Monday, March 4, 2013

Blog Tour Stop: Review of The Eighth Wonder by Kimberly Young

We were given a copy of this book from Virtual Author Book Tours for our fair and honest review.

The Eighth Wonder by Kimberly Young
Reviewed by Dani
Dani’s Rating: 4 stars

Steph's Rating: 4 stars
Overall rating: 4 stars

Format: E-book (pdf)
Publisher: Author House
Publication Date: February 2, 2012
Pages: 208

Goodreads Synopsis:
Nicole Benson is a self-made woman. She put herself through school, sacrificing marriage and children for her career. In the summer of 1997, at the age of 35, she finally graduated with a Ph.D. from NYU, but her life is thrust into chaos when her father, the only person she's ever leaned on emotionally, is diagnosed with terminal cancer. After fifteen years in New York City, Nicole leaves everything and everyone she knows to teach for a year in Bradford, Pennsylvania to be close to her father in nearby Buffalo. Now, trapped in tiny Bradford, she has never felt more alone in her life. . . until she meets Tom Ryan. At 44, Tom represents what Nicole longs to be: settled, secure, and clear about his purpose and direction in life. Emotionally scarred, he and his wife of 23 years survived the death of their daughter to leukemia. Tom and Nicole's story begins as a journey of self-discovery for both of them but turns to bittersweet tragedy when their friendship becomes love. Nicole risks offering what she has never given before, her heart; and Tom has never felt happier or more conflicted when he falls in love for the second time in his life. Their lives become intertwined and changed forever when they both must face the most difficult decision of their lives.

Dani's Review:          
When I first heard the title of this book, I immediately wondered what the "eighth wonder" was. So what is an “eighth wonder”? Here’s my definition: An object or place is dubbed "the eighth wonder" when the person christening it believes it deserves to be up there in the Hall of Fame with the seven wonders of the world. Maybe it's the physical beauty, the historical background, or simply a place where this person has passed many happy hours. Ms. Kimberly Young's eighth wonder is Kinzua Bridge in Bradford, Pennsylvania. Ms. Young also incorporated a lot of history about Kinzua Bridge in this book. Usually I don’t enjoy learning history, but I loved how Ms. Young intertwined facts with the plot.

The Eighth Wonder is a deep, emotional, and rather slow romance book. It is not one of those romance novels with a young girl who suddenly falls in love with a sexy guy at first sight. The Eighth Wonder is much, much more than that.

Nicole Benson is a 35 year old woman with a PhD from New York University. She sacrificed a "normal" life of marriage and children for her career. Sheis a strong protagonist who helped herself earn her degree and is the only one in her family to graduate from college. All of her girlfriends back home have already settled down with a husband and kids, but Nicole went against the norm to follow her dreams. She decides to take a one year contract at Bradford’s local university to get teaching experience and use the time to apply for a job at a more prestigious university.

Tom  is a 44 year old married man born and bred in the country. He is a kind man who works at the local nursing home. After his daughter died at a young age, a rift appeared between him and his wife. Both were heartbroken from the loss, but his wife especially. Their relationship was never the same again. He meets Nicole at the county fair.

Ms.Young’s writing is spectacular. She used so much detail to describe each setting, a trait not seem very often in modern writing anymore. I also loved how she explored the characters’ emotions. Nicole, debating whether she should take a job closer to her father or choose the more prestigious place. Tom, wondering if his actions and feelings are for Nicole are wrong.

FYI: There IS adultery in this novel. I know some readers strongly oppose
the adultery in this novel, but it is written in a subtle, smooth way. This entire novel is about an unmarried woman and a married man loving each other, so isn’t it expected? Also, there are NOT any steamy love scenes

The only complaint I have about this novel is the pace of the plot. It felt somewhat slow to me, but I'm a teenager and this is an adult contemporary romance. I think that all book-lovers, no matter their age, will enjoy this novel because of the writing and character development. It's almost written like a literary classic. The Eighth Wonder was an enjoyable read that kept me thinking about it long after I finished reading it.

There is also a book trailer for The Eighth Wonder. Here it is!

Steph's commentary:

Like Dani, I thought this was a emotionally powerful novel that just tugged at your heartstrings. I loved that back and forth between Tom and Nicole's feelings, when they were wondering if what they were doing was truly for the best. Kimberly Young's way of expressing the characters thoughts and emotions was truly wonderful, and even can make you feel conflicted as well even when you aren't going through these debates. Even among the adult books that I read, you don't find this a lot. Most books I read these days follow a "read-obsess-move on" pattern. The Eighth Wonder isn't like that and is a story that you won't forget. 

I supposed my only complaint is the slowness of this novel. It isn't very long, but the romance has a very slow build up and stretches across the entire book. I am the impatient reader type though so perhaps others may not feel this way and that the slow romance is perfect for Tom and Nicole's relationship. This is very much an adult novel, and since Dani and I are still teens, maybe the true messages in this book were not as clear to us.  

If you are a fan of adult romance, then I would recommend this to you! It is a short and sweet novel that you surely want to read.

Tomorrow we will be having an Interview with Kimberly S. Young as well as a giveaway of a copy of The Eighth Wonder. Be sure to check back!  


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