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Little Night: A Novel Paperback – June 25, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In her thirtieth novel, Rice (Silver Boat, 2011) continues to find original ways to mine her signature themes of love and family as she introduces sisters Claire and Anne and their strong yet complicated bond. That bond is all but severed once Anne becomes trapped in an abusive marriage and withdraws from family and friends. Claire ends up in prison for assaulting her brother-in-law in a bid to rescue Anne, who testifies in defense of her spouse. Rice fast-forwards 20 years to when the sisters are completely estranged. Claire, who has struggled emotionally since Anne’s betrayal, is surprised by the appearance of her niece, Grit, who has been thrown out by her parents and now hopes to connect with the aunt she barely knows. As the two grow close, they long to complete the circle and reconcile with Anne. Rice manages to create a fair measure of suspense around a reunion that feels inevitable, holding Anne at arm’s length for much of the narrative. Never rushing her story or revelations, Rice reaches the satisfying conclusion that while wounds runs deep, love runs deeper. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A major national promotion campaign will support best-selling Rice’s milestone novel, including a May 1 release of an “e-special” (How We Started, $3.99) containing two short stories. --Patty Wetli --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review


Praise for LITTLE NIGHT:


“Poetic and stirring . . . beautifully combines [Rice’s] love nature and the power of family.”

Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Best-selling author Rice’s 30th book is an outstanding read that both chills and warms the soul . . . highly recommended.”

Library Journal, starred review

“Never rushing her story or revelations, Rice reaches the satisfying conclusion that while wounds run deep, love runs deeper.”

Booklist

“A classic Rice page-turner.”

Good Housekeeping

“In Little Night, Rice plumbs the depths of the damage that physical and mental abuse cause the recipients and allows us into the heads of those who suffer these situations. In spite of the serious nature of the subject matter, the story is filled with happy moments and an undying hope for future happiness.”

Bookreporter.com

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (June 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143123327
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143123323
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #738,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

LUANNE RICE is the New York Times bestselling author of thirty one novels, most recently THE LEMON ORCHARD. Her novels, including Cloud Nine and Last Kiss often center on love, family, nature and the sea, and have been translated into twenty-four languages. A number of Rice's novels have been adapted for television, including Crazy in Love for TNT, Blue Moon for CBS, the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentations of Follow the Stars Home and Silver Bells, and Beach Girls as a summer drama series for Lifetime Television. She has contributed a theatrical piece to the new off Broadway play Motherhood Out Loud. Rice loves nature and frequently writes about it. Born in Connecticut, Rice divides her time between New York City and Southern California.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Luanne Rice is a capable writer who specializes in telling stories about family dynamics. The bare bones of a good story are buried deep within Little Night. Sadly, a determined reader will need to dig through contrived situations and weakly developed characters to find it.

The prologue begins in 1993 with the arrest of Clare Burke after she smashes Frederik Rasmussen's face with a burning log. After years of estrangement from her sister Anne caused by Anne's controlling husband Frederik, Clare had noticed Anne's injuries during a visit. Clare was convincing Anne to flee to a place of safety when Frederik came home and began to choke Anne. The police do not believe Clare was protecting Anne when Anne refuses to contradict her domineering husband, who accuses Clare of attempting to murder him.

In 2011, Anne's daughter Grit visits Clare in New York City. Grit is a follower of Clare's bird blog. She shares Clare's animosity toward Frederik. Grit also has issues surrounding her mother's uncaring behavior and her brother's apparent death in a bog. Grit and Clare nonetheless bond over the fact that they both miss Anne. Before she fled home, Grit stole Anne's diary which Clare reads to gain insight into Anne's personality.

Part two begins with a posting on Anne's blog that (with good reason) questions her parenting of Grit. Reading it together (as well as subsequent entries) gives Clare and Grit another bonding opportunity.

Other events are scattered through this mostly uneventful novel. Grit behaves in a self-destructive way. She gets tattoos from an artist named Dennis. She earns a little money by cooking for pretentious people. Clare examines her feelings for a bird enthusiast named Paul.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By booklover343 on June 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I've always felt that Luanne Rice was more of a "fluffy" writer but this book takes a turn into some very serious and "tight" writing. And yet, at the same time, there is much that is lyrical and beautiful.

The story appealed to me since it seemed more serious than her usual fare. I got the book yesterday and finished it this morning! Yes, it was that compelling to read.

I don't have a sister but the "sister bond" is very intriguing to me. This book answers the question: "how far would you go for your sister?" and "how far would your sister go for you?" also..."how much could you forgive your sister for doing?"

The family bonds are deep and complicated in this novel...some healthy and some not. But the characters are real and have many dimensions. It's so hard to put down once you start - be warned!

If Luanne Rice is now taking her writing in this direction, I'm going to be a big fan. Wish Amazon had the ability to give half stars...this would get 4 1/2 from me.

Let's hope the author is thinking of a sequel. Would love to hear what happens next to these characters.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jill Dennison on June 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read a number of books by Luanne Rice, beginning with Cloud Nine (1999), I was expecting more than was delivered. I found this to be by far the darkest book I have read by Ms. Rice, as well as disappointingly unbelievable, both in characterization and plot. The story is that of two sisters, Clare and Anne, who grew up very close, presumably as they were mostly shut out of their parents' lives during their childhood. Anne, the older sister, marries Frederik, a controlling, narcissistic European glassblower who effectively removes her from the lives of her family, both physically and emotionally. Frederik is the personification of evil, yet we are given no insight as to the reason. No insight into the character, really. Clare remains devoted to Anne, despite not being able to see her or her two children for several years, and one day she takes it upon herself to visit. On seeing that Anne is obviously an abused wife, Clare convinces her to leave Frederik, but alas, it is at this point that, predictably, Frederik returns home and immediately upon hearing Anne agree to go away with Clare, he begins choking Anne. Clare grabs a burning log from the fireplace and hits Frederik in the face with it to get him away from Anne, but once the police arrive, Anne agrees with her husband that Clare intended to murder Frederik and thus the stage is set ... Clare goes to prison while Anne, Frederik and the children (who have the unlikely names of Gilly and Grit) move to Europe, completing the separation of the sisters. Note that this is not a spoiler, as all this takes place during the first few pages of the book.

Sometimes we need to be disturbed, shaken out of our own peaceful, secure lives and made to look around us in order to realize that there is despair and hopelessness in the world.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Hackel on June 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I've read several of Luanne Rice's book but this one was very hard to follow. It has too much description about things that are not important to the story. I felt that there was more non fiction material than necessary. And then her fictional story was just thrown in between it all. I felt nothing for the characters and felt cheated by the weirdness of it and the awful ending.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on June 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Growing up together in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan before it was a trendy area, Clare and Anne Burke were as close as two sisters could be. Although their family life was troubled due to their parents' unhappy marriage, they took comfort in the fact that they always had one another.

As so often happens, however, adulthood changes things between the sisters. When Anne marries Danish artist Frederik Rasmussen, a famous glassblower, the relationship between the sisters suddenly becomes nonexistent. By means of physical and mental abuse, Frederik effectively isolates Anne from the love and support of her dear sister.

When Clare finally gathers her courage to visit Anne and her children years later, it's as if the past period of estrangement melts away. Seeing visual signs of Frederik's abuse on Anne, Clare encourages her to pack her and the children's things and leave with Clare immediately. Before she can do so, though, Frederik arrives home and immediately attacks Anne when he realizes she is about to depart their hellish marriage.

At a loss for what action to take to save her sister from further abuse, Clare picks up a burning log from the fireplace and aims for Frederik's head. Unfortunately for Clare, when law enforcement becomes involved and she is arrested, Anne takes Frederik's side and seals Clare's fate --- a two-year prison sentence.

In spite of being branded a felon, Clare manages to make a life for herself in New York City after her release from prison. She lives in the house she and Anne grew up in, immerses herself in bird watching, and creates and maintains a blog that shares her ornithological experiences with others. Although she's comfortable with her life, Clare isn't completely happy.
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