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Monday, July 25, 2011

Next to Love...Review

About the book:
A story of love, war, loss, and the scars they leave, Next to Love follows the lives of three young women and their men during the years of World War II and its aftermath, beginning with the men going off to war and ending a generation later, when their children are on the cusp of their own adulthood.

Set in a small town in Massachusetts, the novel follows three childhood friends, Babe, Millie, and Grace, whose lives are unmoored when their men are called to duty. And yet the changes that are thrust upon them move them in directions they never dreamed possible—while their husbands and boyfriends are enduring their own transformations. In the decades that follow, the three friends lose their innocence, struggle to raise their children, and find meaning and love in unexpected places. And as they change, so does America—from a country in which people know their place in the social hierarchy to a world in which feminism, the Civil Rights movement, and technological innovations present new possibilities—and uncertainties. And yet Babe, Millie, and Grace remain bonded by their past, even as their children grow up and away and a new society rises from the ashes of the war.

Beautifully crafted and unforgettable,
Next to Love depicts the enduring power of love and friendship, and illuminates a transformational moment in American history.

I've seen so many reviews of this book that just rave about it and give it the highest praise and once again, I am going to be in the minority and go against the popular opinion.  The premise of the story is terrific: three women thrust into the struggle and stress of World War 2 are left alone when their husbands go off to fight.  When the war ends, life goes on and America and its people are changed forever.

The novel is rich historically and provides a perspective of World War 2 that is interesting: what happens to those left behind and how does everyone adapt when the war is finally over?  And, while there are moments of drama and heartache, the story itself was disappointing and rather lackluster. Present tense narration is always frustrating to me and I don't think it helped the story.  Why do authors write in present tense anyway?  I have yet to read a book written in the present tense where that tense actually made the book better. I think, in part, it was the narrative that kept me from connecting with the characters and ultimately I felt it was a story that tried too hard to please. 

My opinion though, as is often the case, is in the minority and you will find many positive reviews from the list below.

Thanks to Lisa at TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Ellen Feldman here.  You can purchase your own copy here.  You can see other reviews and tour stops here.

Monday, June 6th:  Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, June 8th:  Heart 2 Heart Reviews
Tuesday, June 14th:  Diary of an Eccentric
Wednesday, June 15th:  Books Like Breathing
Thursday, June 16th:  Deb’s Book Bag
Monday, June 20th:  Acting Balanced
Thursday, June 23rd:  Life in Review
Monday, June 27th:  Girls Gone Reading
Tuesday, June 28th:  BookNAround
Wednesday, June 29th:  A Fair Substitute for Heaven
Tuesday, July 5th:  Chaotic Compendiums
Thursday, July 7th:  Book Reviews by Molly
Monday, July 11th:  girlichef
Wednesday, July 13th:  Melody & Words
Monday, July 18th:  The House of the Seven Tails
Tuesday, July 19th:  Rundpinne
Wednesday, July 20th:  Man of La Book
Monday, July 25th:  2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
Tuesday, July 26th:  Simply Stacie
Wednesday, July 27th:  Colloquium
Monday, August 1st:  Books and Movies
Tuesday, August 2nd:  That’s What She Read
Wednesday, August 3rd:  Book Addiction
Thursday, August 4th:  Sophisticated Dorkiness
Monday, August 8th:  Alison’s Book Marks
Tuesday, August 9th:  Library of Clean Reads
Wednesday, August 10th:  Broken Teepee

Read 7/11

* *
2/5 Stars


  1. I do think present tense is difficult to pull off. Sorry this didn't work for you.

  2. I think sometimes a lot of positive reviews are just hype - people see that others have like it and make up their minds before even reading that they will like it.

    I do think this one sounds interesting though :)

  3. I'm sorry you were disappointed. I really liked this book, and to be honest, I didn't even realize it was in the present tense! But I have read books where the use of the present tense was distracting, so I can see your point. I've linked to your review on War Through the Generations.

  4. I'm sorry this one didn't turn out to be as good as you expected. I enjoyed it myself though!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  5. The premise for this books sounds wonderful to me. I have it on my Kindle to read and look forward to it. I've not thought much about present tense being an issue when reading a book and I will pay attention to how that effects my reading experience.