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Distant Shores Hardcover – July 16, 2002 by Kristin Hannah (Author)

Maybe because I identify with the characters so much, but I think this is some of Hannah’s best work. Marriage, particularly long-term marriage, is complicated. Hannah captures that complexity and breathes life into the old story of a wife wanting to find herself. Check it out!

From Publishers Weekly Having found her audience with Summer Island and On Mystic Lake, Hannah returns with another second-chance-at-love story, this one as bleak as the soggy Pacific Northwest setting. Perimenopausal former artist Elizabeth Shore is feeling lost and miserable these days, as daughters Jamie and Stephanie matriculate at Georgetown and husband Jack focuses on jump-starting his stalled sports broadcasting career. So Elizabeth, tellingly nicknamed “Birdie,” compulsively redecorates her empty nest and pesters Jack with lugubrious questions about what’s wrong with their lives. Then Jack scores a journalistic coup, and in his implausibly meteoric return to broadcasting glory, winds up in an efficiency apartment in New York City, halfheartedly fending off the advances of both a nubile assistant and a Hollywood bombshell. Meanwhile, back in rainy Oregon, Birdie grieves for her beloved late father, joins a support group for “passionless” women, starts to paint again and talks to herself in the self-help homilies Hannah favors (“No more cheerleader years for me. I need to get in the game”). She even has a rapprochement with newly widowed stepmother Anita, who, in a particularly explosive burst of character development, somehow transforms from a tacky Southern “Bette Midler on speed” to a white-haired sylph favoring “long, flowing” white dresses. (When Birdie finds her bliss, she discovers she’s miraculously lost weight.) Hannah’s tried-and-true formula includes the predictable happy ending, complete with life lessons tearfully learned, but only hardcore fans will make it to the last page of this dreary soap.Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Distant Shores Hardcover – July 16, 2002 by Kristin Hannah (Author) Review

I like Kristin Hannah’s novels, some are great and some are just OK. This comes in the just OK category. There is nothing wrong with it and I enjoyed it, but it was not as good as others. A couple that married young, survived several challenges, starts to grow apart after the children have gone and the wife realizes she has given up herself for her husband and children. The book was published in early 2002 and the characters are about the same age as I was at that point. I found their actions and thoughts not realistic. Elizabeth, the wife, lived the life of a 1950s wife. Jackson, the former football start husband, was shallow and one-dimensional. I never really connected with either one. And the daughters were one-dimensional, one perfect and one goth. The outcome was too easy. Just overall weak. -Read Reviews-

On a scale of cotton candy to Brussels sprouts, Distant Shores by Kristin Hannah is a slightly sweetened cappuccino. Bitterness caffeinated mixed with the softness of foam, teasing the tongue as the foam evaporates and the bitterness lingers. Birdie and Jack contain the secret to long marriage, the perfect life, and beautiful children. But Jack can’t seem to catch a break with work because of bad decisions made 15 years ago, and Birdie forgets her purpose in life. When Birdie’s father dies, Birdie walks out on everything that was her old life. Who knew that a forty-five-year-old woman fighting for direction and her own dreams could inspire a twenty-something stuck on a sandbar of dreamlessness too? But it did. As I invested in Birdie’s self-discovery process, inspiration bubbled in my own veins begging to come forth. On a story side though, I loved how Kristin Hannah created the characters of Jack and Birdie. ..or maybe more correctly said, I like her portrayal of a marriage in crisis. Nearly every life altering decision stems from a host of tiny decisions. It’s a slow fade. And both Jack and Birdie meet that realization in the dark. The true beauty of this story is learning how to be you and be in a loving relationship that does not make you a shell of what you once were.

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