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Looking for Peyton Place: A Novel Hardcover – July 12, 2005

3.7 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With her mother deceased and her older sister suffering similar symptoms, successful 30-something novelist Annie Barnes turns detective—Erin Brokovich-style—when she reluctantly returns to her "stifling, stagnant, and cruel" New Hampshire hometown of Middle River in Delinsky's diverting latest (after The Summer I Dared). A company town dominated by Northbrook Paper Mill, owned by the powerful Meades, Middle River's real claim to fame, according to Annie and other townspeople, is that it was the model for the once notorious bestseller Peyton Place by Grace Metalious. Annie's neighbors are equally sure that she's returned to dig up their dirt, and, like Metalious, write about it. Though Annie is less concerned with gossip than possible mercury poisoning, Metalious speaks to her from beyond the grave, egging her on in her investigation. The plucky heroine also begins a flirty e-mail conversation with a Deep Throat who calls himself "TrueBlue" and hints at Northbrook Mill's dark doings. And against all odds, handsome Meade scion James seems to be an ally in her environmental crusade. Readers with an appetite for light fare will find all the right ingredients—romance, mystery, suspense, sisterly rivalry and a thoroughly happy ending. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Say the words "Peyton Place" and what comes to mind? Sex, of course, and hypocrisy, and the kind of small-town secrets that really aren't so secret after all. Middle River, New Hampshire, always knew it was the real-life model for literature's most notorious location by virtue of being author Grace Metalious' hometown. Among the residents Grace made famous were Connie Barnes and her daughter, Alyssa, though Connie is long dead and Alyssa has just died--under mysterious circumstances, if you ask her daughter, acclaimed novelist Annie Barnes. When Annie returns to the town she'd forsaken to investigate her mother's death, the townspeople fear she's back to follow in Grace's footsteps by exposing a new generation of dirty little secrets in a tell-all novel--and they'll stop at nothing to see that she never writes a single word. Working from such an intriguing premise, Delinsky is at her best, skillfully weaving elements of a tantalizing mystery and titillating romance in this vibrant page-turner. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (July 12, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743246446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743246446
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #944,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kate M. Brown on August 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I LOVE Barbara Delinsky, but I think this had to be her worst ever. Coast Road, Lake News, The Vineyard, The Summer I Dared....they're all fabulous but this one I couldn't even finish.

My rule with books is that if I don't like it by page 100 or don't understand what's going on by then, put it down.

Well, I tried past 100 and went to 200 and still didn't like it. I didn't understand the point or the characters. There were so many characters and she got so absorbed in describing the characters *who were all townspeople anyway* that I just got lost (and bored).

So if you have the patience to continue on with this book, more power to you.

If I like a book, I read it fast. If I don't, it takes forever and this one would have taken forever.

Sorry, Barbara, this one wasn't you.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
It took well over 500 pages to write what should have been written in 300 or so pages, and in those last 200 pages, my interest was sorely flagging.

I didn't find Annie particularly compelling on any level. Her personality, while supposedly she was the town pariah since her teens, was more milquetoast than troublemaker. How an entire town could come to despise her for vague things she did when she was young is beyond my comprehension.

The exchanges between Annie and Grace Metalious were bizarre, and I didn't buy that they were the product of a creative writer-type.

Frankly, I felt that the author basically used Ms. Metalious and her novel Peyton Place to piggyback on to sell this mediocre novel of her own.

I would only recommend this book to a masochist.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm with the other reviewers who did not enjoy this. As I have enjoyed many of Delinsky's other books, I expected a lot more from this. I was not really engaged in the characters or the story, and found the first person format somewhat jarring for some reason.
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Format: Hardcover
Middle River is the New England town that Grace Metalious' novel Peyton Place was based on. Middle River looks quaint and wholesome, but people have secrets would ruin them if they get out. It is a company town and Sandy Meade owns the Northwood Paper Mill that employs most of the townsfolk so people are very reluctant to talk about the wrongdoing of Sandy and his son Aidan.

When Annie Barnes, a famous writer, thinks about her mother's death, she isn't sure that the official verdict tells the whole story. She returns to Middle River where she sees Phoebe have the same symptoms that her mother had. After doing some research, she thinks that they and other villagers suffer from mercury poison. The only place in town that uses mercury is the paper plant. The Meades try to turn the townsfolk against her and run her out of town before she learns what they are trying so desperately to hide. Making matters worse is that Annie falls for James Meade who refuses to tell her what he knows about his family and the possibility of mercury poisoning afflicting the people of Middle River.

The best part of reading a Barbara Delinsky book is that she never tells the same story twice and she imbues her storyline with a relevant social issue. LOOKING FOR PEYTON PLACE is a fabulous mainstream women's fiction book focusing on a spunky protagonist. Annie is determined to find out what is wrong in her town because she doesn't want to lose her sister or have other innocent people fall ill or die. Ms. Delinsky puts her heart into her work.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover
Over the past five years I have been reading Barbara's books and I have thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. She always includes the right ingredients-romance, mystery, suspense, and a thoroughly happy ending. This one is no exception....it is also very informative, and she appears to have done sufficient research on the topics of which she speaks. I read all the other customer reviews and I don't understand why some people read her books with such a critical eye. Some people are just too picky!! This is a great read and I look forward to her next novel. I may even suggest this one for our neighborhood book club to read. Thank you, Barbara.
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Format: Hardcover
Another fabulous book by Ms. Delinsky. I like that it ties into the real past. Also, it strikes a chord with me, as I grew up in a furniture & textile town and believe that much of it is contaminated by unscrupulous business practices.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have just finished another great book by Barbara Delinsky. She never fails to educate me about something in a thoroughly enjoyable novel. This time it was Grace Metalious and mercury poisoning.

The story is about an author who is haunted by the stigma she felt from her small New England town and the haunting influence of the author of Peyton Place. In an effort to find out why her mother died she goes back to the town she grew up in to finds answers. What she also finds is love, family, a home and peace of mind.

As usual I love Barbara's plot, characters, the building of relationships and what I learned.
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Format: Hardcover
This book by B. Delinksy is a first for me. I picked it up and thought it sounded interesting, especially since I'm a big fan of the original Peyton Place and I admired the writing so much of Grace Metalious. If a book doesn't grab me right off, then I tend to wander off onto something else. Then I'll go back and read a little more. When, or if, a slow-starting NOW YOU GOT ME book such as this one, finally gets my interest. Then I stay with it. The first 100 pages were lacking, but then the story picked up and I finished reading the book. I'll have to say that I think Delinksy is a wonderful writer. But this book just didn't seem to fit with the plot and the characters. Since I have nothing else to compare it with that I've read before of Delinsky's work, then I can only muster a three-star rating. I already own the book, so it will go into my library. But just to be on the safe side, I'll go to my local library for my next Delinksy read. I think her heart was in the right place, but maybe just at the wrong time. Her research was good and that's a plus in her favor. And her romance section was clean and neat, another plus. If you're looking for trashy romance scenes, this book isn't for you. But if you're looking for romance that's truly sincere and sweet, then it is. I'll read more of Delinksy's work again, no doubt about that.
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