PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewI enjoyed this book and found myself wanting to return to it so I could find out who \'won.\' However, I did have trouble nailing down the \'so what?\' of it all. At some point around halfway through, I noticed that I wasn’t feeling quite worried enough about the outcome. I was following the action, but holding it at arm’s length .. That aside, this novel has plot, character, structure and a delicious, deeply human pettiness that I think most honest readers will relate to. And speaking of delicious, Huneven’s descriptions of food are the best I’ve ever read, by far the most vivid prose in the book.
RaveThe New York Times... intense ... There is something so authentic about Jane, something so completely opposite of cunning, that it’s impossible not to feel for her even though you know she’s doing pretty much everything wrong ... The novel is structured around Jane’s and Lauren’s points of view, and through them, over a span of nearly 20 years, we get a vivid portrait of female coming-of-age. In the areas of growing awareness of one’s own sexuality, how social power is brokered, how belief systems are formed, Winter is a genius. The details of a back-of-the-school-bus encounter between a group of Lauren’s classmates around the year 1990 felt lifted from my own 1990 and I had to put the book down for a moment ... Alongside zoomed-in scenes like these, Winter finds subtle ways to remind the reader of the larger world ... I worry that all this talk of Catholicism and saints might put some readers off, but truly, this is a secular book, and Winter’s greatest accomplishment is that she takes on enormous, highly charged topics — faith, the right to choose, female identity — and presents a story without one shred of moralizing. I laughed aloud in places. Winter is very funny ... Like a writer in complete control of her talent, Winter trusts the reader to understand. Her restraint calls to mind the great Mavis Gallant, who also put a huge amount of trust in her reader (and was also darkly funny).
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewRosner’s exquisite, heart-rending debut novel is proof that there’s always going to be room for another story about World War II ... This is an absolutely beautiful and necessary novel, full of heartbreak but also hope, about the bond between mother and daughter, and the sacrifices made for love.