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The Richest Season: A Novel

The Richest Season: A Novel

Written by Maryann McFadden

Narrated by Cassandra Campbell


The Richest Season: A Novel

Written by Maryann McFadden

Narrated by Cassandra Campbell

ratings:
3.5/5 (48 ratings)
Length:
12 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jul 28, 2008
ISBN:
9781400178087
Format:
Audiobook

Description

After more than a dozen moves in twenty-five years of marriage, Joanna Harrison is lonely and tired of being a corporate wife. Her children are grown and gone, her husband is more married to his job than to her, and now they're about to pack up once more. Panicked at the thought of having to start all over again, Joanna commits the first irresponsible act of her life. She runs away to Pawleys Island, South Carolina, a place she's been to just once.



She finds a job as a live-in companion to Grace Finelli, a widow who has come to the island to fulfill a girlhood dream. Together the two women embark on the most difficult journey of their lives: Joanna struggling for independence, roots, and a future of her own, as her family tugs at her from afar; and Grace, choosing to live the remainder of her life for herself alone, knowing she may never see her children again.



Entwined is Paul Harrison's story as he loses his wife, his job, and everything that defines him as a man. He takes off on his own journey out west, searching for the answers to all that has gone wrong in his life. One thing remains constant: He wants his wife back.



Joanna, however, is moving farther away from her old life as she joins a group dedicated to rescuing endangered loggerhead turtles, led by a charismatic fisherman unlike anyone she's ever met.
Publisher:
Released:
Jul 28, 2008
ISBN:
9781400178087
Format:
Audiobook

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What people think about The Richest Season

3.7
48 ratings / 48 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    A good read. A truly believable family drama that many couples deal with when they become empty nesters. I enjoyed this book very much.
  • (5/5)
    A fantastic read. I love the way MaryAnn writes,. I hated to put the book down so lost was I in the story. I think alot of women can relate to her characters.
  • (4/5)
    I had never heard of this author nuntil I reviewed SO HAPPY TOGETHER for Hyperion publishers. It was so good, that I ordered another one of her books - THE RICHEST SEASON. I enjoy the way McFadden deals with older adult lives. In this book, Paul and Joanna have been married 25 years, the kids are gone, and there is nothing left between them. He has devoted his life to a career and she to the children. One day, Joanna packs up and leaves. Paul thinks she will come home, but then his company is downsized and he is unemployed. The book tracks their separate lives, both of which move in interesting directions. Joanna becomes the caretaker for a terminally ill woman, and Paul takes up cabinet making.The book did drag in places, and I do dislike stories that people are wealthy and never really worry about money like the rest of us in real life. I was a little disappointed in the ending also - just a little too predictable. I will be looking for more books by this author, she is one of the few who understands that life is not ending at 50 but just starting.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed this book. Both of these women won my heart. I was really sad at the end but overall it was an inspiring book.
  • (1/5)
    Ok I just couldn't get into this book. The characters did not interest me in the least and the writing just did not grab me. I put it down after the 50 page rule. I hopefully will try to pick it up again at a later date. I've done that w/ other books and reading them again I ended up liking them better the 2nd time. Sorry Maryann McFadden...
  • (1/5)
    I have tried several times to get into this book but I just haven't been able to get into the story
  • (5/5)
    I enjoyed reading The Richest Season. It's a great book for when you just want to unwind with a great book and feel good.
  • (5/5)
    Joanna is a lonely, middleaged, corporate wife who runs from New jersey to Pawleys Island, South Carolina. Here she meets Grace who is on a journey to find meaning for her life.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed this book immensely. It read easy and I liked the characters. Grace is dying and needs help so she advertises for a companion that will guarantee 6 months of stayng. Joanna is tired of her husbands climb up the corporate ladder and all the moves they've ade. Joanna takes the job, leaves Paul, Paul loses is job and wants her back. Much takes place on Pawleys Island where Grace takes up her painting again. Nice story. Nice characters. I would recommend it
  • (3/5)
    When life isn't going the way you expect or hope it to, one (sometimes appealing) option is to run away. This book covers one lady's story of taking her life into her own hands, going where she wants, not where her husband moves her to. The book is full of emotions and in the end, the main characters are better because she did "run away".
  • (2/5)
    The Richest Season is a story of self-discovery. It charts the journeys of Joanna, a woman who runs from her role as a corporate wife; Paul, her estranged husband; and Grace, the older woman Joanna cares for after leaving her husband. I thought this book was well-written but very predictable. Each character does exactly what you would expect them to over the course of their journeys in this feel-good novel. I could see the resulting transformations coming a mile away. The Richest Season is a quaint and well-worn story. If you are looking for a light beach read, go for it. Otherwise, leave this one on the shelf.
  • (3/5)
    Joanna is a "corporate widow"--a woman whose husband is married to his job and has been for the last 20 years. She decides to leave and lands on an island in the Carolinas. This book follows her life and evolution as she establishes a new life and a new identity. I liked this book, but it does have its flaws. The pacing is choppy, and some of the plot developments seem to hit a wrong note because they seem very out of character. However, the plot moves along and it kept my interest enough to keep me reading into the night to finish the book. Even though the end is fairly predictable, it's still satisfying. Joanna and her housemate, Grace, are likeable characters and you feel for their predicaments. The male characters are less well developed, but are still interesting enough. This isn't great literature, but it's a really pleasant read.
  • (3/5)
    I find myself in a difficult position I have not faced before...reviewing a book that I really did not care for a great deal.When it comes to The Richest Season there is good news and there is bad news.Which shall I give you first? Hmmm...lets get the bad over first.The book has three main characters. First, there are Paul and Joanna, a corporate couple living in NJ, rich and successful with a big, empty nest house and, it seems, very little communication between the two of them. They are living in NJ for the moment at least, because it seems his company is about to move them once again, a frequent occurrence in his rise to VP in the company. A state of affairs that turns out to be the straw that breaks the back of their relationship. When she finds out, Joanna decides she has had enough, packs her bags, leaves her husband a voice mail and takes off for Pawleys Island...because she liked it once when she drove through there on a family vacation.Good enough reason...good enough plan it seems! Paul arrives home from his business trip and ...does nothing. Well, except moan and bitch to himself that there is no one to do the laundry, or pay the bills or do his shopping. She takes off without a word after 25 years of marriage, without an idea of what she will do and he hangs around waiting for his wife to come back and make him dinner.So problem number one. I don't like these people and I really had no sympathy for them. Their actions and inactions are so extreme that they seem unbelievable behaviors for people in their position.Next we meet Grace, an elderly woman, with a secret, who hires Joanna to move into her beach house and help care for the house and for her.Grace too, in my mind, does not come across as a very likable person. When we find out her secret, we can understand her behavior to a degree...but only to a degree. How she deals with her situation, especially in regards to her family and to her ultimate action...well, I didn't like it, I didn't believe it and I think it contracted the very essence of the character as she was presented.It's almost as if we are missing some vital information about these people that would make what they do understandable.Problem number two...I totally could not believe the transformation either Paul or Joanna undergo. But especially Paul, whose change could only be described as a miracle. An unbelievable miracle. From self centered husband, uninvolved father, work obsessed corporate VP to sensitive, caring father, neighbor and husband and jack of all trades. One day, he can't seem to understand that those bills that come in the mail need to be paid and a short time later he knows how to build stone walls and beautiful bookcases and renovate a house. He must have been watching the DIY Network and Dr. Phil a great deal while waiting for Joanna to come home.OK...enough of the bad. You get it I think...didn't like the characters and didn't believe how they acted.But I did promise you some good news too, didn't I?Well, I do think the book is quite well written. The shape that the story as a whole took is very nice and very readable and very nicely structured. The descriptions of Pawleys Island, the storm that becomes the climatic moment of the book, the turtle hatching which is a little subplot, the beach house and the community are all very beautiful. The author made the reader want to visit that island, to stay in that house, to walk that beach. Ms. McFadden is a talented writer. So, bottom line, a rather pleasant, well written book but sadly populated with characters not likable or sympathetic and a story that seemed ultimately unbelievable.
  • (5/5)
    "That's the thing about writin', Harley said, leaning back in his chair. "It's never just a job. You make people think, you sway their feelin's. It's a gift. And a power." page 179 of The Richest Season (McFadden).I do believe this sums up how I felt about your book. What a wonderful journey through 2 women's lives into frightening territory...obtaining a meaningful life of your own and coming to the end of your life. Joanna is a middle aged woman with grown children and a corporate husband who has seldom had time to be home for her or the kids. She is lonely and searching for something so she abandons all she knows to find it.Grace is an older woman who knows she is terminally ill and does not know how to handle it or what to expect. The two women's journey's become intertwined and they ultimately help one another to find their way.I thought this book was wonderful. I related from page one to Joanna's pain and loneliness and enjoyed how Ms McFadden gave us a glimpse into her heart and the process of finding her own way. Being in the medical field and having had the opportunity to share in many patients dying days, I found Grace believable and authentic. This book makes you reassess what's important and how to be true to yourself. Beautifully written...can't wait to see what comes next from Ms McFadden. Bravo!
  • (4/5)
    This book pulled me in from the very start. Joanna is someone that I immediately liked and empathized with. She needed a change in her life and she just went for it. This book is well written and you really care about what happens to the characters.
  • (4/5)
    Joanna is tired of being alone. Her executive husband is always working and her children have their own lives now. She decides to leave and find herself.McFadden introduces her characters in a warm and believable way. She has a wonderful way of describing the atmosphere in her story and making you want to be on Pawley's Island with Joanna.I enjoyed this book very much and would like to read more of McFadden.
  • (4/5)
    The Richest Season is a gorgeous book with very down to earth and real characters. The book is about a period of discovery and the sometimes difficult and painful process of claiming your own life. We follow three characters at pivotal times in their lives as they deal with the death of dreams, the loss of love, and dying. The prose is sweet and effortless without being too lush and the pages turn quickly as you read. Recommended.
  • (4/5)
    This story is delightfully place-based, so if you can't get to the beach, you'll feel like you've been there for a visit. While some of the plot was a little predictable, it still was an interesting read. What made this book stand out for me was how well the author put the main characters in the location. You could just about smell the salty air. I would recommend this book for someone looking for a not total fluff beach read. It could also be a decent book club book -- there are enough big ideas in the book (marriage, families, death, choices, work, development and secrets) that a good conversation could develop.
  • (5/5)
    I LOVED this book!! Reading the outside cover of the advance copy where it described how she had to self-publish first, I wondered who did not appreciate how good this book was---I would have grabbed it as soon as I opened to the first page. Mcfadden gives wonderful descriptions of her characters and their conflicting and inter-related problems and it is all so very believable. I kept wondering how she was going to reach some sort of conclusion with all of these people but it all fits together like a wonderful jig saw puzzle---and I was so pleased when it all fit together to make such a worthwhile reading experience. The reading was happiness!! I just hope she is enthused enough to write another book--quickly!
  • (3/5)
    When Joanna - her two children grown and gone from the house - is faced with the possibility of another relocation due to her husband Paul's job, she decides that she's had enough of always being an after-thought to him. She packs her bags and moves to the beach. In exchange for a room in her oceanfront home, Joanna agrees to serve as caretaker for Grace, an elderly woman who is facing her final days. "The Richest Season" shows us characters who are learning how important it is to know who we really are, independent of the others in our lives; while at the same time seeing that no one can survive as an island. While many of the plot turns in "The Richest Season" are fairly predictible, you'll come to care for its characters so much that you won't really mind.
  • (5/5)
    As a corporate wife myself, the minute I open this book, I had the feeling I was reading my life. A dangerous book to read as The Richest Season will make you ask questions about your present life... I just love this one. So full of surprises and new developments, a definitaly page turning one. What a life this book has!
  • (3/5)
    When Joanna hears a voice in her head telling her to leave, she does. She picks up and goes to Pawley's Island where she starts a new life. There is just enough in this story to make it better than a beach fluff book. I love that the characters all learn something about themselves as the story progresses. There are also no heroes in this story. Every character has very real flaws and a very real lives. This was a very enjoyable read.
  • (5/5)
    How often do we feel trapped within our lives? Some, more than others. How often, instead of changing things, do we just continue on, with the attitude that this is our life and it is what it is? The Richest Season is the story of Joanna, a woman married for 25 years to Paul, a corporate head honcho, with his sights set on climbing that corporate ladder, all the way to the top. With this climb has come years of moving and loneliness for Joanna, especially now that their 2 children are grown and moving on with lives of their own. It is one fateful day, while Paul is away on yet another business trip, that Joanna decides to take matters into her own hands and change her life. Not having a clue to what her future may hold, she travels to Pawleys Island, South Carolina, a place she had fallen in love with many years ago. Once there, she soon finds a job caring for an elderly lady, Grace, in exchange for room and board. Within a short time, Joanna finds herself getting to know the "locals", carving a niche for a new life and discovering things about herself, that bring her deep happiness. She and Grace develop a close bond and rely on one another for a deep emotional connectedness, that they are missing within their own lives. In the background, however, still lingers Paul and the life that Joanna once lived. With times of uncertainty and questions plaguing her, Joanna hangs onto her new found inner strength to guide her through to what the future holds in store.The Richest Season reminds me of Tending Roses, by Lisa Wingate. The resemblance, to me, is the lesson that we all must make the most of our lives and not just let it pass us by. Maryann McFadden's novel is one that moved me both physically and emotionally and is not one that I will soon forget. Happiness, sadness, joy and every emotion in-between, are engulfed within this beautiful masterpiece of literature. The Richest Season is a definite not to be missed story and one that everyone should have the pleasure to read. The beautiful Pawleys Island is vividly brought to life, as is the everyday existence of Southern living. Joanna, Grace and all of the characters will find a place within your heart and become part of your life within the first few pages. Do yourself a favor, grab a copy of The Richest Season, a nice cold drink and a wonderfully comfy spot to settle in - once you start reading, you won't want to stop!
  • (3/5)
    I had mixed feelings about this book. I didn't feel that the characters were really believable ~ the relationship between Grace and Joanna seemed disjointed. The drastic change of Joanna's husband, Paul, after she left him didn't seem realistic. I didn't like Grace's character because I couldn't get a grasp on her true personality....it was all over the place. I felt the reunion at the family house (Joanna's) was unrealistic.On the positive side, the book seemed to have good flow, despite the flaws. The descriptions of the beach, especially the hurricane near the end, was very good. The relationship between Joanna and Hank was good, although the "other woman", Rhetta, didn't seem particularly necessary to the story and her presence felt out of place.Although the book read smoothly, and was well written, the story itself felt like an Anne Rivers Siddons or Anita Shreve "wannabe" and didn't have the polish or refinement of either.Perhaps with time and experience, this author will figure out how to smooth the rough edges and produce something truly unforgettable.
  • (4/5)
    I finished this novel and really enjoyed the story. It wasn't very deep but at the same time it was. I was happy to see the husband in the story grow and find happiness rather than work. I liked how the children were supportive of their mother but still willing to keep their father their life. All around a good story of a family and the growth that needs to happen and got to happen in this book.
  • (3/5)
    This book is a journey of self discovery and friendships. It was a good read, i would reccomend it to others. McFadden is a very descriptive writer, and gives you a very good written "visual" of the character's and the setting. The story at times was predictable, but overall i enjoyed the book... definitely a good summer read!
  • (4/5)
    I found this book to be a good read. It was fun and thought-provoking at the same time. I chose it because I enjoy reading books about that area of the country and the descriptions and feel of the place did not disappoint me. As others have said, it was reminiscent of Anne Rivers Siddons and Dorothea Benton Frank. I would recommend it to others.
  • (3/5)
    This novel reminds me of The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd -- a woman has an identity crisis and leaves home to "find herself." I think Kidd does a much better job with this premise.My main issue is with character development. Paul, the male main character, shifts attitudes much too suddenly for my taste. It is a little jarring. Joanna, the main female character, seems a little too speechless and underdeveloped. Some of the minor characters are also underdeveloped - for example her affair partner's personality seems to be delivered in narrative style all in one episode.The positives: The novel is an easy read, okay for the beach. I enjoyed the scenic descriptions of Pawley's Island - it makes me want to visit. The setting is a character in itself.
  • (3/5)
    After 25 years of marriage and a dozen household moves up the ladder of success, consummate, corporate wife Joanna looses it. The straw that broke the camels back had finally hit the fan!!! While out on a jog she finally decides enough is enough. She will not pack up and leave her home again (but isn't that exactly what she did, albeit on her own)and runs away from home, leaving a voice mail message for her unsuspecting husband Paul. Johanna ends up on a tiny Island in South Carolina and finds a job of sorts taking care of Grace, an elderly woman with just months to live.I found this to be a somewhat sluggish read, too much detail in spots and not enough in some. I also had a hard time empathizing with Johanna - she seemed to have taken the cowards way out. She (as I pointed out above) is contradictory, in that she will not move for her husbands job, but she will move because it suits her whim. Although it sure did make her husband finally sit up and take notice of her. Speaking of Paul I found his transformation to be somewhat miraculous (for lack of a better word) and mind boggling. I've never met a man that could do such a thing in such a short amount of time.Oh well this IS fiction!I liked, but not loved The Richest Season, and would most likely NOT buy anything more by this author at this point in time. I found this book a little too simplistic and unbelievable in it's working though of 25 years of animosity.
  • (5/5)
    There comes a time in all our lives that we face changes that push us to make different choices than we might normally make. This book is about Joanna, who reaches that point, and how the choices she makes affect her world and the people in it, and how those choices ultimately change her life for the better. I could identify with a number of the events and settings related in the story, and therefore enjoyed the leisurely pace as it allowed me to let my own memories flow along with the story. That being said, I still read this book in less than a week. It's not a book that you can't put down, but rather one that draws you back. A kind of window into the life of the characters. As such, I found the characters as realistic and comfortable as anyone I might meet and become friends with. I was thrilled and encouraged with each step that Joanna took from being a supportive wife and loving mother, to finding herself and becoming a strong, self-assured woman. I would definitely recommend this book to friends.