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Golden State: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Michelle Richmond
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Jacquelyn Mitchard, and Anna Quindlen, Golden State is a powerful, mesmerizing new novel that explores the intricacies of marriage, family, and the profound moments that shape our lives.
 
Doctor Julie Walker has just signed her divorce papers when she receives news that her younger sister, Heather, has gone into labor. Though theirs is a strained relationship, Julie sets out for the hospital to be at her sister’s side—no easy task since the streets of San Francisco are filled with commotion. Today is also the day that Julie will find herself at the epicenter of a violent standoff in which she is forced to examine both the promising and painful parts of her past—her Southern childhood; her romance with her husband, Tom; her estrangement from Heather; and the shattering incident that led to her greatest heartbreak.
 
Infused with emotional depth and poignancy, Golden State takes readers on a journey over the course of a single, unforgettable day—through an extraordinary landscape of love, loss, and hope.
 
Praise for the novels of Michelle Richmond
 
“Highly recommended [for fans of] authors like Jodi Picoult and Jacquelyn Mitchard.”—Library Journal (starred review), on The Year of the Fog
 
“An intelligent, emotionally convincing tale.”—The Boston Globe, on No One You Know
 
“A work of fiction [that] raises our sights to higher truths.”—South Florida Sun-Sentinel, on Dream of the Blue Room
 
Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3475 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (4 Feb. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00EGMGGUQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #760,203 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not as good as some of her others. 30 Mar. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this and could hardly wait to read it, as I would put No One You Know and The Year of Fog in my top ten all time books. Although it is as always an interesting read, it doesn't match up to those two. There's a lot of chopping and changing between present day, a story a few years ago and a childhood history, and while I could follow it all and it added some tension I also found it quite frustrating as I got into one story and then turned a page and it all stopped again. I also didn't think that the underlying plot about the election brought an awful lot to the story. It's still worth reading, but I guess I felt a little disappointed that it didn't quite match up to my expectations - maybe I'll enjoy it more when I re-read it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping suspense novel 22 Feb. 2014
By Anne TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition
On the day in which California is voting whether or not to continue as a state or break away as an independent country Doctor Julie Walker is called to the Veteran's Hospital where she works to deliver her sister's baby. The novel starts as she arrives and several staff members are taken hostage by an ex-patient trapping the two women. This is an exciting start and the author then tells her story in three threads - Julie's past history, especially with her sister and her husband; the journey to the hospital that morning after the telephone call from her sister; and the actual story of the seige and the demands of the hostage taker. There are several overarching stories too - the vote for independence and some associated civil disorder, and the radio show which Julie's ex-husband Tom is hosting during the day.

The novel structure sounds confusing but it is a credit to the author that it all flows well and that I was never confused about what was happening and to what part of the timeline any episode belonged. The plotting is very clever in this book and it is a delight to see all the events come together and also to see the characters grow and change. The only complaint I would have is that there was slightly too much delay in telling us what had happened to Ethan although the answer when it came was very well presented.

The message of this book is not to let the past define the present and so the author concentrates on relationships and key moments in these which have affected the lives of the main characters. It's not a preachy book but all the characters are presented as very human. The most likeable character is Tom, Julie's husband, although he only appears in flashbacks and on the radio.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Golden State 2 Dec. 2014
Format:Paperback
It was okay......but I found it hard to finish. I'm happy I did. A nice ending. I had to push myself through the book when the writing waffled on a bit. The short chapters were helpful, as some parts grabbed my attention but other parts I found boring, so I struggled onwards wanting to finish it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  39 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "You feel the danger around sadness with every turn of the page" 10 Feb. 2014
By Mary Ward - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I love reading Michelle Richmond's books because they are set in the San Francisco bay area, where I am from, and I can visualize everywhere so clearly. It really helps with the story. This story is told in present time and flashback as Dr. Julie Walker is tending to her sister who is having a baby as California votes to secede from the union and dealing with an ex-patient who is holding her co-workers hostage at the VA Hospital. Just how they all got to where they are is told in alternating chapters.

Julie is splitting up with her husband because of many things that have challenged their relationship, firstly being the lost of their beloved foster child Ethan. Julie and Tom blame her sister for the loss as we find out as time goes on.

Dennis, the gunman, was a patient of Julie's but she allowed herself to get very close to him over time, even confiding in him and not paying much attention to his mental state. She does after a while start to feel a little hinky in his presence and starts turning over his visits to another doctor.

Heather, her sister, is back in town because she is having a baby and wants Julie to deliver it. It seems the father is someone pretty high up in the public eye. She also wants a relationship with her sister again after her part in the loss of Ethan.

There is so much going on in this book. It carries a real fear as you read on and know that it's not going to come out with a great outcome. It's definitely a page-turner. You start to believe things are one way but then you realize you've been handed a red herring and it's not exactly what you think.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful novel... 10 Mar. 2014
By david j wolking - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
For those who have not yet read one of Michelle Richmond's novels or short story collections, Golden State delivers the best of both worlds. Against a backdrop of secessionism in California, she weaves tales of self awareness, a failed marriage, sisterhood, personal loss and reinvention. Told in first person over the course of a single day, the narrative blends vignettes into a unified retelling of a lifetime, a perspective evolving as the events unfold. Each chapter could stand alone as a short story, but together they move the reader through time and thought towards an event horizon where I literally could not put the book down.

I read this book in 3 days, through countless interruptions with a 14-day old newborn on my lap. This book is a perfect companion for commuters and travelers, or anyone with time to ponder their past, their relationships, and the road ahead.

If you like coffee and math theory, check our Michelle's novel "No One You Know"; if you are a photographer or have children, check out "Year of Fog". Both are excellent novels, but Golden State may be her best yet...
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't let your past define you, but let it help you. Great book. 4 Feb. 2014
By My Dog-Eared Purpose - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
This book was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Finish Time: 6 Nights. This was a definite page-turner. It’s the sort of book that presents the “almost-end” of the story first and then works its way back. So the story jumps from present time, to earlier in that same day. And actually includes a lot of back stories to understand how the characters got to the point they are. I had so many questions as the book started; what is going on? who is Ethan? what did Heather do? Who is Dennis? and what happened to him? And the book answers all of them, in time.

The main character is Dr. Julie Walker and she begins the book with her pregnant, in labor, sister Heather. If that’s not enough drama, throw in protests throughout the city of San Francisco and a hostage situation. And on top of all of that many little mysteries (or rather facts not yet revealed) the author includes to keep those pages turning.

The protests shutting down the city throughout the day revolve around the possible succession of California from the United States. An interesting premise and as the story began, I thought there would be more political discussion on this topic. But there was just enough for me, as that is not always a huge interest to me (and I also worry about getting turned off by extreme political views.)

I also enjoyed that Julie’s (soon-to-be-ex) husband, Tom, is a radio show host and certain songs he plays are almost the soundtrack to the book, and most of them spur memories for Julie which continue to build her character throughout the book. While we actually never meet Tom in the book, he is easily pictured through Julie’s memories and descriptions of him.

So much packed into this book, I feel I could go on about all the characters you meet and what you learn from them, but you’ll just have to read it! Lastly, I loved the overall message. (I can’t quote the book because this is an advance copy) But basically we shouldn’t let our past define us, but we must always carry it with us and let it help who we will be moving forward. Julie came from a rough background and even after she overcame that, still had some bad stuff happen to her. She could choose to let it consume her and carry those raw emotions, but life is too short and precious and she learns that need to move forward.

Great book – check it out in February!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PIVOTAL MOMENTS 31 Jan. 2014
By Laurel-Rain Snow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Julie Walker's escape from her childhood home in Mississippi to a new life in California was a way to put her troubles behind her. Leaving her younger sister Heather, with her many issues, was a part of that process.

Now, years later, with a career as a doctor and a husband who is a radio personality, Julie has everything she wants. Except for two things: The family she lost one day because of one irresponsible night and Heather's unforgivable mistakes, and a marriage that seems irrevocably broken.

But Heather is back in San Francisco hoping for another chance, and pregnant with her own child. And on a day that might change everything for Californians--a vote to decide if the state secedes from the U.S.--Heather is in labor, Julie and her staff have been taken hostage, and Julie ponders the steps that have brought her here to this pivotal moment.

Narrated by Julie, Golden State: A Novel focuses on the one day, but also sweeps back and forth between the past and the present, bringing us the bits and pieces that form the whole tale. And as we move closer to the final denouement, we must ask ourselves: What will happen by the end of the day...with the vote, the hostage situation, and Heather's quest for forgiveness?

Heather was a difficult character to like. I wanted to throw things at her because of her freewheeling lifestyle--a metaphor for how outsiders perceive California?--and for her inability to tell the truth or accept the consequences of her actions.

Julie was definitely the more likeable character, but she, too, had her flaws.

A fast paced book, this one was appealing to me, a native Californian, as I moved quickly to the conclusion while invariably asking myself if something like this could actually happen? Could the state secede? And, on the other hand, can a broken family find healing? Five stars.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking 2 Jun. 2014
By Beth E. Settje - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A story of redemption, Golden State follows the main character Julie, on one day of her life, as well as provides a backstory that leads the reader to that particular day. She is facing some particular dilemmas, including delivering her sister's baby, coping with an impending divorce, treating her own injury, and negotiating with a man who has taken her friends/co-workers hostage. Her life is a bit of a mess, as she tries to understand what brought her to this point. This experience takes place in the not too distant future, in San Francisco, when the state is taking a vote on cessation from the rest of the country. The book alternates between the one day, hour by hour or even minute by minute, and the events that led up to this fateful day. We are given insight into her relationships and decisions.

Golden State is the first book I have read by this author. Others are claiming it is her best, but for me, I found the story difficult to manage. The plot is intense and I found myself rereading passages to make sure I was current. I needed to read it without distraction, which was difficult to do, and that may have been why I did not connect as much with the story. The ending provides some closure, but not so much, that it is too neatly tied up. I did like that aspect, as life is not neat. Julie takes stock of her life by the end of the book, and she is able to truly discern what is important to her, and what is worth fighting for. My only criticism of the end is that the decision regarding the cessation, which has created much of the chaos in the story, is not revealed.
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