recommend. I generally save that space for those works I find exceptional - there are too many good books and not enough time!!!


Posted May. 03, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jeannew

Join Date: 04/23/11

Posts: 26

RE: Overall, what did you think of

Loved this book and didn't want it to end. I was born in 1960 so it's before my time and yet somehow it all seems familiar. The social niceties, the clothes, the living situations all seem right to me. I had always thought that soldiers in WWII were less susceptible to PTSD than soldiers today and this book helped me see how wrong I was. It just wasn't talked about. My grandfather served in WWII and mentioned how scared he was flying to Africa but would never talk more about it. He was the gentlest man I've ever known and I can't imagine how horrible it must have been for him.

I agree with BamaCarol about the point of view. While I did like seeing events from 3 perspectives, the overall book did feel like we just saw vignettes and it was left to us to decipher a deeper meaning. Maybe that's what the author intended?


Posted May. 04, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
shrogers

Join Date: 03/16/12

Posts: 2

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I loved this book. It is probably not one I would have bought for myself, so I am lucky to have received this through bookbrowse. I became so engrossed in the story. This is how I wanted to feel about The Help, but the writing in Next to Love is far superior. Great historical fiction.


Posted May. 04, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
judyw

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 13

RE: Overall, what did you think of

Next to Love was an enjoyable, easy to read WWII era novel. The author shed new light on the aftermath of any war . Life wasn't all rosy and wonderful and upbeat for many, many families. My father served during WWII; therefore, he was eligible for the GI bill and able to complete a college education--not a possibility for a depression-era kid. He also was able to buy our first house using VA benefits. For his generation, who struggled during the 1930s Great Depression, the war did offer a better life for them and our country. But what an awful price to pay!!
BTW, I was glad to read shrogers remarks about The Help. I thought I was the only person in the world NOT to enjoy this book!


Posted May. 07, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sharden

Join Date: 08/11/11

Posts: 2

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I like reading books that give me a history lesson in a easy to read format like this book. The book format was well laid out and I liked the perspective of multiple characters. I did find that I needed to notice the chapter heading to find the character or year being featured. Many books these days seem to have chapter names that contribute to the story rather than just chapter numbers. The multiple characters would give book clubs a lot to talk about. Overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend to others. I'll certainly pass my copy along for others to read.


Posted May. 08, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
deby's Gravatar
deby

Join Date: 10/21/10

Posts: 7

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I have to agree with all the above, good but not great, lots of trying to remember who was who. However, I loved Ellen's writing style and will anticipate reading more by her hopefully in the near future.


Posted May. 10, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
malindan

Join Date: 05/10/12

Posts: 34

RE: Overall, what did you think of

Ironically I read this book twice. I think the first time must have been through First Impressions. When I received it the second time I laughed realizing that I had forgotten that I read it. It is interesting in that, the first time I read it, I felt that it was okay but not great. The second time around I really enjoyed it and was glad that I reread it. For whatever reason I felt the characters were far more compelling in the second read. I enjoyed Feldman's writing style. I would definately recommend this novel now. It just goes to show that mood and timing can really affect one's opinion of a book!


Posted May. 10, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
BarbW

Join Date: 04/09/11

Posts: 13

RE: Overall, what did you think of

Like others have said, I enjoy reading about this time period. I liked this book, the characters and the storyline, and have recommended it to several friends and co-workers.


Posted May. 10, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
michelleh

Join Date: 05/10/12

Posts: 4

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I liked the book, but it was a bit more of a "downer" than I expected. World War II has been romanticized in lots of books, and I guess that's what I expected from this one. In that way, it was probably better than an overly romantic story, but parts of the book, especially the rape, for which I just wasn't prepared.


Posted May. 11, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
phyllisrelyea

Join Date: 04/13/12

Posts: 3

RE: Overall, what did you think of

Loved this book! If you like a novel that is character-driven, this one is for you! The three women, Babe, Millie, and Grace are very well defined and move the story at a fast pace. Each chapter was devoted to one of them and the timeline kept the many layered story flowing. The setting was WWII and the way in which each woman adapted/adjusted to the times was fascinating. I highly recommend it. Phyllis


Posted May. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Denise B-K

Join Date: 01/19/12

Posts: 26

RE: Overall, what did you think of

Overall, I took pleasure in reading NEXT TO LOVE. Please see my review which is second on the list. Did not write that the first chapter is exceptional -- looking at the book a month later I reread chapter one with even greater enjoyment. Unfortunately, a month later find that I recall the topics much better than the individual characters.


Posted May. 13, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Santa Fe Cowgirl's Gravatar
Santa Fe Cowgirl

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 26

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I liked the book! The three main characters and their lives give you an insight into what the families of the military are going through today and how war changes lives.


Posted May. 14, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sarahw

Join Date: 05/14/12

Posts: 3

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I enjoyed reading the book because of the time in which it was set. It was an easy read and kept my attention to the end.


Posted May. 15, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dlpiano

Join Date: 08/14/11

Posts: 14

RE: Overall, what did you think of

Next to Love was hard to put down! Although a bit confusing with so many characters I wanted to find the outcome to each predicament. I also appreciated the insight into a period of US history I know little about.


Posted May. 15, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
raynat

Join Date: 02/29/12

Posts: 22

RE: Overall, what did you think of Next to Love

I really enjoyed this book. I loaned it to a friend and she said she couldn't put it down till she finished it.


I identified with Caroline since I am also an adoptive mother. Although I didn't feel anything like her. I was ready to be a mother and took it on with a positive attitude. Also I don't approve of open adoption so I wouldn't like all the people in the story to be involved in our lives.

I loaned this book to several of my friends and they just said it was O.K. I liked the book and wanted to find out how they all interacted with each other even though I wouldn't like that for my life.
Posted May. 15, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
ediem

Join Date: 03/14/12

Posts: 5

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I did enjoy Next to Love by Ellen Feldman. I always enjoy books that teach me something and I felt I learned a little about WWII and how the ladies that were left behind must have felt.

I had to laugh out loud when Morris said to Grace..."Gracie. I'm forty-one. You're thirty-two. I thought we agreed we were beyond that kind of kid stuff." That is exactly how my mother told me relationships worked!

I didn't LOVE the book as much as I wanted too but it was still an ok read.


Posted May. 16, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
raynat

Join Date: 02/29/12

Posts: 22

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I enjoyed the book. Although I was younger than the characters several years later I was dating Navy men that my friend's boyfriend brought home every weekend. I never married any of them but they all had experiences to tell of their Navy days.

I liked getting to know each of the characters.


I identified with Caroline since I am also an adoptive mother. Although I didn't feel anything like her. I was ready to be a mother and took it on with a positive attitude. Also I don't approve of open adoption so I wouldn't like all the people in the story to be involved in our lives.

I loaned this book to several of my friends and they just said it was O.K. I liked the book and wanted to find out how they all interacted with each other even though I wouldn't like that for my life.
Posted May. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
pegs

Join Date: 05/14/12

Posts: 1

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I liked the book very much I was 15 when WW2 started and have a lot of my own memories of that period. As someone else has previously pointed out we now have names for troubles such as Claude's, but I think Babe did a great, painful, job of bringing him back. I also found the relationship between Grace, Millie and Babe interesting in it's familiarity yet, somhow, not totally open.

At this point I would also add that I am slow to learn how to participate in an on line book club but intend to pursue the "homework assignment" quality.


Posted May. 19, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
diwolter

Join Date: 05/19/12

Posts: 4

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I have read a number of fiction titles focused on the WWII years over the past year or so. It is really helping me to understand the period and the thoughts of those at home when the war was going on and on. I hear so much of my Dad's own experiences during the war as he lives with me and talks about it all very often. Before my Mom passed away, she spoke about those years, too --- but seemed reticent to share some very painful memories of those she lost during that time. Hearing both of their stories, though, along with this book's perspective has helped me to understand the feelings shared by the country and the world during that difficult period ---- the "we are all in this together" feelings that occurred --- very different from current and recently past war times.


Posted May. 19, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Suzanne

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 83

Expert

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I really liked this book. I read it two times! It was as the front quote read, "Impossible to put down." It's a 5-star in my opinion. But--avocado appliances were first for sale in 1966. I was interested since in 1968 every possible appliance that I could buy was that delicious color.


Posted May. 22, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Peggy H

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 35

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I started out not liking the book too much but ended up ready to recommend it o friends. I particularly liked the way she placed the lives of the characters in the historical setting. Having a relative who faced similar demons after Kore as Claude did I could Ferlinghetti that bit wa very realistic and rooted for the aimed to find happiness.


Pegh

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