Book Reviews of Here on Earth

Here on Earth
Here on Earth
Author: Alice Hoffman
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ISBN-13: 9780425167311
ISBN-10: 0425167313
Publication Date: 3/1/1998
Pages: 293
Rating:
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 414

3.5 stars, based on 414 ratings
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

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

reviewed Here on Earth on + 26 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
At first I thought this was going to be a predictable "man versus nature" diatribe with nature winning, but actually had more complexity to it. An enjoyable read.
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Helpful Score: 5
It was really scattered and I didn't like the way the author told the story or her style. Pretty much turned me off Alice Hoffman novels.
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Helpful Score: 4
Bestselling author of Practical Magic (also a movie starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman), this is classic Alice Hoffman. A "seductive and mesmerizing story", about love and loss. Great read.
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Helpful Score: 4
Well-written and literary. Spooky in a realistic way.
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Helpful Score: 4
I found this to be a page-turner about a woman who returns to her hometown and encounters the man who she was obsessed with when they were both children.
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Helpful Score: 3
Marcy Murray returns to her hometown in Massachusetts to attend a friend's funeral and finds herself embroiled in a passionate affair with a former lover. March discovers that love can be wonderful but also heartbreaking.
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Helpful Score: 3
I have yet to be disappointed by an Oprah's Book Club selection - this book was no exception.
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Helpful Score: 2
Reading this book is like watching a train wreck. You know something unavoidable and horrifying is going to happen, but you just can't look away. I did get a little impatient with the heroine, who allows herself to be drawn into an obviously toxic relationship, but Hoffman gets points for daring to write about love lost and found that perhaps should have stayed lost. She loses points, however, for choosing Thoroughbred horse racing as a background plot point and not bothering to have someone check the simple facts that she is obviously unaware of.
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Helpful Score: 1
Great read!!
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Helpful Score: 1
A story of love.........past love, lost love, true love. March Murray fell in love when she was very young and thought it would be forever. Circumstances got in the way, of course, and Hollis leaves town. She waits for him for 3 years and never hears a word so she leaves the small Massachusetts town where they lived and goes to California, where she marries another past resident of the town, who has been waiting for her all this time. Neither of them return but Hollis has and has become the richest man in town. A death brings her back to town where they reconnect. But things - or people - have changed. Have they really? Or was their love always like this. Hollis is a man consumed with having but, when he gets what he was out for, does it satisfy him? And March finally gets what she always wanted but finds out she had it all along.
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Helpful Score: 1
Beautiful treatment of some familiar themes: "coming home" and "abusive relationships".

March Murray returns to her childhood home when the woman who was her caretaker - nanny, housekeeper, cook - dies. Judith Dale took over when March's mother died when March was very young, and stayed in the family house after the Murray family had all left it, by permission. March is here in Jenkintown, on the east coast, with her teenage daughter Gwen, to attend the funeral and to attend to Judith's remaining possessions.

March's husband Richard did not come along. He has many classes and field trips to manage. He did, however, grow up here too, and has reason to be concerned about Marsh's trip.

When March was small, her father arrived one day with a boy a few years older than she, Hollis, who had apparently been scraping out a living on his own. He was in pretty bad shape and had little experience with a normal life. March's father simply announced that Hollis was one of the family now. Unfortunately, not everyone in the family was happy to include him. March's older brother Alan feels a great deal of resentment at this intruder and never fails to find ways to remind Hollis that he is not really a member of the family. March, on the other hand, becomes quite fond of Hollis.

As she grows older, she becomes more than fond. There is a quality about Hollis that draws her irresistibly, and he is similarly drawn to her. Their relationship becomes so intense that March manages to miss a lot of the rest of her life. She spends her time either with Hollis or thinking about him.

But it isn't all happy sailing. There comes a time when Hollis demands March's attention in a way that irritates her and she tells him to go away. He does. And he does not come back. Eventually March goes on with her life but she secretly carries around her love for Hollis and knows she can never love anyone else the same way.

Now it is nineteen years since she has set foot in this town and she knows Hollis is here, living here, still. She tells herself she will not see him but others know better. Hollis himself waits, knowing she will come to him.

By this time Hollis has become a rich man and owns half the town. He has been married once, but that wife died. He lives with Alan's son, whom he has "adopted" after Alan took to drink and failed to care for the boy. Hollis may be able to buy out anyone else in the town but he's not well liked, except by the women he lets in from time to time.

What happens when March and Hollis finally meet? Where does it lead? The romance of the century turns out to be different "here on earth" than it was in fantasy.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is a modern take on Wuthering Heights. While I wasn't a fan of Wuthering Heights, I was in love with this novel. This was my first Hoffman novel (I have since read a few other by her including Practical Magic) and I was impressed! This book is a bit dark at times, but the light of young love is redeeming.. and wasn't that the orginal goal of wuthering heights? To show that through everything unconditional love can be redeeming?
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Helpful Score: 1
From Oprah's Book Club. The story of a woman who returns home to the small town she grew up in, after 19 years, she is reunited with the boy she loved and their love is reignited.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book really draws you into the scene with its descriptions of the Northeastern town and surrounding area. The characters are interesting and unpredictable. I couldn't stop reading the last third.
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Helpful Score: 1
Great read! Great Summer book!
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Helpful Score: 1
This is a good book. It's the story of a lady who returns to the small town where she grew up and she once again meets the boy she had been so in love with. She also discovers more details of her troubled history. A good read.
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Helpful Score: 1
I thought this was a good story. Well-written, interesting characters, and it did keep me interested until the end.
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Helpful Score: 1
An engrossing tale about a woman who returns to her home town after 19 years away and meets an old lover. Now married with a teenaged daughter, she finds herself, despite all reason, falling back into love again.
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Helpful Score: 1
Will make for a good beach/summer read.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book kept my attention, was well written, and I'd recommend it to a friend.
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Helpful Score: 1
Forbidden love and betrayal...March goes back to her hometown after several years and has an affair with an old boyfriend. It's a love that was never meant to be. Interesting story...
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Helpful Score: 1
A woman goes home and sort of takes up where she left off in what is described as a "reckless love."
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Helpful Score: 1
Interesting story. I would love to read more about Gwen - what a strong girl, couldn't help but like her.
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Helpful Score: 1
This story about a woman returning to her past didn't resonate with me like I thought it would. Afterall, it is an Oprah choice (that's sarcasm in case you couldn't tell). The story was interesting enough, but the characters just seemed very one-dimensional and it felt as though it was written on a whim, without real thought about what made each of them tick.
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A dark, romantic tale that asks whether it is possible to survive a love that consumes you. Takes place in a small town in Mass.
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I love Alice Hoffman's writing style, but I don't think this was one of her best books. The ending was a surprise and still left you kind of hanging. I liked Ice Queen a lot better. This book was not a romance by any means, but it was a very sexual book.
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Very thought-provoking; most typical of Hoffman's work. The book is well-written; characterization is done well. Anyone who enjoyed her other works will surely love this one. I highly recommend it.
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Hoffman's writing style is engaging and this book was a quick read. I would not classify it as a love story, though, unless it is about lessons behind the main plot, as control and abuse should never be mistaken for love. Probably a mark of good writing, if a difficult situation is capable of affection a raw nerve.
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I found the landscape Hoffman describes and the characters who inhabited it dreary and depressing. I realized halfway through the book that I had no sympathy for the characters: Hollis was narcissistic and abusive, wow -- just like Alan! -- Sue was snippy and judgmental and March self-absorbed. Gwen had possibility, but I stopped reading before she could develop one way or the other. Too much sturm und drang - high emotionalism and a revolt against good judgment.
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A national bestseller, an Oprah's Book Club book, much praise from others, and I didn't like it. It didn't grab my attention until I was half way through the book and even then, I found it rather shallow.
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I enjoyed this book. A page turner for me and would recommend.
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This book is well written and the story is good, although it is somewhat of a romance novel. Then ending is poetic justice although almost predictable. I liked it.
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A really wonderful story.
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Geat book.
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An interesting story of returning to one's 'hometown' and self-discovery.
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A love story different than any other.
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Very good book, took me until the end to realize I had already read it!!
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one of the best reads!
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After nineteen years in California, March Murray returns to the small Massachusetts town where she grew up. For all this time, March has been avoiding her own troubled history, but when she encounters Hollis - the boy she loved so desperately, the man who has never forgotten her - the past collides with the present as their reckless love is reignited.

A modern day Wuthering Heights, this book is beautifully written. Alice Hoffman is a wonderful author
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An excellent book about an all consuming love and one of this author,s best, even better than Practical Magic. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to all of Alice Hoffman fans.
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Not one of her best in my opinion.
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A moving story of family love and the forces that threaten to undermine it.
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It's funny that I loved this book as much as I did, seeing as how I despise Wuthering Heights. Alice Hoffman's book is a modern take on Wuthering Heights, but where Bronte's book failed to get me to care for ANY of the characters, I loved the one I met in Here on Earth. The heartbreak, the hope, and the love are evident with each turn of the page.
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unabridged bookcassette edition
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So beautifully written. Complex and moving. Good story line.
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i enjoyed this book.
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I have enjoyed every Alice Hoffman novel I have read. While this one did not have the supernatural thread running through it like most of her others, it does have the reoccurring idea of love that grabs on to you, makes you behave insanely, and nearly become a stranger to yourself.
I had a hard time putting the book down, and I didn't even know it was an Oprah book until I went to review it.
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Very good! Read it in just a couple days.
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Oprah's Book Club...
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"I have never read anything by Alice Hoffman before, so I am very pleased that Here on Earth ended up being such a good introduction. The writing was extremely well done, and the storyline was surprisingly page-turning.
Here on Earth tells the story of March Murray and her 19-year-absence from her hometown in Massachusetts. After living in California with her husband, Richard, and 15-year-old daughter, Gwen, March is called home for the funeral of Judith Dale, the woman who took care of her as a child. Accompanied by Gwen, March is thrust back into her old life- her friends and her old house. But something worse haunts her heart- March's childhood sweetheart, Hollis, is still in town and is just as much a magnet to her as he was before. Before she knows what hits her, March and Hollis rekindle their romance -- but this time things are very, very different.

I was very surprised at the direction this story took, but I loved the twists! I started out with my feelings for certain characters pretty much set, then all these secrets start coming out of the woodwork and my emotions do a 180.
I believe that when an author can evoke such reactions out of a reader, that is the hallmark of a talented writer. Here on Earth also had a fantastic supporting cast that carried the story well. Alice Hoffman surpassed my expectations, and I'll be sure to read another of her novels soon." amazon review
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Another favorite author of mine. You can never go wrong with an Alice Hoffman book
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This is the book that got me into Hoffman's work. A modern-day Wurthering Heights.
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The bestselling author of Practical Magic and Turtle Moon now tells her msot seductive and mesmerizing story.
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great book loved it. kind of a slow read for me. but a very very good book
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Excellent book
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Very engaging and dramatic story, told well from multiple points of view.
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From the very first words "Tonight, the hay in the fields is already brittle with frost, especially to the west of Fox Hill, where the pastures shine like stars" this book grabs you and spins you into the lives of four protagonists: a woman and her teenage daughter and a man and his teenage nephew, all of them brought together by the death of a woman they all knew but bound to each other by forces that at times seem like love, but, at least for two of them, turns out to be something far more sinister. This is a story of possession, obsession and, more importantly, of power, control and abuse. This masterfully told story shows how passion can overwhelm logic and reason, and how some people refuse to admit they are being emotionally and psychologically abused because they refuse to see themselves as victims or the one they are with as an abuser because, after all, he doesn't hit them, does he? There is no happy ending here, mind you, just a well-told story of a woman seeking love and getting abused instead.
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Reading Here on Earth was reminicent of reading Wuthering Heights. I felt like the author created her characters entirely based on the Bronte novel, however, placed them in New England. The ending is only slightly different then in Wuthering Heights but as I was reading I could predict what was coming.
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After nineteen years in California, March Murray returns to the small Massachusetts town where she grew up. For all this time, March has been avoiding her own troubled history, but when she encounters Hollis - the boy she loved so desperately, the man who has never forgotten her - the past collides with the present as their reckless love is reignited. This dark romantic tale asks whether it is possible to survive a love that consumes you. The answers that March Murray discovers are both heartbreaking and wise, as complex as they are devastating - for in heaven and in our dreams, love is simple and glorious. But it is something altogether different here on earth...
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When March Murray travels East with her teenage daughter to attend the funeral of the beloved housekeeper who looked after her when she was growing up, March's past comes rushing up to meet her. The present is quickly dominated by the lurking presence of her former lover, Hollis, who has patiently awaited her long overdue return. The tale is populated by those for whom love brings more sorrow than happiness: a woman afraid to commit to a relationship, a husband in love with someone other than his wife, two young people who fall for each other only to find they are close relatives, and the self-destructing love of Hollis and March. While love has the power to transform those who fall under its spell--devotion to an old racehorse turns March's daughter, a sullen teenager, into a strong young woman--the love March herself suffers robs her of nearly all sense and goodness.
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I thought this would be a good book, and I think I was halfway correct. The first 1/2 of the book kept my attention, then the plot stalled and drifted to the end. Disappointing read actually. I expected more from Ms. Hoffman.
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Wonderful book on things may not appear as they are in life. Great story line, very unexpecting!
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This is a modern day version of Wurthering Heights. I am actually listening to WH now and can't believe how similar Here on Earth is.
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March Murray, along with her 15 y/o daughter, Gwen, return to the small Massachusetts town where she grew up to attend the funeral of the beloved housekeeper who raised her. After 20 yrs. of living in CA she is thrust into the world of her past. Her brother, Alan's tragic past has left him grief-stricken and alcohol is his only solace. Hollis, the boy she once loved, is the man she can't stay away from even though he is destructive.
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I must say that while this is not a bad book - it is not Hoffmans' best. I could have easily put it down at any point and not feel as though I had made a mistake by so doing. My husband however enjoyed it very much and he completely understands my love for all novels Alice Hoffman. Never before had I been able to get him to even give one a try. So this is huge and means to me that it must just be me that did not care for this one.
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This is one of those books that grips you so tight you can't stop reading and yet you want to walk away from it. Like a consuming love affair it swallows you and makes you keep coming back for more. It exhausts the soul and in the end you feel vindicated for sticking with it. A book you'll never forget.
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Amazon.com
Oprah Book Club® Selection, March 1998: Here on Earth is set in motion when March Murray and her teenage daughter travel from their California home to New England. Their stay is to be brief. Judith Dale, her childhood housekeeper-cum-foster mother, has died, and March must set things to right and get out of gloomy Jenkintown as quickly as possible. "Five days tops," she reassures her scientist husband. Instead, she is pulled back into the arms of Hollis, her first love--an avaricious, Heathcliff-like individual who radiates sulfur and cruelty. "She left and didn't come back, not even when he called her, and yet here she is, on this dark night; here and no place else." In this deep fable of loss and control, love and fear, Alice Hoffman allows us into her characters' cores and makes us wish their fortunes were happier. Here on Earth is filled with wisdom, what-ifs, and animals who seem, if not to know more than human beings, at least to know how to shy from danger.
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I loved this book! I'm not going to lie, the only reason why I picked up this book was because it had the Oprah's Book Club imprint on it. I was pleasantly surprised. ** The book is about a woman, March Murray, who has to go back to her hometown when a family friend has died (Judith Dale). She drags her 15 year old daughter along with her, Gwen. But March knows that this trip is much more than going through Judith's things. She will run into Hollis, her old flame, at some point. 20 years ago March's father brings Hollis home after he's been traveling, and the boy needs a place to stay. But her brother isn't so welcoming to Hollis, and jumps him a few times. March can't understand why her brother hates Hollis so much, but she will learn in time that he was just trying to protect her from the monster that is Hollis. Now that she's back, March wants answers. Why did Hollis leave her behind with a brother than was less than loving when her father passed? How come he never came back for her? What March doesn't realize is that Hollis is a very dangerous man, and everyone can see it but her. So when March and Hollis finally meet up, will she abandon her husband back home for a chance at rekindling an old flame? And what happens to Gwen when this is happening? She falls in love with someone, a little too close to home. Her cousin. Things get complicated in a very short time, and then March's husband shows up. ** Ok, I don't want to give away much more, but I think I've hinted at enough that you'll want to read this book. I loved it and want to read more by Alice Hoffman.
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Oprah's Book Club

The bestselling author of Practical Magic and Turtle Moon now tells her most seductive and mesmerizing story. After nineteen years in California, March Murray returns to the small Massachusetts town where she grew up. For all this time, March has been avoiding her own troubled history, but when she encounters Hollis...the boy she loved so desperately, the man who has never forgotten her...the past collides with the present as their reckless love is reignited. This dark romantic tale asks whether it is possible to survive a love that consumes ou. The answers that March Murray discovers are both heartbreaking and wise, as comples as they are devestating...for in heaven and in our dreams, love is simple and glorious. But it is something altogether different here on earth...
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Another great Oprah Book Club read.
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A bitter tale of what happens when we won't let our reality influence our actions. When we get lost in hope - or love - without seeing clearly. I wish I had not read it.
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March Murray returns to a small town in Mass. after 19 years and encounter Hollis, a boy sheloved so desperately and who has never forgotten her. The past collidesw/ the present as their reckless love is re kindled
An Oprah book
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This is on Oprah's list.