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The History of Us by Leah Stewart

The History of Us

by Leah Stewart

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Denio branch only.. but it would cover Ohio for the 50-state challenge.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
52 Weeks 52 Books 2014.28 ( )
  yvonne.sevignykaiser | Apr 2, 2016 |
I found this a book of very variable quality writing. Some aspects were well written, but much of it was too 'tabloid' for my liking. The three orphaned children were not at all sympathetically or deeply developed, and their lives seemed to be stuck in early teenage romanticism. The 'lesbian' aunt was portrayed as being willing and able to easily switch from her long-time female relationship to having a sexual relationship with a man, with really minimal self examination. OK, I'm not a lesbian myself, but I reckon there's not many who would behave as superficially as this person. This book is indeed very location-oriented (Cincinnati), as other LibraryThing reviewers have observed, and that's not necessarily bad. A much more respectable author, Elizabeth Hay, has said "location is everything" but when she writes you can see the truth of her statement. Leah Stewart's writing does seem to me to be a bit less profound in making out that geographic connection. On the other hand, I've never been to Cincinnati, so I'd have to allow that possibility that it is the sort of place that doesn't have so much impact. ( )
  oldblack | Nov 23, 2015 |
Not a "big" novel, but nearly flawless. At 28, Eloise leaves her new job as a Harvard professor to move back to Cincinnati to care for her sister's three children. Once the children are grown, Eloise has to decide if her life is there or elsewhere.

Each of the three grown children, but especially Theo (Theodora) and Josh, are interesting, realistic twenty-somethings, and the sibling dynamics are both close and imperfect, as the three test the roles they have always assumed.

Each character is forced to consider the themes of Eloise's second book-in-progress: location and identity. They face decisions about career and relationships; their struggles are realistic without any manufactured high drama.

"I mean, you're yourself in every place, of course, but some places bring out a better version. Or maybe not better. Maybe just the version that feels right." (Eloise, 361) ( )
  JennyArch | Oct 8, 2015 |
Probably would have been 2 stars except for the fact that it is set in Cincinnati and it was interesting to see how the city and neighborhoods were used in the story line. That sometimes appeared forced, though. It often seemed that the author was trying to push Cincinnati as a great place to live and used different locations merely to make that point. Was it really necessary to say that the food was purchased at Jungle Jim's? ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
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The city is, indeed, justly styled the fair Queen of the West: distinguished for order, enterprise, public spirit, and liberality, she stands the wonder of an admiring world.  --B. Cooke, in the Inquisitor and Cincinnati Advertiser, May 4, 1819
"Why has he not done more?" said Dorothea, interested now in all who had slipped below their own intention.  --George Eliot, Middlemarch
For Eliza and Simon
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Eloise Hempel was running late.
She could have made different choices, but all that mattered were the ones she'd made.
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Two decades after the tragic accident that killed their father, Theodora, Josh, and Claire return to their childhood home to confront painful realities about their incapable mother and the devoted aunt who raised them.

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