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4.3 out of 5 stars31
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 31 October 2012
Beyond certainly is!
BEYOND NOSTALGIA was written and described so beautifully by Tom Winton, that I feel it goes far beyond the word `nostalgia'. Romance oozes from every page and you just cannot resist turning to the next one! This is my kind of story.
It reaches into every corner of young, street-wise teenager Dean Cassidy's life. He grew up in a dysfunctional family and so it wasn't surprising when he got in with the wrong crowd. During this time he met equally young, Theresa Wayman, who also came from a dysfunctional family: they were well matched and...they fell deeply in love. Then along came temptation. Dean disgraces himself one night, Theresa finds out, there is acrimony and heart-break... and Theresa runs away.
Dean is bereft. He tells himself that he will never ever love anyone again. But he does. He meets pretty Maddy Frances and he falls in love again. But this time his feelings don't run so deeply. Dean marries Maddy and although they were happy and had two children, there was always something missing in their relationship. They didn't have a lot of money and the work that Dean was able to find, kept him busy, but not happy. Yes, he loved Maddy but there was always a deep yearning to see Theresa again.
For many years Dean had wanted to write and when they had been married for 24 years, Dean with Maddy's help, starting writing. His finished book was acclaimed as a best-seller and Dean was amazed at the size of the advance offered to him from his publisher. A book-signing tour was arranged and he travelled around for weeks attending book signings and celebrity gatherings. When he was suddenly reminded of his previous life as a young man, he knew he had reached a cross-road in his life. Which road should be take?
Tom handles this story with aplomb. His descriptive prose is excellent and I feel that I can highly recommend this story, not only to lovers of romance, but to anyone looking for a really good, entertaining story. An exceptional read and worthy of its 5-star rating.
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on 1 March 2011
This is a great love story with a really excellent 'period' setting. The sixties come whooshing back from the first words, and as you bring in all the little details - Bob Dylan, 'When you've got nuthin', you've got nuthin' to lose,' West Side Story, Kools - you bring the time and the place to life straightaway. Dean and Teresa are strong characters, beautifully drawn, and their meeting, and instant love, is compelling. The pitch warns us of tragedy, and already, in Teresa's reluctance to bring Dean into her house the night they meet, there is a hint of trouble in the air. This is a moving, poignant story of young love, and written with style and polish. You can be witty when you choose - 'I could read the writing on the wall - when there wasn't graffiti obscuring it,' and somehow this adds to the underlying sadness.Then the story moves on, and the book becomes even better. I couldn't stop reading. A great book.
Gerry McCullough,
Belfast Girls.
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on 10 December 2012
I've had this book on my Kindle for ages and really regret not getting to it sooner. Tom Winton has got to be one of the best indie writers I have come across, a real master of words. The scenes and emotions he creates are evocative and telling.
The main character is a little flawed, which is good in some ways because no one is perfect; a little annoying in others because it was hard to accept he could be so obsessed about some things. Yet overall the story came out well and the character made good in the end. But the main thing about this book was the sheer beauty of Mr Winton's writing. Must make sure I don't leave it too long before reading The Last American Martyr which is also sitting unread on my Kindle cloud!
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on 13 September 2014
Essentially a tale of a lost love and feelings that will simply not fade even after two decades, Beyond Nostalgia is a powerful story that encapsulates a man’s life; his yearnings, frustrations and finally his successes. Although the premise is a little hard to believe Tom Winton makes his story work with a combination of excellent writing and well rounded, emotionally and psychologically believable characters. The protagonist, Dean Cassidy, is a flawed and troubled individual and not always a likeable one, yet we are always able to empathise with him and his plight and this is something that carries us along as he relates his life story. In parts a felt the pace of the story slowed a little too much for my liking yet never once did I lose interest in Dean’s ultimate fate.
There is much to commend the novel but one aspect I thought worked supremely well was the juxtaposition of the unsuccessful and often unemployed Dean, trapped in an ultimately unsatisfying marriage and the subsequent part after he is a successful writer and becomes re-aquatinted with his first love. Here we see the author’s considerable skill in showing the complicated dynamics between the individual and circumstances. It also subverts and clichés about fairy tale endings.
Tom Winton is also someone with a social conscience and for this he should be commended – the fictional "Look What They've Done to Our Dream" and its message cannot be reiterated too often. Although relating to events in the US it has relevance worldwide, especially supposedly free and fair and ‘democratic’ countries where tyranny and exploitation are carried out only via smoke and mirrors and more subtle means.
I was deeply moved by this novel and at times depressed as well and as an exploration of the human condition it has the power of John Osborne. I was tempted to knock a star off for the pacing mentioned earlier yet I feel anything less than a 5 would misrepresent the quality of this work. Beyond Nostalgia is a very, very impressive read.
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on 21 August 2011
A most unusual love story - one that comes over as though it were fact not fiction - written from the heart with great poignancy and feeling.

What I found really different and refreshing about this novel was that it was written by a man, from the male point of view, whereas most romantic novels are from the female point of view. So this was most enlightening and I was amazed to find that although there were a few slight differences in the way a man assesses his love for a woman, the basic feelings are almost identical to those of a woman for the man of her dreams. Many men would not admit to this in case it might label them softies.

Tom Winton's ability to get deep inside his three main characters enables the reader to get to know them as though they were your best friends. You empathise with them. You cry for them. And you laugh with them.

Right from the first page I was rooting for Dean Cassidy. In spite of his deprived childhood, he appears to have all the attributes of a perfectly normal well-balanced character, but he has human flaws too. Flaws we can all understand, and this is what endears him to us. You also empathise with the beautiful Theresa, whose early home background is as fraught with problems as is that of Dean's. And you continuously fear for the wonderful Maddy Frances, in case she draws the short straw.

I really enjoyed this beautifully written, captivating story. And what a gorgeous cover.
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on 22 May 2013
Excellent read and well written. Dean Cassidy comes from a dysfunctional family and is suffering the usual growing pains of being a teenager living in New York City during the 1960's. He meets Theresa Wayman at a high school dance and a budding romance begins. They soon discover that they are soul mates and begin to plan a life together after high school. Their love for each other is shattered when Dean goes to a bachelor party, gets drunk and ends up having sex with another girl. Theresa is devastated when she learns of his discretion and walks away from Dean and all of their plans. Dean continues to carry a torch for Theresa throughout his adult years. He marries Maddy Frances and together they struggle to provide a home for their two children. After jumping from job to job for many years, Dean finally finds his nitch in life and writes a book that eventually reaches the best seller list. You will need to read the book to find out what happens when he meets Theresa while traveling to promote his newly-written book
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on 8 October 2012
I read a lot, mainly novels by successful writers at the more literary end of the market. I came to Beyond Nostalgia by way of recommendation, and I'm so glad I did. I'm not really a critic, but what I will say is that a week after I put it down, the story and the characters burn brightly in my head in the way that a classic Motown or Springsteen record did the first time I heard it. The story starts in suburban New York in the 60's and moves on to the present day. I don't want to give too much of the story away, but I can tell you it hinges on one reckless action by a teenager followed by a seemingly foolish confession, and how both of these actions affect the rest of their lives. I can't imagine anyone reading this book and not imagining themself in the place of Dean and Theresa, the sensitively drawn young lovers.

Read and enjoy!
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on 29 March 2011
You know, sometimes I think I can write and then every so often I read something and know I can't! This is one of those times. I have great admiration for this author's writing style, it's smooth and the prose is delivered in an effortless way.

The plot isn't complex, I don't have to wrack my brains to follow it, the story is simply a human and perhaps to some of us, slightly familiar and thought-provoking tale.

Yet there is nothing simple in the way Tom Winton tells it. The story has sensitivity, pathos and then to lift the mood, snippets of humour, in what is a rather emotional journey.
Curl up in a corner, take it with you when you travel or just enjoy, whenever.

I only comment as a reader and this is well worth the read.

Margaret Callow
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on 27 November 2011
This is a love story written by a man - which makes it somewhat different from the outset. Can a late teenage love affair gone wrong colour your whole life for decades to come? Assuredly it can!

Dean's early mistakes haunt his undirected life right into his forties, when eventually he begins to find a direction and, perhaps undeservedly, his life starts to make some sense. But even then he is not home and dry and his guilt and pain threaten to destroy it all. Even on the verge of ultimate success, is he still willing to throw away everything he has gained?

This novel grabs your attention right up to the last page - with an ending that may surprise you, but is also very satisfying.
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on 23 April 2011
I recently read Beyond Nostalgia by Tom Winton and thoroughly enjoyed it. When I first saw the book cover (above), I was immediately intrigued. It drew me into the romantic, moonlit relationship with two characters who I got to know as though they were personal friends. Beautiful descriptions, incredible imagery and a well-told story narrated by the main character, Dean Cassidy, as he takes us on a journey through twenty-four years of his life.

Dean, a passionate, sensitive and particularly streetwise guy, meets and falls in love with Theresa Wayman. Aged eighteen, he comes across as a gentleman having found the love of his life. The reader begins to understand Dean from early on in the book due to Winton's incredibly poignant descriptions and his amazing ability to introduce you to the committed yet somewhat troubled lives of his characters. Just when the reader believes their relationship is invincible, Dean jeopardises the trust between him and Theresa leaving you feeling pity not only for her, but him as well. Yet one still feels the relationship is worth fighting for and encourages Dean never to give up.

Living a tormented existence for the love of his life, Dean finally moves on and finds himself at the mercy of the Vietnam war. But the romance continues in the form of Maddy Frances, whom Dean eventually marries, even though he still harbours the strongest feelings for his first true love, Theresa. Throughout the book, Winton's beautifully written text can't help but entice the reader on, teasing with what happens next, continuously embracing you as the main characters are brought to life. There is a success story at the end of this book, but it isn't what I expected. I was immensely delighted when a predictable ending found in most romantic novels didn't happen in this one. The story grabbed me from start to finish, so much so, that I found myself reliving moments from my own past, feeling nostalgic about a previous relationship. Written from a male point of view, it is fascinating to read of a man's feelings, his honesty as he relays his weaknesses, his thoughts as he notices a beautiful woman. I liked Dean. I could relate to him. Yet I could also relate to Theresa. I wouldn't hesitate in recommending this book to anyone, male or female. It's a truly wonderful read.
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