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Monday, June 20, 2011

Review: Next To Love by Ellen Feldman

Next to Love: A NovelPublisher: Spiegel & Grau
ISBN: 0812992717
Pages: 304 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/WWII
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb

Summary from publisher:
“War . . . next to love, has most captured the world’s imagination.”—Eric Partridge, British lexicographer, 1914

A story of love, war, loss, and the scars they leave, Next to Love follows the lives of three young women and their men during the years of World War II and its aftermath, beginning with the men going off to war and ending a generation later, when their children are on the cusp of their own adulthood.

Set in a small town in Massachusetts, the novel follows three childhood friends, Babe, Millie, and Grace, whose lives are unmoored when their men are called to duty. And yet the changes that are thrust upon them move them in directions they never dreamed possible—while their husbands and boyfriends are enduring their own transformations. In the decades that follow, the three friends lose their innocence, struggle to raise their children, and find meaning and love in unexpected places. And as they change, so does America—from a country in which people know their place in the social hierarchy to a world in which feminism, the Civil Rights movement, and technological innovations present new possibilities—and uncertainties. And yet Babe, Millie, and Grace remain bonded by their past, even as their children grow up and away and a new society rises from the ashes of the war.

Beautifully crafted and unforgettable, Next to Love depicts the enduring power of love and friendship, and illuminates a transformational moment in American history.
My Review:
This week has been a bit crazy. I had a birthday (dreadful) and a huge cupcake batch that I needed to make for a wedding. By the end of the week, I could barely remember what day it was. I was very happy that I read this book way in advance because I was conked out by the end of this week. Also, if this review sounds a bit rambling, blame it on the tired…because if I never have to bake another cupcake, I will be very happy…I don’t mean that. 
I haven’t been very heavy on the historical fiction lately. I’ve kinda started to miss it so I was really looking forward to this one. World War II is a big interest of mine. Both in battle history and how the war effected the homefront and society as a whole. I thought it was especially interesting to see how the war impacted society, later movements and the people who lived through the war—both soldiers and civilians alike. I loved seeing how WWII impacted the lives of Grace, Millie, Babe and further generations in very different ways.
There were so many things that I loved about Next To Love. The writing was excellent. I really got a feel for the period and the characters. It was also very historically rich and detailed. I did feel like I had seen some things before in other war novels but that is to be expected. I also loved how the book spanned from the years of WWII to way after. Most books I have read stopped right after the war ended.I did feel as if maybe the book should have been longer (or perhaps a bit shorter). The children’s stories at the end were some of my favorite parts of the book and I just wish they had been fleshed out a bit more.
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.


  1. I have this one in my TBR stack. I'm looking forward to reading it. I'm glad you liked it.
    2 Kids and Tired Books

  2. I loved to focus on "social" history where possible when I was in university - battles and wars all sort of meld together in my mind! I have been reading a lot of WWII social history lately and this sounds like a beautiful novel that I will be reading soon! Have you read 22 Britannia Road? It was a lovely, and dark story of WWII survivors - you might enjoy it.
    Bonnie @ HandsAndHome

  3. @Bonnie

    I have 22 Britannia Road on my TBR list--I think I saw it on your blog and bought it--but I have yet to read it. It does sound great.

  4. I really loved this book as well and have been recommending it to everyone.

    Thanks for being on the tour!

  5. I have this book and am reading it soon - so glad to see it getting good reviews!

  6. The book was nostalgic, poignant, and filled with emotions you definitely became a part of. You will be able to follow the women through their daily with her man who came back and two who had to carry on alone. The author allows you to see what life was like family wise and economic wise during the post-war era.

    I always enjoy historical fiction, and Next to Love won't disappoint you in terms of feeling as if you are with the characters as they suffer, remember, love, and continue their lives after the war.



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