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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Let me just start out by saying that I wish I could give this short story more than a measly 5 stars. If you like reading about ghosts, this is the book for you. If you like reading a love story, this is the book for you. If you like learning heartbreaking secrets, this is the book for you. I you like reading at all, this is the book for you. Don't walk, run to the "Buy now with 1-click button". This is a MUST READ!

HAWTHORNE by SARAH BALLANCE is a masterfully written short story that packs one hell of a punch. My heart went out to Emma Grace having to deal with the fear of returning to the place she had run from ten years before, and to Noah who had never stopped loving her. I knew from the beginning these two characters belonged together and couldn't wait to see that come to fruition.

There was such a huge twist at the end of this book that it left me stunned and speechless, literally staring at my Kindle with my hands clutching my head. Mark my words. RUN, don't walk to pick this book up. YOU HAVE JUST GOT TO READ IT!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I've given this short story a 5-star review for many reasons. The writing is amazing and powerful and moved me to tears. I don't cry often, but when I do, I cry hard. This book had me blubbering like a baby and it didn't need many words to do it. Sarah has a wonderful talent for creating believable words and characters that will stick with you long after you've finished reading.

The plot, the characters, the setting . . . everything was perfect.

This book also received a 5-star review for the pure reason it was written: charity. Sarah dedicated her time and creativity to help victims of the devastating tornadoes and earthquakes. Not many people will spend their time fretting over writing a book for free.

So I applaud you, Sarah Ballance, and cannot wait to read what you have in store for us next.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This was my review of the previous edition and I'm copying it over to this new edition since the two versions do not seem to connect the reviews.
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I don't know if it's a novella or a short story, but (at about 67 pages) it's a very quick read. In fact, that's practically my only complaint: TOO SHORT!
Immediately after finishing this story, I went back to the beginning and read it again. And I NEVER do that with a book!
But I had to with Hawthorne because ... well, I can't tell you without spoiling it for everybody. Suffice it to say that I was so surprised that I re-read it to see what I'd missed. When you read it the second time, folks, it's a completely DIFFERENT story!
Yeah, I know, you're skeptical. Well, I'm serious: I've never done with a story what I did with this one --- immediately read it again.
I already knew Sarah Ballance was a talented author, but this is the first of her books that I've read. Now I'm itching to latch on to another one!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Title: Hawthorne
Author: Sarah Ballance
Publisher: Astraea Press
Genre: Paranormal novella
ISBN: 978-1936852-44-4
Format: Ebook

Note: 100% of the proceeds from Hawthorne benefit Japan disaster relief charities.

Emma Grace left home ten years ago and never looked back. Why? Because a horrifying accident and an encounter with the unexplained left her with scars that never healed.
But Emma is coming home, the death of her beloved Grandmother the catalyst for her to face what happened all those years ago.
She knew that she might see Noah, but what she didn't expect was that he still could affect her heart. It's going to make coming to terms with what happened and saying goodbye to the past that much harder.
Not to mention the fact that the unexplained still lurk in the shadows at Hawthorne Manor and as much as Emma Grace tried to forget them, they never once tried to forget her....

This is my first opportunity to review a novella and all proceeds of this book go to charity. What more could a girl ask for?
A good read perhaps?
Hawthorne wasn't just a good read it was a great read! I really wasn't sure what to expect when I picked this up, I admit I don't usually read novellas. Only because sometimes they feel incomplete to me, like the story could go on but didn't.
This was not the case with Hawthorne. It was a full, complete story. When I put it down I didn't feel like there was anything missing, all the elements of a great story were there. There was good characterization, which to me, in a novella, is key. The writer has to have a good skill for imparting the character to the reader quickly but thoroughly and still move the story along. I will say the only thing I wished for was maybe better description of what the characters looked like. But even that set my imagination to work, creating a picture in my head of the perfect Noah. ;)
The storyline was well thought out. It included romance, mystery, paranormal, gossip and even had a good climax towards the end. The author did a great job moving the story along, flowing everything together with ease.
The setting of the book was great too: An old manor, modernized by money and for convenience, yet still somehow stuck in the past and clinging to its history. The image my mind conjured was of sweeping rooflines, romantic balconies and a quiet expanse of lush lawn with the sweet, heavy fragrance of blooming flowers floating through the air. It is the perfect setting for all things paranormal, where things appear perfect but aren't.
And let me just say that my favorite part of this novella was the end. I won't say much more because I don't want to give it away (what fun would that be?) but I will say that it was fabulous and something that was unexpected.
I highly recommend this novella for anyone who loves to read paranormal. It's an easy read, a quick read and it is great for transporting you away from your own mind and into someone else's. I live in the south, where the heat is sometimes unbearable and the air is heavy with humidity...some days I just want to stay inside with my air conditioning and a cup of tea and pretend that it isn't blistering outside. Hawthorne was the perfect excuse to do that. Even if you don't live where the heat keeps you in, you can take this book outside with you and enjoy it on a brilliant summer day.
You won't regret it. And what makes it even better is that by buying this book you will be helping others in need. Hey, it's all in a day's work...
So there you have it. My opinion.

This review is written by Cambria Hebert
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
Posted on Romancing the BOok's blog
Reviewed by Ursula
Review Copy PRovided by the Publisher

This is a very short story, but a well written one. The opening grabs you right away when you `feel' what Emma Grace felt upon her return to her childhood home after 10 years. A horrible and frightening event happened when she was only 17 that left so many lives changed; Emma Grace's, Noah's and Margaret's, Emma's grandmother.

The characters were well developed for such a short story, but there was still enough mystery surrounding Emma Grace and Noah, that the ending is surprising.

The one thing that pulled me out of the story a time or two was the author's use of some of her descriptive words. She used words that seemed more to impress rather than enhance the story. There were a couple of times they didn't seem to be the right choice. For example; "They often parked at the end of the drive and took pictures of the condescending mansion most thought beautiful." I think I know what the author was getting at, but `condescending' seems to be an odd choice of words.

Even with the occasional odd descriptive word pulling you out of the story, which thankfully is only in the very early part of the story, it is a good read. The ending is surprising, but there were a few comments in the story that made more sense once you reached the end.

I enjoyed the bittersweet story...while the twist ending was wonderfully done, one can't help but wish life could always be, "Happy Ever After"!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2011
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Just finished reading Hawthorne, and I am still in awe. I don't even know how to write a review for this piece. It was hauntingly beautiful with a southern charm from days gone by. Absolutely stunning. A great read with a wonderful plus - the proceeds have gone to charity. Wow, Sarah Ballance...WOW.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I love a good ghost story. A loving ghost. So, I thought I would give this story a shot. However, almost from the first I was confused. I don't usually read or like suspense stories and I think this may have been more that that a big romance. At any rate, the heroine returns back to her home after 10 years, there were obviously some very negative events that caused her to run when she did. Ok, I got that. she drives up to the long drive in a Mustang. Ok. Then she feels something jarring the car while she is gazing at the house recalling all these bad events. She is to scared to see what caused the car to move. Ok, a problem with that since I would think your first inclination would be to look to see what was going on without even thinking of what you are doing. But, she didn't. The hero, Noah, her teen love sees the car and he goes running up the driveway to see who is in the car because he thinks it is HER. He gets there and there is no one in the car. Then he turns around and there she is. Ok, is she the ghost and he just doesn't know it? If she was so scared, petrified, why did she get out of the car? And if she is out of the car why didn't he see here when he looked all around for the driver? So he walks her back to the house and they call a tow truck for the car. WHY A TOW TRUCK. Nothing was mentioned about the car having a problem. Strange. Okay, so he mentions the car to her and she laughs and tells him she "borrowed" the car which indicates she stole the car. This is funny? And she ha no problems with the car that she stole being towed away to be impounded. What kind of person is she?

Now she has a horror of the house, doesn't want to go near it because of all the bad things that happened there. We keep getting told about all these bad things and the bad people inside but I guess the only reason is to build suspense. Frankly, I was just getting a little put out by it all. Ok, bad things happened, get on with it. The hero is beside himself to have her back yet they seem like strangers. Now it has been 10 years but he has spent the last 10 years waiting for her and now she is here. But they seem like distant cousins. it was just weird to me. I just couldn't get into this story. I did go back and read the reviews to see if I missed something and it seems like all the reviewers just loved this wonderful story. I'm sorry I missed it. I am going to quit reading. If I go back and try again I will up date this opinion. But right now, I just feel more confused than dying to know what happened. I sort of wonder at the surprise ending and wonder if maybe she is the ghost after all. I guess I will never know!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I don't know if it's a novella or a short story, but (at about 67 pages) it's a very quick read. In fact, that's practically my only complaint: TOO SHORT!
Immediately after finishing this story, I went back to the beginning and read it again. And I NEVER do that with a book!
But I had to with Hawthorne because ... well, I can't tell you without spoiling it for everybody. Suffice it to say that I was so surprised that I re-read it to see what I'd missed. When you read it the second time, folks, it's a completely DIFFERENT story!
Yeah, I know, you're skeptical. Well, I'm serious: I've never done with a story what I did with this one --- immediately read it again.
I already knew Sarah Ballance was a talented author, but this is the first of her books that I've read. Now I'm itching to latch on to another one!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Bittersweet love story. Cannot say more, except that I never saw that end coming. Highly recommend this book to all my friends.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Seldom have I been caught by surprise by the ending of a story,but HAWTHORNE not only charmed me with its love angle,I was pleased to be caught off-guard at the end.Good writing with characters you can really care about, Hawthorne is a lovely diversion with a story that will stay with you for a long time.
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