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Customer reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Monsoon Season
Format: Kindle Edition|Change

on 23 July 2012
This novel is spellbinding, a gem: it examines the secret undercurrents in family dynamics, things left unsaid, mistaken interpretations, two close marriages contrasting with a violent relationship. The characters' voices were so clear in my mind's ear that I might have been in the next room as I read, overhearing their conversations. And there's a beautifully observed dog in Gracie. What a terrific storyteller this author is! I'm already looking forward to whatever she comes up with next.
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on 13 November 2012
I enjoyed this book more than I expected to. I did expect to enjoy it, but I also expected it to have a little less real substance.

It was an easy read. The chapters were split up between different characters which gave you different sides of the story. The voices seemed pretty authentic to me, and I found I really felt like I was having a conversation most of the time. The only real problem was that I found I liked all the characters, sometimes against my better judgement, except where they didn't get their own voice. Maybe this just shows how well written the voices were but it does also suggest a lack of variety.

Sometimes I did find Riley to be a bit of an idiot. She made some rather shaking decisions. But I liked her and wanted everything to work out ok. I just wished she would take someone's advice once in a while.

I didn't like the synopsis given by the publisher. It suggested the story had less depth than it really does and is certainly less compelling than the one from goodreads. I can see it appealing to a wider audience, but it is a bit spoilerish.
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on 6 September 2012
Monsoon Season by Katie O'Rourke is a bit hard to pin down - on one hand it seems as though it might be chick lit, on the other it might be a psychological thriller about an abused woman. In a way it has elements of both; there are no jump-out-of-your-seat parts, but we do see a little of the mind of abuser and victim and then we also see a woman who is leaning on her female friends and family for support in her time of need.

Riley Thomas has left her Massachusetts home and moved to Tucson, Arizona with no real purpose in mind other than broaden her horizons. She meets Ben and they begin a relationship, moving in with one another and seemingly being very happy. This is not to be though as Ben hits Riley and we first see her on a bus heading back to her childhood home.

As the story continues, it gets even more complicated for Riley and just as she is beginning to make some progress and admit that she made the right decision, an horrific accident affects her whole family.

I suppose the part I liked best about the book was that it was written not merely from Riley's point of view, but from the points of view of her friends and family - even down to several sections written from Ben's perspective which, initially made him seem quite sympathetic - his father had also been an abuser, but it's cleverly done as we sympathise with Ben's voice as he justifies his actions towards Riley - something which is never justifiable and an angle we wouldn't get to see if we only saw what Riley sees.

Riley herself is, at times a little frustrating, as she tries to get over Ben but nearly goes back to him on several occasions, but having never been in her position, who am I to judge how hard it must be to leave someone you love, even if they are violent towards you?

For a first novel, this is pretty good and, although by no means new material, it's written in an interesting way and I'd very much recommend it.
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on 6 August 2012
Reading the first chapter immediately put me in mind of the likes of Margaret Atwood and Alice Sebold. This is literary fiction with real emotional strength. Moments of seemingly quiet devastation rise up to suddenly punch you in the gut - the scene where Riley's father thinks she has something on her face which turns out to be a freckle says more about a strained relationship in a couple of lines than I've seen entire novels take five chapters to do. Yet, in spite of the immediate tragedy in the novel's opening chapter, Katie O'Rourke manages to inject subtle moments of humour that give her protagonist both credibility and above all, humanity.
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on 6 October 2012
The first part of Monsoon Season is told from Riley and Ben's perspective but then continues the story from the viewpoints of those around them too. I found it interesting to see how an abusive relationship affects the friends and family of the couple, especially Ben's mother, Teresa. I would have liked to have seen more of Teresa as she had been in Riley's position herself. How would Ben turning out like his father affect their relationship in the long run?

I liked how Monsoon Season began with Riley leaving Ben, dealing with the aftermath of an abused partner deciding enough is enough. For Riley, leaving was hard but staying away is proving to be just as difficult as feelings can't be switched off overnight.

The style of writing was very easy going, despite the subject matter, and the pages slipped by without me noticing so I was very surprised when, after just two days, I was already 75% of the way through and I finished it the following day. I found Monsoon Season to be an interesting and thought-provoking read, showing an abusive relationship from all angles and the effect it can have.
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on 7 September 2012
Another 99p Kindle Daily Deal purchase, I am glad I didn't pay anymore for this book. Having read the description and a few other reviews I was looking forward to a good read, and I found it very dull. Its main problem is it just doesn't "get going" the narrative comes from several different characters which I found to be irrelevent and at times confusing. I started reading this whilst on the beach or I would not have stuck with it to be honest as it was tough going. I was 80% in and was still waiting for it to get started it was so slow and tedious. I was beginning to wonder how and when this book was going to end, when at 98% in I turned the page and reached the end, and my first reaction was " Oh is that it" what a complete letdown. I just didn't feel the characters they did not come out of the book and come alive, not a great read I will not be seeking out this author in the future. Shame really as this book had potential.
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on 29 April 2013
This was a little tale of love and domestic violence. It was well written, and I could get into the main female character, but the story was a little predictable and also a little short. I'll be honest, I found the comparisons to Alice Sebold a little over-rated, this was no Lovely Bones. In no way am I saying I could do any better, this is just my reaction on finishing the story. I paid nearly £4 for it and feel that was a little over-priced for the length of the book.
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on 12 August 2014
Ouch. One has to wonder what is wrong with readers in the UK. My favorite part of the book was the different points of view - 9 of them. Apparently that's a hard concept for some people.

My review follows. I bought the book in the US.

"This is a very thoughtful novel that is about so much more than an abusive relationship. I got immediately hooked on the story of Riley and Ben's love affair, and how it changed into something so unhealthy for both of them.

Riley came from a good family, just graduated from college and starting what should be a wonderful new life. The story is told from many points of view, and that is what made it so interesting.

Ben's mother reflected "Ben’s words. What had he said? He loved Riley. Teresa remembered that. Gary had always loved her best after. After. Gary had been textbook. She’d found this out later, in support groups and the self-help aisle at the library. He’d wooed her passionately and swiftly and they’d moved to Phoenix right after the wedding. Those two hours away from her family in Tucson, without a car, might as well have been a fortress wall and a moat full of alligators. Whenever he lost control – that was the agreed-upon euphemism – his sorrow would break Teresa’s heart. Her forgiveness was all that could ease his torment."

Her thoughts will be familiar to anyone familiar with the cycle of abuse. It seems like the characters are caught up in a storm, or as the title suggests, monsoon.

I sympathized with all of the characters, and their reactions to Riley's plight. This is a real page turner, which is very uplifting.

Highly recommended."
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on 22 February 2013
Highly engaging characters, compelling plot development, beautifully evoked scenes .. it had me hooked from the start. One soon gets involved with the believable characters and their powerful relationships with the central protagonist.
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on 5 September 2012
This was an ok read for 99p, but nothing groundbreaking. It's about domestic abuse & is a straightforward easy read, but nothing special.
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