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Love, Alice by Barbara Davis
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Love, Alice

by Barbara Davis

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Ms. Davis has crafted her story using letters from Alice Tandy, an unwed mother committed to a Magdalene Laundry, to the child she was not allowed to keep. Enter Dovie Larkin who has lost her fiancee and her grounding. Every day she takes her lunch to the cemetery where she visits her fiancee's grave and seeks understanding. One day she sees a woman place a letter on a grave. Dovie just has to read that letter and the subsequent chain of events fills the pages with how far people will go to keep up appearances, how far people will delude themselves, how cruel people can be when the facts don't fit their special reality, how not everything can be fixed.

I think the narrative in many parts was too lengthy and overwrought. There was a constant feeling of "what are you not getting? One and One equals two just open your eyes." All the dots were in place and only needed to be connected for the AHA moment, and yet on and on it went. At times it was just frustrating and wearying. .

Having never heard of the Magdalene Laundries and the horrors perpetrated upon the young women confined within in their walls I was left speechless not only by my ignorance but the world's silence and acceptance of these institutions well into the latter part of the the twentieth century.

Thank you Penguin and Random House for an advance copy.
( )
  kimkimkim | Aug 21, 2017 |
Dovie Larkin's fiancé killed himself two weeks before the wedding and she is having trouble getting over it. She spends her lunch hour every day at his gravesite. It's there that she sees an elderly woman leave a letter at the foot of the grave that has Alice's Angel on it. While this book was pretty good, it turned into a romance, which I really don't like that much. If you're a romance fan, this will be a much higher rated book for you. ( )
  Dianekeenoy | Dec 31, 2016 |
Love, Alice by Barbara Davis is the story about grieving and moving beyond it. Dovie Larkin is thirty-six years old and lost her artist fiancé a year ago. He committed suicide two weeks before their wedding. Dovie cannot move on because she has unanswered questions. William, her fiancé, did not leave a note. Dovie does not understand why he killed himself. Was she not good enough for him? Dovie takes her lunch each day at William’s grave (which people think is weird). Dovie has been forgetful and flighty the last year. She needs to get her act together or she will lose her job at the museum (and she worked very hard for her promotion). Dovie is a curator at the Charleston Museum of Cultural Arts and is organizing a fundraiser for the new art education wing (with the help of the Austin Tate). One day in the cemetery Dovie sees a woman who seems to be as grief stricken as Dovie. Dovie watches her leave a letter at the grave that has Alice’s Angel on it. Dovie takes the letter and reads it. This letter leads Dovie on a journey to help Dora. It also sets Dovie on a path to get the answers she needs to help her move on with her life.

Love, Alice is about Dovie finding answers she feels she needs by helping Dora. Ultimately, though, the book is a romance novel (it dives into a romance between Austin Tate and Dovie). The story is set in 2005 with the letters taking the reader back in time. I liked Dora and her daughter Alice’s story. It was the best part of the book. It was interesting how the author tied everything together. I found the “surprises” were no surprise. The reader can easily figure them out in advance of the reveal. I wanted to give Dovie a good shake and tell her to open her eyes. Dovie was too old to not see what was right in front of her (it was so obvious). She is not some naïve twenty-something. I give Love, Alice 2.5 out of 5 stars. I found the book to be a too long. It desperately needed some rewriting and trimming. There are many slow sections in the book. Dovie does her “thinking” and “questioning” which gets tedious (I skimmed through these areas). Love, Alice was not my type of book. If you are looking for a feel-good romance novel, then you will enjoy Love, Alice. ( )
  Kris_Anderson | Dec 16, 2016 |
I decided to read this book up because the synopsis sounded interesting. I really had no expectations since I have never read any of this author's work before and really hadn't heard anything about this book. I am glad that I decided to pick it up because it turned out to such a nice story. I was pulled into the story right away and really was eager to see everything work out for the characters. I was able to predict some parts of the story but I still really enjoyed the journey.

This was a book that was told in two timelines that focus on two women, Alice and Dovie. Dovie is trying to move on after her fiance committed suicide. She spends a lot of time at the cemetery trying to come to terms with her loss. She happens to see an older woman leave a letter at another grave and feels compelled to take the letter to read. Her life soon becomes intertwined with the older woman and learning the events of the past.

Alice's story is told through her letters. Alice wrote a series of letters prior to her death that were left at her grave in the cemetery where Alice's fiance is buried. These letters eventually come to be in Dovie's possession and she shared them with Alice's mother slowly over a period of time. As Alice's story unfolds, my heart broke for her and everything that she went through.

I think that the dual timelines worked well in this book. I really liked that letters were used to tell the story of the past and thought that it made the book flow nicely. Dovie and Alice both were wonderful characters. Dovie learns not only about Alice's past but some truths about her own as the story moves forward. By the end of the book, Dovie was almost like a new person. She had really come to terms with a lot and had helped her new friends do the same.

I would recommend this book to others. The story was one that has stayed with me. It was a book full of pain and grief but also of friendship, love, and learning to move forward. This is the first book by Barbara Davis but I look forward to checking out some of her other work in the future.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via First to Read. ( )
  Carolesrandomlife | Dec 14, 2016 |
4 stars

Love, Alice was a sweet, entertaining read. Barbara Davis creates a likeable and engaging cast of characters that I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know. The Charleston setting and culinary tidbits made me like the novel even better. Dovie Larkin, the main character, is still recovering from her fiancé’s suicide the previous year. Still mourning William, she visits his grave daily. One day while she is at the cemetery, she sees another woman whose grief reflects her own. As the older woman is leaving, she leaves a note on a nearby grave. Intrigued, Dovie decides to read the letter resulting in her attempting to solve the mystery presented by the woman’s letter. While I could tell how the story would end as it was progressing, I definitely relished reading Love, Alice and Davis’s beautiful prose. Thanks to First to Read for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  cburnett5 | Nov 28, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451474813, Paperback)

From the author of Summer at Hideaway Key comes a sweeping new Southern women’s fiction novel about forgiving the past one letter at a time...
 
The truth lies between the lines...
 
A year ago, Dovie Larkin’s life was shattered when her fiancé committed suicide just weeks before their wedding. Now, plagued by guilt, she has become a fixture at the cemetery where William is buried, visiting his grave daily, waiting for answers she knows will never come.
 
Then one day, she sees an old woman whose grief mirrors her own. Fascinated, she watches the woman leave a letter on a nearby grave. Dovie ignores her conscience and reads the letter—a mother’s plea for forgiveness to her dead daughter—and immediately needs to know the rest of the story.
 
As she delves deeper, a collection of letters from the cemetery’s lost and found  begins to unravel a decades-old mystery involving one of Charleston’s wealthiest families. But even as Dovie seeks to answer questions about another woman’s past—questions filled with deception, betrayal, and heartbreaking loss—she starts to discover the keys to love, forgiveness, and finally embracing the future…

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 20 Jun 2016 20:53:14 -0400)

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