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Wordsmith
maude40
Posts: 357
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: First Impressions

I love the cover and now that I'm used to the changing locations I' m loving that too. I have always liked historical novels but for some reason I've skipped the World War years. Therefore I'm really looking forward to learning some things I may not know. I think Ms Blake has done a great job of  portraying the stresses of  the people in a bombed city. You can feel the blackness of night as you read and the dawn that brings realization of the nights horrors. Yvonne 

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AmandaJillian
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎08-15-2009
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Re: First Impressions

I'm liking the book alot, my favorite character so far is Frankie  =D

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HannaintheTriad
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎09-02-2009
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Re: First Impressions

Happy (now belated) Birthday!

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T-Mo
Posts: 51
Registered: ‎08-31-2009
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Re: First Impressions

[ Edited ]

I felt that getting through the first couple of chapters was quite a chore. The preface to chapter one didn’t excite me at all, and I found many of the descriptions to be rather dull. As I got further into the book some of the other descriptions and details were very enticing and really held my attention. However, even though some of these scenes really pulled me in, it seemed as if just as soon as I got into it, the author changed gears and took off another, less intriguing setting. I felt some things were given too much emphasis, to the point of making them inappropriate, while others weren’t given the attention they deserved.

 

I’m still sitting on the fence about how I feel regarding the sudden change in character point of view. Sometimes it doesn’t bother me and other times it seems awkward and misplaced. There also seems to be quite a few typographical and grammar errors. 

 

On a positive note, I am enjoying the historical references to the War. And I am advocating and pulling for Iris and Harry. Despite my initial negative reactions to parts of the book, I am looking forward to continuing. I desperately want this book to be one that I can think back on with good feelings. One that I will be able to put on the shelf to be re-read at a later date. 

 

~Tara

 

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Biblio_Sue
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎09-02-2009
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Re: First Impressions


T-Mo wrote:

I felt that getting through the first couple of chapters was quite a chore. The preface to chapter one didn’t excite me at all, and I found many of the descriptions to be rather dull. As I got further into the book some of the other descriptions and details were very enticing and really held my attention. However, even though some of these scenes really pulled me in, it seemed as if just as soon as I got into it, the author changed gears and took off another, less intriguing setting. I felt some things were given too much emphasis, to the point of making them inappropriate, while others weren’t given the attention they deserved.

 

I’m still sitting on the fence about how I feel regarding the sudden change in character point of view. Sometimes it doesn’t bother me and other times it seems awkward and misplaced. There also seems to be quite a few typographical and grammar errors. 

 

On a positive note, I am enjoying the historical references to the War. And I am advocating and pulling for Iris and Harry. Despite my initial negative reactions to parts of the book, I am looking forward to continuing. I desperately want this book to be one that I can think back on with good feelings. One that I will be able to put on the shelf to be re-read at a later date. 

 

~Tara

 


I'm inclined to agree with you, Tara.  I am finding it difficult to follow some of the storylines; the minute she has me hooked into the scene, she seems to move on to something else.    Someone mentioned that perhaps she is using this technique to mimic the "chaos" of war - if that is the case right now it is not working for me.

I do want to like this book though, so I hope it does get better.

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liisa22
Posts: 606
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: First Impressions

 


grammydee wrote:

I was hooked at the first look at the cover! The faded dried rose-the much handled envevelope-the old stamp and having been charged with delivering the mail no matter what in my past life I was surely intrigued. Not to mention the memories of growing up during WWII with the blackout curtains, the rationing, the censors cutouts in my uncles letters from his ship sailing who knows where ,plus the rumors of German subs in our! harbor and the body found on the shore...

 But I read usually strictly for my own pleasure-if I hate it I put it aside, if it's only ok I plod through-this I won't plod through I will enjoy it,although I have had to go back and re-read some parts as it tends to skip around without warning-that's ok too,I may have missed something. I like Frankie-a strong woman in a time when women were just coming into their own. Emma may be a little weaker than I would like and Iris is unusual to say the least.

I took the liberty of reading the notes and acknowledgments first too-most interesting!

So far it's a great read.


 

 

Glad you have (finally) made it here, Mom!!    I am not sure that I have heard the story about the body found on the shore. But you know I may have forgotten!!!   I have had to go and re-read parts as well.  I had to get used to the skipping.  but not too difficult.

 

People either forgot, or maybe didn't know that even here in the US, blackout curtains were used during WWII.  I think we tend to think that the war was only to be worried about 'over there',  Pearl Harbor not included.  

 

 

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
-Sir Richard Steele

http://bookreviewsbyliisa.blogspot.com/
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Mommy-Read-Write
Posts: 139
Registered: ‎03-24-2009
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Re: First Impressions

I haven't quite finished the first section - so I haven't read any other posts yet.  I do want to say how much I'm loving this book, though! My imagination was captured immediately and I look forward to getting back into the story each night!

 

I am very intrigued with Iris, Emma and Frankie.  I am excited to see how their stories unfold.  Ms. Blake has done a wonderful job of making me feel transported to a different place and era - thank you.

Sheery

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."
~ Emilie Buchwald ~
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JaneM
Posts: 152
Registered: ‎02-01-2008
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Re: First Impressions

I have been thinking about the cover and the dried rose.  So far the only reference I have found to roses is on p. 23.  When Emma enters her new house she sees that "Will had put beach roses in a jam jar against the window to welcome her."  I will be interested to see if roses come up again in some way as I continue reading.

 

I am finding the book a swell read.  "Swell" was a common adjective in the 1940's.  When I read my dad's letters to my mom, he continually referred to her as a swell girl or that they had had a swell time together.  I am entranced by all the characters, and find no difficulty in the shift in characters or perspectives.  I hadn't realized that the radio broadcast was a transition device until someone pointed it out, and for that I am grateful.

Jane M.
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MomforrestMO
Posts: 26
Registered: ‎03-10-2009
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Re: First Impressions

So far it's enjoyable.  Still trying to line up the characters.I like the descriptions of the settings.

MomforrestMO
mpx
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mpx
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎09-03-2009
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Re: First Impressions

I loved the introductions to the characters, I could see what they looked like and understand their behavior.  The descriptions of the war were so vivid.  I wish there had been more background of Iris, you don't really know anything about her upbringing and why she is still single.  Frankie's broadcasts and the scenes of the people listening to the radio really make you realize how we can be so disengaged with the rest of the world.  So far enjoying the book.

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freelamp
Posts: 23
Registered: ‎08-31-2009
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Re: First Impressions

My first impressions of the book are good characters and plot.  Being old fashioned in using proper English sentence structure, I have had difficulty with all the clauses and choppy sentences.  Some sentences are like haiku and other forms of verse.   Since other readers have no problem with this, I think it is a case of "generation gap" understanding for me.  I'm trying hard to find the "flow".   I also realize that it may be a writer's tool to have text that is unpredictable, just as war is.

freelamp
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Deltadawn
Posts: 311
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: First Impressions

I agree - my first impressions are very positive too - I'm loving this book. I had a difficult time stopping at the end of Chapter 8 - but forced myself to in order to keep pace with the schedule here! I also agree that Sarah Blake has made the war come alive through her story and characters.I am eager to find out what happens next in their lives.

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Deltadawn
Posts: 311
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: First Impressions

 


thewanderingjew wrote:

What really impressed me, though, was how wonderfully the author captured the atmosphere of the times and the personalities of each character. I felt as if she was introducing me to people she knew personally. I walked on their streets and felt their emotions as they began new lives and viewed their new homes for the first time . I was there to share their fear, shame, pain, joy and sadness. The characters are so distinctly different and she caught and expressed the nuances of each one.

 


 

I know exactly what you mean! I'm especially impressed and drawn into the story by these qualities in the book, too!

 

Inspired Correspondent
jb70
Posts: 179
Registered: ‎07-06-2009

Re: First Impressions

This is my third First Look and I am trying hard to stick to the schedule.  The first time I fell behind and felt like I was racing to catch up, teh second time I read the whole book before it started and then had trouble trying not to give spoilers because I wasn't sure when different events happened.  This time I still have 20 or so pages to go to get to the end of the first section, which I'm sure I'll finish before bed tonight, so I am on track and can't spoil anything!

 

I was really surprised when Frankie and the man she danced with went outside and had sex by the wall, I was not expecting that.  I realize it was an uncertain time and no one knew who might or might not make it through the night but it just seemed so impersonal and way too out in the open.  I had to wonder then though if Frankie's having stopped for that and being later than Harriet was what ended up saving her life.  She was part of an act to celebrate life and in so doing ended up saving her life literally by being later than her roommate to get home.

 

I really like Emma right now, she so wants to have a place of her own and to be accepted and loved and to feel self-confident but she is unsure of herself as well   From other posts I have an idea of what happens to Will but I put the book down when he was leaving to deliver the baby so I guess I'll have to read that portion myself to see what happens.

 

I'm not sure about Iris, from her orderliness and her going to get the certificate from the doctor I can't see her not following her job and delivering a letter so I have to wonder what the letter will be and what purpose will be served in not delivering it/

 

Jill

http://bookbookseverywhere.blogspot.com/
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jb70
Posts: 179
Registered: ‎07-06-2009
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Re: First Impressions

Oh I also meant to add that this one of the first books I've read set in this time period.  Atonement is on my TBR list and I did see the movie but this isn't an era that I am all that familiar with so I am interested to see where the story goes.

Jill

http://bookbookseverywhere.blogspot.com/
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Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: First Impressions

 

I don't know how others feel about the subject of editing, but here is my experience. During my first First Look I posted a "list of errors" and felt kind of odd, because nobody else did. Then I contacted the author per PM and sent him the list. He thanked me and told me that the book had not gone through the final edit yet, so errors should be expected. During my second book club I only found one phrase that seemed out of place. I did not post my find but sent a PM to the editor and she told me that she would bring it up during their meeting and that they would make a decision then. I have not looked at either book to see if errors were indeed corrected and if my suggestion was followed, but I have decided not to bring up editing concerns publicly any more. I know that it is difficult for an author to let the baby take its first steps and I certainly don't want to put an obstacle in the way. At least not officially.

slrihm wrote in part:

This is my first time reading a pre-published book so I sort of wondered how much of an 'editor' I was wanting to be.  I found myself being more critical of some elements of writing and typos, etc. than I might have been if I'd checked it out from the library or bought it.

 

Just a thought.  I'm enjoying the writing and the story....

 

(should we offer grammatical suggestions?)


 

 

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HulaStitch
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎09-02-2009
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Re: First Impressions

I can't decide if I like Iris or Emma the most. When I am reading a section on Iris I like her the most, but then when it canges to Emma I think I like her the most. I have not connected with Frankie yet.

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Lisa1971
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎09-03-2009
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Re: First Impressions

Hi Everyone,

I would like to agree with most of the comments thus far!! I would also like to comment on how Sarah Blake make me feel the pressure of the situation that women were living with. I'm trying to point to what the Society demanded of women and the pressures that they endured.Great job! I can see your excellent use of pathos in your writing right away!!

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babzilla41
Posts: 252
Registered: ‎05-04-2009
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Re: First Impressions

I have had a difficult time with the beginning of this book.  I feel that it is disjointed, I haven't found a connection with the characters and it seems that just when you start getting interested, it veers off to something else.  I've wondered about the relevance of some of the passages (i.e. Iris's mother holding a "rubber pouch and glass bottle of vinegar ").  I'm hoping that it will all come together for an "aha" moment.  

"I love books. If I could eat them, I would. I love their scent and often put my nose in to inhale their aroma." - Kathleen Grissom
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slrihm
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎09-02-2009
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Re: First Impressions

It's one of those generation gap things; the   "rubber pouch and glass bottle of vinegar "  was a 'douche bag' that women used after "sexual relations" to flush out their 'privates.'   

 

I was a little startled to read it, but remembered the tool as one my own mother used (though I'm not sure just when or how she let me know what it was for).  I'm not sure just what the purpose was; cleanliness I suppose.  Or why the practice went away.... 

 

It's one of the things I like about the book.  Sarah has been pretty graphic about some practices of the time; especially women's issues, that wouldn't have been referred to in writings of that day and time.