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Few authors have understood the tender intricacies of relationships better than the incomparable Belva Plain For three decades her deeply moving epics have captivated the hearts and imaginations of readers everywhere Now in her final novel she comes full circle with the themes she took up in her very first work Evergreen bringing us this unforgettable story of family and friendship love and marriage the challenges of life and the true secret of happinessThough Iris Stern considers herself a modern woman with a successful acade. Three and a half stars It is years since I have read a Belva Plain book but this was probably just what I needed after the last book Through the Cracks which was oddly compelling but hard to read This book is the opposite It is like snuggling into a warm bed on a cold night It just sort of wraps around you The people and the themes are familiar That s not to say that I didn t get angry with the way Iris and Laura at times dealt with the issues that arose but this was an average sort of family dealing with everyday issues and sometimes all I want to read is something comfortable It s the story of Iris and Theo their sons and daughter Laura Laura is the one they feel they never have to worry about because she does everything well However the way she and Robbie decided to handle the Vietnam Draft is immature and stupid beyond belief Yet for those who remember those days of conscription and the Vietnam War their decision is perhaps understandable in a misguided way Therein is the catalyst which is at the heart of all Laura and Robbie s problems along with Laura s inability to always wanted to please everyone and not rock the boat Robbie is a weak character who cannot cope without someone propping him up and building his ego But Laura and Robbie cannot talk about issues and resolve them Just so Iris and Theo have issues in their past that have not been satisfactorily dealt with And then there is a secret But it doesn t come out until a long way into the book While I enjoyed this novel despite not agreeing with some of the decisions made or the way they were handled I also thought the ending with Robbie was just too convenient and predictable

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Heartwood

Herself must come to grips with the discovery of a long held family secret But it’s an emotional parting of another kind that looms most prominently on Iris’s horizon as neither her beloved husband nor the solidity of her own marriage is immune to the ravages of time Through separations and reunions the changes we cannot avoid and the love that sustains Iris will weather whatever lies ahead with a faith that cannot be shaken Like the inmost rings of a tree that abide through the generations she will be as strong as heartwo. This book captivated me from the first page In its telling the story unfolds beautifully piece by small piece section by section The flow and the sentences are structured with such precision it is truly a delight to turn to each new page The author s astute understanding of human relationships and of the bonds between family members radiates throughout Caught up in the lives of characters I cared for I had little thought for the passage of time and read late late into the night There is no preachiness in the tone just a deep discerning clear delivery that shines with uncanny perceptiveness What a terrible loss that this author is no longer among us Like the title of this book Ms Plain s stories are like heartwood strong and enduring and will no doubt be treasured through many future generationsLaurieReviewer for Coffee Time Romance MoreFull Review

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Mic career and a happy marriage she still holds steadfast to her old fashioned sensibilities But as the mother of three adult children each with their own lives and burdens to bear she often finds those sensibilities called into uestion when confronted with the choices her children have made For one of Iris’s daughters it’s the choice of a fresh start in New York City and a last chance to save her troubled marriage While Laura and Robbie cope with an impending separation and its effect on Iris’s young granddaughter Iris. I am a big fan of Belva Plain This is the fifth and last book of the Werner Family saga The story centers on Laura who is the granddaughter of Anna a central figure throughout even after her death With her red hair and beauty Laura resembles Anna in ways than one which we come to understand by the story s end I thought the series would have been better ended at Book Four This fifth book was not up to the caliber of the rest and especially disappointing after Book Four which had so many historical details woven throughout Compared to it this book seemed rather trivial for the most part However the story does pick up near the end and is worthy of Belva Plain s style as she dives deep into the themes of love loss and forgiveness


10 thoughts on “Heartwood

  1. says:

    Three and a half stars It is years since I have read a Belva Plain book but this was probably just what I needed after the last book Through the Cracks which was oddly compelling but hard to read This book is the opposite It is like snuggling into a warm bed on a cold night It just sort of wraps around you The people and the them

  2. says:

    Heartwood The older harder nonliving central wood of trees that is usually darker denser less permeable and durable than the surrounding sapwood Merriam Webster DictionaryUpon closing the novel swells of warmth and melancholia flooded my heart I smiled and thought “What a wonderful way to end the story she started in the 1978 paperback edition of EVERGREEN” But the tear tracking down my right cheek mourn

  3. says:

    Although I am not uite done with this book I am enjoying it much than I thought I would I have been a fan of Belva Plain for over 30 years starting with her first book Evergreen; there are not too many Jewish family sagas written these days unlike years ago when She along with Gloria Goldreich and Maisie Mosco wrote several novels in this genre Although not all of Belva's books were family sagas I enjoyed these

  4. says:

    Iris Stern considers herself to be a thoroughly modern woman although she still holds steadfast to her old fashioned sensibilities She has a successful career in academia and a happy marriage But as the mother of four adult children

  5. says:

    Robbie sure got the short end of the stick The author took the easy way out with the solution to Laura's problem It would have been much bette

  6. says:

    I am a big fan of Belva Plain This is the fifth and last book of the Werner Family saga The story centers on Laura who is the granddaughter of Anna a central figure throughout even after her death With her red hair and beau

  7. says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this final and posthumous novel written by my beloved Belva Plain I read Evergreen as a young woman commuting to work in a busy city Those hours on buses in Atlanta were my favorite time to rea

  8. says:

    Heartwood is the conclusion of the Evergreen series Joseph and Anna Friedman and Paul Werner have all died Now Iris the Friedman's daughter is seeing herself as a modern woman She has a successful academic career and a happy marriage to Theo Stern an oncologist Unbeknownst to Iris she is the daughter of Anna Friedman and Paul Werner after an afternoon of lovemaking Neither of them have ever told Iris or the family of this Joseph

  9. says:

    This book captivated me from the first page In its telling the story unfolds beautifully piece by small piece section by section The

  10. says:

    Heartwood is Belva Plain’s last novel a seuel to Harvest actually Belva Plain is one of my favorite authors and did not disappoint me with this contemporary fiction novel about love marriage life’s challenges family relationships forgiveness infidelity and secrets I enjoyed reading this book very much because it delves into the inner wor