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4.3 out of 5 stars
27
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 28 August 2017
This story covers around twenty years in the life and times of Francis (Frankie) Kane, starting with his early teenage years in New York.
The writing is incredible. It is gritty and atmospheric. It quickly draws you in to the story which is told mainly in the first person by Frankie. It is easy to imagine how desperate life must have been living through the Great Depression of the 1930s in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. The hand-to-mouth existence of the unemployed is vividly portrayed. However, it is not all doom and gloom as Frankie’s indomitable spirit shines through. Passionate, yet a loner who is desperate to succeed, he turns to a life of crime to survive. Even so, one can feel some sympathy for him as he faces the various hurdles life throws at him.
Every so often there is an interlude in the story and a welcome change of pace as one or more of his friends from his teenage years reminisce about his character. This is a clever way of providing an alternative view of both Frankie and some of the events that he has described.
I really enjoyed this story even though parts of it I found disconcerting. First published in 1948 it is in some respects a little dated now. However, for me, it is a superb example of storytelling at its best.
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on 30 April 2017
I first read this fantastic story many many years ago, along with a great number of his other books. I thoroughly enjoyed it all over again and will re-read his other great stories. Thank you Harold Robbins once again.
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on 10 October 2014
I found this book a bit heavy going at first and struggled to stay interested, however, it does pick up half way through and I am determined to persevere now that I am 80% of the way through.
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on 10 August 2010
It's been said that while working for Universal Pictures, Harold Robbins didn't like the movies they produced and made a bet that he could write a novel that was better than the ones Universal bought the movie rights for. If the story is true, the result was this, his first novel. And if the story is true, I'd say he did a good job. In "Never Love a Stranger", Robbins proves he can do more than write sex scenes. He's created some strong chracters, especially the hero, Francis Kane, and a very involving story. Definitely recommended. Strong 4 star rating.

The book was also made into a movie starring John Drew Barrymore and Steve McQueen, see Never Love a Stranger
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on 16 July 2014
This is the book that started it all. Never Love A Stranger is a deeply moving story about a boy yearning to belong. Even when he finally believes he doesn't, the rug is pulled out from underneath him. I've been told this novel is, like many, a semi-autobiographical story based Robbins' real life story. If it is, it explains quite a bit of what we are given by Harold Robbins in his body of work - which remains a gift to so many, in so many ways.
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on 26 June 2013
It's difficult to characterise what this book is about. It's not a gangster novel. It's not a Depression era novel. It's not a coming of age novel. It's just a really easy to read story with a great protagonist that leaves you with many emotions. One of my top four HR books alongside Carpetbaggers, A Stone for Danny Fisher and the Dream Merchants.
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on 5 October 2015
My mood affects how well a story goes down and how much patience I have with the slow parts, so I may be unfair in my rating. Gave up about two thirds of the way through, there were some cracking interludes but several bits seemed almost like cheap packing to string the interesting (?) bits together.
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on 19 August 2015
My first Harold Robbins book. What a pleasure to read such a well written book where the word 'gay' was used a number of times and it was used to describe someone feeling happy, I don't know why I have never read his books before but I am now hooked.
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on 15 June 2013
The story of an orphan growing up in New York to become a gangland leader, a little long winded and a lot of cigarette smoking by everyone involved.
Waiting to read the Carpet Baggers again when it eventually gets to Kindle.
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on 23 June 2014
Good story line but very slow going in places. Was recommended by a friend so thought I would give it a go. Might try some of his other books.
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