Thursday, August 18, 2011

Review: "Next to Love" by Ellen Feldman

From Goodreads:  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 Thoughts: 
This book was provided to me by Random House via NetGalley for review.  I am so glad I got to read this book!  I am a huge historical fiction fan but I don’t normally read books in this genre that are set in the 20th century.  This was an amazing story of love, loss and the affects of war on soldiers and their families.  I loved how the author showcased women who lost their husbands in World War II as well as a woman whose husband came home from the war extremely damaged.  This book was very well-written and the characters were so believable.  I was really drawn to the character of Babe Huggins because I felt like she had so much to deal with and she managed to do it with grace.  Despite the fact that her husband survived the war, I felt like she had a bigger cross to bear than her friends did because she had to learn how to live with her traumatized husband.  The way the author portrayed how war affects families and whole communities was perfect and I personally appreciated how she showed the effects of war on the parents and siblings of the soldiers fighting the war.  This was an extremely good read that I would recommend to just about anyone.  4 ½ stars.


  1. I read this recently and totally agree with your review. It was a wonderful book.


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