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Abide with Me: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Sabin Willett
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $10.38
You Save: $5.62 (35%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description

A small-town bad boy, forged into a man in the fires of Afghanistan, returns home, still burning with a romantic obsession nothing can quench.

As the fog lifts one morning, a lone soldier is walking home. Who is he? The sleepy, gossipy town of Hoosick Bridge, Vermont, has forgotten him, but it will soon remember. He is Roy Murphy, returning to face his violent, complicated reputation. Returning to Emma Herrick, descendant of Hoosick Bridge’s first family, who occupies its grandest, now decaying, house: the Heights.

Their intense and unlikely adolescent romance provided scandalous gossip for the town. The young lovers escaped Hoosick Bridge, but Emma remained Roy’s obsession long after they parted. Now Roy returns from Afghanistan a changed and extraordinary man who will stop at nothing to obtain a piece of the Herricks’ legacy.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

As soldier Roy Murphy walks up Route 7 in a dusty camouflage uniform with a heavy pack on his back, news of his return to the town of Hossick Bridge spreads like wildfire. Emma Herrick, a member of the wealthy Herrick clan, still remembers the teenage romance that consumed her and Roy before he left for base camp. Now that Roy has returned from Afghanistan, she has no idea how much he’s changed. The story of a war-ravaged soldier and his lost love set in a gossipy Vermont town, Abide with Me is fiercely authentic. In a novel spliced with combat scenes, training drills, and dormitory confessions, Willett offers a detailed picture of modern military life. (He interviewed soldiers, sailors, and marines at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in preparation for the book.) Masterfully blending small-town gossip with the inner obsessions of a quiet veteran, Willett’s densely layered prose will appeal to fans of James A. Michener and Anthony Swofford. Focusing on one man’s lost love, his return to his hometown, and the friendships he left behind, this is a compelling read. --Stephanie Turza


“The insights and skill of the author, a Guantanamo Bay defense attorney, make Abide worth a read.” (People, 3 stars)

“In their unsettling romance that crosses small town social lines as well as the oceans and continents between Vermont and Afghanistan, the lovers at the core of Abide with Me strip away all that is unnecessary as they seek the essence of true love: it may stumble, but it will always survive. Sabin Willett has written a passionate, gripping novel of modern tragedy and timeless love.”—Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain

“Sabin Willett mines his settings of Afghanistan and smalltown New England with equal gusto. Abide with Me is a big, generous, tasty, funny, rich novel.”—Stewart O'Nan, author of The Odds: A Love Story

“Terrific . . . Here’s a classic love story brought up to date. And it’s a page turner, a fine example of the smart and moving fiction we all crave.” (Hudson Valley News)

“Hewn from the same emotional landscape as Wuthering Heights, Abide with Me pulses with the dark pain of lost love and obsession. In prose that glints and sparks like gunfire, Sabin Willett makes Roy Murphy a dangerously compelling 21st century Heathcliff, the haunted, driven boy from nowhere who returns battle-hardened from war in Afghanistan to stake his claim on the one who got away.”—Deborah Lawrenson, author of The Lantern

"Willet's reinterpretation of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights adds a fresh contemporary take to a classic love story." (Library Journal)

“Fiercely authentic . . . Masterfully blending small-town gossip with the inner obsessions of a quiet veteran . . . this is a compelling read." (Booklist)

"A darkly compelling and unsettling romance...gutsy and occasionall lyrical...An unforgettable character. An unforgetable book." (Laura Harrington

“The story captivates the reader with authentic characters whose humanity radiates through their personal triumphs and tragedies.” (

“Extremely well crafted . . . a transfixing book . . . not only resplendent in love but in suffering as well. If you haven’t read Wuthering Heights, this makes no difference. One book can be enjoyed without the other, but if you do read both, you will see the modern day equivalent of a masterpiece of literature.” (

Product Details

  • File Size: 3484 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1451667027
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (March 5, 2013)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008J4L54Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #488,973 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Sabin Willett Yet April 22, 2013
I have enjoyed all of Sabin Willett's novels. Present Value was my favorite until Abide With Me. His earlier genre fiction was entertaining and well written - high quality light reading. I am pleased that he has branched out into literary fiction, and think the quality of his writing gets finer with each outing. This novel was very well written, with fully realized and compelling characters. I don't understand why this book has not yet found its readership; it is as good as any contemporary fiction I have read in recent years, and better than most.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Roy Murphy is that compelling man at the edge of the room with the thousand yard stare. He is from the Park, the poor side of town, and resolutely keeps his own rules and counsel. Even in print, this man draws the mind with his bearing and his posture, "bent forth as if always hurrying." While the author cites her inspiration from the obsessive Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights, he also bears deep resemblance to the eternal warrior in the Iliad.

Emma is his nostos, the Greek word for the longing for home. She may have not been the Penelope of faithful myth, but she is unable to permanently separate herself from the longing she feels for him. She is a terrific character. Willett draws her with the deep fire and rebellion in conflict with her conscious intent to return from her affair with the outsider to her world of wealth and manners. The two worlds match harshly for her, and she is prone to be dishonest with herself.

Abide with Me is a hymn referring to the triumph over death if the soul abide's with God. Roy has turned off his thoughts of home for four years in order to survive his time in Afghanistan. He has promised Emma he will return. Chapters portraying the war are particularly cogent in describing the unfairness of the war and its random fatalities while portraying Roy's first sense of family in his companions.

This book exists on several levels and within different fields of endeavor and risk, however the plot is never disjointed or confusing. The events are not dependent on artifice. The idea of longing for one's center is not new, but its portrayal as nostos in a classical sense brings a fresh turn to this rather wonderful book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wuthering Heights Meets Operation Enduring Freedom October 4, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In his stunningly beautiful and tragic novel, "Abide With Me," Sabin Willett bows deeply to "Wuthering Heights," and then goes on to tell his own tale of a 21st Century Heathcliff. Roy Murphy grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in a double wide trailer in a small Vermont town of Hoosick Bridge in which everyone knows everyone else's business. His level of taciturnity makes even Calvin Coolidge appear garrulous by comparison. He keeps his own counsel, seldom communicates verbally with family or friends, yet possesses the ability to influence people by the strength of his will and his incredible tenacity and stubbornness.

While in school and while they were still kids, Murphy falls in love with Emma, the daughter of the most prominent and wealthy family in town, owners of an iconic decaying Victorian mansion, known as "The Heights," that sits on a hill overlooking the town. The father of the family has died in mysterious and suspicious circumstances, and the families finances have taken a dramatic downward turn. The friendship between Roy and Emma takes place largely in stealth mode, with them finding escape in the lakes, streams and woods that surround the town. When the town's people and Emma's family learn of the illicit teenage romance, they are concerned and scandalized. Why would the most attractive and sought-after girl in town mess around with someone from that neighborhood - and Roy Murphy of all people?

Emma eventually goes off to Yale, thinking she has left behind her brief walk on the wild side. Roy enlists, goes off the Afghanistan and becomes a war hero. His return to Hoosick Bridge and the smoldering of the love that he still harbors for Emma, despite her love for another man, is the stuff of the narrative of this novel.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little something for everyone! March 8, 2013
I loved this book! Nominally, a love story about a soldier returning from Afghanistan to rekindle a love he left behind in small town Vermont. But if that sounds too "chick lit"... Keep reading. Because it is equally a story of wartime camaraderie, class differences, family discord, money and power. For those familiar with Willet's three other novels, you will be glad to know that he has not forgotten to throw in a dollop of legal hi jinx, as well! All aspects of this story are blended together and rendered seamlessly by Willet's literate prose and gift for metaphor. I highly recommend this book! There is a little something for every reader, including, most importantly, a great story!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Love Story (on the surface...) March 23, 2013
By draw
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Sabin Willett weaves together an interesting variety of themes that at the outset appear to lead to just another love story between a guy and a gal from opposite sides of the tracks. But as the story unfolds it develops into something much more complicated and entangled. Although the author admits that much of his inspiration came from the dark side of Wuthering Heights, there are also quite a few reminders of the Titanic (movie) story line --- but this story has much greater depth than the Titanic film's uni-dimensional tale. A different type of book from Sabin Willett, and a very enjoyable read. Let's hope someone has the good sense to pick up the movie rights on this one. It would make a great film!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars this novel is too spare and stark for romantics like me. While Roy...
I looked forward to reading this novel for some time. I especially looked forward to a retelling of the doomed passion showcased in Wuthering Heights. Read more
Published 2 months ago by incognito89
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern classic!
Sabin Willett writes with the elegant command of an Emerson or Wharton. Each sentence deserves, and rewards, a close read. Read more
Published 4 months ago by A.B. Bourne
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Book
I loved this book!! Although I do not read much fiction, I was drawn in deeply from page one.
Author Sabin Willet has the skill to make these characters come alive. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Barbara Rose
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book--perfect for your book club!
Sabin Wilett's Abide With Me kept me up at night reading, as the characters, particularly Roy Murphy and Emma Herrick, are so compelling and their obsession is so perfectly drawn... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jennifer
3.0 out of 5 stars Like an oreo, the middle is the best part
.I found this book to be not very engaging in the beginning; in fact, I started it all over from the beginning a second time, because it just wasn't sticking with me, and I kept... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Connie Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story at home and overseas
This book engaged my interest from its first page. The returning soldier is viewed ominously by his hometown. Read more
Published 6 months ago by PegRose
5.0 out of 5 stars Give this a chance
A couple of blurbs on the cover of this book compared the story to Wuthering Heights. At first I didn't quite see the connection, but after reading more I did. Read more
Published 8 months ago by "Ali"
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful read
Once I started reading this book I couldn't put it down! I devoured it in three days. The way in which the story unfolded was gripping. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Rachel Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Setting is contemporary, but themes are timeless. The characters are very real, and the settings feel like places where you've probably been -- even if those settings are far away... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Kathy L Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars Romantic and gritty.
This is an excellent combination of romance and drama that is unusual to come across these days.The personal dynamics are explored and the reader is able to sink farther into the... Read more
Published 17 months ago by mark smith
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