Book Review: Next to Love by Ellen Feldman – plus, a giveaway!

Title: Next to Love
Author: Ellen Feldman
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: ARC from the publisher for a TLC Book Tours tour
First line: In the year and a half Babe Huggins has worked for Western Union, she has been late only once before.

War….next to love, has most captured the world’s imagination. ~ Eric Partridge, 1914

Babe, Millie, and Grace have been friends since childhood, and yet nothing they experienced growing up can possibly prepare them for being married to soldiers. Their husbands are all involved in the Normandy invasion, and the lives of these three women will never be the same. Next to Love follows the three friends during the war years, and the decades that follow – decades that encompass a time of great change for our country. The upheaval in the country mirrors the upheaval in the women’s lives as they deal with their losses and the men in their lives.

Next to Love is character-driven historical fiction at its best. The three women are very different from one another. Each of them has her own way of dealing with the changes the war brings to her life. One thing that remains constant, however, is their friendship with and support for each other. I appreciated the way the women maintained their friendship in spite of very different backgrounds and different outlooks on the issues facing them, issues like racism and women’s rights.

After reading Feldman’s novel Scottsboro, I knew she was an author to watch. With Next to Love, she has become an author whose work I will never miss. She writes the stories of these three women with emotional authenticity and tenderness. While I identified with Babe more than the other two main characters, Feldman made me believe and understand each and every choice all three women made as they attempted to make something out of the shambles the war created of their lives.

The prologue of Next to Love is some of the most powerful writing I’ve read; I knew as soon as I finished it that this novel would be something special, and I wasn’t disappointed.

After the war, they wrote and promised and prayed. After the war we’ll do this or that or another thing. After the war we’ll be together. After the war we’ll be happy. After the war we’ll be safe. In all their dreaming of after the war, they never dreamed there is no after to war. ~ p. 291

The publisher is offering a copy of Next to Love to one of my readers.

~ This giveaway is open to readers in the US and Canada.

~ One entry per person, please.

~ To enter, please fill out the form below.

~ All entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. PST, August 12, 2011. I will draw a winner on Saturday, August 13th (approximately). πŸ™‚


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24 Responses to Book Review: Next to Love by Ellen Feldman – plus, a giveaway!

  1. irene says:

    WOW 5 out of 5. Sounds good. I love this type of book, and your recommendations have never disappointed.

  2. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread

    OK you convinced me. The war thing gets me every time.

  3. Stephanie says:

    I definitely can’t wait to read this one. I love character driven novels.

  4. Dorte H
    Twitter: DorteHJ

    What an intriguing first line. This one sounds great!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Dorte – I have a thing for first lines – love it when the author gets one just right. πŸ™‚

  5. Staci says:

    Your writing is superb and I’m so glad that I received this from NetGalley. It will be my first experience with this author!!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Aw, thanks, Staci! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. πŸ™‚

  6. bermudaonion (Kathy)
    Twitter: bermudaonion

    It must be amazing if the prologue captivated you so much. I can’t wait to read this book!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Kathy – yes, the prologue was truly a piece of amazing writing.

  7. Pingback: Ellen Feldman, author of Next to Love, on tour June/July 2011 | TLC Book Tours

  8. I was moved by the introduction too – so glad to see that you loved it as much as I did!

    Thanks for being on the tour. I’m featuring your review on TLC’s Facebook page today.

  9. Colleen
    Twitter: booksnyc

    I can’t wait to read this – I had the opportunity recently to meet the author and it was fascinating to hear her speak about the research she did for the book and her inspiration for the characters. Glad to see you enjoyed it!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Colleen – what an amazing honor to meet the author! I’d love to hear her speak.

  10. Anna says:

    “Next to Love is character-driven historical fiction at its best.” I agree wholeheartedly. I loved this book, too! I’ve linked to your review on War Through the Generations.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Anna – I love it when I find a book this perfect! Thanks for linking. πŸ™‚

  11. Kailana says:

    I am so glad you liked this! I have an ARC from NetGalley that I am looking forward to starting!

  12. Margie says:

    Looks good. Thanks for the giveaway.

  13. Pingback: Review: ‘Next to Love’ by Ellen Feldman

  14. Pingback: First lines of 2011 | BOOKS AND MOVIES