Women Within

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

I could not get into this book. It goes through the lives of three women in different generations, but their lives are so hard. None of the female characters are particularly likable, and the men they get involved with were pretty pathetic. In addition, there is so much detail that the story gets bogged down and doesn't really flow like a book you get pulled into. 

The best thing about this book was the tapestry, its history, and its working by several women -- a shared testimony. I also love needlework and can understand Constance's fascination with the weavings. 

Despite some better moments, the book was too sullen for me to enjoy.

Thank you to NetGalley and Black Rose Writing for a free copy of this book to read and review. All opinions above are my own.
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Constance  lives in a retirement  home. "Big and small,short and tall who's the fairest of them all?That was her sleep aid talking . The young doctor who came along told her rest was essential. Who was he kidding. Any moment now she would enter the realm of eternal rest. She should have the luxury of  lying awake at night if she wanted to,Night was the traveling time.The time of seeing." Constance  had once been a history teacher.Constances  mother had a depression and her father worked all the time.She turned to books and doing good in school  to pass the time.When her mother is sent away she goes to live with her father's step mother.Constance meets two women  and learns to knit,which she loves to do,Constances  mom remarries  and has  a baby which she gives away to constance. Constance trys to show there is more to life then being a wife and mother. Meredith takes care of Constance as she ages which made me like her more. I didn't like how clingy Meredith was to have a friend or man.Constance has many short lived relationships or flings.As I get older my life has taken many paths but I doubt being a wife and mother is one of them.I'm not a feminist but I felt like I understood  Constance   and wanting a role in life besides being a wife and mother .  Although there is no shame in being a wife and mother and just because you are one doesn't mean you have to be the other.Also you can still work or be a stay at home mom no judgement in either I don't like the word feminist it has a bad image for me.
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I was initially excited to read this book, based on the synopsis. The characters are well developed (if a wee bit unhappy and cantankerous). Unfortunately, the story itself isn't nearly as developed. It was more like an in-depth character study used by an author to keep track of important starring roles in a series than a cohesive, moving story. A lot of lost potential.
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Women Within by Leigh Parrish is one of the books that take you by surprise. It's not a heart pounding grab by the throat novel but a novel rich in characters. 

 Women Within is is about three very different women at the Lindell Retirement Home. Constance is in her eighties reflects back her life as a scholar and fierce advocate of women and women's rights. This is all at a time in history when strong women were still consist threat. 

Sam and Eunice both work at the retirement home. We follow both as they try and find there way to self acceptance and happiness. 

I was a little confused at first that Eunice and Sam became central characters since the beginning of the novel is so focused on Constance,  her daughter, and her step mom Lois. Regardless I enjoyed the book and the writing was so smooth I hardly noticed the time fly by. I will definitely be seeking out other books by the author.
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Very thought-provoking and interesting novel on opportunities afforded to women and how some opportunities can be obliterated due to poor personal choices.
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Unfortunately this was another book that I did not enjoy in the recent lot of books that I have managed to lay my hands on.I need to qualify that disclaimer with the fact that this is a very well written book with very realistic characters and a unique way of switching between scenes.All these amount to a fine book if the content catches your fancy. It just was not a storyline that I can pursue with a light heart and relish it at the same time.

This is a story which focuses on the paths  of three women that cross at a retirement home.It is a story of all of them and also neither of them. It is about the trials of being women born into certain situations. They are obviously not women who are sterling representatives of their kind, this just makes them human and sometimes at the whim of fate itself. Each woman belongs to a different time in society and each have a common thread of not having dependable parents at some stage of their life. The learn, they live and they grow. My issue with the book was the lack of a conclusive end with which to reconcile the purpose of all their roles in the book, which is the only reason I do not rate is highly. The book taken as a work by itself without my emotional take of it , is good.
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Women Within is a character study into the lives of three very different women whose paths converge at a retirement home. I will say that all of them feel incredibly human and the flashbacks are able to paint a realistic picture of these women’s lives, but maybe this is the cause of my issues with the book - the women felt so real but they weren’t particularly likeable or even very happy. No matter what stage the book finds them currently in, none of them seem particularly satisfied with the way their lives have turned out… and is this feminism? Portraits of unfulfilled, down-trodden women? The more I read, the more that I believe this is so.
The first of the women that Anne Leigh Parrish focuses on is Constance, a patient in the facility and a former history professor who has spent her life priding herself on being a ‘feminist’ by rejecting every single one of society’s expectations for women. Despite all of the knowledge she seems to have regarding feminism, she doesn’t seem to understand the term at all - she looks down on other women and seems to resent them; measuring them to the standard of how much they have followed suit in their subversions. And her relationship with her daughter? Do not even get me started! She is bloody awful to her! (She is bloody awful to most people, let's be honest). 
Eunice, who seems to flit from one bad relationship to another. Her story is certainly the least compelling, partly because she makes some absolutely abysmal decision throughout her life that I could never see myself making. The entire fiasco with the beautiful young man and her inheritance is only a situation that someone incredibly and ridiculously naive could stumble into. And the whole lesbian/cat sidebar? Just no.
The final of the three is Sam. Oh, Sam. Overall I have no big issues with Sam as a character, well rather, I don’t have as many issues with her as I have with the other two; the main issue I have in this section of the novel is with her mother. Sam spends the first 20-odd years of her life believing that her mother conceived her after being sexually assaulted by a man far richer (and with far more lawyers) than herself. Then one day, COMPLETELY out of the blue, she confesses to Sam that this entire tale is nowhere close to the truth of the situation. 
Obviously, this is a storyline that I - and I believe many others will - have many, many issues with and it is certainly one of the main reasons why I could not award Women Within a higher rating.
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I had high hopes for this book and started to like the first character, Catherine, but then she just faded out and there was Eunice. huh?
Maybe there will be more to connect them later, but I was too bored to bother to find out. I skimmed the descriptive, but non-essential stuff, which was a lot. 
The book never really took off, even though I read just over half of it.
Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read it in exchange for an honest opinion. The best I can say is that I liked the cover.
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I really liked this book! This story is about three women-Constance, Eunice and Sam. Even though they are different ages, they are all connected through Lindell Retirement Home. The author does a tremendous job of letting the reader experience the character's emotions. I seemed to share the thoughts and feelings of each character at different times during my life.
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I found the stories of Constance, Eunice, and Sam to be touching and moving.  The author's ability to weave the three stories together through the conclusion showed a strength of talent and craft.  These women weren't always likable, but they were, to me, inspirational and interesting.  What each story shows gives us is something each of us is already familiar with - dealing with expectations and rejections from family and society, and how different women react and flourish or fail, at least, in their own minds.  It's a book I'll recommend if for no other reason, its timeless and universal relevancy.
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I loved this story of Constance and her two female carers. Throughout the book she reminisces about her life as a professor of history and supporter of women's rights. I found Anne Leigh Parrish's writing beautiful and easy to read. A lovely story.
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