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Little Night: A Novel by [Rice, Luanne]
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Little Night: A Novel Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Length: 337 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description


 “Poetic and stirring…beautifully combines [Rice’s] love nature and the power of family.”

Publishers Weekly, starred review

 “Best-selling author Rice’s 30th book is an outstanding read that both chills and warms the soul…highly recommended.”

Library Journal, starred review

“Never rushing her story or revelations, Rice reaches the satisfying conclusion that while wounds run deep, love runs deeper.”


Product Description

An emotionally gripping family drama from beloved New York Times bestseller Luanne Rice

Clare Burke’s life took a devastating turn when she tried to protect her sister, Anne, from an abusive and controlling husband and ended up serving prison time for assault. The verdict largely hinged on Anne’s defense of her spouse—all lies—and the sisters have been estranged ever since. Nearly twenty years later, Clare is living a quiet life in Manhattan as an urban birder and nature blogger, when her niece, Grit, turns up on her doorstep.

The two long for a relationship with each other, but they’ll have to dig deep into their family’s difficult past in order to build one. Together they face the wounds inflicted by Anne and find in their new connection a place of healing. When Clare begins to suspect her sister might be in New York, she and her niece hold out hope for a long-awaited reunion with her.

A riveting story about women and the primal, tangled family ties that bind them together, Little Night marks a milestone for Luanne Rice—the thirtieth novel from the author with a talent for creating stories that are "exciting, emotional, terrific" (The New York Times Book Review).

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1099 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (June 5 2012)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0072O0174
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #207,073 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Luanne Rice truly captures the bonds and love that make a family. Her books never disappoint. Can't wait to read the next one.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Read all of Luanne's Books, always wonderful
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Format: Paperback
very dark
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9bdbceb8) out of 5 stars 85 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bc3dcc0) out of 5 stars Birds and bogs June 5 2012
By TChris - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Luanne Rice is a capable writer who specializes in telling stories about family dynamics. The bare bones of a good story are buried deep within Little Night. Sadly, a determined reader will need to dig through contrived situations and weakly developed characters to find it.

The prologue begins in 1993 with the arrest of Clare Burke after she smashes Frederik Rasmussen's face with a burning log. After years of estrangement from her sister Anne caused by Anne's controlling husband Frederik, Clare had noticed Anne's injuries during a visit. Clare was convincing Anne to flee to a place of safety when Frederik came home and began to choke Anne. The police do not believe Clare was protecting Anne when Anne refuses to contradict her domineering husband, who accuses Clare of attempting to murder him.

In 2011, Anne's daughter Grit visits Clare in New York City. Grit is a follower of Clare's bird blog. She shares Clare's animosity toward Frederik. Grit also has issues surrounding her mother's uncaring behavior and her brother's apparent death in a bog. Grit and Clare nonetheless bond over the fact that they both miss Anne. Before she fled home, Grit stole Anne's diary which Clare reads to gain insight into Anne's personality.

Part two begins with a posting on Anne's blog that (with good reason) questions her parenting of Grit. Reading it together (as well as subsequent entries) gives Clare and Grit another bonding opportunity.

Other events are scattered through this mostly uneventful novel. Grit behaves in a self-destructive way. She gets tattoos from an artist named Dennis. She earns a little money by cooking for pretentious people. Clare examines her feelings for a bird enthusiast named Paul. Yet most of the novel's drama is reserved for the last couple of chapters, which I thought were entirely unbelievable.

In fact, I didn't believe much of the story at all, beginning with the setup. I doubt Clare would have been prosecuted, much less convicted and sentenced to prison, given the fairly obvious evidence of Frederick's abusive nature (Anne's loyalty to her husband notwithstanding). The subplot involving Grit's brother is similarly contrived.

Neither did I believe that the characters were real. Frederik is too over-the-top to be convincing. Sure, there are people in the world who are as evil as Frederik, but Rice fails to develop Frederik in sufficient depth to make his personality ring true. Anne is subservient because Rice needs her to be that way to make the story work, but we never learn why such a seemingly strong-willed girl changes so dramatically that later in life she betrays both her sister and her daughter for the sake of a man she doesn't seem to like. Dennis is improbably attuned to Grit from the instant they meet. His perfect sensitivity makes him seem more like an illusion than a real person. Neither Paul nor Dennis is a fully realized character. They are empty vessels, existing only to spice the story by giving Clare and Grit the opportunity for love.

Some aspects of Little Night are hokey: a bartender's intuitive knowledge that Clare had served prison time (a mere two years) because of her "blank stare"; the upscale soap opera that was Anne's life before Frederik came along (fate's punishment for her wanton ways?); Dennis feeling moved to kiss Grit while giving her a tattoo, apparently because he senses her tortured soul. Clare's childhood discovery that her perfect father was a less-than-perfect husband -- a realization that "broke Anne in a way that changed her forever" -- is trite. Scenes of family drama are robbed of their potential power by cheesy, melodramatic writing (Grit "missed her mother so much she thought her head would explode"). The characters engage in so much hand-wringing about their family problems that the narrative becomes emotionally deadening.

Rice presents some interesting information about birds and bogs. She draws interesting parallels between nature and families, both of which are filled with beauty and brutality. Unfortunately, Rice feels a need to explain her metaphors, as if she thinks her readers are too dim to grasp them without assistance. That's the fundamental problem with this uneven novel: sometimes Rice tells us too much, other times not enough. Rice's failure to find the right balance makes Little Night a novel of limited appeal.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d3ddda0) out of 5 stars Fiction mixed with non fiction June 24 2012
By Patricia Hackel - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I've read several of Luanne Rice's book but this one was very hard to follow. It has too much description about things that are not important to the story. I felt that there was more non fiction material than necessary. And then her fictional story was just thrown in between it all. I felt nothing for the characters and felt cheated by the weirdness of it and the awful ending.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bc3d2c4) out of 5 stars strong, solid writing and good story June 7 2012
By booklover343 - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I've always felt that Luanne Rice was more of a "fluffy" writer but this book takes a turn into some very serious and "tight" writing. And yet, at the same time, there is much that is lyrical and beautiful.

The story appealed to me since it seemed more serious than her usual fare. I got the book yesterday and finished it this morning! Yes, it was that compelling to read.

I don't have a sister but the "sister bond" is very intriguing to me. This book answers the question: "how far would you go for your sister?" and "how far would your sister go for you?" also..."how much could you forgive your sister for doing?"

The family bonds are deep and complicated in this novel...some healthy and some not. But the characters are real and have many dimensions. It's so hard to put down once you start - be warned!

If Luanne Rice is now taking her writing in this direction, I'm going to be a big fan. Wish Amazon had the ability to give half stars...this would get 4 1/2 from me.

Let's hope the author is thinking of a sequel. Would love to hear what happens next to these characters.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bdc51f8) out of 5 stars Dark, Disturbing Little Night June 14 2012
By Jill Dennison - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read a number of books by Luanne Rice, beginning with Cloud Nine (1999), I was expecting more than was delivered. I found this to be by far the darkest book I have read by Ms. Rice, as well as disappointingly unbelievable, both in characterization and plot. The story is that of two sisters, Clare and Anne, who grew up very close, presumably as they were mostly shut out of their parents' lives during their childhood. Anne, the older sister, marries Frederik, a controlling, narcissistic European glassblower who effectively removes her from the lives of her family, both physically and emotionally. Frederik is the personification of evil, yet we are given no insight as to the reason. No insight into the character, really. Clare remains devoted to Anne, despite not being able to see her or her two children for several years, and one day she takes it upon herself to visit. On seeing that Anne is obviously an abused wife, Clare convinces her to leave Frederik, but alas, it is at this point that, predictably, Frederik returns home and immediately upon hearing Anne agree to go away with Clare, he begins choking Anne. Clare grabs a burning log from the fireplace and hits Frederik in the face with it to get him away from Anne, but once the police arrive, Anne agrees with her husband that Clare intended to murder Frederik and thus the stage is set ... Clare goes to prison while Anne, Frederik and the children (who have the unlikely names of Gilly and Grit) move to Europe, completing the separation of the sisters. Note that this is not a spoiler, as all this takes place during the first few pages of the book.

Sometimes we need to be disturbed, shaken out of our own peaceful, secure lives and made to look around us in order to realize that there is despair and hopelessness in the world. And this book is certainly disturbing, but my two main complaints are that it is fairly unrealistic and that despair seems to be the main theme. At one point, it is implied that the theme is redemption, which is the opposite of despair, but I failed to see where redemption came into play. I will not go into detail, as I don't like to write spoilers into my reviews, but suffice it to say that what little happiness is found in these character's lives is similar to what they say about one-horse towns: don't blink or you'll miss it.

Aside from my complaints about the sense of doom, anger and evil that comprise the plot, I was also disappointed in the development of the characters. None seemed real to me, and although Clare and Grit are sympathetic characters, I was not able to connect to them as I would have liked. The character of Anne vacillated between pitiable, despicable and just plain crazy, while the character of Frederik was consistently evil, but as mentioned above, with no insight as to the roots of his persona. Had the characters been more three-dimensional, it might have saved this book despite the deficiencies in plot. I rarely read a book that I regret having read, though some are certainly better than others, but I must say I wish I had not wasted the time on this one, as it left me feeling disturbed and angry. That said, I have enjoyed other books by this author and will not let my disappointment in this book turn me away from reading more by her.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bc3cf78) out of 5 stars Luanne Rice's 30th novel is a riveting read June 13 2012
By Bookreporter - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Growing up together in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan before it was a trendy area, Clare and Anne Burke were as close as two sisters could be. Although their family life was troubled due to their parents' unhappy marriage, they took comfort in the fact that they always had one another.

As so often happens, however, adulthood changes things between the sisters. When Anne marries Danish artist Frederik Rasmussen, a famous glassblower, the relationship between the sisters suddenly becomes nonexistent. By means of physical and mental abuse, Frederik effectively isolates Anne from the love and support of her dear sister.

When Clare finally gathers her courage to visit Anne and her children years later, it's as if the past period of estrangement melts away. Seeing visual signs of Frederik's abuse on Anne, Clare encourages her to pack her and the children's things and leave with Clare immediately. Before she can do so, though, Frederik arrives home and immediately attacks Anne when he realizes she is about to depart their hellish marriage.

At a loss for what action to take to save her sister from further abuse, Clare picks up a burning log from the fireplace and aims for Frederik's head. Unfortunately for Clare, when law enforcement becomes involved and she is arrested, Anne takes Frederik's side and seals Clare's fate --- a two-year prison sentence.

In spite of being branded a felon, Clare manages to make a life for herself in New York City after her release from prison. She lives in the house she and Anne grew up in, immerses herself in bird watching, and creates and maintains a blog that shares her ornithological experiences with others. Although she's comfortable with her life, Clare isn't completely happy. She yearns for a deeper relationship with her former lover, Paul, with whom she broke ties while in prison, and she longs for contact and reconciliation with Anne and her niece and nephew.

When she receives a letter from her niece, Grit, Clare is filled with anticipation and trepidation at the thought of her arrival. Once Grit makes an appearance and sets up house in Clare's spare bedroom, the two begin forging a positive relationship that allows them to begin healing from the events of the past. Now if only Clare could regain contact with the sister her heart longs for. Will she be able to extend a helping hand and save those whom she loves, or will it be too late for her sister by the time help arrives to extricate her from her situation?

Luanne Rice's 30th novel is a riveting read that immediately immerses the reader into the horrifying life of Anne's abuse and Clare's feelings of inadequacy at being unable to extract her sister from a tortured existence. In spite of the fact that Anne pushes away everyone close to her, including her children, those who love her still long to see her live a happy life away from the maniacal Frederik.

In LITTLE NIGHT, Rice plumbs the depths of the damage that physical and mental abuse cause the recipients and allows us into the heads of those who suffer these situations. In spite of the serious nature of the subject matter, the story is filled with happy moments and an undying hope for future happiness.

Reviewed by Amie Taylor