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Casting Off Paperback – 3 Sep 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 373 pages
  • Publisher: New American Library; Original edition (3 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451226992
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451226990
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 13.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,253,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Originally from California, Nicole R. Dickson now resides in North Carolina with her daughter, a dog, a cat, and several aged, ill-mannered oak trees. When not attending to her other responsibilities, she can be found in the library buried in history or racing the ghosts of the Red Coats and the Colonial Militia at the local Revolutionary War Battlefield. She'd love to hear from you so please join her at

Product Description

Title: Casting Off <>Binding: Paperback <>Author: NicoleR.Dickson <>Publisher: NewAmericanLibrary

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. C. H. O'reilly on 19 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book after reading a copy I borrowed from a friend. I just had to have my own copy. It pulled at my heartstrings, it was very atmospheric, I learnt so much about why aran patterns were made for certain people and families. I hope you like it too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jan Jones on 21 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
Great book for a holiday read, also very informative if you are a knitting freak like me. Really enjoyed and would recommend to any age group
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By Gill on 19 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book really annoyed me because I wanted to know what would happen but the research was appalling. The author didn't appear to know anything about Ireland, and even described a thrush, which was a leitmotif, as a tiny black and white bird.
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By Louisa Helen Wilson on 3 April 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good book for any Knitting fanatic! Went down a treat as a Christmas present. No problems or issues with delivery.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 64 reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
A Lovely Story 14 Aug. 2009
By Betty K - Published on
Format: Paperback
There is much to like in this tender story of healing and redemption. Lovely moments with the heroine, Rebecca and her young daughter, Rowan. Mother and daughter have arrived on a small island on the wild Atlantic coast of Ireland. Rebecca is there to write her theses for a doctorate in ancient textiles but also as a refuge from memories of her dangerous, controlling boyfriend, Dennis. Dennis is the father of her child.

I loved this story when it was in the top 100 in the 2008 Amazon Novel Contest and I still enjoyed it very much. The only small criticism I have, is the number of characters that appear at the outset of the novel. It does get a little confusing until you get them all straight. But everything else is wonderful and I found it a most enjoyable read.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A great first novel 14 Sept. 2009
By BrianB - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you are looking for a great story, simply told, with characters you will love, read this book. If you are tired of disappointing novels that fail to keep your attention, books which promise much and deliver little, read this book. If you, like me, enjoy the discovery of a promising new author, read this book.

This is an engaging story of two damaged people who fight with demons from their past, trying to start a new life with room for love. Sean, wracked with guilt over the loss of his sons, has maintained a solitary, angry existence ever since. He finds a chance for redemption in his relationship with Rebecca's young daughter. But Rebecca has spent years keeping people away from herself and her daughter. As the story unfolds, they circle each other, needful but wary.

Ms. Dickson describes the life and character of the island, the way people live with each other on a tiny, storm swept pile of rocks, the way that the women weave history and personality into their sweaters, kindled within me a burning desire to see the islands myself.

As with most first novels, there are some problems: short choppy sentences, abrupt transitions, and repetitive descriptions that are sometimes annoying. Nevertheless, this was such a wonderful story that the minor defects are not significant.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Charming with a few annoying flaws 4 July 2010
By Kathleen Valentine - Published on
Verified Purchase
There have been a lot of novels written lately with a knitting theme, testimony to the popularity of knitting in current society - a good thing in my opinion. The reviews on them have been mixed, some are good, others are basically little more than Harlequin-type romances with a few knitting scenes thrown in. I was a little skeptical about Nicole R. Dickson's Casting Off but it proved to be quite charming.

It is essentially a romance, too, and there are no surprises to be had but there are some very good characters, the setting on an island off the coast of Ireland is delightfully described, and the story at least involves some actual knitting (and spinning). To be honest the only character I had a hard time warming up to was Rebecca, the main character. Rebecca, a young single mother of a precocious six year old, is working on a PhD in archeology and comes to Ireland to study traditional "ganseys", Irish knit sweaters. She is haunted by a past relationship with the despicable Dennis, the father of her daughter Rowan. Once on the island she is overwhelmed by the friendliness of its citizens all of who know her well from the stories told by Sharon, a young woman from the village who was Rebecca's roommate in college. Thus begins her education of spinning, knitting, gansey lore and, of course, a predictable but still sweet romance with the entirely too perfect Fionn.

Each chapter begins with a description of a gansey pattern taken from a fictional book we later learn was written by Rebecca's daughter Rowan. As someone who has been knitting Aran and Guernsey patterns for over 40 years I never heard of some of them but I enjoyed the "alternate" descriptions immensely. There were a few things about the writing that annoyed me, particularly the repetitive descriptions, but I loved most of the characters, especially the old fisherman Sean who was a miserable old s.o.b. in his youth and paid dearly for it. Since tradition tells us that originally it was men who did the knitting I was glad the story acknowledged that.

My problem with Rebecca, like with too many "heroines" in novels today, is that for someone working on a PhD in archeology thus, we can reasonably assume, fairly intelligent, she can certainly be a bullheaded nitwit. Right from the beginning she is very attracted to Fionn (who wouldn't be? he's perfect) but she keeps finding little things to pitch ridiculous hissy-fits about and stomp off in high dudgeon. Then, of course, Fionn does something irresistibly cute and she gets over it. I guess this is how contemporary writers build romantic tension but there were a couple of times when I thought Fionn should have given her a good kick in the pants.

Some of her issues are explained when we find out what happened "that fateful night" (the build up to that got a tad tiresome, too) but other issues are never explained like her attitude toward the local Catholic priest, the sweet, charming Father Michael, and also to the Church. I couldn't help but wonder if this was an issue of the author's own that spilled over into the story - particularly when Father Michael told Rebecca why Fionn had come to him for Confession. Those of us who are Catholics know Father Michael should be excommunicated for doing that - not a thing taken lightly among Catholics.

So, I liked the story, I loved the people and the setting, and it was a thoroughly pleasant read. I wish Rebecca had been less of a twit (she didn't deserve Fionn, he's perfect) and I wish the author had paid a little more attention to detail but, all in all, it was a pleasant story. I'll look forward to Ms. Dickson's next work.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
a charming story poorly executed 29 Aug. 2009
By avid reader - Published on
Format: Paperback
As a knitter, I was attracted by the story of an archaeologist specializing in textiles who travels to an island off the west coast of Ireland to study the elaborate sweaters made by the local women.

Unfortunately, the story is marred by poor writing and the book has a "romance" feel to it. The characters are always clutching their chests in psychic pain. They so often "widen" their eyes or "look with wide eyes" that it's almost funny. It's surprising that an editor did not take the book in hand.

It's a great story and I'd like to read another book by the author after she works more on developing her craft.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
fine redemption tale 1 Aug. 2009
By Harriet Klausner - Published on
Format: Paperback
As she waits along with her six year old daughter Rowan for the transport to the island off Ireland's west coast, textile archeologist Rebecca Moray thinks back sixteen years to Berkley and her BFF Sharon who told her tales of the sweaters and taught her to knit them. Now, Rebecca and Rowan are on Sharon's island to research the sweaters for a book she is writing. However, while Sharon is in Dublin about to give birth any minute, the islanders welcome the Americans as friends because Sharon has told them about her buddy.

Like all Americans it seems, Rebecca is on a tight clock as her grant runs out in two months; the locals are on a different time schedule as they live a less hectic pace enjoying life to the fullest. Rowan adapts rather easily to the pace, making many friends and especially enjoys the father-daughter closeness of hardened widower fisherman Sean Morahan who is unable to scare off the child. Meanwhile Rebecca fears abusive Dennis, Rowan's dad, will demandingly arrive to ruin their daughter's happiness. She also fears seeing Sharon as the memories must be greater than the reality. Rebecca finds herself enjoying the one knit at a time creating a gansey while wondering if she can cast off her past is she is to make it with Sharon's childhood friend Fionn whom she loves and who loves her and her daughter.

Although the story line goes the way readers will expect fans will enjoy the trip to get there as Rebecca finds second chances. The island support cast makes the tale as they bring to life the "Island". However, this is Rebecca's redemption if she casts off her past and walks towards not away from love; as she holds the plot together. Fans will enjoy Nicole R. Dickson' fine tale of a Yank (and her daughter) finding her life on an Irish island.

Harriet Klausner
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