Book Jacket

 

rank 38
word count 29729
date submitted 25.08.2010
date updated 16.04.2014
genres: Fiction, Chick Lit, Popular Culture...
classification: universal
incomplete

A FINE PICKLE

Liz Hoban

You have nothing to lose so you begin at the end with these four words. "I just killed someone."

 

On the morning of September 11, 2001, Isabel Henry discovers she’s pregnant, the result of a rape. The unexpected expecting sends her into a panic and she misses her train, making her late for work on the 82nd floor in the World Trade Center's North Tower.

Thoughts of securing an abortion preoccupy her commute. When she arrives at Penn Station she's immediately distracted. The towers were attacked and have collapsed. Isabel realizes this baby growing within her saved her life. Will she reciprocate?

Years pass and just when Isabel is finally at peace with her past, without warning everything changes. On a trip to the city she encounters her rapist, a man she had assumed died all those years ago when the towers collapsed. This man will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Isabel will sooner die than give it to him.

When he is found murdered, the safe little world Isabel has painstakingly built begins to crumble. She’s in for the fight of her life...again.

The manuscript is complete at 90,000 words.

 
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tags

abortion, baby, boy, catastrophe, death, father, gun, happy hour, lawyer, love, manhattan, murder, nyc, pickle, rape, sisters, the big apple, twin tow...

on 121 watchlists

287 comments

 

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juliaus wrote 58 days ago

I have nothing to say. This is brilliant - I think it may just be the very best I've read on Authonomy.

Juli

evermoore wrote 511 days ago

Liz, Liz, Liz...

You don't belong here, waiting to be a published author. You should be one already. Your voice is clear in both your bodies of work, and your mind is an amazing thing to weave such tales in such a seemingly effortless way. It's a gift. One I'm glad to have been given a chance to benefit from.

God bless...
Linda

Olive Field wrote 533 days ago

Like every great piece of art, you just let this wash over you. It flows beautifully and feels very natural. It has great humour and wit, even at sad moments. So many clever lines I wish I'd written. Really brought back the emotion at the end of chapter 10 when they are watching the T.V. Most readers will have shared that experience. I wish you the very best. High stars, backed on next rotation. Olive.

The raven wrote 560 days ago

Hi Liz, I love the way the words flow off your pen to paper. Its apparent that before long, you will someone of importance in the writing world. Keep up the prose, I will return to read some more soon, I support your effort. If you find a spare moment to read a few chapters of The Buena Fortuna it would be greatly appreciated.

Best of luck

The Raven

Splinker wrote 10 days ago

One more comment: The last two lines of the prologue would make an excellent short pitch, followed by the rest of your pitch.

Splinker wrote 10 days ago

I think the prologue is excellent. I don't see a lot of second person pov and I'm not sure it could work for the entire book, and I'm glad the rest of your novel doesn't, but the immediacy/connection with the reader that the opening paragraphs establish is brilliant. My only quibble is that the title seems a little flippant give the drama and material of your story, but of course I've only just started reading. I can say, however, that after reading only a few pages, this is a lot better than many books that have made it to he ED. I hope to see an HC review on this one soon and look forward to all the forum controversy. :)

Izmir49 wrote 11 days ago

Hi Liz i have been reading your book. It is beautifully written each word is perfect, you have some beautiful sentences especially in chapter one and two i really loved the opening, the realtionship with the dad, really well written and captured and i think you introduced the rape really well. I had no idea that was coming. Will be back for more! Lucy (reconstruction)

kabiba wrote 12 days ago

‘A Fine Pickle’ review - chapters 1-4

This story gives a personal context to the immense tragedy of 9/11. Isabel is vulnerable, and the prime carer for her dying father. She has a close relationship with her high-powered lawyer sister Piper, and on the morning of 9/11, she has made them one hour late for work. Isabel has discovered she is pregnant, the father is a man she barely knew, who raped her.

Your dialogue is snappy, natural and often amusing. Descriptions are excellent, and the narrative moved along at a good pace.

It was effective to use smell, when describing her father, and I liked this line- ‘its packaging crumpled together like origami.’

I enjoyed this vivid description of New York - ‘the skittering birds, and the pervasive smell of subway steam meshed with the allure of salty street pretzels.’

It was very well done the way you painted the rapist as wholesome and appealing, then bluntly stated what he did. A good contrast which gave impact.

Piper knows something is up, but cannot get it out of her sister. Isabel is lost in her own torment - ‘When the remnants of a discarded baby stroller passed my view a lump rose like yeast in my throat and I figured I was officially onboard the estrogen express.’

The chapter from Piper’s POV is well done - she is clearly a very different character - sassy and blunt, with a sharp, incisive sense of humour. She and her father have raised Isabel, after the death of their mother many years before. I liked the part where she embraced her snotty sister, not caring if she soiled her Chanel jacket.

Very funny, she bears a likeness to ‘Uncle Earl, the family idiot, the drunk with the bulbous, veiny nose who always los(s)es his pants and used to sniff our heads all creepy-like whenever he hugged us.’ Note edit.

I like ‘the Anne Frank to my Hitler.’

Edits: (k)no(w)-it-all

I would have liked an earlier physical description of Piper (in chapter 1), and I’m still not sure what colour hair she has.

‘she could bare’ should be ‘bear’

The scene of the two women running away from the unfolding disaster, and ducking into restaurants to see the footage, is well done. Their confusion, and horror is depicted with skill. Isabel is worried for her sister, understanding her job was her world, and it is gone, along with all the people she worked with.

The shocking moment when they watch the tower collapse is well described. ‘We sank into out seats or onto the floor, slack-jawed and at a loss for words aside from a few screams.’

This is powerful stuff - high stars and watchlisted.

Kate
Stone Circle

Pippa Whitethorn wrote 13 days ago

Hi Liz

I read all of this and really liked it - it is very well written and it struck a chord with me as I was pregnant when the twin towers collapsed. I think the basic premise is great - what a backdrop for a story. Obviously there can't be an element of surprise about what happens as everyone knows, however I found the impending disaster draws you in. You know what will happen but your characters don't. The whole thing was well done, from the first real hint that something was wrong with the phone network being down to the confusion on the streets afterwards.
I did think that perhaps the 'it's terrorists' thing was too clear early on - my memories are of confusion for a long time - but perhaps your time line is right - It just seemed to me that they were too well informed from picking up bits of news reports as they passed places with tvs. One of the things that sticks in my mind from the news coverage is the dust that covered everything. I can't imagine what it must have been like to be covered in it, to breathe it in, to be unable to see because of it and to think about what that dust contained. I would have washed and washed my body and hair and clothes and shoes. I remember being very concerned about the world I was bringing my child into after this happened - I know it's not the same for Isabel as she has different feelings for the child she is carrying.
It kind of feels almost like the story is nearing its conclusion at the end of what you've posted - I know it's not from the prologue - you don't give much away there - who is speaking? the child, the mother, her partner, her sister? Did the rapist die in the twin towers? The pitch says not, which I think is a bit of a shame as you've made us think he has (although his id was fake, so there's no evidence he actually worked in the building). The reader will miss the shock Isabel feels when she finds out he is alive, only experiencing it second hand. Why not let us have that shock for real?
We leave the protagonists recovering after the trauma of losing friends and colleagues, deciding to keep a baby and revealing secrets. I liked the sister's revelation - not what I was expecting. I would perhaps have liked to have had a few more chapters posted - something to ramp up the tension again, to let me know that there is trouble ahead. It doesn't have to be much - just a hint.
I really enjoyed this and have put it on my shelf

Pippa

blueheart wrote 14 days ago

This has been on my WL for a while. A few days I read to about c7 and made copious notes which promptly lost (hungry puppy??)
So will comment briefly from memory and recomment if/when find original thoughts.
In essence - a riveting story. I much enjoyed how the relationship changes between the sisters and the contrast between them, played out under the backdrop of this world-shattering event. What could have been cliched emotions and reactions in lesser hands feel instead real and powerful. I want to find what happens to Izzy and her sister. 5 stars.
I agree with the comment about the long build up time - thought perhaps there is a little too much of Izzy's thoughts and analysis at times eg when they are on the train. Also not convinced you have the best possible start - but not sure about this. Well, best of luck & hope to keep on reading.

Jennie - Ghosts of Chechnya

Splinker wrote 14 days ago

I haven't read the book yet, but there are so few stories on Authonomy with the abortion tag that I couldn't pass this one up. I'm in the middle of two books right now, but look forward to reading this one.

L_MC wrote 17 days ago

Liz, I read the 11 chapters uploaded, prepared a comment and then couldn't post it as the book was locked and couldn't get back to copy it, so apologies for the abridged version.

I found the opening very easy to settle into. I like the way you capture the family banter, the natural feel to that relationship and setting but the edge that something is ill at ease with the pregnancy confirmation.

From the tumult in the mind of one sister during the commute, to the work pressures of the other and the chaos of the journey into a busy city to the horrors of 9/11. The visit to Ground Zero portrays a gritty rawness and the scale and depth of the physical and mental harm inflicted by the attack and collapse of the towers.

I'm intrigued to know how the lives of the sisters transition from the attack, from the facts about themselves that they have revealed and whether the trauma of the rape is dealt with. I'd also like to see how you move into the next stage of the story (as revealed in the pitch) and would certainly keep reading were more posted.

Happy to have this on my shelf.

D.N. Ette wrote 26 days ago

A very interesting glimpse into the lives of a few survivors of that horrific day, who only are able to tell their personal stories due to the intervention of fate and destiny which ultimately saved them from becoming statistics.

Very well done.

OperaPhantom wrote 33 days ago

Hi Liz
I've just read first 2 chapters of your novel. This works very well for me. It has a natural balance, you obviously listen to people. The first chapter ends with a great hook, making the reader want to read on. My only slight concern with chapter two, and this is just me, your description of the rape which results in the unwanted pregnancy is so brief it made me feel it did not matter that much, which clearly it would and does. I am probably missing the point there entirely. I have rated this highly and will continue to back your book. Will read on when more time allows.

Best wishes Dennis

Michelle Richardson wrote 40 days ago

The pitch was fresh, and the voice distinctive. I especially liked hearing the viewpoints from both sisters. From the strength of the writing, and from interesting and gripping subject matter I can see this doing extremely well.
High stars and on my WL for shelving at my next shuffle.

Michelle- 43 Primrose Avenue

AliyaM.books wrote 47 days ago

Wow! Your words are like butter just spreading on the pages. Such vivid description and intriguing characters! I gave you as many stars as I could and added you to my Watchlist because this right here, is talent.

sherit wrote 48 days ago

Hi Liz....I recently put you on my WL because I liked your pitch and so happy I got to read 4 chapters tonight. This is the kind of book that grabs you by the throat. I'm very interested in the sister's relationship (my own book is structured around two sisters as well). But you've done such a good job of describing the location, the scene, and the awful, terrible thing that happened that September morning. This is an interesting angle..to take a situation so firmly ingrained in our common collective and present it to us through the sister's eyes. And the irony of their lives being spared because Izzy was taking a pregnancy test...brilliant. There was only one thing nagging me and I'm sure if I was a native New Yorker or even from Jersey it wouldn't but ...given they missed their 7:30 train....that time of the morning (before the first plane hit) would the train really be that empty? Just asking...I live in the suburbs in Georgia for pete's sake :-). Anyway, I look forward to reading more and to seeing you rise in the rankings.
All the best,
Sheri Emery / Crazy Quilt

Lara wrote 50 days ago

Such an interesting insight into characters caught up in that terrible event. Not a lot uploaded, but v gd so far. Backed.
Rosalind Minett
A RELATIVE INVASION

Jo Heslop wrote 55 days ago

Wow, what a wonderful writer you are! I feel guilty reading your book on here for free, it should be for sale in bookshops :)

I was actually in the middle of reading another book, but stopped to read your pitch and felt compelled to holt my review and pick up your book. I haven't put it down, a clear sign it's a good read. I've read all 11 chapters added and eager to read more. If you ever add further chapters please let me know.

All the best, I'm sure it will go far. I'm backing it all the way!

Joanne Heslop
Something Beautiful

Zenra wrote 56 days ago

Hi Liz,

Absolutely stunning and amazing writing!!!! You are blessed and gifted with a talent to share such beautiful stories and writing. Best to you on everything!!!!

Simply amazing,

Kerry

Fontaine wrote 56 days ago

I've now read all that you have uploaded. I am astonished at the quality of your writing and the apparent ease with which you handle difficult and compex themes. Your characters seem very natural and real and the relationship between the two sisters is well drawn. I would buy this if I saw it in a book shop. My only reservation as with another reveiwer, is with chapter 10. This is a very pivotal one and, for me, it didn't come up to the standard of the others. Chapter 11 is superb, absolutely superb. I really can't write any more. It is such a rare occurrence to find such suerb writing. This must be published.

Seven Everson wrote 57 days ago

Hi Liz,

This is very compelling writing. A couple of things tugged at my attention however. One was that in the premise you said that Isabel had missed the train because she'd taken a long time in the bathroom. Her sister shouts as much through the door, but I felt that what she should have said might include a length of time "you've been in the fifteen minutes" etc, and included the fact that they were ALREADY late (AGAIN), not just that she had been late earlier that week.

And, (I'm cringing here but I HAVE to ask), is it really possible to get only one other person in a carriage on an inbound train between nine and ten in the morning? Like I said, I've not been to NY, but I have been to a lot of other major cities in the world, and I can honestly say that I've never been in a carriage with only one other person (there should be several tourists, at least!). It felt a little unnatural. Does it matter if there are more people to observe them? Even if you had more people they could be so absorbed in their newspapers/phones/music, that the only one who reacts is the old man.
But . . . that that's only my viewpoint, and I know nothing about NY so please don't shoot me :)

And, one last thing (sorry). You said that Isabel was drugged during the rape. Was this a drug that rendered her helpless but fully aware of what was happening, or did she wake up the next day and realise? I think you might need to make that part clear. She is very traumatised by it, as though she remembers it. I think there would be a slight difference in horror between her understanding that it HAD happened but not recalling it, and experiencing it.

Otherwise, I'm sure you'll do very well with this novel. It's grounded in a reality that most of your readers will understand well and has a very strong sense of place.

xxxSeven Everson
Ashes of Eden

juliaus wrote 58 days ago

I have nothing to say. This is brilliant - I think it may just be the very best I've read on Authonomy.

Juli

Lindsay Cross wrote 59 days ago

I've read up to chapter 5. The book is very well written, sentence structure, flow, etc. The characters are well established and the plot is driven by this. We see flashbacks into the main character's dilemma but it has taken place in such and an even more traumatic time, 9/11. I love how you portray what has happened through the life of just ordinary citizens. We always complain about being late for work and one sister is responsible for the other sister's tardiness but, this time, for the better.
What I am concerned about is how long you took to get to the main crux of the story. I was drawn through the first five chapters, but slowly, hoping I would get something soon. In chapter 5 it finally broke out in referring to the death of her rapist and then the bombshell of her sister alluding to the fact she's gay.
I would have liked to see something by chapter 3 that peaked my interest more. That's just me.
Overall, your writing style is excellent, very professional.

Good job
Lindsay Cross
OL' SALT

Lauren Grey wrote 65 days ago

Liz, as promised, in my I’m Looking ... Again, thread I came back for another read and saw that it’s been 268 days since I last looked in on your amazing book.

I felt this version has been trimmed and polished to the point of near perfection and noticed that a couple of the issues I initially had, have been addressed. There appears to be a chapter deleted, or it has been edited but this version reads more smoothly and the flow for me was uninterrupted until one scene in chapter 10. The area, I stumbled over in this reading was when; Izzy discloses to Mac and Piper, that the baby’s father was a rapist. I felt Piper's reaction not to be realistic or believable as she didn’t much flinch at the fact her sister was a rape victim, there were only the few lines about who what when, but no real expression of disgust or horror that her sister had been the victim of a rape. So perhaps this scene requires a bit more expression of shock, concern or anger at the rapist by both Piper and Mac, and then you can continue with Piper focusing on how Izzy should have the baby, “No such thing as a bad baby...” (Remember, this is just my opinion)

I loved chapter 11; your narrative is exceedingly well written creating vivid imagery that transports the reader directly into the moment and aftermath at Ground Zero. The way you have incorporated the emotions of survivor’s guilt in the touching, powerful exchange between Piper and Mac when they held each other, with such a strong narrative throughout the chapter, brought tears to my eyes. The last paragraph is spectacular, and after the reader has just finished the descriptive horrors preceding, it leaves them with a sense of hope for the remainder of the book.

You really have something very special here, high stars and the best of luck with submissions.

Soaring Leaves No1 wrote 66 days ago

A friend recommended this story to me and from a quick morning read, she was right. Masterful writing and deeply human characters. Backed and good luck!

Andreea Daia wrote 66 days ago

I read the first four chapters and I would have kept reading, but it’s past 1 A.M. here. This is an incredibly emotional story about family ties. The setting of 9/11 rather than rendering that feel of “I know what’s going to happen,” drenched the story in a mix of relief that the two main characters would survive and sadness for the victims. The author maintains the tension of the plot with skill, knowing when to loosen it with a joke (the corpse waiting wrapped in trash bags) and when you soften it with a flashback.

Having a sister whom I love very much, I can testify that the interaction between Piper and Izzy feels indeed authentic. In fact I believe the way their relationship builds up represents the strongest point of the story. Tons of readers would relate to the sisters and to their concern for each other. I liked the alternating POVs, which shines different lights on each event. My only comment here is a “character” break that stopped my reading: “I thought about the fierce devotion I had for her”—this felt a little too boasting to come from a loving sister; you may want to consider reworking that statement. Also for the same reason I would present the flashback of the bicycle gift from Izzy’s POV.

The writing is beautiful and I’m going to give only an example to prove my point: “The whole ordeal was tucked in the same mental scrapbook with all my other disappointments only to be resurrected again in the form of a baby.”

Extremely well done and this story should be in print. Full stars and best of luck!
Andreea

(Duplicity)

BarbShaya wrote 69 days ago

Hi Liz - I just read all 11 chapters you have posted here. I usually read one or two chapters before commenting on someone's work, but yours made me want to keep reading. This is really well written - great dialogue - love the two narrator's as Izzy and Piper's characters come alive in a profound way.

Couple random typos which I noted but then quickly moved past because I wanted to keep reading (sorry). And one question: If Piper and Clare are now a couple, why is Piper spending most of her time at her Dad's home? Seems she would want to be in the apartment with Clare. Perhaps that becomes clearer later in the book.

I am an amateur at this writing/publishing business, but this book seems like one that should be on the shelf of a bookstore already.

Loved it - thanks so much,

Barb Shaya

Jim Provost wrote 70 days ago

Hi Liz,
i wasn't sure if I wanted to read a book about the horrors of 911 but I'm so glad I did.
Your writing seems effortless, I was interested right from the first chapter.
You kept me hooked with the detail and I look forward to reading the rest of the book.
High stars from me and I hope your book gets on the ED.
Regards
Amanda
Jim the Jet Provost

Lara wrote 70 days ago

Lots of drama here. I wonder how the second half of the novel will work out as there have been some crises already. Piper is a strong character, a good contrast to the other young women. Waiting to hear how Clare works out. Good writing,
Rosalind Minett
A RELATIVE INVASION

Shelagh Watkins wrote 71 days ago

"Your story begins at the end" is an interesting twist on Lewis Caroll's "'Begin at the beginning ... and go on till you come to the end: then stop.'

Of course, we have to read on to find out what happened before the end, and the reason for the killing that brought about someone's end. There's the hook!

Well-paced and well written, I've added it to my WL, and I'll back it as soon as I can.

Good luck! I hope you make it onto the ED soon!

Shelagh

Tina Webb wrote 77 days ago

Liz,

I cannot believe I haven't commented yet. Yours is one of the first books that I backed. It's been over a week since I read the first few chapters and I have found myself thinking..."I've got to get back to that book!' As a reader, I need to find out what happens to your protagonist especially considering your pitch. I love the title...you bring some 'lightness' to what is nowadays a controversial topic: unplanned pregnancy and the outcome esp when it comes to rape. So not only the setting, but the protagonist's internal conflict is very contemporary for young adults--who I think would readily read this. Good job. 5 stars from me!

Tina Webb wrote 77 days ago

Liz,

I cannot believe I haven't commented yet. Yours is one of the first books that I backed. It's been over a week since I read the first few chapters and I have found myself thinking..."I've got to get back to that book!' As a reader, I need to find out what happens to your protagonist especially considering your pitch. I love the title...you bring some 'lightness' to what is nowadays a controversial topic: unplanned pregnancy and the outcome esp when it comes to rape. So not only the setting, but the protagonist's internal conflict is very contemporary for young adults--who I think would readily read this. Good job. 5 stars from me!

georgelle wrote 83 days ago

GSWTCG review of ‘A Fine Pickle’ by Liz Hoban

Liz Hoban loves the craft of writing and her enthusiasm shows as does her professionalism. This story centered around two sisters who were supposed to be at their desks in the upper floors of the World Trade Center in New York City, the morning of September 11, 2001, but missed their train. They arrived in the city just as the attack occurred.

This is an emotional story and catches every nuance of survivor’s guilt. Piper the older sister, with the help of an interesting fireman, is able to go into ground zero to witness the site where all her co-workers and friends for a decade were now interred or disintegrated. The author’s vivid, emotional description of that scene is alone worth owning this book.

The book is posted incomplete, however it ends at a place where one might expect a page that reads ‘End of Part One’. I read everything posted with enthusiasm. The story moves very well and there is another whole continuing story to be revealed.

I have awarded six stars to ‘A fine Pickle’, and recommend the book. Thank you, Liz.

George McLendon
Papa’s Gift




Izzy_Indigo wrote 100 days ago

A Fine Pickle – Prologue and Chapter 1 Review.

Hi Liz,

I think your dedication to editing really shows itself in the polish of your writing. I found reading this a delight, for all the little flawless flourishes sparkling amongst your prose. I found your characters compelling and sympathetic and the 2nd person prologue not only an intriquing way to start but having one hell of a hook.

SENTENCES / CLAUSES I LIKED (A FEW FAV’S)

- empowerment is all yours
- sure my heart would box its way through my ribcage
- Sarcasm seeped like smoke through the door cracks.
- while the rest of his features receded inward
- She sighed like a disappointed parent
- Ha - Apparently, she’d rested her case
- he smelled of mint, and apples fresh from an orchard
- I was all at once stunned, impressed, flattered and taken by the man
- mental meanderings
- clinging to the chain-link fencing only to be blown back out like a bird taking flight, gone like yesterday’s news.
- rose like yeast in my throat
- estrogen express
- unexpected expecting

CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK

Please feel free to disregard the below, but these are some things I noted down while reading through.

1) I had believed the disease – COMMENT this sentence was hard to process, given a lot going on in it and no punctuation. Suggest it might be better if recast simpler. Something along the lines of: was responsible for the fatigue and sickness which had consumed my past few weeks

2)Get the next train for Christ’s sake – COMMENT – I found it a little jarring the father would say Christs sake in one sentence and in the next say sweetie. Like he had gone from anger to calmness in one second

3) I forced a *waxen smile*, leaned – COMMENT would you protagonist think of her smile in these terms? Maybe recast along lines of: I forced a wan smile or I forced a smile which felt waxen.

4) My father seemed to be asking no one in particular – COMMENT this felt a little awkward, maybe recast along lines of: my father mused to himself

5) What I really wanted was for the whole mess to just go away – COMMENT the protagonists emotions seemed a little off to me here, a little too matter of fact for so traumatising event as a rape pregnancy. It read more like what you would expect somebody to feel for an unplanned / out of wedlock pregnancy. Just food for thought for you.

6) I told you to grab my lunch bag – COMMENT – this sentence felt awkward, suggest you recast

7) and that weighed *quite* heavily, - COMMENT – suggest cut the quite

Well that’s all I picked up, hope this helps Liz. High stars from me and happy to read more if you find the above useful.

Izzy.

JustinSirois wrote 105 days ago

Added to watchlist and rated. :)

Steve Clark wrote 120 days ago

Liz, what a story! I'm going to tell you the only think i found wrong before I say anything else. Here goes: You still use two spaces after periods. Yup, that's it. You've written a masterpiece. I can't wait to get to more of it. I started off to read two chapters and blew through the first six. If it wasn't time to go home I'd still be here reading.

I love the dual POV's between Liz and Piper. I use much of the same technique. Your writing is biting and incisive and absolutely appropriate. Your characters are interesting and engaging and the historical context is imaginitive and accurate. You are a true wordsmith. Please take it as a compliment when I say that I will aspire to reach your level of literary talent.

I gladly back this book.

Willow Fay wrote 123 days ago

Liz, I've had your book on my shelf for a while. Finally I've got around to reading.
And may I just say, wow!
To start, both of your pitches are fantastic, I would pick this up straight away if it was in a book store. You long pitch give just the right amount of detail to draw someone in. Fantastic.
You write beautifully. The story flows well, and the pace is perfect. Your character all benefit from distinct personalities, and they come across effortless. Your imagination is fantastic, what a plot. Everything works wonderful - your dialogue is believable and natural. Fantastic stuff!

I've given you 6 stars,
and you're in line to be backed once my shelf clears up a bit :)

Good luck with this.
Willow x

Kevin Bergeron wrote 123 days ago

I'm up to Chapter four, and liking this a lot so far. Piper and Izzy both have distinctive voices and personalities that complement one another. Isabel is is extremely witty and personable, with a strong and forceful personality. This kind of personality can work for a person only if she is intelligent and self-aware, and so I like Isabel because she is very witty and funny, and can laugh at herself. Piper's wit works differently, like when she says "I have difficulty paying my library fines even when I worked there." That's pretty funny.

I don't know if you even need the prologue, though. It might be that you want to hook the reader into the story right away, give an idea of what is to come later in the story. I think the story, voices and characters are enough to pull and hold the reader without the prologue. It might even be giving away too much too soon, as it looks like Piper (or possibly Izzy but I think it's Piper) killed somebody who is probably the man who raped Piper.

The 2nd person pov used in the prologue is always tough to pull off, because I always wonder who is talking to whom. "You" can be the narrator talking about herself in a state of emotional detachment (and I can see why she'd be detached under the circumstances) or it can also be the reader, and if it's the reader, then when I'm reading it I feel as though I'm being given commands, and my instinct is to resist.

As soon as I started reading past the prologue I got sucked right in. Really good writing, held my interest and attention all the way. Great stuff.

I hope to get back to read more of this.

Jaclyn Aurore wrote 125 days ago

woohoo i think i'm the 100th watchlist - do i get a prize?

Jaclyn Aurore wrote 125 days ago

2nd person - interesting way to start. twisted and poetic. not sure how i feel but as far as prologues go, this is a great one.

Strong writing all around - the detail in which you describe the father lying on the bed… jeez, i'm wrapped right in… your characterization is excellent, Piper the drama queen, the father not healing so well after the stroke… and Izzy… oh Izzy…

no critiques to offer… nadda.

"You took my silence as proof i heard you?" - ha..

love the hook at the end of the first chapter (2nd author chap), it wasn't what i was expecting. i also stopped on 'discman' because i remember having one of those, but in the 90s… surely iPods were out by 2001? gosh, i can't remember…

By second chapter (3rd author chap) we learn more about Piper, from her perspective she seems more intelligent and observant, and less spastic and dramatic… though still very Piper-like. i like that she has everything going for her, except she's still jealous of her adorable younger sister - and like the Anne Frank reference.

Again not the cliffhanger i'm expecting… because we know what happens and what day it is - it's like i'm expecting to see this immediately. so even though there's just a nice completion sentence at the end of this chapter, there's still anticipation for me and what's to come.

this is really well written, i can't emphasize that enough. i'm calling it a night, but this is easily one of those books that can be read through in one sitting (provided i wasn't already a walking zombie)

best of luck - and six stars. i don't hand those out a lot, but this is downright flawless.

Jac x
My Life Without Me

RubenFonsbo wrote 133 days ago

Hello Liz,
This is an extremely well-written story which kept me turning the pages (as it were) and enjoying the way the narrative effortlessly carried me along. Your writing style is engaging and detailed, and the only thing which bothered me slightly, was that there seems to be double-spacing after some of the full stops. But then again, that's not really important in a book of this strength and readability. Thanks for the read!
Best reg'ds
Ruben

Wilson Smillie wrote 140 days ago

Hi Liz,

I thought your synopsis intriguing and was delighted to read your prologue. Its the first time I've read a second person narrative and I found it powerful and pacey. I'm a thriller writer so I like stories that march on. I think your story is good and it'll get a place on my bookshelf.

Your writing is rich, detailed and engaging but halfway through Ch2 I wondered what had happened to the pacey promise of the prologue and synopsis. I got a real sense of relationship between Izzy and Piper throughout the four chapters I read. The picture of Daddy and Nurse Rosie and insulin were all beautifully described. The train journey to Penn took two chapters and I was as frustrated as Piper at the pace of the journey. Men like me have a different perspective on fictional character insights which makes reading women's fiction challenging.

The perspective of both girls was explored in separate chapters, at length and personally, I think it was too much. You had me empathising for Izzy and for Piper without me reading Piper's inner thoughts on the same conversation. The difficulty, I think, is that as a reader, I knew (and I guess everyone reading will know) that the girls were heading towards the execution of the greatest terrorist act this century and I wanted to get there and see, feel and hear their anguish as spared victims of an atrocity.

Unlike JFK and Man on the Moon, I experienced 9/11 in the UK and still know today where I was, who I was with and what I was doing. I had a friend who was in the city and was rumoured to be in the Trade Centre on the day (thankfully, he wasn't). Half-way through Ch 4 we got there and I paid attention again. Initially, this scene started well but faded, for me, I'm afraid. You laid out the richness of the family relationship in dazzling colours in Ch 2 & 3 and I hoped for similar in the street scenes around the WTC. I wanted to be blinded by the dust, taste grit in my mouth, hear the angry screams of the helpless, be assaulted by police and fire crews and be confused at the end of the world. The taxi and K4 hinted it was there, but once the girls were on the street I think you, and them, got lost a bit and wandered away from it. An opportunity missed, I think.

I felt for both girls, understood Izzy's relief at having the practical Piper to guide her through the war-zone of NYC, felt her misery at the thought of bringing a baby into this hell-hole while recognising her guilt at being saved from death by her unborn. However, I didn't get the sense of being inside the spin-dryer of NYC during 9/11. Perhaps this will come in later chapters.

Still a great story though.

Wilson Smillie
Final Demands - Dead Ends


Susan.Jane wrote 154 days ago

What an interesting start, you wrote giving a good atmosphere to the reader. I could feel the anguish of the unexpected pregnancy and the panic involved. I will have to get back to it to see what happens next.
I will happily put this book on my watch list.

Aminul Ruhul Islam wrote 162 days ago

Liz, you certainly have got a very distinct style of writing. And the theme of your book is well-chosen. The import of 9/11 does help the story very much.

The flow of story is natural. The narrative is really good/professional. You leave very little work for your editor(s). The attention to minute details makes the character alive (His Brooklyn accent.....has the debut of grey and receding....). I am sure your work will be widely appreciated. Wish you the best.

Aminul Ruhul Islam
(Agent of Allah)

Sarah Breske wrote 163 days ago

I really really loved this story. When I first read the pitch, I thought immediately that it'd move high up in ranks. And once I started reading, I could undoubtedly confirmed that. This flows with ease and takes the reader on an unforgettable journey through the horrors of 911 and the effects it had on everyone, especially your characters! I'm rooting for you!

SB
The Rezempia Challenge

T. M. E. Walsh wrote 175 days ago

Hey Liz,

I've now read a few more chapters. Excellent stuff. I'm not usually a fan of novels written from different character POV, but yours worked, and has a lot of promise. This is some of the best writing I've read on the site so far! Will read some more soon!

Jon Nolan wrote 179 days ago

Woosh! The prologue has me, I have to read this... WL and High Stars before we start!

The first thing that resonates with me is the last look back at the world she's leaving behind, that precious moment you savour just before major change, I've done exactly the same thing in the first few paragraphs of my prologue, its something that absolutely fascinates me. I probably just need counselling or something ;0)

ANy ways, its here if you have a moment http://authonomy.com/books/55513/guidestar/

T. M. E. Walsh wrote 179 days ago

Excellent Prologue. Great cliff-hanger ending, eager to read more!

bdblanton wrote 180 days ago

LIz, I really like the storyline and how you foreshadow the plot. I look forward to chapters 3-11. I appreciated the opening scene between Isabel and Daddy. Very visual. I also appreciated the subtle love-conflict between the sisters. I love Isabel's thought that she might "vomit on the spot" and could also appreciate it if she actually did. Wouldn't that make Piper wonder?

In my view, origami is an art form, comprised of very neatly and ordered folds. crumpled together like origami is inconsistent.

if Piper is the type of lawyer who wears heels that resemble knitting needles, she's the type that will take a Happy Meal case against McDonalds. In the Happy Meal scene, consider your legalese and lawyer talk. Lawyers either defend or prosecute. The case she is considering against McDonald's is one she would prosecute as the Plaintiff. Maybe something like, "Give me a break! No jury would buy a grown man choking on a Happy Meal toy! Are you kidding me? But we could always make a settlement demand and see if they bite. Tell them it's twenty k or see you in court!"

I would like to see you develop the emotion over the decision to abort or not. Maybe you did in future chapters. I think who Isabel really is can be fleshed out a lot here. Maybe have her call Planned Parenthood to create tension over her decision.

Loved the play on words with ...sometimes even my train of thought.

Hard to know from my POV as a man but I would think that Isabel would have almost constant flashbacks about the rape. Every time the thought of the baby and what she was going to do, she would re-live the gross details of the rape. Her emotions may become chronic and lead to other ailments. Depression, Anxiety disorder. You could really make her an emotional mess by the time she decides what to do and relieves the tension with her resolution.

Very nice voice of Isabel. I enjoyed the read.

sensual elle wrote 185 days ago

Smoooooth writing, but oh, that plot! Experts advise throwing every bad thing you can at your protagonist, and when s/he can't take any more, you hit them again with the big 'un. Author Liz Hoban obviously believes in clobbering her heroine with everything she has until our girl emerges victorious. Backed!

mazblondie wrote 186 days ago

i love this so very much, every page had me longing to read the next one, it gave me goosebumps and i cannot wait to read the rest of it.
simply amazing!
marie

robert j harrison wrote 188 days ago

Although not my type of thing at all and though I dislike prologues I'm so impressed by the intelligence of this writing. If there's any quibble it's that the writing at times is over-laden with detail, just slows the pace a tad. And the over use of the simile can sometimes jar. But in fact I might have to get back to this. I'll back it for now.
Robert

Keiran Proffer wrote 195 days ago

Liz,

I have read chaps 1-5. I make comments as I read. Some may be answered later.
Overall I found it very well written, with only the occasional typo. It is not my type of book, I'm afraid, so my detailed comments below may be over-critical. I hope you will make allowances. Ignore them if you wish.
5-star rating.

Keiran

Chap 1
1. ‘pay it forward’? In English: to pay for it.
2. semi-colon after ‘forward’
3. comma after ‘world’
4. comma after ‘hairline’. OK enough about commas! I have made my point.
5. Good, attention-grabbing ending.

Chap 2
1. How do you make it impossible to report a rape? (Pardon my ignorance)
2. Now we are getting a hint of who was murdered and why.
3. Good characterisations of the 2 sisters and their father.
4. ’eraser-head’ threw me for a moment. Do you mean the end of a pencil? (I am English: we call them “rubbers” here.) Could you make it “a small bunch of cells”? OK! Enough about English! I take it you are writing for Americans.
5. Just noticed: your blurb says she is made pregnant during a picnic. Actually it was after the picnic

Chap 3
1. Does Piper really “still want to grow up to be her sister”? I thought that would be more like a childhood ambition she had grown out of, now she was so successful. Also younger siblings want to grow up to be like their older siblings, not the other way round.
2. Sorry, you really do need a comma after “lack thereof”
3. “A few years ago they had given him a few years” So naturally he is still alive. But should die soon. (I’m nit-picking!)
4. Do most men want children? I thought that was what women wanted. Children interfere with you watching football on Saturday afternoon.
5. I think Piper overdoes the smart comments a bit.
6. If she can’t remember when Izzy last wore the bracelet, why does she notice it missing? I’m assuming that by “can’t remember” it was a long time ago. Did you mean to say “can’t remember when I last saw her without it”?
7. Izzy breaks down into tears too easily. Or is it the result of the pregnancy? Shouldn’t P. get the idea that something serious is upsetting her at this point?
8. They are a bit open and the talk goes on a bit too long for a train journey. What were the other passengers doing? Listening in? OK I see a bit later they had only 1 companion. You should have said this. How much did he hear at the other end of the car?
9. Piper seems too affectionate. Does she not feel any impatience with her sister being such a failure? Ok this begins to be explained: she wants to learn how to love.
10. This chap seems to have too much contradiction. P. is first a strict business woman getting close to top management; then believes she has been running from herself; want to be like her sister – who is a wimp by business standards; want to help the family and learn how to love. Ok, people are like that in reality, but in books you have to give us the different facets one at a time, rather than all in a rush.

Chap 4
1. Again a contradiction (intended?), with P. being so preoccupied with her career.
2. What is ‘bloviating’?
3. Got confused by where Penn station is cf WTC. Your readers will probably know.
4. ARRGH! Not “lovey” as a British saying!! “my dear” if you must!
5. This chap drags a bit. We all know what is coming, so all the problems with cellphones and taxis could be shortened.
6. Pardon my British ignorance, but in NY cabs is there not a barrier between the driver and his passengers? If so, how did P. throw a bill on to his seat?
7. I don't know about Izzy, but if I saw a “mushrooming cloud” the first thing I would think of is an atomic bomb. She just casually mentions it!
8. Being British I don't know what '93 was all about. OK, enough about me being British! You are obviously writing for Americans. I won't even ask what a “bodega” is!
9. Sorry to repeat, but I found the aftermath of the collapse also dragged, with the sisters taking a long time to cross the city and all the talk. Can you cut it a bit?
10. Occasional typos: some paras are indented. E.g. “As we continued...”

Chap 5
1. This chap is a lot shorter than chap 4. Not a fault as such, but some editors like chaps of roughly same length.
2. “The plane hit” > “The plane had hit”.