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The Evidence Against Her: A Novel Hardcover – September 19, 2001

3.4 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Cometh the Hour: A Novel (The Clifton Chronicles) by Jeffrey Archer
"Cometh the Hour" by Jeffrey Archer
Cometh the Hour is the penultimate book in the Clifton Chronicles and, like the five previous novels - all of which hit the New York Times bestseller list - showcases Jeffrey Archer's extraordinary storytelling with his trademark twists. Learn more | See author page

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Robb Forman Dew reaches far in her fourth novel, The Evidence Against Her. She wants to paint a portrait--at once intimate and sweeping--of a small, turn-of-the-century town. Into the upper crust of Washburn, Ohio, three babies are born on the same sunny day in 1888. Robert, Lily, and Warren grow up as a triumvirate, though their parents are vaguely disturbed by their "threesomeness." Eventually, as seems preordained, Robert and Lily are married, and Warren, left behind, falls for and weds the teenage Agnes. The introduction of Agnes, the interloper, upsets the triangle in unexpected ways. Forman Dew writes of these emotional entanglements in a lush, descriptive prose that owes a lot to the quiet romanticism of Eudora Welty. She wants us to believe in the intense inner lives of these old-fashioned characters; it's as if she's showing us a faded black-and-white daguerreotype and demanding that we imagine ourselves in the high-buttoned shoes of the people we see in the picture. --Claire Dederer

From Publishers Weekly

Appearing after a decade-long hiatus, Dew's latest novel proves well worth the wait. In her vibrant new work, Dew (Dale Loves Sophie to Death) once again demonstrates her mastery of the nuances of family life; her slow, painstaking accretion of detail, like the cross-hatching on a Drer etching, produces a rich and resonant landscape fully representative of its time and place. The setting here is Washburn, Ohio, a small town made prosperous by the Scofield engine manufacturer. Lily Scofield, her cousin Warren, and Robert Butler, son of the pastor of the Methodist church, are born on the same day in 1888, and their lives are intimately intertwined. Headstrong, clever Lily is their leader, first in their childhood and later as they mature. When she marries Robert, townspeople gossip that Warren is heartbroken, but the truth lies elsewhere; Warren carries a secret burden that he cannot acknowledge. His marriage to the much younger Agnes Claytor, eldest child in a dysfunctional family, disrupts the threesome's dynamic. World War I ends; the flu epidemic claims several victims. Another generation of children is born and become inseparable. And an accidental death occurs. Under the surface of these events Dew records minute changes in the emotional atmosphere, epiphanic moments that interrupt quotidian routines and small events, such as an argument over a riding habit, that signal domestic crises with lasting repercussions. A marvel of lyrical understatement, the narrative flows like a river smooth, with surprising depths, some turbulence and the inexorability of time's passing. Does character conspire with fate, or against it? Does love solve problems, or cause them? Both ambiguous and satisfying, the ending is laden with portent, suggesting another novel to come. Meanwhile, the subtlety and complexity of Dew's absorbing story is a signal achievement. (Sept. 19)Forecast: An arresting cover is a plus for this novel, and critical attention will surely be forthcoming for Dew, the granddaughter of poet John Crowe Ransom. Handselling should alert discerning readers.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown; 1st edition (September 19, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316890197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316890199
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,817,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I received this book as a Christmas gift and I just got around to reading it. What a pleasant surprise! (And a refreshing break from the flood of novels about contemporary dysfunctional families.) The seductive cover does not mislead -- inside these pages is a powerful story, but this is a gentle kind of power -- the power of family bonds and subtle domestic dramas. The author tells us the Scofield family stories in a distinctive voice that can only be described as discreet. It's as if a loving aunt were recounting the family's history for us. I haven't read anything else by Robb Forman Dew, but I am going to search out her earlier novels, and I'm looking forward to the sequel to this one.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lovers of the sort of fiction Jan Karon writes won't like this book, and it is a waste of time for them to read it. This is an astonishing work of lierature that is nevertheless accessable to any good reader. It is a whole world given to the reader to ponder for years after finishing the book. Is there Evidence? Of what and about whom? I think this is the best book I've read in decades, and if you're a fan of Jane Austen or Edith Wharton or even Carol Shields you will love this novel! I'm jealous of anyone who hasn't read it yet! Happy reading!
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Format: Hardcover
I saw this book displayed, and the cover is so seductive that I picked it up and began to look through it. I was captivated by the first sentence which is one of the great openings of any book I've ever read, including A Tale of Two Cities. This is a complex tale about familial myths, and how they evolve, that shape the way we look at the narrative of our lives. And this is one of the only books I've ever read that explores the lives of girls at school, among many other things. At times it's endearingly amusing and at times it's searingly sad and sometimes heartbreaking. This is a book into which you walk as if you're sinking into a dream. It is slow paced and visual and increasingly mesmerizing. I emerged from it so sorry it was over. It's a whole world Dew gives us, and the writing is transcendent! It illuminates the fact that any person is always living his or her regular life while managing all sorts of emotions simultaneaously, and the author never judges the characters but leaves that for the reader to do if we choose. The ending is a shock and is entirely earned. I loved this book and think it will become a classic. I'm trying to find this author's previous books but they seem to be out of print.
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By A Customer on June 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
I loved this book! It was very disappointing when I got to the end and had to let the characters go. I recognized so many people I know/knew in the characters and was therefore fascinated with them. I highly recommend this book to people who love to study other people (and may learn something about themselves in the process).
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Format: Hardcover
After reading reviews for this book I was given it as a gift several months ago. I completed the two books I wanted to read before "The Evidence Against Her" and, when I finally got to pick it up I almost wish I never had. What a disappointment! I realize that it is a slow-paced novel that takes place in a much slower time. But it's slow to the point of being stuck in the mud. The character development drags. You kind of know where the characters are going but by the time they get there you have lost interest.
I did plod along and finish the novel. The story is somewhat interesting but the pace and dialogue dragged a bit too much. Hey, there is no slower town than Mitford but I can't put Jan Karon's books down!
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By A Customer on October 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Not much happens in this book on the surface. At first glance it seems like that is not the case: there are births, deaths, marriages, World War I, an outbreak of influenza. But all of that activity plays a background role to the intricate workings of three families in a small Ohio town at the turn of the century--and everything that happens is leading up to one final act, providing motivation for that act.
I found this to be primarily a novel of envy. Every person in this book feels as if he/she is on the outside looking in. Agnes Claytor envys Lily Butler, who envys her right back. Catherine Claytor envys her daughter; in fact she envys anyone that takes the center of attention away from herself. In many ways it reminded me of a Jane Austen novel of manners: so many people were so concerned about what others thought, and caught up in their own propriety, that no one really understood or got to know anyone else.
I did find the ending to be bit abrupt. The back cover says that this is the first in a trilogy, so I'm thinking maybe this book was meant just as an introduction to these characters. Overall, the writing is superb, and the characters are fascinating, and for the most part, likeable people. I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a magnificent novel: gorgeously written, heartbraking, funny at times...it's the work of a laureled American novelist at the height of her powers.
I began reading The Evidence Against Her yesterday around 10 a.m. and could not put it down. It is the story of two families living in late 19th- and early 20th- century Ohio, but it could just as easily be set in Chekhov's Russia or Lawrence's England, for its appeal and its message are universal. The story focuses on luminously-drawn Agnes, the unwitting anchor and scapegoat of a troubled family. I have no doubt that Agnes will eventually take her place beside Hardy's Tess, Austen's Emma, Tolstoy's Natasha, and the other great female protagonists of Western literature.
This is a literary novel, but it is also deeply entertaining. Dew is one of a handful of writers currently working who manages to be both at once. This is a novel to be read at least twice, I think: first for the thrilling story and second to savor the richly textured prose and exquisitely observed scenes. I plan to start it again soon.
Don't miss this book!
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