Book Reviews of Fall on Your Knees

Fall on Your Knees
Fall on Your Knees
Author: Ann-Marie MacDonald
ISBN-13: 9780743466523
ISBN-10: 0743466527
Publication Date: 11/1/2002
Pages: 672
Rating:
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 90

3.7 stars, based on 90 ratings
Publisher: Pocket
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

118 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Fall on Your Knees on + 98 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 13
I cannot find the words to describe this book. I didn't like it at first, but then I was unable to put it down and unable to forget it after I finished it. Definitely one of the most gripping novels I've ever read. It will make you laugh, it will repulse you, and it will horrify you, all the while keep you reading it. It's the first Oprah book I've read, but it won't be the last.
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Helpful Score: 12
Disturbing, engaging, dark tale of a family that's not quite "right" - the only one that is seemingly well-adjusted is the one who we read about in letters from long ago, when she was alive and living far away from the family. The eerie reason for the disjointed familial relations you won't discover until the end of the book. I was left with a "Sixth-Sense" type feeling, where I was forced to think back on what I'd read in a different light.
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Helpful Score: 9
Haunting and engrossing. I could not put it down until I was done and then I was sad the story was over. You have to stick with it to enjoy it.
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Helpful Score: 8
One of my all-time favorites. This was out of print when I read it-- a coworker gave it to me who also loved it. I sent an email through Oprah's website because I thought it was tragic that people could no longer get this fabulous story. (I NEVER feel that strongly to actually email!) Well, two months later Oprah's selection was... take a guess. Coincidence? Well, I choose to take credit for supplying the world with all those additional copies. (You're WELCOME. LOL)
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Helpful Score: 5
This is my absolute favorite book! I reread it every year or two and always find something new in it. The characters are amazingly complex, the storyline is engrossing and shocking. I find myself thinking about it for weeks after finishing it every time! FANTASTIC!
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Helpful Score: 4
This book will leave you changed. It is one of the most poignant books I've ever read. The story is captivating all the way to the end. Yes, it concerns disturbing material, but the way the author gets into the minds of the characters is extraordinary and leaves you touched with sadness at their loss.
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Helpful Score: 4
This book is beautifully written....so beautifully written that I couldn't stop reading in spite of the fact that it was very weird and disturbing. Four generations of such amazing disfunction that no one was completely sane. Yet, I couldn't put it down.
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Helpful Score: 3
This family epic demonstrates how tragedy in our childhood can affect our whole lives. This very dark and beautifully written story is sometimes painful to read...... but you won't beable to tear yourself away from it. It will touch you and stay with you a very long time!
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Helpful Score: 3
This book challenges your thoughts and emotions and opens up a world I had never encountered before. It details one girl's life from early childhood through young adulthood. Haunting.
reviewed Fall on Your Knees on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Great book. It took me a long time to warm up to any of the characters though. But for some reason, that didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book.
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Helpful Score: 3
So engrossing- the author takes time through multiple generations to build up intense characters and slowly reveals where their paths take them. An especially great read for a book club that has time to process all the many themes.
reviewed Fall on Your Knees on + 33 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I have given up on Oprah's book club, and I don't take her reviews very seriously any more. The last 3 Oprah book club books that I read were very disappointing. This book is very dark and as I read, I kept thinking, why do I care to keep reading this.
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Helpful Score: 2
Loved it! Very dark, but her character development is amazing!
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Helpful Score: 2
While I enjoyed the book, it was not among my favorites. It seemed to take too long to get to the point.
reviewed Fall on Your Knees on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
A great read that drew me in and kept me wanting to know what happened next. Does have have some abuse scenes in it so if you can't stomach that, you can skip them and still understand the story.
reviewed Fall on Your Knees on
Helpful Score: 2
This book was hard for me to put down, its well written and the characters have great depth to them. Although the ending left me feeling a bit confused, I still enjoyed every minute of it. Gives you a nice glimpse into life on a small island in Canada with people who originally came from Scotland. You won't regret this one.
reviewed Fall on Your Knees on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I picked it up because it was suggested by Oprah... I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!!!! I was very stressful and disturbing but also SO difficult to turn away from. Despite it's taboo themes "Fall On Your Knees" was a very good read! Definately Recomend it!
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Helpful Score: 2
Very well written, but I'm not sure how others can use words like nice to describe it. Very disturbing but engrossing.
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Helpful Score: 2
Deep book that spans the lives of four sisters. It's a story of family bons, of terrible secrets, miracles, racial strife, attempted murder, birth and death, and forbidden love. This book and it's intricate story will stay with you for weeks after you have finished the book. Well worth reading.
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Helpful Score: 2
This is an all time favorite for me. The richness of the characters and absolute depth of storytelling as you span time with the Piper family is simple and sheer brilliance. The dark and haunting undertones of child bride molestation and incest are disturbing for folks looking for vanilla pleasantries in reading, so beware if these areas will offend you. However, if you can get past the taboo of it, you'll fully appreciate MacDonald's gift of spinning a satisfying tale from start to finish.
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Helpful Score: 2
Very dark
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Helpful Score: 1
Things are not all that they seem.

When you look up "dysfunctional" in the dictionary, this family should be the illustration photo.

Great read.
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Helpful Score: 1
A memorable book of depth and intensity: from racial boundaries and war to family secrets, incest, religion and relationships, there's little this book leaves out. Set in the coal-mining communities of Nova Scotia in the early twentieth century, the scene also shifts to the battlefields of World War I and the jazz scene of New York City in the 1920s.
It's a multi-generational story of a family from Nova Scotia. The most compelling stories lie within the four surviving children of the family - four girls, with a spectrum of unique personalities. The parents of the girls and their grandparents are there too. Some characters you will love others not, but undoubtedly will not leave your mind for a long time after you finish the book.
Fine writing and a compelling tale: but then, being a Canuck, maybe I'm prejudiced?
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Helpful Score: 1
Haunting! A look at a family of sisters and how each one's unique relationship to the father and each other shapes their lives. Very intense, very dark, but in the end, very rewarding.
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Helpful Score: 1
A very good read - a big, sprawling family drama that has more than its fair share of secrets, lies and betrayals throughout. It was very funny at times, although it was really a pretty dark humor, and thought-provoking as well. Lots of cultural issues are presented through various interactions in the book but not shoved down your throat as the reader. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys the "generational" family dramas a la Joyce Carol Oates.
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Helpful Score: 1
The story of a family living on Cape Breton Island off Nova Scotia. A multigenerational saga and chronicles the lives of four unforgettable sisters. By turns menacingly dark and hilariously funny. A must read!
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Helpful Score: 1
An amazing epic. Once started you cannot put down. Very well written. The characters stay with you long after you have finished reading... parts are funny in a disturbing sort of way. LOVED it!
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Helpful Score: 1
My mother recommended this book to me and I have to say, I found it very disturbing. Tell me about disfuntional families! We know they exist but this one tops them all. I've never thought things like this would happen, where were social services? Why didn't anyone do anything about this? I don't know if this is fiction or real, but it is heartbreaking to say the least.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book shocked me, not with its story line, which was very different, but by the way it gripped me so tightly. A sad book, as most sagas are, set on an island off of Nova Scotia, and is mostly the lives of four very different sisters.
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Helpful Score: 1
A tragic story of a family with shocking secrets and lies. Very sad, very dark.It is a big, intense story, but none of the central characters are likeable.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book was given to me several years ago and it st on my bookshelf collecting dust. One day I picked it up on a whim, thinking I'll start this on my lunch hour. Well, I started reading and I was hooked. I could not put it down and read it at every opportunity I could find. The book is compelling. I can't recommend it enough. Especially if you are a fan of family saga type stories.
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Helpful Score: 1
The story was dynamic, interesting and enchanting. At times it got a little long, but it never occurred to me to put it down and walk away. As the story explores four generations of this family, it made me think of my own family and appreciate our dysfunction as far less complicated than the characters. I liked the way in which the author told the story and described Cape Breton. Just beautiful!
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Helpful Score: 1
I had an very unusual reaction (for me) to this book: I really wish I had never read it. It is that disturbing. And I don't think I've ever said that about a book.... Yes it is well-written, yes you can't forget it once you're done, but...! To me, it was just heart-breaking.

If the mark of a good book is you can't forget it once you're done, then this is a good book -- but I wish I had never gone there.

IOW, very well-written, but I wouldn't recommend it.
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Helpful Score: 1
Dark, very dark... not the best family dysfunction story, but a good one :)
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Helpful Score: 1
This is a page turner, full of characters we seem to think we know, then find out we don't know them at all. Three generations of Pipers and their complicated lives. Excellent novel!
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OH! I enjoyed this book so much.It was darker and more detailed than "we were the mulvaneys" a many generational story that was a gret read as well. Once I started,I had to finish,the author pulls you along,building towards the end.The end was a surprise in itself,I confess,I had to reread the last chapter. This author has a great way of writing,and I look forward to reading another by her.
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I could give this book a higher review simply because I recognize that it is well-written, but to be honest - I just don't want to due to way I felt after reading it. It is one of the darkest, most hopeless, dismal reads I've ever experienced. Just depressing in the extreme. I soldiered on with it and then when I read the last page felt a great relief that it was at long last, over and wished that I had not subjected myself to it. An intricate, involved story and compelling in its own way but . . . . no, not for me.
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This is an amazing book. Characters are compelling and believable, and the story line kept me glued to the pages. Sophisticated AND readable.
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This book jumps around a lot so sometimes it can be hard to follow. I read it twice and it was much better the second time around. Very well written!! There is also a lot of foreign language that I didn't understand. It was a difficult read but very worth it.
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I've had this book for a while but didn't open it until my book club chose it as our recent selection. As soon as I started reading I had a hard time putting it down. While the Pipers were a fairly disturbing family, MacDonald made them believable and interesting. I felt sorry for them and was disgusted and irritated at them all at the same time. MacDonald is a wonderul writer.
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I liked this book. Like the most of the books from Oprah's Book Club.
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Wonderfully written, it is the saga of five generations of sin, guilt and redemption.
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One of my favorites.
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This book is great, but very, very heavy.
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Family saga about how family secrets are revealed. Was chosen by Oprah's book club.
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I wanted to like this book but it was tough. The writing style was not my favorite at all and I had trouble caring about the characters. I persisted through about 350 pages before finally giving up because I realized I didn't care how it ended :(
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Great book to read a little bit a day.
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This is a perfectly written Canadian family saga. Everything about it is beautiful and heartbreaking. It's a novel you won't soon forget.
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What a great thought provoking read! Very deep, dark and humerous!
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Oprah's Book Club. From the back cover: This resonant first novel has a mythic quality that allows dark, half-buried secrets to be gracefully and chillingly revealed."-John Motyka, New York Times Reviea
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this is an amazing read. most of oprah's books, the first chapter i think to myself, "ok. has she finally failed me? where is this thing going?" but by the second and third i could not put it down. i've been devouring it every chance i get, and i find i keep thinking now, "what's going to happen next?" only to remember i've finished the book. i thought i had everything figured out about it until the end, and i was surprised, but satisfied.
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I had read a review on this book from another member. Their review of the book sounded as if they absolutely hated it. Well I have the book and I hate not to read any book that I have. So I started it. After each page I had to go on to the next one. Next thing you know I had finished the book. If you get shocked by sexual content,don't read it. The story line is good but a bit on the dark side. Full of strange family secrets. It's the only book that I have read that I truthfully can't say wheather I liked it or not.
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I enjoyed the twist at the ending but where the heck did THAT come from haaa. Weird book and I feel as if the author started in one direction and went in another direction of her desired impact...
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Oprah's Book Club book. Good family saga-type story with several interesting twists.
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Very interesting read. Compelling. A can't put down book. Loved the way it was written. The characters become alive from the pages! Thought provoking story. Will get more of this authors books.
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Not a memorable book for me, good read, but nothing stands out for me to comment on. Would not read again.
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This story has many twists and turns as families with secrets do. I enjoyed this book alot:)
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Well-written, compelling read.
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Strange, twisted, sad, funny in some spots....good read!
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Very involved book - hard to keep track - I found it
very interesting but hard to keep up with - difficult read.
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Great book for people who love family dramas. Haunting story...
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A dark tale of four sisters. A chilling and powerful read.
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One of those books you can't predict but also very tragic story. Dome very hard for me to read.
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Another makes you think book
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It was interesting but unless one has an open mind, they might not enjoy the book since it has racial , incest and fanatical
religious overtones
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I loved this book. The ups and downs of a family in the early 1900's. I couldn't wait to get to the end. I really could't put it down until the mystery was revieled!
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I enjoyed this book that told about the lives of several generations in a family in Nova Scotia. Mainly its the story of four sisters, one of which is really a daughter...and a father who is really a grandfather. Well you'll have to check it out. Kind of dark but interesting.
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If you are a fan of Oprah's Club books this will grab and hold your attention! Its an epic, multi-generational novel about an immigrant family in Nova Scotia. There are many fascinating ups and downs in their lives and some some very disturbing and surprising secrets that gradually are revealed.
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Wonderfully woven tale of secrets showcased in an early 20th century Canada that I didn't know existed. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
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One of the best novels I've ever read.
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Very engrosssing.
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Wonderfully told story of three sisters and other related characters. Rich, mesmerizing, enchanting, lyrical, thoroughly enjoyable read.
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This is an engrossing novel, I couldn't put it down. Not for prudes.
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This book was confusing to me. I felt the story of the sisters was interesting enough, but didn't understand the reason for the incest. The character development of the father never tells us why he would do such a thing. It's easy enough to figure out why all the girls turn out the way they do, but I was left with a big question mark about the whole reason for the book to begin with. This book was uncomfortable in places, although I never felt like there was action or drama just for the sake of creating action or drama to make the book more interesting. It all fit, and I found myself really feeling sorry for the girls, especially Francis. I usually have very specific feelings about a book when I'm done with it, but this one has left me with more questions than answers, especially regarding the father and Lilly.
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I picked up this book without knowing anything about it or reading any prior reviews or even knowing that it was an Oprah's book selection.

I read the first few chapters, was bored and put it aside. When I saw that it was available as an audio book, I got it from PBS because sometimes when I'm not getting into a book by reading it, when I listen to it, it becomes more interesting. That happens more than you'd think if there is a great narrator.

My first impression was correct. The book is a waste of time - boring, wordy, uninteresting - dull. The audio version didn't capture my attention either and the narrator was just so-so.

Can't recommend.
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four generations of secets, proving that sisterhood is powerful even if it isn't what we think it would be.
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While this book was well written, it reads more like an atrociously long poem than a book, it is probably one of the worst books I have ever read. Their are no redeeming qualities in any of the characters except maybe Trixie, and even Trixie is disfigured. I think she seriously had a "grab bag of horrors" and picked from it every few pages to choose what would happen next, just to keep you interested, when the only thing you really want is for it to stop. The problems with this book are endless. The thing that made me the most angry was that the author is obviously good at writing, she just decided to write 500 pages that will ensure I never pick up another book penned by her in the future. I wanted to throw the book across the room by about chapter 3, the only thing that kept me from doing that was my sleeping son and my penchant for finishing every book I start.
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I can't say this is one of my favorite books. It was good, but not one of my favorites . . .
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It's been a while since I read this book, but I remember I really liked it. It opened me up to Oprah's book club books!
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The Piper family is steeped in secrets, lies, and unspoken truths. At the eye of the storm is one secret that threatens to shake their lives--even destroy them. Set on stormy Cape Breton Island off Nova Scotia, Fall on Your Knees is an internationally acclaimed multigenerational saga that chronicles the lives of 4 unforgettable sisters. Theirs is a world filled with diving ambition, inescapable family bonds, and forbidden love.
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Haunting.
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A fourney into the dark secrets of four generations of men and women. Told in a good narrative voice.
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A novel winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize for best first book.
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Winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book, it definately lives up to that!
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This book takes the reader through the lives of a family of daughters in the late 19th century and into the 20th century. The family is very disfunctional and the father leads incestuous relationships with various daughters along the way. It is sad, that the society shelters this as these girls become women of their own right trying to make sense of their lives.
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excellent novel....
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Oprah's Book Club selection
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What a great storyteller. Very shocking ending. Had to immedietly turn back to page 1 and start all over again. Wow.
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A multigenerational saga that chronicles the lives of four sisters.
The Piper family is steeped in secrets, lies, and unspoken truths. At the eye of the storm is one secret that threatens to shake their lives---even destroy them.
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A multi-layered book when it comes to the characters. A book of "secrets" and the lives they affect. Often times dark but also a story of survival and the bonds between four sisters.
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from the cover: "this resonant first novel has a mythic quality that allows dark, half-buried secrets to be gracefully and chillingly revealed." I was mesmerized by this book - despite its heavy theme it's beautifully and artfully written. But it's not for the faint of heart.
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This is pretty cruel and I could not get past that to continue reading it..
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A fascinating story that I couldn't put down. The ending is very satisfying.
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Excellent book...didn't want it to end.
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The Piper family is steeped in secrets, lies, and unspoken truths. At the eye of the storm is one secret that threatens to shake their lives-even destroy them. Set on stormy Cape Breton Island off Nova Scotia, This book is an internationally acclaimed multigenerational saga that chronicles the lives of four unforgettable sisters. Theirs is a world filled with driving ambition, inescapable family bonds, and forbidden love. Compellingly written, by turns menacinly dark and hilariously funny, this epic tale of five generations of sin, guilt, and redemption.
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This was an easy read
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Hard to describe and fascinating and at times humorous and other times dark. Not to be read quickly and not a "beach type" book.
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A bit graphic at times, but a interesting read.
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got this book from a friend.
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Oprah's Book Club ...also Winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book
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This book is very different. It is set in a different century and can only be described as drama.
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I'm sure that this was a terrific book. I could not get past the first part of the book. So I'll never know
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I really don't know what to say about this book.
It wasn't good, it wasn't bad, it just was....
It was a really long book, it had a lot of information. The end was ... neat.(?)
I really don't have much to say about this book. I am glad I read it though if that makes any sense. :)
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From inside cover:

Following the curves of history in the first half of the twentieth centry, Fall on Your Knees takes us from haunted Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, through the battlefields of World War I, to the emerging jazz scene in New York City, and into the lives of four unforgettable sisters.

The mythically charged family - James, a father of intelligence and immense ambition; Materia, his Lebanese child-bride; and their daughters: Kathleen, the eldest, a beautiful talent preparing for a career as an opera diva; Frances, incorrigible liar and hell-bent bad girl; Mercedes, obsessive Catholic and protector of the flock; and Lily, the adored invalid who takes us on a quest for truth and redemption.
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I liked this one so much that I (accidentally) bought two copies!
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One of my all time favorites...Great Reading
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Great book
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Well written book--! Refreshing to have a 'good' read for a change :)
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Wow! Great story - hated for it to end. Author certainly has a storytellilng gift. Incest, abuse, family heritage spanning 5 generations. I will read this one again!
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"This book has so much depth and intensity that it is difficult to find the words to review it with. From racial boundries and war to familial issues, incest, religion and different levels of relationships, there is little this book leaves out. And yet, unlike some authors who try to tackle too much, Ms. MacDonald succeeds in covering it all beautifully.

This book is about multi-generations of a family from Nova Scotia. The most compelling stories lie within the four surviving children of the family -- four girls, each one incredibly different from the next. The parents of the girls are an interesting component of the book, as are the grandparents -- and the father plays a large, highly impactful, role in the lives of the girls. Some characters you will love others not, but undoubtedly no one in the Piper family will leave your mind for a long time.

The stories and plights of this family are unbelievable and breathtaking. The book brings in different twists, turns and surprises on every page, and I found myself having to turn back pages in order to gain new insights into what really happened. Nothing is ever what it seems, and nothing is what you expect it to be.

This book is incredible -- anyone who appreciates artistry in writing, and compelling stories that take you through a full gamut of emotions and thoughts -- that develop your mind as a reader,will love this book." - beachrunnerjkn courtesy of Amazon Reviews
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Good read, a little disturbing
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The Piper family is steeped in secrets, lies, and unspoken truths. At the eye of the storm is one secret that threatens to shake their lives==even destroy them. Set on stormy Cape Breton islalnd off Nova Scotia, this book chronicles the multigenerational saga of four unforgettable sisters. Compelling, menacingly dark and hilariously funny.
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Loved this one - an oprah book club choice.
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Wonderful book
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James a father of intelligence and immensense ambition, his lebanese child bride and their daughters Kathleen the eldest a beautiful talent preparing for her career as an oper diva: Frances, incorrigible liar and hell bent bad girl, Mercedes, obsessive Catholic and protector of the flock: and Lily the adored invalid who takes us on a quest for the truth and redemption-is supported by a richly textured cast of characters
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One of Oprah's Book Club selections.
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Amazon.com Reviews
"A sprawling saga about five generations of a family from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Fall on Your Knees is the impressive first fiction from Canadian playwright and actor Ann-Marie MacDonald. This epic tale of family history, family secrets, and music centers on four sisters and their relationships with each other and with their father. Set in the coal-mining communities of Nova Scotia in the early part of this century, the story also shifts to the battlefields of World War I and the jazz scene of New York City in the 1920s."

I found the book to be haunting, but quite interesting.
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never read