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Summary

Nora Silk doesn't really fit in on Hemlock Street, where everyhouse looks the same. She's divorced. She wears a charm bracelet and high heels and red toreador pants. And the way she raises her kids is a scandal. But as time passes, the neighbors start having second thoughts about Nora. The women's apprehension evolves into admiration. The men's lust evolves into awe. The children are drawn to her in ways they can't explain. And everyone on this little street in 1959 Long Island seems to sense the possibilities and perils of a different kind of future when they look at Nora Silk.

This extraordinary novel by the author of TheRiver King and Local Girls takes us back to a time when the exotic both terrified and intrigued us, and despite our most desperate attempts, our passions and secrets remained as stubbornly alive asthe weeds in our well-trimmed lawns.

©1990 Alice Hoffman (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Seventh Heaven

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Character-driven but a little unfocused

Although I enjoyed Alice Hoffman's typically character-driven narrative, I prefer her books that are focused on one or two central characters. In this case it is as if Hoffman is trying to fully actuate as many characters as possible, fleshing them from cardboard caricatures into 3-dimensional complex individuals, while the odd one out - the woman whose arrival in the community has caused such a stir - goes from being more complex to seemingly less so as she becomes the Mrs Robinson-like figure to a teenaged boy who is finally coming of age. I would have preferred for her character to have fulfilled the promise it showed in the beginning, instead of diminishing. That said, the characters that *were* more fully actualized are as life-like as could be and I commend Hoffman for her skill in bringing fictional people to life in all their flaws and foibles. The narration was also well executed.

1 person found this helpful

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Just Wow!

I had no idea what to expect when I chose this book, which was included with my membership.
I don’t want to spoil it with too many words; f you are wondering whether to choose it or not, don’t hesitate. It is a wonderful book.
Enough said. Try it for yourself

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Well-read but very average writing

Hoffman so often uses « said » that it’s very, very distracting. It lets down the story/stories.

Aside from that it’s okay, a collection of overlapping stories set in 1950s suburbia (in the heavy-handedly named “Hemlock Street”).

Altogether ok as a free book in the plus collection but I’m glad I didn’t pay for it.

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Fair but a tad disappointing

Nicely written & interesting characters but I found it hard to get fully engrossed & truly feel for the main players. Felt it meandered & then just petered out. The I summary I read before reading over promised in my view. Enjoyed it to a fair degree but was left wanting more to have happened/been concluded.

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  • Alaska
  • 15-04-21

Odd story

I’m still not sure what the plot was, or if there was even suppose to be a message. One of the stranger books I’ve listened to. It must have been good somewhere though because I had no trouble finishing it. The narration was excellent.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Kathy Frew
  • 03-06-21

A more thought provoking book than I thought

It was interesting to read a time when more people followed a strict set of rules about how you were supposed to live your life and how unaccepting and unsympathetic they were of those that didn’t follow the rules. The people they don’t follow the “rules”scare those that do because they make them question why are they following the “rules” that are bringing them so much discontent.

I would have liked this book to go on; I would have liked to know what came next in the characters life.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Karen H.
  • 03-02-21

very entertaining blast from the past

I really enjoyed this book. it was reminiscent of my childhood. So many details from the early 60s really rang true. I enjoyed the character development, I felt that she really painted a picture of truth for the women in this book.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Mary Aalgaard
  • 10-01-21

A Small Town Awakening

When Nora Silk moves onto the quiet street of Hemlock Lane, she is immediately cast as an outsider, that divorced woman. No one reaches out to befriend her. No one comes over with a cake to welcome her to the neighborhood. Her son Billy is bulled at school. In a place where everyone and everything, down to how and when they cut the grass, seems the same, reality is about to burst the façade. Hoffman includes only a small dose of mysticism in this story. The boy can hear thoughts, and his mother knows a thing or two about concoctions, but their biggest challenge is to fit into the community. They don't need to change, their neighbors do. Slowly but surely they discover more about themselves and reach out to Nora. She isn't afraid to be herself and show others how to do the same. Hillary Huber is an excellent narrator for this book. I read it before, years ago, and thought it had similar elements to "The Harper Valley PTA." Maybe one inspired the other. Listening to this book was a nice escape from the chaos of the world.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Michelle Wallace
  • 22-04-21

Seventh Heaven

As much as I love Alice Hoffman's work, I do not understand the point of this book. It felt like a hodgepodge of ideas that were thrown together and filled in without any purpose.

3 people found this helpful

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  • RueRue
  • 05-02-15

Changing Times

I enjoyed this look at the shifting lives on a suburban street as 1959 turns to 1960. Not wholly realistic, almost like a dark fairy tale, quite haunting. Narration was good.

7 people found this helpful

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  • M. Bailey
  • 27-09-21

Count not finish

I really gave this an attempt but I finally gave up and stopped the listening. The story was boring, I really kept hoping the excitement would start but it never did.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mayzie67
  • 06-02-22

Give It Time

Initially my opinion was this audiobook was good, not great...This story is all about the slow, simmer not the boil. AH created an entire world of characters whose stories overlap and entwine and frankly, take time to flesh out. But if you stay with it ( and you will because you paid for it or used your solo, precious monthly token) it'll pay off. If you love fully developed characters and details of worlds that seem so real you could drive there, then AH will not disappoint.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Barbara Ewalt
  • 09-11-21

Held captive … wanted the book to go on and never end.

I was totally immersed in the characters. Ms Hoffmann understands human nature and our most intricate emotions.
I was pleasantly surprised when I began to listen to this book. I didn’t expect this high caliber if writing!

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  • IsabelS
  • 18-04-21

Loved it!

For some reason I really enjoyed this book.
Maybe because the "little boxes" houses are fascinating.
Loved the characters and it is just good old storytelling at it's best.

1 person found this helpful