Cover Image: Eden


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Member Reviews

From my blog: Always With a Book:

My thoughts: This is Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg's debut novel and I found myself totally invested in this family saga from start to finish. And the way the author skillfully used the house, Eden, as an anchor, was just brilliant. Oh how I would love to live at Eden - or at least visit it for a while!

The book moves back and forth in time, introducing us to a cast of characters, a group of women who are equally strong and complex. They all have their issues and it was interesting how the author used the issues of the day to help tell her story. This book spans so many decades that there are so many issues relevant to each of the pertinent time periods. Hiding diagnoses of epilepsy, sending single pregnant young girls away, keeping diagnoses of depression hidden - these were all dealt with very differently than they are today and JMB kept true to the standards of the time period she was writing in.

The book pulls you in to this multigenerational family saga, weaving back and forth with a thread that connects the two. Just as we start to find out something in the present, the story moves back to the past. There are definitely secrets here - almost everyone is hiding something - and ever so slowly these secrets come to light. This just goes to show that all families - no matter the status or the wealth - has secrets!

This book will make you think and feel. It's emotional and as you read about what these women go will make you think what choices you would make were you in that position. You will also find yourself thinking about these characters when you are not reading this book - I haven't stopped thinking about them since I finished the book...these are memorable characters! The relationships that JMB has created between them are authentic and relatable. 

I really enjoyed this book and cannot wait to see what comes next from Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg!
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This book is about one woman's life, the history of her family and her family's secrets. A historical fiction that is well-written and captivating to read.
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I am a sucker for a family story set in a New England beach town.  It's the type of setting that makes for the perfect summer book.  And as an added bonus, not only is the story set on along the ocean, but it is filled with history, family secrets and longtime tradition.  

Eden did not disappoint in this aspect.  Knowing that the family was on the verge of losing their multi-generation home while they celebrated their possibly last summer there, provided me with the right amount of emotion to get sucked into this storyline.  I immediately felt a kinship with the main female characters.

My only one complaint is that there were so many character names, that I sometimes had a hard time following along.  The chapters did jump from past generations to present.  The story of the family was certainly made complete, however I may have wasted too much time trying to remember which character belonged to which family.  Other than that, it was a delightful summer read.
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Becca Meister lives in her family home of Eden on Rhode Island. Her father built it following World War I. She has always lived at the house, but due to the debt that her husband left her with, she may now have to sell it. She wants to sell her share to her brother, so that the house can be kept in the family. For July 4th in the year 2000, Becca invites her whole family to give them a big announcement. Not only does she have something to tell the family, but her granddaughter, Sarah, has returned from college pregnant. Becca invites her brothers and their wives, her son and his family, and her sister-in-law for this family reunion. However, some family members can’t handle the news.

I struggled with this book. There were so many characters that I couldn’t keep track of them. About half way through I thought I had them all figured out, but then I got some names mixed up. I don’t like when a story is difficult to read without the help of a family tree, or taking notes.

Another thing that made it confusing is that it jumped back and forth between periods of time, and generations in the Meister family. It alternated between the “present” on the July 4th holiday in 2000 with Becca’s children and her siblings, and the early 20th century with Becca’s parents and her brothers.

The story line was good but moved very slowly to compensate for the jumping between time periods. This story could have been improved if it was spaced between a couple of different books. Even if it was divided into different volumes within this book that separated the different generations so it moved linearly through time, it would have improved my understanding of this novel.
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Becca Meister has spent all of her summers living at her family’s estate in Rhode Island.  The property is named “Eden” and has been owned by her
family through multiple generations.  Now in her 70’s, Becca is the current owner along with her two brothers. Her secure life becomes unhinged after her husband's death .  She finds out that he has mismanaged their retirement funds and she can no longer support the upkeep on the house.  She is forced to reach out to her family for help.   

Fearing that this could be her last summer in Eden, she invites her children along with her brothers and extended family to celebrate July 4th.  With the entire clan present, she hopes to secure a future for Eden.  Becca decides that it's also time to reveal some Meister family secrets that originated in the house.  

The mystery unfolds with Eden as a common thread that keeps the family connected.  Throughout the highs and lows of each individual story, love and family prevails. I enjoyed reading this family saga by Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg.
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I enjoyed reading the Family Saga that revolves around one summer house, Eden in Rhode Island.  The opens in present day and travels back in time through three generations.  Most of the book includes three time periods.  The early years, the carefree middle years and the declining later years.  During the current family reunion lots of family secrets come to light.  This is the perfect book to read this summer on the beach. Enjoy
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