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Dune Road: A Novel Paperback – May 25, 2010
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“Inviting...has all the right elements for a sun-baked afternoon of reading: sandy locales, hints of sex and scandal, and lots of strong female characters.”—Publishers Weekly
“Masterful…astute…A terrific summer beach book.”—Connecticut Post
More Praise for the Novels of Jane Green
“Gripping and powerful.”—Emily Giffin, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“The perfect summer read.”―Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“A warm bath of a novel that draws you in...Green’s sympathetic portrayals...resonate.”—USA Today
“Warm, witty, sharp and insightful. Jane Green writes with such honesty and zing.”―Sophie Kinsella, New York Times bestselling author
“Her compelling tale reflects an understanding of contemporary women that’s acute and compassionate, served up with style.”―People
“The kind of novel you’ll gobble up at a single sitting.”—Cosmopolitan
“A smart, complex, character-driven read.”—The Washington Post
“Green’s novels consistently deliver believable, accessible, heartfelt, often heartwarming stories about real people, problems, and feelings.”—Redbook
About the Author
- Publisher : Berkley; Reprint edition (May 25, 2010)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0452296250
- ISBN-13 : 978-0452296251
- Item Weight : 10.1 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.73 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #417,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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She hasn’t downsized to poverty…she is just not in the same social set. But Kit never enjoyed that scene anyway. She takes a job as an assistant to a best-selling author, Robert McClore, and finds a new mother figure in her next-door neighbor Edie. She still regularly socializes with her best friend Charlie, even though Charlie is still married and living in the big house.
Then along comes Tracy, and this is where things start getting interesting. Tracy seems like a con artist to me, and she is making some very questionable moves. What will we learn about her?
A new man suddenly pops up…compliments of Tracy pointing him out. Is there more to this story?
What appeared to be just the usual novel about new beginnings starts to take on a different premise, as more and more unexpected events are triggered, and Kit’s new life begins unfolding in unpredictable ways.
How do secrets from Kit’s mother’s past suddenly reveal themselves and begin to change everything Kit thought she knew about her and about her own life?
The characters that populate Dune Road: A Novel were interesting, like real people who do annoying things to one another, while keeping potentially dangerous secrets. We see their vulnerabilities, their flaws, and watch how they deal with financial set-backs in the worst economic downturn in recent history. They are forced to question their attitudes, beliefs, and plans, and they must struggle to redefine who they are. The conclusion left me with a feeling of positivity. 4.5 stars.
Kit is divorced from her Wall Street banker husband because, it seems, she couldn't find a better way to stop herself from being transformed into the kind of trophy wife he wanted. (It's no secret, from the earliest pages, that he still hankers after her and he's really her soul mate.) Her closest friend, meanwhile, after happily becoming a consumer goddess, is angry at her husband for mismanaging their finances and allowing her to become that woman. Leaving aside the issue of whether either woman is interesting or appealing enough to identify with, there's the bigger one of whether they are realistic. In this reader's opinion, both are cardboard cutout characters and Green's half-hearted efforts to transform their lifestyles into lives by whipping up such drama as a mother's conflict with her daughter over borrowed clothes are just absurd and, ultimately, dull as ditchwater.
There is a plot and an underlying theme of sorts to this, but both are a bit absurd in both nature and execution. The theme -- how well do we really know the people we have in our lives or who we encounter -- is at the heart of the plot, which revolves around the somewhat mysterious Tracy, owner of the yoga center that both Kit and Charlie, her friend, attend. (There's also a subplot involving a mysterious sister of one of the characters, who may or may not be what she seems, and a suitor for one of them, ditto.) Through in a reclusive thriller writer, apparently tormented by the death of his wife 30 years earlier; a warm, wise and witty elderly neighbor and surrogate grandmother living next door to Kit, etc. etc -- and you still have a novel about not much in particular, going nowhere in particular. The plot -- which doesn't get going until halfway through the book -- has all twists and turns telegraphed well in advance. It was only sheer stubborness that got me to the final page.
There are authors who have written wonderful domestic novels, from Jane Austen onward. Those stories rely as much on compelling character portrayals more than drama in the plot. Chick lit, I'd argue, is characterized more by predictable character types set in plot dilemmas that while recognizable, never become so predictable that the reader can see what will happen next. This book doesn't succeed on either front. Jane Green is no Jane Austen; she can't write about character development, even if her characters developed. (They don't; they meander and drift and ponder, endlessly.) The writing is as tedious and meandering as her characters' musings; such plot as exists isn't the kind that will keep you turning the pages to see what happens. It's a story about characters who just seem to dither, to whom things happen. When I compare that to her previous novels, whose characters acted, reflected and changed their own lives, this is deeply disappointing.
Coming from an author whose work I'd never read before, this would earn 2 stars; because Green can do and has done far better when she's put her mind to it, I'm giving this 2.5 stars and even rounding it up. But I'd suggest it only as a beach read -- and then only if you've borrowed it from a library.
The main character Kit's best friend,Charlie's husband loses his job in our most recent recession and the family's wealth. Charlie's social circle begins to shrink just as her friend Kit's circle did when she divorced. Woman in a small wealthy community will stop inviting people who are divorced or no longer weathly to their social gatherings plus gossip about "those poor souls". This portion of the novel is painfully a correct depiction of the behavior of some weathly suburban women.
The character development of the four main characters; Kit, Tracy, Robert and Charlie never gave me a sense of who they really were...good, bad, etc. Tracy behavior was understandable but why on earth did she let Jed back into her life? Being an abused woman in the past, I stay as far away as possible from my abuser. Jed is the typical sociopath who loves only himself and hates all women and Tracy seems to be intelligent enough to stay away.
Dune Road is an enjoyable story if not a great novel.
Top reviews from other countries
If you look back over the themes of Jane Green's novels, it seems she has drawn inspiration from the path of her life, and this has worked well for her in the past. 'Girl Friday', is set in suburban New England (like 'The Beach House') where Jane herself now lives. Other than that, I think Jane is flailing for material. 'Girl Friday' is incoherent on many levels - plot is weak and confusing, characters are shallow and unrealistic, and her style has taken a very 'Mills and Boon' turn for the worst. Quote from p.186/7 - "Robert closes his eyes, every nerve on fire. He has forgotten it could be like this,and he picks her up,and carries her to the sofa, all thoughts forgotten, aware of nothing other than the woman in his arms." Hmmmn. I smell cheese.
I was confused by this book - and the blurb was misleading. Was this a book about observing Suburban American life? (A Desperate Houswives Lite)! Or was this a social commentary about the credit crunch and the fall of corporate America? Or was this an insight into the life of a divorced woman (as the blurb had me innitially believe)? Or was this a dark look into the secrets of families and relationships? For me - none of these things sadly. It could have been any of them, handled well and developed properly. Instead, its a nothing book. Just a mish mash of ideas and themes, none of which were explored or explained very well at all.
I fear Jane Greene has lost her way and is either under pressure from her publisher to churn out a book each year in time for the summer market, or worse still, has sold out and is now being ghost written. Either way, I hope that the Jane Green of old finds her way back to us next year.
The blurb seemed quite misleading and Tracy who is spoken about doesn't feature as heavily in the book as you would have thought. Her problems doesn't have the impact on everyone you would expect.
It is quite hard to review what is wrong with this book without giving away the plot. The last 50 pages seemed to be written really hastily, like Jane Green couldn't be bothered with it anymore. Everything seemed to be building to some sort of big confrontation or a big dramatic scene that just never really came. Characters seemed to have no point to them, I really didn't understand the need for Annabel in anyway. Motivations didn't make sense fo characters. And there was so so much repeating of certain things, like how Kit now loved her space and how Robert had enjoyed writing his book and that it was cathartic. I swear that was written about 5 times!
To be fair to the book though, at the time of reading it I couldn't put it down, like with all her other books. I always had to keep reading onto the next chapter, until the end when I got quite fed up at the rubbish ending I'd been given and it suddenly ended so abruptly.
Anyway, a good holiday read, but for Jane Green fans, it is not up to her normal standard, don't expect much!