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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing read
This was a brilliant read! I had previously read and loved Diane Chamberlain's The Lost Daughter, so this novel had a lot to live up to. She is excellent at developing characters and writing very engrossing plotlines. In The Bay at Midnight, we are introduced to Julie, who lost her elder sister when she was just a child. The family holidayed together every summer in a...
Published on 9 Feb 2010 by L. H. Healy

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Children make mistakes
Izzy died 41 years ago. Her death still haunts her sisters, especially Julie. Izzy was a beautiful 17 year-old. Adolescently rebellious and very much in love with Ned. The feeling was mutual. Izzy's and Ned's families were neighbours; every summer their families would spend lovely, care-free holidays in their respective cottages by a canal, with a beach nearby. 41...
Published on 6 Oct 2010 by I LOVE BOOKS


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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing read, 9 Feb 2010
By 
L. H. Healy "Books are life, beauty and truth." (Cambridgeshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bay at Midnight (Paperback)
This was a brilliant read! I had previously read and loved Diane Chamberlain's The Lost Daughter, so this novel had a lot to live up to. She is excellent at developing characters and writing very engrossing plotlines. In The Bay at Midnight, we are introduced to Julie, who lost her elder sister when she was just a child. The family holidayed together every summer in a lovely house by a bay, and special and pertinent moments from these holidays are described in the chapters that are set in the past, in the early sixties. The present day chapters deal begin to link back to the past, as an unhappy occurence gives rise to a cryptic letter, chich in turn means that the investigation into the death of Julie's sister is reopened, and all the old wounds are reopened, damaged relationships are revisited and examined, and the original perpertrator who has since died may not have in fact been the guilty party in bringing about the death all those years ago. I found myself getting very drawn into the novel, and was desperate to know the twist at the end and discover the truth. The family relationships were interestingly drawn, and all in all it was a very enjoyable read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book, 25 Jan 2010
This review is from: The Bay at Midnight (Paperback)
This is the first book that I have read by this author & I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even when I put it down, I was thinking about the characters, impatient to get back to it. I am about to order some more books by Diane Chamberlain....
Well worth reading.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Children make mistakes, 6 Oct 2010
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This review is from: The Bay at Midnight (Paperback)
Izzy died 41 years ago. Her death still haunts her sisters, especially Julie. Izzy was a beautiful 17 year-old. Adolescently rebellious and very much in love with Ned. The feeling was mutual. Izzy's and Ned's families were neighbours; every summer their families would spend lovely, care-free holidays in their respective cottages by a canal, with a beach nearby. 41 years later, something shifts in a story that seemed to belong to a never-forgotten past.

The narrative does not let you "into" the story immediately, not even about the long-ago murder, so I do not want to spoil it for future readers, you will have to find out bit by bit. The story is recounted by three characters: Julie, her sister Lucy and their mother, Maria. They all recount the events from long ago with a juxtaposition in the present day. It never becomes confusing though. Technically, I would say that the story is interesting enough to keep you turning the pages, but I was not completely satisfied. I mean, it is an intriguing enough mystery but I would have shortened the book a bit, especially where some characters are concerned, Julie's daughter Shannon in primis (present day). Not because "I didn't like her" but I felt that that particular story-line was quite detached from all the rest (excluding the matriarchal connections, if you will), it was a bit unnecessary. It could have been another book. And some other events, quite far-fetched, especially the epilogue.

On the other hand I did appreciate the psychological insight, especially where Julie is concerned. She has always felt guilty about her sister's death. Her feelings and emotions are very well expressed.

All in all, not a great read, but not bad either. My true vote, 3.5 stars.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!, 14 July 2011
By 
Claire Williamson (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bay at Midnight (Paperback)
This is the first book I had read by Diane Chamberlain. I bought it because on the back of the book it says its a 'must read' for fans of Jodi Picoult - and I am a big fan. Im glad to say I did buy it! Fantastic read. I love how each chapter is written in first person by a different character and felt sucked into the story straight away. The description of everything is spot on and I felt like I was sitting on the bulkhead, crabbing next to the characters at times! All in all, could not put this book on and ended up reading nearly 100 pages till 3 in the morning just to get to the end!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will be reading this one again!, 9 Mar 2010
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Angel - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bay at Midnight (Paperback)
The day that Marilyn Monroe died, was also the day that the Bauer family lost Isabel, one of three sisters in "The Bay at Midnight", as the title suggests, through in circumstances not made clear until quite far into the book. That day everything changed forever, but decades later long lost memories are to be resurrected. The case will be re-examined both by the Police and the people involved as the existence of a letter from recently deceased Ned Chapman, the boy next door and Isabel's boyfriend, is revealed. Was the person convicted for the killing guilty? Why does Julie, Isabel's sister feel so guilty about her death and how does losing someone affect everyone else? All of these themes are examined through this book leading to some interesting revelations.

Diane Chamberlain has written a compelling mystery thriller, that I found to be interesting on many levels. Narrated from the point of view of three female characters, Maria (the mother) and the surviving siblings, Julie and Lucy, the story is a tale of family, female relationships and coming of age. The setting of a house by the sea provides the perfect scene for the characters to remember the time before Isabel died, a seemingly innocent time of sunbathing, floating in inner tubes in the canal, fishing and if you are the eldest sister Isabel, being a teenager and discovering who she is, before her life is cut tragically short.

As the story unfolds it is soon clear that things are not as clear-cut as they seem, in the 1960's bigotry and prejudice are never far under the surface, if you are Italian you might have been unsuitable marriage material in your youth, if you are black maybe you risk being accused of murder just by dint of the colour of your skin, and as the story moves to the present day it becomes clear that throughout the generations even the most seemingly perfect straight A-grade student may not be all that they seem.

The tale spans three generations from Maria, an octogenarian and mother to Isabel, through to Shannon, her grand daughter. There was something very believable about this family, a fact which was also true about the other family in this novel, the next door Chapmans. As Julie rediscovers her buried memories about the time her sister was killed, and meets Ethan Chapman, brother to Ned who has left the letter which is the catalyst to the action in the book, all is gradually and skillfully revealed by the author.

I found that the book was well written, and though I did struggle at first with there being 3 narrators to the story, having different points of view did make for interesting reading. As the novel went between different time periods - the 60's, the War years when Maria was a teenager herself, I found it interesting to see the characters at different points of time. I never was unconvinced that events and their history would have made them the people they were in the present. Julie was shown to change from a sassy risk-taker 12 year old to a rather more fearful adult whose fears mean she risks pushing her own daughter, Shannon, away. That she would change from being a Nancy Drew obsessed teenager, to being a successful crime writer when an adult, conveniently placed to analyse the crime of her sister's murder, was also somehow quite logical and didn't seem contrived.

The events, setting and dialogue were all very convincing, apart from a couple of times where I felt that the word "spaz" - certainly not an acceptable insult these days, had been used between the teenage sisters as a put down rather too self-consciously. That apart I thoroughly enjoyed the journey in this book, and the way the mother-daughter relationships were betrayed, even given the subject matter.

This is the second book I have read from this author - I enjoyed "The Lost Daughter" but thought that this was a more confident and better paced book. I do think that Chamberlain should lose the "for fans of Jodi Picoult this is a must read" tag line from the blurb at the back of her books - there are similarities and this book does sit in the same genre, but I feel it does her a disservice. I feel that this book establishes this author nicely as much deserving of her own fans, and I will consider myself one of them as I look forward to reading "Before the Storm", her next book, the first chapter of which is at the end of this book.

If you enjoy this type of book you will, no doubt like this; it is a light but thought-provoking read which held my interest throughout its 400 and so pages. I didn't see the end coming, but the plot was so skillfully woven that everything made total sense in the end, and the characters lived for me even once I had put this book down, wishing it could go on some more. Thoroughly recommended. (review appears elsewhere in my name)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 9 Mar 2011
By 
Mrs. V. J. Carter "Vanessa" (Derbyshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bay at Midnight (Paperback)
Diane Chamberlain's book gripped me from the start. I read a lot and am also familiar with Diane's other work, but this particular book had me truly engrossed in the characters from the very beginning; moreso than any other book has ever done. I grew to know the characters so well and during the time it took to read, they became my own family; as I walked my dog and reflected on the story, I would think about these people and worry what was going to happen to next! The elephant in the room? Wow, never heard that before, but I should have because we have several that we tiptoe around! It was hard for me to imagine the canal Diane described, because I live in England where canal's are man-made and purpose built to transport merchandise and as such are very narrow, in fact just wide enough for a barge to travel along...so I had to use my imagination. I loved Diane's humour as she spoke and thought as the young Julie and Maria was fabulous. Well done Diane, we're probably around the same age so I must congratulate and thank you for writing my most favourite novel yet!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT, 17 Feb 2012
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Amanda "sac" (uk) - See all my reviews
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An interesting and compelling story. Over forty years ago seventeen year old Isabel was murdered, and now it appears after all these years that the wrong man may have been sent to prison. Isabel's two sisters, Julie and Lucy and their mother Maria have all suffered since her death and now they must cope with the case opening up again.
I could not put this down, as usual the author writes with such feeling, an enjoyable read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 16 July 2011
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This review is from: The Bay at Midnight (Paperback)
Thoroughly enjoyed this. A fascinating story unfolded spilling the secrets of 2 generations of 2 families. A cracker of a book and real page turner. A light read but not so light that it's lacking in the way so many other books of this genre can. Must dash, am racing out to get my hands on some of those other titles!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Cracking Story, 29 Oct 2010
By 
Jenna (Greater Manchester) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bay at Midnight (Paperback)
This is a really good, "curl up and spoil yourself" read. It is the second book I have read by this author and I enjoyed it just a much as The Lost Daughter.
Diane Chamberlain's style of writing has a lovely flow to it which held my attention, and her characters really do come alive on the page. Her background in psychotherapy is quite obvious, as she displays a really in-depth insight into the way people think, react and behave, and I found I could identify with the imperfect way her characters handle the situations she creates on the page.
This story alternates between 1962 when Isabel was killed in the bay, at midnight, and 40 years later when her family, and others who were close to her, are still trying to come to terms with their loss. Not everyone has told the full truth about what really happened that fateful night, or the events that led up to it, and now it appears possible that blame was not laid at the door of those responsible. Secrets figure quite a lot in this story, and so do the dynamics of the relationships between parents and children, especially mothers and daughters. The way these patterns of relating get passed down from generation to generation is demonstrated really well.
There was a part of the mystery which I guessed quite early on, but that did not distract from my enjoyment, as there was much more I needed to know that kept me turning the pages. The plot construction is detailed but not overcomplicated, and I found I really liked and cared about the characters especially Julie, Lucy, and Maria. I could relate to them all in different ways.
I really love this author's work. It has romance, intrigue, brilliant characterisation, and good storytelling. The perfect combination.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent..., 7 July 2010
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LittleReader (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bay at Midnight (Paperback)
The second novel of DC's I have read, this certainly didn't disappoint. A time-slip novel (a style I love), we are told the tale of one August night on the bay and how Julie and her family's world was changed forever.
Present day, an old friend from the bay arrives at Julie's with a piece of the puzzle and Julie must be brave enough to follow the path back in time to discover exactly what happenened to her sister. Told in the first person by various characters, this adds to the layering of the story and builds up a really full picture.
DC's writing is gritty and her characterisation superb. I particularly enjoyed the narrative of her 'child' self and felt it captured the magical mood of childhood adventure perfectly.
For me, a revelation from her mother is a fantastic twist, and this added another dimension that I really enjoyed. This is a definate must-read and I'm about to order her other novels...
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The Bay at Midnight
The Bay at Midnight by Diane Chamberlain (Paperback - 18 Dec 2009)
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