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Monday, July 11, 2011

Book Tour: Next to Love by Ellen Feldman + a giveaway! (...and a Shirley Temple)

Author: Ellen Feldman
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Source: TLC Book Tours
soft cover: 320 pages

My Thoughts/Summary/Review: This is the story of three women in a small town who have been friends since grade school.  This book spans 23 years of their lives (1941-1964), with memories of earlier years included.  Set during World War II, themes of war, sex, relationships, loss of innocence, grief, depression, hope, and love are woven together seamlessly...and realistically.  Babe, Grace, and Millie and watch as the boys they love go off to fight a war that nobody understands.  Only Babe has a man return to her.  A changed man.  A man she loves, but no longer knows.  War raped her of her innocence and stripped Claude of his.  Which is harder: losing the husband (and father your child never even knew) you planned to grow old with...or having him return a stranger?  Next to Love explores the evolving relationships of these women as they deal with life in their own ways.  Babe speaks her mind.  Grace gets lost in grief.  Millie moves on and closes the book on the past.  These different women and their entwined lives run the gamut of friendship: jealousy, resentment, joy, sharing, supporting...accepting.

While not a foodie book, there are some foodie moments.  Claude urges Babe to "get a hobby" other than him. She picks up the Le Cordon Bleu Cookbook and sets to it (with mention of one of my all-time favorite things... Béarnaise).  Grace makes peach pies and hosts cookouts.  Cocktails are abundant.  Young Amy is enamored by her first Shirley Temple when at a restaurant with Grace and Morris.
I found Next to Love heart-wrenching.  My husband caught me wiping tears from my cheeks a few times while I was reading.  The relationships, feelings, and actions were all realistic.  I knew I wouldn't be able to put this touching book down from the opening thoughts when Babe "learns the dirty little secret of war...".  And I was right.  In this story set years before my own birth...yet so similar to present day...I was carried away.  The final words caused my heart to twist with a sentiment uttered in wonder. 

"If there were no war?" he repeats.  "Imagine."

Shirley Temple
my version...probably pretty close to the original, but not entirely sure...this is the way I've always made one.  Kids LOOOOVE getting this drink, especially in a tall glass along side the adults cocktails.

Fill a glass ¾ full with ice.  Squeeze about a quarter of an orange over the ice.  Pour in a good slug of grenadine (or some juice from a jar of maraschino cherries, if you don't have any grenadine). Throw a few maraschino cherries in the glass.  Top off with Lemon-Lime soda.  Garnish with an orange slice.

The publisher has generously offered to send one reader (USA or Canada mailing address only) a copy of Next to Love.  
To enter, simply leave a comment letting me know you'd like to win a copy of this book. Please be sure that I have some way of contacting you, should you win.  Good Luck. All entries due by July 24th at 11:59 pm (Eastern).
This giveaway has ended. Congratulations to the winner:

I hope you enjoy it, Kim!
*I received a free copy of this book to review from the publisher.  All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.
follow the tour:

Would you like to comment?

  1. The book sounds sensitive & interesting- would love to have the book woth me ! and hey the glass of shirley temple looks WOW !

  2. I was instantly entranced by the story of these women. I want to know more. Thank you for the introduction.

  3. Would love to read me. You almost had me in tears. I grew up on Shirley temples so this was fun to see it here.

  4. This book sounds sooooo good!

  5. I always thought a Shirley Temple was some sickeningly sweet bubble gum like concoction. This looks yummy and refreshing...perfect for a hot summer day.

    Thanks for the book review. I've been wanting a good summer read.

  6. I am always looking for a new, good book to read...and I'd really like to read this one! I also think a Shirley Temple will be added to my wknd daughters will love it!

  7. I grew up in a small town that had many of the older generation still dealing with these very same issues, even 40 years after the war. This book sounds like a great read.

  8. I would love to read this book and the Shirley Temple looks and sound delicious!

  9. This book sounds lovely count me in! That drink looks so good too.

    I have a giveaway as well. Stop by!!

  10. I love a good, heart-wrenching read -- thanks for your review and for hosting a give-away for the book (count me it!). Also, lovely photos of your Shirley Temple! What a nice way to tie into the book!

  11. I would love to read this book... sounds like just my thing!

  12. Would love, love read this book. That time period is fascinating to me since my mother was waiting for my father to come back from the war at that time. I have their letters that they wrote to each other but I would love to read more stories set in this period.


  13. Sounds fabulous! Would love to win.

    littleone AT shaw DoT ca

  14. I can easily get caught up on books from that generation. I always feel like war is harder on the ones that are left behind in a way. Sounds like an amazing book on friendships and struggles. One I'd love to win!

  15. This is absolutely my kind of book that i love to read and buy and neatly arrange in my book shelf and read again .. and at times underline certain works. I would be SO SO SO happy to win this book. fingers and toes crossed!

  16. I'm always looking for a good read...this sounds great!

  17. I read this one a few weeks ago and absolutely LOVED it. I'm so glad you enjoyed it as much as I did.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

  18. This book sounds right up my alley... Thanks for the great review, and the chance to win a copy!

    Sarah Reads Too Much
    Sarah AT sarahreadstoomuch DOT com
    Twitter. @sarahreads2much

  19. Sounds like a great read for the summer. I'd love to try it.

  20. I haven't read a crying-type book in a couple of months - Pick me!

    PS: I ♥LOVE♥ Shirley Temples!!! Extra cherries - always:)

  21. Shirley Temples!!! (Sigh!) Brings back so many memories. My mom was a bartender for most of my childhood and she'd always make me Shirley Temples. I felt so grown up whenever I drank them. It has been too long since I've had one. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I will try it soon.

  22. It sounds like a wonderful book--I am adding to my "to read" list.

    Love the Shirley Temple too, I remember feeling so grown up when my Uncle would make them for us. ;-)

  23. I love to read and would love a copy! And a Shirley Temple...

  24. Sounds to be an interesting, and different, perspective on the WWII ramifications. Would like to be entered in giveaway.

  25. I would love to win this book. I've some good reviews of it. =)
    tiredwkids at live dot com

  26. The only thing that can make a shurly temple even better is to put it into a fancy glass!