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Distant Shores: A Novel Paperback – June 28, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (June 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345469372
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345469373
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Having found her audience with Summer Island and On Mystic Lake, Hannah returns with another second-chance-at-love story, this one as bleak as the soggy Pacific Northwest setting. Perimenopausal former artist Elizabeth Shore is feeling lost and miserable these days, as daughters Jamie and Stephanie matriculate at Georgetown and husband Jack focuses on jump-starting his stalled sports broadcasting career. So Elizabeth, tellingly nicknamed "Birdie," compulsively redecorates her empty nest and pesters Jack with lugubrious questions about what's wrong with their lives. Then Jack scores a journalistic coup, and in his implausibly meteoric return to broadcasting glory, winds up in an efficiency apartment in New York City, halfheartedly fending off the advances of both a nubile assistant and a Hollywood bombshell. Meanwhile, back in rainy Oregon, Birdie grieves for her beloved late father, joins a support group for "passionless" women, starts to paint again and talks to herself in the self-help homilies Hannah favors ("No more cheerleader years for me. I need to get in the game"). She even has a rapprochement with newly widowed stepmother Anita, who, in a particularly explosive burst of character development, somehow transforms from a tacky Southern "Bette Midler on speed" to a white-haired sylph favoring "long, flowing" white dresses. (When Birdie finds her bliss, she discovers she's miraculously lost weight.) Hannah's tried-and-true formula includes the predictable happy ending, complete with life lessons tearfully learned, but only hardcore fans will make it to the last page of this dreary soap.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

From Summer Island to On Mystic Lake to Distant Shores, best-selling author Hannah seems to walk on water. Here, as Elizabeth packs up the beach house after her father's death, she comes to realize that her own marriage is all washed up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Kristin Hannah was born in September 1960 in Southern California and grew up at the beach, making sand castles and playing in the surf. When she was eight years old, her father drove the family to Western Washington which they called home.

After working in a trendy advertising agency, Kristin decided to go to law school. "But you're going to be a writer" are the prophetic words she would never forget from her mother. Kristin was in her third-and final-year of law school and her mom was in the hospital, facing the end of her long battle with cancer. Kristin was shocked to discover that her mother believed she would become a writer. For the next few months, they collaborated on the worst, most clichéd historical romance ever written.

After her mom's death, she packed up all those bits and pieces of paper they'd collected and put them in a box in the back of her closet. Kristin got married and continued practicing law.

Then Kristin found out she was pregnant and was on bed rest for five months. By the time she'd read every book in the house and started asking her husband for cereal boxes to read, she knew she was a goner. That's when her husband reminded her of the book she'd started with her mom. Kristin pulled out the boxes of research material, dusted them off and began writing. By the time their son was born, she'd finished a first draft and found an obsession.

The rejections came, of course, and they stung for a while, but each one really just spurred her to try harder, work more. In 1990, Kristin got "the call," and in that moment, she went from a young mother with a cooler-than-average hobby to a professional writer, and has never looked back. In all the years between then and now, she have never lost her love of, or her enthusiasm for, telling stories. Kristin feels truly blessed to be a wife, a mother, and a writer.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By R. Pride on July 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Jack and Elizabeth "Birdie" Shore are at a crossroads. After 24 years of marriage, they have raised two beautiful girls and withered the storm of Jack's rise and fall as a football star and his addiction to pain killers. Now Jack's career as a sportscaster is rising, and on the outside, everything looks perfect. But Elizabeth feels she is losing herself. She has raised her children, lifted Jack when he stumbled, and forgiven him for the times he strayed earlier in their marriage. She gave up her dream of becoming a painter because she thought that was what she was supposed to do. But when he beloved father dies suddenly, she realizes how empty her life truly is. And when Jack takes a job that will take him to New York, Elizabeth, for the first time, doesn't follow him and remains in Oregon, hoping to find what will give her her own identity.
Distant Shores is a wonderful, soul searching novel about two people who have lost their way. They're not bad people, and they haven't done terrible things. They still love each other, but as times change and they become different people, they wonder if they love each other enough. Few writers get to the heart of this as well as Kristin Hannah. You will sympathize with both Jack and Elizabeth, understand both their points of view, and hope they will find their way back to each other before it's too late. Very highly recommended.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mamalinde on December 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Yes, it happens, and this author gets just a whole lot of it EXACTLY right. I do wish I could have LIKED Elizabeth (Birdie) Shore a little better, "poor little misunderstood rich girl" comes to mind here, though. The Jackson Shore character really didn't have much depth to him beyond himself and his beloved sports. Did he ever really "get it"? Some of the women characters were richly sketched, and the daughters were artfully portrayed as a study in contrasts. The setting on the Oregon coast was well detailed and occasionally breathtaking but does it match the rather tropical looking cover of the book? Just a lot of bits and pieces that did not work for me - the single handed destruction of the dining room wall being one of them. Some of the rough language seems to come from no where and seems unnecessary and a bit trite. Not a favorite book, but Ms. Hannah does have an interesting spin on the staleness of a marriage, what makes a family, and finding yourself again.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm feeling a lot of the same things that Elizabeth (our heroin) went through. I am on the back burner. I'm still raising my children (13 yrs. & 2 yrs) and I have been married for 14 1/2 years. We were married at 19.
My children come first (that will always remain), then my husband, and finally me.
Like Elizabeth, I was feeling like I didn't matter very much. I don't work out of my home, so I felt that my needs are not as important.
After reading this book, I realized that I am a person of my own. I became my own mother and I was feeling unhappy. I DO matter and I have dreams worth following and fighting for.
I see that it's too easy to loose yourself. I'm only 33 and already I couldn't see myself in the mirror.
Thank you Ms. Hannah, I'm learning to find my voice again, and the spunky girl my husband fell in love with.
I love this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By MaumelleReader on April 13, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am so grateful I picked this up used for only $2. Cannot believe how much I hated this book. The story is weak and the characters are just plain gross. What can I say. First, Elizabeth is about as boring and shallow a character as you can imagine. She gave up her dream of being a painter to be a good wife and mother and follow hubby, Jack, around the country while he pursued his dream and, I gather, pretty much jumped on any little ole thing that crossed his path. Ick. And natch, when Elizabeth decides she needs a break so that she can figure out what to do with her empty and unhappy life, Jack can't keep it in his pants for a few measly months in spite of being devastated by the loss of Elizabeth's love and their family. As if all of that wasn't bad enough, the ending was stupid. I'm sorry, there is no other word for it. Stupid. Elizabeth and Jack decide they can live happily ever after and all it takes is Elizabeth following Jack to NYC, enrolling in graduate school, and Jack feeling bad for sleeping with his assistant during the separation.Oh yeah, Jack doesn't tell Elizabeth when they reconcile about his little dalliance with his assistant. So is it just me, but doesn't that seem like kind of a critical piece of information to share if you're trying to start fresh. I cannot imagine that at some point in the future it is not coming back to bite someone in the tush. Man, I seriously just wanted to slap these two people silly and say, get a life, grow up, and quit whining.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Kaplan on June 1, 2005
Format: Audio Cassette
Maybe I would have liked this book better if I had not suffered through the egregious unabridged audio, with singularly untalented reader Bernadette Quigley, who, throughout the entire book, put her inflections on the wrong words as though she were reciting by rote rather than looking at what she was reading. Example, "Thank you," Elizabeth SAID.

Once having gotten used to that weirdness, one is blown away by the plethora of cliches contained in only one small book. Middle-aged woman faces empty nest and boredom in her marriage. Husband wants something more. Wife wants to "find herself." College-age bratty daughters want mom and dad to stay together forever so they feel secure.

The middle-aged wife, Elizabeth, was once a promising painter, but of course she got married and gave up painting and yada yada yada...husband Jack was once a star quarterback, but "blew out his knee" and got addicted to painkillers, so now he's a third-string TV commentator in Oregon. He yearns to be back in the bigtime. Yawn. Daughters are polar opposites, but both at Georgetown University, sharing a room (as if!!). Back in Tennessee, Elizabeth's Daddy is almost a mockery of grade C Southern Tobacco Grower movies. Stepmother Anita has piled up hair and high heeled shoes and Elizabeth hates her.

Enough. This is probably an OK book to read on a boring plane ride or better yet, when stuck in the airport. But don't expect a single original thought or word.
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