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The Long Walk Home: A Novel Paperback – May 13, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; First Edition edition (May 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307383032
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307383037
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,591,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this lyrical first novel about love and loss by a ghostwriter for Bill Clinton and Al Gore, Alec, a former speech writer for Jimmy Carter, walks like a pall bearer from Heathrow Airport to North Wales to scatter the ashes of his late wife. Along the way, he meets and begins an affair with Fiona Edwards, the spirited and married operator of a Welsh bed-and-breakfast. Fiona's marriage to her shepherd husband David is foundering on the shoals of mutual lack of interest and David's pesticide-related illness that keeps him relegated to separate quarters. There are moral dilemmas aplenty, most notably when Alec discovers David near death in the same treacherous region where he just released his wife's remains. North offers vivid descriptions of the Welsh countryside, capturing its local dialect, flora and fauna, and wild weather, but his romantic boomer tale—which includes some overwrought poetry and a few witty words on Carter's handling of the Iran hostage crisis—is sometimes too idyllic. If Nicholas Sparks set a novel in North Wales, it would read a lot like this. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

New Yorker Alec Hudson is a man with a mission. Determined to fulfill his ex-wife's dying request to have her ashes scattered on a remote Welsh mountain, the site of one of their happiest times in life, Alec decides to work through the mourning process by walking from Heathrow to North Wales. There he meets Fiona Edwards, the proprietor of a quaint farmhouse bed-and-breakfast. Prevented from scaling the mountain by inclement weather, Alec is drawn into life on the farm, helping out with lambing season and falling into an easy companionship with the outgoing Fiona, whose reclusive husband is suffering the ill effects of poisoning from a cleansing agent used on the sheep. When Alec and Fiona finally recognize and act on their mutual attraction, lifelong notions of loyalty and duty endlessly complicate their relationship. With its exploration of love at midlife, this debut novel will remind readers of the megahit Bridges of Madison County. And, as with that novel, some will find the fervid declarations of love highly romantic; others will cringe. Wilkinson, Joanne --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

"Will North" is the pseudonym for fiction for an award-winning non-fiction American author. My first novels, "The Long Walk Home" and "Water, Stone, Heart," received enthusiastic reviews nationwide and have been published in many foreign languages. They're both set in Britain and I think they are best described as love stories for grownups. They're both about second chances at love in midlife. My latest novel, "Seasons' End," is also a love story, but a somewhat darker one, and is set on an island in Puget Sound, Washington. Over the course of a long career I have held several important posts, but all involved writing. My last "real job" was in an appointed position in the administration of President Jimmy Carter. Reagan fired me as soon as he was inaugurated. It was the best thing that ever happened to me, because it set me on my book writing career. I never looked back.

If the complexities of human relationships matter to you, if you long for stories about real life and people trying to find happiness despite sometimes desperate circumstances, the Will North novels are meant for you. My fans have written that the books changed their lives and gave them courage and hope.

Customer Reviews

I greatly enjoyed reading this book.
Wendy C. Wall
Wonderful story, very exciting, extremely well written .
Virginia L. McGuire
A good book when just want to sit down and read.
P. Daniels

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Margie Read VINE VOICE on October 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As a constant reader, once in a while, an outstanding book comes along. Will North's The Long Walk Home is such a book. The setting, the story, the characters, and the splendid writing combine to make a throughly enjoyable and thought provoking novel.
An American, Alec Hudson,has brought the ashes of his late ex-wife to Wales to honor her request that they be scattered from the peak of a mountain that overlooks the back pastures of the farm of Fiona, a Welsh woman.
But as bad weather delays the task, these two people are drawn together in a passion neither ever thought possible. The tale is of grief and hope, or love and loss and of a deep seated loyalty to values and morals. Is it possible to love again in middle years? Once they have found it, can they ever let it go? Can dreams really overcome barriers that seem unsurmountable? They can, yet North never lets his story slip into sentimental syrup. To the very end of the novel, there is a great satisfaction of feeling that this could happen, and it did happen, and there is hope for happiness after all.
The Long Walk Home will keep you up all night reading and you will not soon forget that you have known Alec and Fiona, loved with them, and wished them a long and happy life.
It is the best novel I have read in ages, and I nominate it as the book of the year. Bravo, well done.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By K. Krajewski on September 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Will North did a wonderful job with his first novel. The scenery is breathtaking, and i enjoyed the characters very much.A book, that keeps you turning the pages to see what happens next.
I look forward to the other books by this author.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By K. M. VINE VOICE on September 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
It was the picturesque cover of THE LONG WALK HOME that initially induced me to open the book. The boots before the colorful door charmingly invited me. And I soon found the homeyness of the cover art amply reflected in the book itself. Will North's first novel (but not, by a long shot, his first book) is a gentle story of blossoming middle-aged love. Alec, who comes to Wales to scatter the ashes of his one-time wife and best friend, meets married Fiona when he impulsively rings her door bell hoping to secure a room at her bed-and-breakfast without a reservation. Alec and Fiona are both noble people -- perhaps too good to be true. But THE LONG WALK HOME is intentionally not a cynical, barbed, ironic piece of fiction. It's a comforting, modern-day fairy tale about people who love so much they do the right thing even when it's agony. In many respects North has written an old-fashioned novel with characters a bit pat but congenial and comfortable.

I do wish North had restrained himself from inserting the prologue, set in 2005. It lessens -- one could even say dissolves -- the suspense and tensions of the dilemma that Alec and Fiona face in 1999. It should have been integrated into the epilogue. And as it happens, my copy of this book was read first by a pencil-wielder who corrected grammatical mistakes wherever found. There are a number, but none should be unduly bothersome.

In the main, THE LONG WALK HOME is a lovely, relaxing read: something to be enjoyed in the tub, by a cozy fire in the hearth, on the beach, or by the pool. Sometimes it's just plain pleasant to spend time with characters who tend, in their delineation, to be more black-and-white than Kodachrome complex. Alec and Fiona are kind, honorable and loving. How refreshing.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Sam Sattler on October 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
Unlike what seems to be the case for a lot of readers, it was not the cover of Will North's The Long Walk Home that initially drew me to the novel. The cover is certainly well-designed and attractive to the eye but in itself it would not have been enough to get me to pick up the book. Rather, it was the fact that the book is set in Wales, one of my favorite parts of the world, that got the money out of my wallet. A quick glance through the book convinced me that rural Wales was a key element in North's debut novel and I figured to rekindle a few old memories while reading it.

The book's main character, Alec Hudson, a former speech writer for Jimmy Carter, has walked from London's Heathrow all the way to mountainous Wales where he plans to dispose of his ex-wife's ashes in the place and manner she requested. Arriving at a remote bed and breakfast facility only to find that all the rooms are already spoken for, Alec is able to convince the B&B's owner to allow him to pitch his tent on the grounds rather than force him to make the long walk back to the nearest town. And, truth be told, Fiona, who owns the B&B with her husband is so attracted to him that she is thrilled to keep him around for a bit.

Alec, when the weather takes a turn for the worse and forces him to stay in Wales longer than he had anticipated, quickly comes to the realization that he is equally attracted to Fiona. But despite their mutual attraction, both are well aware that Fiona is a married woman (her husband suffers from pesticide poisoning and is forced to live in a separate building on their sheep farm property) and for a while they limit themselves to some mild flirting. However, when circumstances change enough to seemingly justify it, they wholeheartedly begin a physical relationship.
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