Next to Love: A Novel

Next to Love: A Novel - Ellen Feldman Next to Love is a powerful novel, thankfully not in an obvious, over done and melodramatic way. No, Next to Love is a novel that manages to be sneakily insidious, grasping hold of your emotions almost before one realizes just how invested they are in the compelling story and just how powerful a writer Ellen Feldman proves herself to be in this WWII novel. I found it to be entirely emotional without being overwrought and constantly compelling. With three strong, though not always likeable, women main characters, author Ellen Feldman creates an enveloping tale of three best friends, dealing with life, love, and loss in one of the most desperate times in modern history. Their long story spans decades and is as complicated and humanly messy as it is poignant to read - with multiple points of view from various characters serving to create a rounded cast of characters with depth and personality.Bernadette "Babe" was the closest I got to favorite character. I wish I could say that I loved and identified closely individually with the women of Next to Love but that is not the case. I was invest and compelled by their stories certainly, but there is a certain distance from all the characters of this story. Like with Babe, I wanted to love Grace and Millie but the removed third person perspective did me no favors with these three determined women. I certainly felt sympathy for each character at differing times (the scene at the pond stands out particularly in memory as very affecting) but I was never truly invested wholly. The present tense is used primarily and used effectively - everything that happens feels immediate and taut with emotions. I also enjoyed the authentic period details skillfully enmeshed into the larger narrative. Ms. Feldman is a smooth writer, with skill for depth and intimacy with resonating themes. I was impressed that the domestic life shown is just as compelling and riveting as the fighting - had it been written in the novel - would have been. This is an author that is remarkably adept, even with transitions in chronology others might stumble over. Ms. Feldman will occasionally flashback to a previous scene but it is always replayed from another perspective, always shedding more light about the plot. To finish this review, just click right here.