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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A slow burner, but enchanting
Alice Bliss tells the story of 15 year old Alice and the relationship she has with her father, whom she adores. Matt Bliss is an Army reservist, but goes to fight in Iraq. Inevitably it is the realisation of life without her father that shapes her life at a time when she is working out her place in the world and relationships around her. Alice is surrounded by family...
Published on 7 Jun 2012 by Bob and Billy's Mum

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3.0 out of 5 stars Alice Bliss - Laura Harrington
This was a choice by my book club, and judging by the cover and the blurb on the back I probably wouldn't have chosen to read it.But, I'm glad it was chosen.

It's a "nice book", very easy to read.

I thought it was very predictable, and was always a step ahead of the author. But, it didn't really matter as it was still a nice read.

I'd...
Published 17 months ago by Jaycey


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A slow burner, but enchanting, 7 Jun 2012
By 
Bob and Billy's Mum (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Alice Bliss (Paperback)
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Alice Bliss tells the story of 15 year old Alice and the relationship she has with her father, whom she adores. Matt Bliss is an Army reservist, but goes to fight in Iraq. Inevitably it is the realisation of life without her father that shapes her life at a time when she is working out her place in the world and relationships around her. Alice is surrounded by family and friends and they share many parts of the story too.

It took me a while to really get into the book, which is part diary, part conversation, part 3rd person narrative. I found the very 'american' happy family backdrop which juxtaposes against the reality of war a little cliched, but once I became absorbed by the character of Alice, I was swept along. The letters are beautiful, and I shed many a tear along the way.

This is a love story, from father to daughter and back again, and I'm glad to have read it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington, 16 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Alice Bliss (Kindle Edition)
Alice Bliss is a fifteen year old living in upstate New York whose father, an army reservist, is called up to serve in Iraq. Alice is a Daddy's girl used to following him around his workshop and helping him chop wood, grow vegetables and mend roofs and she will miss him terribly. We see Alice as her family adjusts to life without Dad, trying to fill the void in her mother's life and maintain a sense of normality for her little sister Ellie.

The book is beautifully written and steadily paced. Alice is at a difficult age, finding her own interests in life and changing feelings towards the boy next door, Henry. I found Harrington's portrayal of teenage angst to be so realistic. Alice plays the aloof teenager, distancing herself emotionally from her family and yet crying out for attention and a hug, which she then dismisses when someone reaches out to her. So frustrating and yet so true to life for anyone who has ever been a teenager or who is raising one.

Although the plot is not fast-paced there is enough going on to make this an entertaining read. We are taken through the full range of emotions from sadness to laughter via uncertainty and fear but ending up most of all with hope for the future and moving on from what has gone before. It makes us think, not just of the servicemen and women at war and the dangers they face but also what it is like for the loved ones they have left behind who must worry about them constantly whilst trying to get on with their lives as normally as possible. I felt Harrington did an excellent job of bringing all this together realistically without resorting to clichés. A job well done and a very good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Capture's a slice of America's soul! Exceptional debut novel., 17 July 2012
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This review is from: Alice Bliss (Paperback)
If a novel could have a heartbeat, Alice Bliss would have one. If an author could capture a slice of America's soul, Laura Harrington succeeded in doing so!

Alice Bliss is the story of Alice, a fifteen-year-old faced with the absence of her father who, as a member of the New York National Guard, is sent to Iraq. Laura Harrington does an exceptional job bringing Alice Bliss to life along with the supporting characters, that you will find yourself completely enthralled in her story. Each sentence leads the reader to form images and sounds and emotions and tastes and smells that jump right off the page. It's no wonder, Alice Bliss has received so many awards.
This novel is nothing short of a gift, a blessing to those who walk in Alice Bliss's shoes every day, but find it difficult to explain to others the emotions created by the absence of a family member who serves our nation. It also serves as a comfort to those who have experienced loss and provides hope when the world seems to dim.
Read Alice Bliss and see how poignant, powerful, stunning, and alive a novel can be. Pick it up, read it, share it, talk about it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 15 July 2012
This review is from: Alice Bliss (Paperback)
Really enjoyed this book but would advise you have a tissue at the ready as its a tear jerker, but a good read
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving and compelling, 10 July 2012
This review is from: Alice Bliss (Kindle Edition)
Alice Bliss, a 15 year old girl, is one of the most honest characters in a coming-of-age story that I have ever read. A daddy's girl, going through the trials of adolescence as her father serves in Falluja in Iraq. The detail and intensity of even the slightest change in emotion is perfectly executed by Harrington who makes us laugh, cry and sympathise wholeheartedly with the Bliss family. I couldn't put it down and urge others to read Alice's bravery and ponder on the true value of family and paternal relationships.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story, 23 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Alice Bliss (Paperback)
A most moving story. So many times I wanted to cheat and look at the end to see how it ends. This I never normally do but this book really gripped me. It was funny as well but so moving. Such a good book
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alice Bliss - Bliss!, 6 Mar 2012
By 
Ms S Cable (Newton, MA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Alice Bliss (Paperback)
Not being one for having a great 'dad' relationship, I erred away from this at first, but am so glad to have overcome this to read it. Although based around the father-daughter relationship, it encompasses so much more, from family dynamics to war to the experiences of being someone a bit different.

It's beautifully written, with an ease which allows you to flow through it, absorbed and involved in the characters.

Wherever you stand in your opinions on the situation it deals with, you can relate to all the characters - as someone who doesn't stand anywhere particularly firmly, I was taken along with the journey and found that I had to stop reading in downtimes at work as I was precariously close to forgetting I was at work!

Overall, I found it a pleasure to read - absorbing and emotionally engrossing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A moving story of a teenage girl, 15 Oct 2011
By 
Clare Mccann (Chichester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Alice Bliss (Paperback)
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"Alice Bliss" is the moving story of a teenage girl whose father is sent to war and the repercussions this has for his family. I found the family dynamics in the book particularly convincing and the characters well drawn. As a teenage girl Alice spends a lot of the book battling with her mother, whilst her mum in turn struggles to work out how she lost the connection with her daughter. As the eldest child Alice is expected to take on a lot of responsibilities when her dad leaves and sometimes just wishes she could swap places with her 8 year-old sister who is expected to be nothing more than the baby of the family. The book also illustrates well the very different, but still all consuming kinds of love that the three females have for the father/husband. It's set in America and written by an American and at points events and descriptions do feel slightly alien to a British reader, but not so much that it detracts from the overall enjoyment of the book. I read it in a week and was in tears at the end!
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Soldier's Daughter, 2 Sep 2014
By 
Kate Hopkins (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Alice Bliss (Paperback)
Laura Harrington wrote this novel out of a desire, she tells us, to give a voice to the children of American soldiers, who lie in bed each evening knowing that their fathers are out in the Middle East and elsewhere fighting, and may never come home. Alice Bliss is a bright, feisty girl growing up in small-town America. She is devoted to her carpenter father, Matt, and is devastated when Matt announces his decision to sign up with the army for a tour of duty in Iraq. Without her father, Alice has to learn how to cope with her stormy, difficult relationship with her mother, Angie, and to help care for her small, clever sister Ellie. She has to deal with bullying, with her developing feelings for her sensitive musical friend Henry and at the same time with her attraction to John, an older boy who is thinking of a military career. And when some news arrives about Matt out in Iraq, the family's courage and patience will be tested to the limit...

This is in many ways a very impressive book - and it was an important one to be written. Harrington traces very well the progress of Alice's feelings as she learns to carry on with life in her father's absence, while still very much missing him, and of her gradual maturing. She creates a good sense of the community in which the family live, and of the closeness of the family (I loved the scenes with Alice and her grandmother, and the sense of Alice's gradually growing affection for her brainy sister - and having a few of the scenes narrated by Angie rather than Alice was a clever idea, showing both the love and the tension between the mother and daughter). There were some particularly lovely scenes, such as the one when Alice leaves a family meal to plant the garden she and her father began the year before, or when she witnesses the kindness of John Kimball's family to an elderly widow at a baseball game. And Harrington was also good on the nastiness of adolescent girls and how they can bully each other, and on Alice's growing dependency on her running to keep her sane. And I felt the family's feelings about Matt were well conveyed, and impressively without sentimentality. If I had a criticism of the novel, it was that I felt that in order to make Alice a very normal 'small town girl', Harrington ran the risk at times of making her a little bland. Apart from her running and continuing to work on the things she'd started with her father, Alice appeared to have few interests, and very few ambitions (unusual for an adolescent girl), and the 'small town' atmosphere could at times get rather claustrophobic. I would have also liked to know more about Henry, who clearly did have ambitions, and about his music, but this Harrington told us little about (it's 'sostenuto', by the way, not 'sustenato' - couldn't a copy editor have picked this up?) though his friendship for Alice and her need of him were movingly portrayed. And I felt we didn't ever hear enough about why Matt (who didn't have to enlist) decided he ought to go to Iraq, particularly as he had young children.

Nevertheless, these slight misgivings aside, I found this an engrossing and moving book, and one that highlights the plight of army children very well. I'll definitely look out for any more Laura Harrington novels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars thought-provoking, 13 Sep 2012
By 
Mrs. Jane D. Norris (Norfolk, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Alice Bliss (Paperback)
What an unusual book! I was really hooked by the theme and the sensitive way the story was told. I am hoping to encourage my 14 year old daughter to try it as there are plenty of thought provoking points to take on board.
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Alice Bliss
Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington
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