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Showing 1-10 of 30 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 45 reviews
on July 20, 2016
This is one of the best books I've read for years, which I was fortunate enough to buy on a BookBub special. It takes the reader on an unusual journey into the lives of a family of unique individuals. The story is interwoven with an unusual element in which the author explores the thoughts of an escaped tame bear who it seems has a mystical connection with young Jamie, who believes the bear has taken on the spirit of his recently deceased father. The mystery of the death of Nicky (the husband and father of this family) is masterfully handled. Was he a spy or was he the man of integrity whom they had always believed him to be? This all took place during the Cold War and the descriptions of life in the British diplomatic service and the events leading to Nicky's death, are adeptly handled by Bella Pollen. To say too much about the story would be off-putting for many, the Cold War being a depressing part of our world history, so it is enough to say that this book is affirming, gripping, never dwelling too much and too long on the political stagnation of the Cold War, but bringing together a nail biting finale which was simultaneously poignant and unforgettable, happy and marvellous all at once. I envy those of you who haven't read this book - it is an absolutely gem and is remaining on my 'Keepers' file in Kindle. I will revisit it again - high recommended from this reader.
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on July 11, 2016
This was my first Bella Pollen book. She is an author who brings a story alive with words that create pictures, feelings, scents, sounds, voices, emotions, textures.
Set in the time of the Cold War, a confused, shocked, grieving widow of a man who fell to his death while in the British Diplomatic Service returns to the Hebrides Island from Bonn, West Germany, where the family of 5 had been living. This secluded, remote island is part of her soul, and the family has many memories of times spent there. Each member of the family takes a different route physically, mentally and spiritually as they wrestle with their own feelings of loss, their secrets, their hopes. There is witty humor, wisdom, beautiful and searing spirituality, loneliness and love in this book. I will probably read it again. I'll want to visit the island and its inhabitants, I will want to re-read some sentences that stand out with neon lights, I will want to visit each person in this family again. And the bear. Absolutely the bear.
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on July 7, 2016
I found the author's style of writing very appealing. Mystery unfolds for the reader in small glimpses, pieced together through the memories and experiences of each family member. This is a book that will linger fondly in my memories, not just for its endearing characters but also for the delightful sense of spiritual wonder it evoked in me. I highly, highly recommend reading this beautiful book!
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VINE VOICEon August 27, 2016
This book is astonishingly well written and so emotionally and intellectually satisfying. The author gives you a bit of data at a time: the father of the family has died. They're moving to heal and find new lives. Then–it was an accident… suicide? …murder? Was he bad or good? International espionage in the Cold War is at the heart of this novel, as are the hearts of the family members and those close to them. Such a fine portrait of grief in all it's guises. The characters are amazing. And then there's the bear. A real bear. There's magic here–don't miss it.
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on January 18, 2014
I ordered this book after reading a book review from NPR book blog. It was wonderful, it hops from time to time and place to place but the author does it skillfully and kept me reading not wanting to put it down. I will look for more books by Belva Pollen
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on December 15, 2012
I really enjoyed this book. I had read a summary of it in another publishing and it intrigued me from the start. I have to say that this is only the SECOND book I have read recently that actually made me CRY! The author clearly defines each character, especially the daughter, Alba. Without going into detail, I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because I felt the author tried too hard to pull all the lines together too diligently at the end and should have left some hanging.
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on January 19, 2014
I was hooked from the beginning with the son Jamie. He had learning disabilities but was able to create a world that comforted him and made sense to him. His sisters were also very real and believable. This book was all about the main characters and the subplot was not as believable but I really believed in Jamie and his "Bear."
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on January 7, 2017
Fascinating story cold war diplomatic from England and his family after his mysterious death. The characters - wife, three kids and neighbors were complicated individuals inter-connecting web. Would love to read more by this author.
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on July 24, 2016
I had a hard time getting into this novel and an even more difficult time keeping the many characters straight and understanding their motivations and activities. It seemed unnecessarily complex and, in parts, boring.
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on July 14, 2016
Perfect combination of entertaining dialogue, emotional upheaval, normal sibling interaction despite the backdrop of their individual pain. So glad I found it and read it.
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