Customer Reviews: The Girl on the Swing
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on May 6, 2010
There'a a reason why there are authors and there are readers. I am of the latter persuasion and it's rather obvious, so I apologize in advance for my review.

I enjoyed The Girl on the Swing immensely. The writing is impeccable and what's best, it wasn't at all predictable. The plot twists were unexpected, but not unbelieveable.

I'd call this mysterious, slightly paranormal Lit Fic. :)

The plot deals with the aftermath of the death of the protaganist's 25 year old son and if that weren't enough, Murphy's law seems to follow poor Dr. Julia Spencer around for a couple of months. She's being sued (due to some bizarre British law) privately by a patient's husband for wrongful death, her hospital doesn't back her up, forcing her into an extended Compassionate Leave. Julia is at loose ends, looking for something to fill up her time.

She has always felt that she lived before and sets off in search of more answers, which enrages her aristocratic surgeon husband and creates an even deeper wedge between them. Julia, while a skilled OB-GYN herself, comes from a working class background and feels more comfortable with 'regular people'. She begins to visit a prisoner as 'voluntary work' and feels a strong past-life connection with this man. She also begins hypnosis sessions in an attempt at further understanding, encouraged by friends to explore what she feels are strong clues to her previous existences. Julia finds out a lot more than she bargained for and there are several plot twists before the ending, which I won't reveal, I hate reviews with spoilers. :D

Although the book deals with some things that are of a supernatural bent, it doesn't go way out on tangents and stays within the realm of believeability.

The story is entertaining and challenging, character development is excellent and the prose is lovely.

Although I can't write a proper review to save my life, I highly recommend this book. I will be reading it again.
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on May 9, 2010
This was one of those books that calls you to come back to it and keep reading. I read it over the span of two or three days - I could have consumed it much more quickly, if I'd had the time. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it.

Julia is a doctor, grieving for her dead son. He was her only child, and she now has to face the reality of the way he died, in addition to the pain of losing him. She can't fill her time enough to keep the thoughts and regrets at bay. Her husband has become increasingly distant and her marriage is strained, not only by the son's death, but by a looming court date she faces for the wrongful death of a patient. Looking for a way to be useful while she's on involuntary leave from her career at the hospital, she applies as a volunteer. She is offered an assignment to visit a prison and befriend a man who was convicted of murdering his wife. She accepts it not only to keep busy, but because it's a way for her to face the possibility that she may end up in prison herself.

Recently she has become increasingly absorbed by images and dreams of past lives she's had her entire life. She can't confess any of this to her husband or her best friend,. She does, however, have one friend who is not only sympathetic, but who refers her to a hypnotist who does past life regressions. Julia is then regressed to a young girl named "Maggie."

During her first prison visit, Julia is stunned when the prisoner says, "It's good to see you again," and calls her "Maggie." She recognizes him as one of the figures in her regressions, and begins to view her sessions with the hypnotist as a means to determine what her relationship is with this prisoner, whether or not it began in a previous lifetime, and why their meeting again is important.

The story moves smoothly, has just the right amount of suspense and plot twists, and is very well-written. The ending is extremely satisfying, and I highly recommend this book to anyone!
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on January 17, 2011
Enjoyable book. The theme of past lives is well integrated throughout the story. The author shows how we are influenced by our past: family of origin, hometown expectations, choice of career, spouse and friends. What if past lives influence us as well? This is not a "spooky" book at all. More of a cosy, really, but not a mystery. No ghosts or vengeance from beyond. An interesting story of nice, ordinary woman whose life is complicated by situations she can't control. I enjoyed it. I recommend it for readers who want something a bit different, but not 'way out there."
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on August 3, 2010
This was such a great story to read. I loved the way the characters were created and how you fell into the story and I just couldn't put it down.

It has twists that were totally unexpected for me and that made it that much better because I didn't see it coming. This was a very enjoyable read and I think the writing was very well done. I love a book where I can visualize things described because the writing is so well done and I felt like I really got to know these characters. I will definitely be watching to see what comes next from this author!
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on May 27, 2011
Ihave gotten so many free books that were duds and expected this would be the same. I was pleasantly surprised . While I did not know paranormal would be involved, something I do not read, this book did not go out in left field. I enjoyed the book.
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on June 8, 2011
The attention to detail of every description of each simple daily activity made the characters and the setting so real.
I loved her writing, Ali found the perfect balance between flowery prose and informative sentences that catch your attention but don't bore you with overindulgent descriptions.
Finished it last night but can still see all the characteers in my minds eye.
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on August 24, 2011
I enjoyed this book on my kindle! I can't remember now what drew me to upload this particular title but I am so glad I did. I couldn't stop reading the story once I started. I would begin reading and be interrupted and I couldn't stop thinking about the characters and the story until I could get back to them. The descriptive writing style is excellent. I love the way the author chose to draw her pictures with her words. I was living with them and I liked them very much. If I could change anything it would be the length of the book. I think it could have been longer. There were some things that I would have loved to see expanded. The relationship with her prisoner male friend and their previous lives could have been explored more in depth and I wanted him to be more talkative about how he knew of their previous life. When I finished reading the book I felt that a major part was missing and the ending felt hurried to me. I was disappointed in the adoption reveal and believe it could have been left out entirely. Julia didn't need to have been adopted as she was flashing back to a previous life before she was born. I really wanted more of that awareness. There were gaps that could have been filled in with more information and a longer read ... and I would've read it. Loved the story. Loved the writing style and I would read more from this author. Oh, and I never connected the girl on the swing - she was just kind of out there for me. She could have been left out completely or expanded upon more. Our family visited the Cotswolds for a week a few years ago so I was delighted to be taken there once more. I enjoyed every minute of this book just wanted more.
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on December 6, 2011
Though this book insinuated itself onto my Kindle - nudging aside a couple of others ahead of it on my to-be-read pile - at a very busy time, it engaged me from the beginning and I could barely put it down. Largely narrative and written in first person present tense, the writing was beautiful, the settings well rendered and the protagonist believable and real.

While there is an underlying theme of reincarnation in the book, it is rather a story of one woman's struggle to find meaning in life again after the tragic loss of her only child. She feels estranged from her husband and very alone in her grief.

Julia is an obstetrician from a middle class background; her ambitious husband from a stiff-upper-lip aristocratic family. She is finally getting ready to return to work when a wrongful death lawsuit is brought against her and she is forced to take an extended leave from her profession. This sends her spiralling down again. She begins to have unsettling visions of a past life. She dares not mention these to her husband and when she does so to her psychologist friend, it is suggested she keep busy doing volunteer work.

Julia decides to try it out and through a twist of fate ends up visiting a prisoner who is in jail for murder. There is an eerie connection with this man and the story begins to take some skillfully written, surprising twists and turns.

There were a few loose threads around minor characters that could have been tidied up, but we come to know and like most of them well enough for the story. Near the ending there is an unexpected twist that stirs Julia out of her fog a bit and helps her face the uncertainty of her future, and a further lovely bittersweet turn that offers promise of resolution and hope.

The Girl on the Swing is literary fiction with a compelling storyline. A most enjoyable read with a touch of suspense and mystery, and one I will remember for a very long time...
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on August 9, 2010
I really enjoyed this book, The Girl on the Swing by Ali Cooper.

Another reviewer described it as, "hauntingly beautiful" and I couldn't agree more! As each chapter developed, I became more enthralled in finishing the story.

Very reasonable price for an excellent read! Ali, please continue to write!! I want to read more!
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on October 15, 2010
What a captivating novel. I couldn't put it down. I found myself drawn to the main characters and just loved how real they seemed to me. There are lots of surprises... welcome surprises that will surely touch your heart.

This story was heartwarming, touching and very inspiring.
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