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Featured Official Review: Eden: A Novel

Posted: 29 Dec 2017, 18:01
by bluegreenmarina
[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Eden: A Novel" by Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg.]
Book Cover
4 out of 4 stars
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There is little that impacts our lives more than the home in which we grow up, and the family that surrounds us during our formative years. Eden: A Novel by Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg is the story of a large home set on the coast of Rhode Island, and of the different generations of the family that inhabits it.

At the head of the family is Becca, who has invited the rest of the clan to the Eden property for a long-overdue reunion, with the intention of revealing a long-buried family secret. At the same time, she faces a looming financial crisis, and must decide whether to sell the property or to enlist her brothers in taking on part of the debt. Adding pressure to the situation is a tense relationship with her daughter, Rachel, and her granddaughter’s unexpected pregnancy.

As the family gathers, the narrative flashes back to previous decades, giving the reader context for the personalities that emerge among its members. We come to learn the history of Eden, and why the home (and land surrounding it) mean so much to each of the branches of the family. When the big secret is revealed, certain events are set into motion that change the course of the family’s lives forever. Relationships are tested, bonds are formed and strengthened, and the fate of the oceanside property is sealed.

This story is rich with cozy and descriptive visuals, from the gorgeous coastline, to the delicate place-settings at Eden’s fancy dinners. The narrative is engaging throughout, and moves at a brisk and lively pace. The setting, as well as the characters, are nuanced and believable. One of my favorite elements of this story was that none of the people were entirely good, or entirely bad people. Rather, they were just human, with realistically complicated motives and inconsistent behaviors. The main characters, as well as the side-characters, were all multi-dimensional and memorable, and we continued to learn more about them right up to the end of the story.

Though the plot itself was not particularly groundbreaking - it was, at its core, simply a story of parents and their children - it was the vivid character development that set this story apart. As the narrative progressed, new layers of personality were revealed in each character, and new perspectives were presented on the situation facing the family. Even after the big reveal, when Becca confessed the secret she had been holding on to for decades, additional smaller reveals continued until the end. In short, this was an enjoyable and exciting family drama, one that I breezed through enthusiastically.

Other than one small error (a missing punctuation mark), I did not see any typos or mistakes. I cannot think of any other specific negatives to report, other than the potential that it may not be a story for a wide audience. Since this is a story of a wealthy family living in a big house, the types of issues the characters face are so-called “first-world problems” and some readers may find it hard to relate to them. At the same time, the author does an excellent job in reminding us that wealth does not alter the underlying humanity in all of us, and that we all have the same emotional core. This is a book for readers who enjoy character-driven narratives, family histories about interwoven lives, and stories that explore relationships between mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters, and husbands and wives. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars.

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Eden: A Novel
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Re: Official Review: Eden: A Novel

Posted: 01 Jan 2018, 02:57
by Nitish kapoor
A good and interesting novel

Re: Official Review: Eden: A Novel

Posted: 01 Jan 2018, 06:42
by ParadoxicalWoman
Every family has its own drama. Afterall, we are all human bred with emotions. I'm curious to know what is the family secret. Thank you for your review.

Re: Official Review: Eden: A Novel

Posted: 01 Jan 2018, 08:34
by Mtsweni Nelsy
That sounds like a book full of suspense. Thanks for such an interesting review.

Re: Official Review: Eden: A Novel

Posted: 01 Jan 2018, 10:19
by HouseOfAtticus
I love the title of this novel. Thank you for this wonderful review. It is quite helpful. :D

Re: Official Review: Eden: A Novel

Posted: 01 Jan 2018, 10:28
by kandscreeley
Though the story is not unique, the character development really can make a story. I'm glad it's done well! Loved your review. Thanks.

Re: Official Review: Eden: A Novel

Posted: 01 Jan 2018, 16:49
by N_R
This book sounds very interesting, I will have to add it to my 'wanting to read' bookshelf!

Re: Official Review: Eden: A Novel

Posted: 01 Jan 2018, 17:31
by Kat Berg
Even with your review you have me wondering what the "big secret" is, and how it can so much impact on the fate of the family home. It has been awhile since I have read a character driven novel. They can be a nice change of pace. Especially good for a cold, cozy, winter read.

Re: Official Review: Eden: A Novel

Posted: 02 Jan 2018, 01:42
by Yaone
Great review. Haha from the title of the book I honestly thought the story had something to do with the Bible.

Re: Official Review: Eden: A Novel

Posted: 04 Jan 2018, 01:35
by felodp9
The review seems captivating with descriptive visuals,I hope the secret is such a big one?

Re: Official Review: Eden: A Novel

Posted: 06 Jan 2018, 01:07
by Sarah Tariq
Story of the coast of Rhodes island is wonderful and unique. A beautiful lovely review bluegreenmarina. Feel free to check my reviews.

Re: Official Review: Eden: A Novel

Posted: 06 Jan 2018, 10:16
by inaramid
Ah, I want to know the secret! It must have been hard to provide a summary without spoiling anything. I'm intrigued. This is going to my to-read list.

Re: Official Review: Eden: A Novel

Posted: 07 Jan 2018, 14:35
by ButterscotchCherrie
This sounds like a compelling family drama, with excellent character development. It's impressive when minor characters are well drawn. I am also very curious to know what the big secret is just from reading the review!

Re: Official Review: Eden: A Novel

Posted: 08 Jan 2018, 10:41
by bazolo
From the review it seems the book has little complications on understanding. From the great readers it's good book we can learn the wealth is not everything in life

Re: Official Review: Eden: A Novel

Posted: 08 Jan 2018, 13:33
by CommMayo
Very nice review of this book. I think the higher quality novels make it easier to give it a good write up. You drew me in and got me interested right away. Good job.