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The Children by Ann Leary

The Children

by Ann Leary

  • Critics' Opinion:
  • Readers' Opinion:
  •  Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
  • May 2016
    256 pages
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Page 3 of 4
There are currently 25 member reviews
for The Children
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  • Milda S. (Warwick, NY), WG Book Club moderator
    The Unraveling
    Upon the death of a wealthy unconventional father, the thread that holds the blended family together begins to unravel. Long surpassed feelings of resentment begin to appear fueled by a conniving new family member. This page turner is full of surprises and told with humor and poignancy.
  • Joan P. (Owego, NY)
    The Children
    The children are all grown up. They are the two girls, Sally and Charlotte, that Joan brought to the marriage and Perry and Spin that came with Whit. Add to the group, Everette, the caretaker's son. You might say that Lakeside Cottage and Holden, the private school, are almost minor characters.
    The story takes place after Whit's death. His will ensures that Lakeside Cottage will belong to his boys. Joan has been permitted to continue to live there. Sally visits often and Chalotte lives there and writes a blog and rarely leaves the grounds. Spin brings his fiancée, Laurel, home to meet the family. He is a teacher at Holden and met Laurel while skiing. As Laurel gets to know the family we see that there is another side to their seemingly ideal childhood.
    Ann Leary is skilled at character development and I especially liked frugal, self centered Joan. She enjoyed telling about her glorious youth and that she ran five miles a day. An interesting minor character is "Mr Clean" who would break and enter cottages and never steal a thing but did a little cleaning while there.
    I'm very stingy with my stars but believe this is a solid four. I stayed up past my bedtime to finish and will pass it on to a friend today. This is a good book club book as each character would make a good discussion.
  • Virginia P. (Tallahassee, FL)
    The Children
    I felt like this book never got off the ground until the last pages. It is a cautionary tale about marrying someone you don't know well and all that happened in the story is repeated every day in real life. However, getting to that point was meandering and boring. This story needed more structure in the beginning to hold my interest though I finished the book. I really rate it average to poor.
  • Molly K. (San Jose, CA)
    The End of the Family
    I was hooked on the first page and loved the first third of the story. Quirky, likeable characters, captivating plot, and some laugh out loud funnies. Then, the plot began to meander with a house tour and Mr. Clean. Neither added to the story, and Mr. Clean was a obvious distraction.

    Then, for me, the story fell apart. Suppressed hostilities, outright lies, deception, broken relationships, and no opportunities for reconciliation.

    The End.
  • Gretchen M. (Martinsburg, WV)
    wrapped up too soon
    The early descriptions of this book are deceiving. I thought I'd be reading a story about a family dealing with the death of a patriarch. But it's really much more than that. The characters are believable and well developed. They felt like people I know. But I didn't expect the dark twist of the story in the form of the character Laurel. Sort of a Gone Girl character, whom I didn't enjoy at all. I know stories don't always have happy endings but I was disappointed in how the author wrapped up the loose ends in this book. The descriptions of the lake and the family home are very well done. Easy to imagine and beautiful.
  • Susan K. (Dartmouth, MA)
    Wish I could rate it 2 1/2.
    I was so looking forward to this. I LOVED "The Good House", and also enjoyed "Outtakes From a Marriage", which I would call a good beach or airplane read, thanks to its page-turning writing and humor.

    "The Children" just meanders through many pages of dialogue, as its unreliable narrator segues through one scene or character after another. A good editing might help, but, ultimately the book didn't seem to have a plot, and, to be honest, I didn't care for any of the characters. Sorry, folks, them's my thoughts. I am, however, looking forward to her next book.
  • Maribeth R. (Indianapolis, IN)
    The Children
    The writer grabbed my attention within the first few pages with her story about the grandparent who decided "to just go upstairs to die." Just as I settled in for an anticipated great read, I found myself confronted by a group of unlikeable family members and other characters who neither captured my interest nor my sympathies. It felt like this was a family who would have been blest to have given birth to a resident psychiatrist. After struggling through the middle of the book which seemed full of trite conversation, there was a point where a pending confrontation/mystery arises, and I hoped it would save the book for me. It didn't. The outcome was predictable and disappointing. While some have suggested this is a good beach read, I would offer that there are many other great reads available this summer.

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