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More filters. Sort order. Jun 01, Jayme rated it did not like it. Hated it.

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The antiquated language and s attitudes of the characters was incongruous, given that they were using cellphones and listening to CDs. It felt like someone had put the cast of an old 40s movie into a time machine and dumped them into 21st century New England. I hated all the main characters, felt sorry for their husbands and the plot was so transparent that it was completely obvious what was going to happen.

View 1 comment. Jun 14, Michelle Robinson rated it liked it Shelves: novels-of-women-s-relationships. I think this book is well written the charachters are well drawn and are quite believable. The is no neat closure at the end of the book. I like that it felt more real. I personally could not like this book due to the way it ends.

I understand that the ending is probably really realistic and what could actually happen. However, I was so disgusted by Norma and her total lack of conscience that I never quite got over it. In that this book left a lasting impression on me, I would recommend it.

Howev I think this book is well written the charachters are well drawn and are quite believable. I know that is an extreme but it was my true feeling. Years later I could still remember almost this whole book, just not the title. I searched for it for quite a while to include it here in my booklist.

Belva Plain is a good writer, or at least, the writing for this book was. Nov 29, Vicki rated it it was ok. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book is about three friends who begin with a very loving and supportive relationship. It tells of how the relationships change, grow, dye or just fading away. One friend is elegant, nice looking,rich and good. She marries a good man and they face their difficulties together in a loving and mature way.

They find happiness in their lives together. The 2nd is beautiful and many are attracted to her as well as her personality. She marries for money and spends many years trying to convince herse This book is about three friends who begin with a very loving and supportive relationship. She marries for money and spends many years trying to convince herself that she is happy and in love. She ends up leaving her husband and her son when her father-in-law dies. She makes a good life for herself helping others. The third seems to be the sweetest, kindest but the least desirable. She ends up marring later in life to a wonderful loving man.

She ends up hurting her two friends. This is the second novel I've read by Belva Plain The dialogue and thoughts of the characters was reminiscent of the mid s with virginity before marriage and staying at home afterwards and raising children while the characters used technology like cellphones. I have read that this author is well liked and people enjoy her novels but this one didn't do it for This is the second novel I've read by Belva Plain I have read that this author is well liked and people enjoy her novels but this one didn't do it for me.

This book is set in modern times however all the characters talk and act like they should be part of their parent's generation which gives the story the feeling of being stuck in a kind of time-warp. On top of that complaint, the stories of these 3 old college buddies didn't really generate much interest with me. I ended up just skimming most of this book. Mar 27, Joanne rated it liked it. Started out with an interesting description of three girls who went to college together. As the story unfolds, some of their experiences are interesting and somewhat predictable.

The situation one of the women gets into to is so horrific, that perhaps I began to disengage from the story. The ending just lost me. However, perhaps, real life is at times, this complex and heartbreaking. Spellbinding Such an interesting plot. It was impossible to put the book down. The characters were so life like. It was a very interesting book and one I would highly recommend. I have never been disappointed by this author's books.

Aug 04, Francine rated it did not like it. I didn't finish this book. Didn't like what was happening. Oct 28, Lisa rated it did not like it. I hate to leave a book unread once I start but, I wish I had never picked up this book. It was one of Belva's worst stories in my opinion.

And she is one of my favorite authors. Mar 12, Marlene rated it really liked it. Three women met at school from very different economic backgrounds and became inseparable during that time and continued that friendship into their adult lives. Then something unexpected happens that forever alters their long, complicated friendship. A shattering act of betrayal shifts the balance of power between husbands and wives, parents and children, sisters and brothers.

They begin to look at their families, lives and one another differently. A story of profound imtimacy and drama in the l Three women met at school from very different economic backgrounds and became inseparable during that time and continued that friendship into their adult lives.


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A story of profound imtimacy and drama in the lives of men and women. Mar 11, Mary rated it it was amazing. A page turner with some great red herrings!

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Enjoyed the way this story unfolded, liked the "oh, I wasn't thinking along those lines" - nice! Jun 24, Andrea Vrtikapa rated it it was ok. A book I've had on my shelves for years I think my tastes have changed. Sep 25, Heather rated it it was ok. I really had to work to finish the book. I'm not one to jump ship, hoping something in the end will redeem the book. I'm sorry to say nothing could save this book. What begins as an engaging story about three college roommates; brainy Norma, lovely Amanda, preppy Cecile and their differing futures takes a bewildering stumble into quicksand.

When the three women graduate, Amanda, desperate to escape her lower-class background, marries Larry Balsan, Norma's brother, who is in the family re Boring! When the three women graduate, Amanda, desperate to escape her lower-class background, marries Larry Balsan, Norma's brother, who is in the family real estate business. As Mrs. Balsan, she can shop to her heart's content, but she soon realizes she is not as happy as Cecile, who marries her college sweetheart architect Peter , or even Norma, who is biding her time until she meets Mr.

Looking Back and Moving Forward

So far so good, but the plot is thrown off kilter when Amanda and her aloof, widower father-in-law inexplicably tumble into an affair. The awkwardness of such a union bleeds into the prose, and Plain is unable to make the twist work. There is no satisfying tension or electricity between Amanda and L. Plain compounds the problems with her plot by turning the steadfast Norma into a conniving schemer who, out of misguided loyalty to her brother, undermines Cecile's husband.

An unsatisfying end that pits friends against each other. Oct 06, Meryan rated it liked it. This is about 3 girls that went to college together, Cecile, who is the confident and rich one. Norma, the smart and gifted one. And Amanda who comes from a poor family in the south and is beautiful and ambitious. After college Amanda goes to stay with Norma for Cecile's wedding. Norma's brother,Larry is in love with and marries Amanda, but she is never satisfied, especially after she sees how rich Cecile and her husband Peter is. Amanda gets a job in a high end store where the owner lets her buy This is about 3 girls that went to college together, Cecile, who is the confident and rich one.

Amanda gets a job in a high end store where the owner lets her buy things at a discount, but that annoys Larry who wants her to stay home and have babies.


  1. "look back" in American English.
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  4. Amanda starts an affair with her father-in-law who at first she didn't get along with at all. Then he becomes pregnant by him, and has to pass the baby off as her husbands. Norma finally gets married too, and both her and Cecile think they saw Amanda arm in arm with her father-in-law but they never discuss it. When Larry's father decides to leave without Amanda she comes unglued and at a fourth of July party blurts it all out for everyone to here. Larry freaks out, his father has a stoke and what ensues is a terrible tragedy that will tear the friends apart.

    Feb 16, Mary rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys contemporary fiction. Shelves: my-library , , paperback , bookmooch , contemporary-fiction , favorites , They were the most unlikely friends - kind, rich Cecile, brave, talented Norma and Amanda the poor girl they met at college.

    But behind the facade lies a secret that could tear the three friends apart. I was searching for a picture to go in this post and came across some reviews of Looking Back - the majority of the readers didn't like the book at all. I have to admit that I loved this book myself but then, I love Belva Plain's work. In my opinion, she was a brilliant author. She will be missed They were the most unlikely friends - kind, rich Cecile, brave, talented Norma and Amanda the poor girl they met at college.

    She will be missed very dearly. I tend to ignore readers' reviews until I've read the book, I notice. Sometimes you miss some really good books if you listen totally to readers' reviews, in my opinion. Slower moving yet captivating unraveling of family and with hindsight we all know that things could have been dealt with more admirably. A look back on modern communism as reported in the Guardian from to the present day.

    India's crumbling architectural heritage - in pictures. Looking back: rock star deaths. Twenty-five years after the death of Kurt Cobain, a look back at other musicians who died before they got old. Funeral of light in Myanmar. Thousands of devotees flocked to a mock palace of kaleidoscopic colours in Myanmar this week to dance, sing and pay their final respects at the lavish cremation of a local celebrity monk.

    The Egungun of Benin - in pictures.

    Looking back | News | The Guardian

    The Egungun are a highly secretive organisation in Benin, West Africa. Members dress up in elaborate costumes made of many layers of coloured cloth, embroidery, leather, animal skin, shells and beads which entirely cover their face and body. Locals in the Yoruba community fear and respect the Egungun. They believe the Egungun, which means Masquerade, have powers to become the spirits of their ancestors. Looking back: childhood. From Boy Scout camps to school pupil climate strikes, the world of childhood as reported by the Guardian.

    Looking back: women in politics. Spanish as a foreign language in Taiwan - in pictures. Spanish is one of the main foreign languages in Taiwan, the seat of a Spanish government from to , and is diversifying its presence from the traditional stronghold in universities to the baccalaureate and other places. Looking back: mountaineering. Prison carnival in Cologne — in pictures.