Cover Image:  A Marriage in Four Seasons

 A Marriage in Four Seasons

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Member Reviews


WOW!!!  What a fabulous story.  I would never have guessed that what Richard did while traveling abroad could bring such utter joy back to him and Joy.  No pun intended.  Fascinating storytelling and exceptional character development.  I also enjoyed Joy's time in Virginia after her and Richard traveled abroad.  A flawed character but everything turned out to be a happily ever after story.  I am interested to read what this author writes next.

Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.   All opinions are my own.
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This book sounded amazing from the description but I found it hard to get into. I wish that I could say I liked it more than I did but I couldn't finish it. 
Thanks NetGalley for the opportunity to try it.
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The writing and language of this book, along with the overall style is so perfect and precisely done.  The story was written to tell a specific story, and the language used reflects that.  This book does have some pacing issues and can be quite slow at some points, but after I pushed through and got to the whole of the story I really liked it.  I think that the pacing, combined with the impeccable writing help tell the story more.
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I was excited by the blurb but disappointed by the book.  The pacing feels uneven and before I was half the way through the book I had decided that I disliked the characters and really didn't care what happened from them on.  I still like the concept of this book but unfortunately the execution was just off.
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This is a great easy read. To me it was hard to get into at first, once you get past the slowness at the beginning you get into it. Just as abruptly as it starts getting good it ends. I would have liked a little more at the end but all in all a nice easy read!
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I received a copy of this book from and She Writes Press.

This book is filled with love, heartbreak and loss. The characters are selfish and hurt each other without thinking of the consequences.  I found them to be unlikable on a whole.

The scenery is what makes this novel sing. The author has a wonderful sense of space and time.
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This book was amazing!  The author did a brilliant job of capturing the progression of a couple's relationship after a stillbirth, infidelity, and other stressors.  The writing was so good that it was hard to put it down. I cannot wait to read more by this author in the future.
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Title:   A Marriage in Four Seasons
Author:   Kathryn K. Abdul-Baki
Genre:   Fiction
Rating:   3.5 out of 5

English professor Joy and her husband Richard are grieving in the wake of a miscarriage and take a trip to Granada, Spain. While there, Joy meets a handsome stranger who awakens feelings she thought were long dead. When they return home, she’s still grieving and Richard, hurting himself, becomes involved with a free-spirited teacher.

When Joy finds out about the affair, their marriage ends. Joy moves to Virginia and tries to deal with her bitterness. Inspired by the story of Sultan Suleyman and his Russian concubine, Roxelana, Joy decides to take a trip to Turkey and Richard joins her. While there, Richard tells her a startling truth, and their relationship changes forever.

I’m not sure what to say about this novel. I felt sorry for Joy and Richard both, but I also found them unlikable at times. They hurt each other selfishly over-and-over again, and never really seem to learn from their mistakes. The exotic locales were vivid and well-drawn, adding excitement to an otherwise slow-paced narrative.
Kathryn K. Abdul-Baki was born in Washington D.C. and grew up in Iran, Kuwait, Beirut, and Jerusalem. A Marriage in Four Seasons is her new novel.

(Galley provided by She Writes Press in exchange for an honest review.)
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I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a raw novel about a relationship and issues that threatened its demise.  The relationship seemed real, but the premise of the addition to the family was far fetched.  Overall, I really enjoyed the novel, however.
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To be positive I like the concept of this book. I love the idea of looking at a relationship at four different moments in time.  It's an intriguing premise, but I didn't love the execution of it namely in the characters. I appreciate that both characters are flawed and imperfect, but I found them both to be very unlikable especially together. Generally I like flawed, imperfect characters, but these two grated on my nerves. I just wasn't interested in their journey separate or together. They also got back together and  I'm going with it because I have to, but it's a very hard sell as to why. Also, I found the ending somewhat unbelievable. Not so much that Joy would take on someone else's child, but Belinda having the child FOR them. I know she was meant to be a free-spirited and philosophical individual, but it felt very inauthentic. There are certain aspects of this book I liked, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to read, but unfortunately this was a disappointing read for me.
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Thank you to NetGalley and She Writes Press for an advanced read in exchange for this review. 

Richard and Joy's marriage has not been the same following the still birth of their child.  Richard begins an affair with Belinda, and Joy leaves him after learning this.  Belinda ends up leaving Richard, and her whereabouts are unknown.  As Richard and Joy remain close, he learns that he has a child with Belinda. 

I appreciated the ups and downs of Joy and Richard's marriage during their heartache and grief.  The final third of the book was a mess, and I found it really hard to accept that this was how the story was going to go.  I won't spoil it for anyone.  I suppose a situation like that could be likely somehow, but it I don't know what I am supposed to make of it.  I liked the characters though.
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An okay book. However I found the style of writing odd. So a bit of a difficult read. Thank you to both NetGalley and She Writes Press for my eARC in exchange for my honest unbiased review.
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A Marriage in Four Seasons by Kathryn Abdul-Baki was provided to me by NetGalley for my honest review.

The book opens with the devastating aftermath of a miscarriage. Joy and Richard don't know how to deal with it, or their marriage and are drifting apart. Eventually Richard has an affair with a very strange woman and although he breaks it off, he much later finds out that she had a baby and asks him to take custody of their 3 year old daughter because she is dying. In the meantime, he and Joy have divorced. All in all, the book felt very disconnected to me. Joy and Richard are at odds from the beginning and I never felt the attraction or love between them during the novel. I saw nothing redeeming in Belinda at all and couldn't figure out why he had an affair with her. Then to tell his wife when their relationship was so tenuous just was a bad idea. I struggled through this novel, made it to the end, but would pass on a second reading or a recommendation.
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A novel of the phases of one particular marriage. A married couple experiences a stillbirth, an affair, divorce, an illegitimate child, a reconciliation. Interesting plot but it left me lacking. There was’t a smooth flow in the storytelling and except for Belinda, the other characters tested my patience. The ending was abrupt and a bit too perfect. I’d rate it a 3.5.

*I would like to thank the author, publisher and Net Galley for the ARC.
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I would give this more like 3.5 stars.

A Marriage in Four Seasons asks the question "can love, once lost, ever truly be reborn?" Joy and husband, Richard experience a devastating loss of their son, Stephen, when she was 22 weeks pregnant. What follows is how this loss effects their life as husband and wife.

I enjoyed the story; however, at times I was very frustrated with Joy; who, while I'm not minimizing the loss, was extremely selfish and only wanted what she wanted with no regard to Richard's feelings. While, I don't wish to include spoilers in any review, I have to mention that I felt like Joy and Belinda were very similar women in their desire to travel. 

I would cautiously recommend this story to friends, with the disclaimer of the loss, as it may be an unwelcome trigger for some, but overall because it's a story of hope and learning to love again.

Thank you to She Writes Press and NetGalley for the advanced review copy; all opinions are my own.
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I received this from net galley for an honest review. I gave this book 3.5/5 stars. I felt as though the writing just wasn't for me. I had a hard time getting into the book and felt a little weird with what I was reading at times. I had a hard time believing some things were realistic but I may not have been though what they did. I did enjoy it just not as much as I would have liked to.
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What a wonderful book! Totally wasn't what I was expecting. The author did a fabulous job with the characterization. Each character was flawed but we feel sympathetic to them. You would never know that the initial act would bring three people close together, but it accomplishes that.

I completely this book, along with a cup of warm beverage and a box of tissues.

*I would like to thank the author/publisher/Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a fair and honest review*
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After the stillbirth of their son  Americans Joy and Richard are devastated and unable to cope with it. 

The story is told over four periods in their lives and when they are in hotelrooms: Hotelrooms in Grenada, New York, Istanbul and in Tunisia. The story is laced with historic and geographical facts. Somewhere in the book life is compared to being in a hotelroom. You are only there for a short while and best make the best of what you get.

I found the book interesting in how it describes how people react different to experiencing huge personal grief. How speaking very briskly about things can give someone the feeling the other does not care, how someone can feel the need for someone to just love him, how the world can be a different place afterwards. It definitely is a book with depth. And I can recommend it for people who are in a situation like this to use as a tool to discuss things. Also a good one for a book club.

I did have trouble with the reasoning by Belinda to take a certain step (that I will not mention due to spoilers danger). It sounded unbelievable to me that someone would plan to do something like that.

I liked the setting in the different countries. I have spend a summer in Istanbul and two holidays in Tunisia so it felt like a feast of rediscovery as we say here in Holland. I saw another reviewer say the historic references were too elaborate. I do not agree. History is hardly mentioned and the colour locale is a nice background for the story. 

However in the Turkish part I did encounter some errors. The Bosporus is not a river: it is a seastrait: salt water and ocean liners going from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean and vice versa and all. It is also mentioned that Roxelana the favourite wife of sultan Suleyman killed her oldest child so Selim could be sultan. Prince Mustafa was killed by orders of his father and it remains unclear if his wife had a role in that but most importantly it is not her son but the son of the first kadin of Suleyman from the days before he fell in love with Roxelana. It is said that her third son killed himself out of grief when his half brother was strangled. It is true a son of Roxelana was killed: Beyazit but that was after her death and also by orders of the sultan.

I received a free copy to write an honest review. The book will be out on the 20th of November 2018
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How perfectly Kathryn K Abdul-Baki captures the distance that occurs when an intimate relationship starts crumbling: “It was as if they had both been run over by a truck and left to writhe in agony on opposite sides of the road, unable even to crawl to each other for help. His entire viewpoint seemed to shift from then on ... The world was a far more perilous and unpredictable place.”

What a wonderful premise for a novel centred around travel and hotel rooms, written over episodes and years in the character's lives, in alternating viewpoints. It opens with English professor, Joy, who has experienced a stillbirth. She and her husband Richard go to Granada to heal within the bounds of travel, but instead the holiday just reveals fissures in their relationship. Then the viewpoint switches and there is Richard having an affair with a woman in cheap hotel rooms. And so the story continues. Entertaining, filled with exotic travel and the histories of those who lived long ago, this novel illuminates other countries as vigorously as it dissects the beating and sometimes dying heart of a marriage. 
The central question remains: 
The nagging question dug into her again. Can love, once lost, ever truly be reborn?
“Maybe it’s just not possible to have a partner who fulfills us in all ways. Maybe we should just find happiness where we can instead of obsessing about what’s missing.” He could see sadness in her eyes.

And also pulsing through this excellent, wise and entertaining read is the question of whether love can survive all that is thrown at it – from betrayal to stillbirth and loss  and the consequences of infidelity.
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The peppering of historical information was interesting at first but got to be a bit much when they were trying to make it work. I identified more with Richard than Joy as she seemed to be more of a polar opposite to her name.
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