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The Women of Great Heron Lake

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From the author of the bestselling historical novel, MISS ETTA. Two strong women, generations apart, living parallel lives. When Marla Madison’s husband dies, she realizes her life has become very small. Her daughter is grown and Marla has spent the past two decades focused on his friends, his interests, and his home. Feeling lost, she throws herself into fixing up the one-h From the author of the bestselling historical novel, MISS ETTA. Two strong women, generations apart, living parallel lives. When Marla Madison’s husband dies, she realizes her life has become very small. Her daughter is grown and Marla has spent the past two decades focused on his friends, his interests, and his home. Feeling lost, she throws herself into fixing up the one-hundred and fifty-year-old family manor on the lake. She soon discovers an old journal in a secret drawer and is instantly intrigued. The handwritten book tells the tale of another Mrs. Madison from over a century ago, the first woman to live in the lake manor. As Marla reads the journal, she discovers that her life parallels that of the woman who wrote those words decades ago and Marla finds inspiration from her strength. 1875 - Alaina Carlton was content to become a spinster until her beloved father introduces her to Nathaniel Madison, one of the most prosperous men in St. Paul, Minnesota. Even though she values her independence, Alaina is intrigued by this man who pursues her. When they marry, she believes she’s found a man who will treat her as an equal, but soon realizes that isn’t entirely true. From their mansion on the illustrious Summit Avenue to their manor at Great Heron Lake, where the rich and powerful play, her life is no longer her own. But fifteen years and two children later when Nathaniel grows ill, she takes her rightful place where women weren’t allowed in order to secure her children’s inheritance and her future. An inspiring family saga of two determined woman who found meaning in their lives by following their passions and not allowing society, or propriety, to hold them back.


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From the author of the bestselling historical novel, MISS ETTA. Two strong women, generations apart, living parallel lives. When Marla Madison’s husband dies, she realizes her life has become very small. Her daughter is grown and Marla has spent the past two decades focused on his friends, his interests, and his home. Feeling lost, she throws herself into fixing up the one-h From the author of the bestselling historical novel, MISS ETTA. Two strong women, generations apart, living parallel lives. When Marla Madison’s husband dies, she realizes her life has become very small. Her daughter is grown and Marla has spent the past two decades focused on his friends, his interests, and his home. Feeling lost, she throws herself into fixing up the one-hundred and fifty-year-old family manor on the lake. She soon discovers an old journal in a secret drawer and is instantly intrigued. The handwritten book tells the tale of another Mrs. Madison from over a century ago, the first woman to live in the lake manor. As Marla reads the journal, she discovers that her life parallels that of the woman who wrote those words decades ago and Marla finds inspiration from her strength. 1875 - Alaina Carlton was content to become a spinster until her beloved father introduces her to Nathaniel Madison, one of the most prosperous men in St. Paul, Minnesota. Even though she values her independence, Alaina is intrigued by this man who pursues her. When they marry, she believes she’s found a man who will treat her as an equal, but soon realizes that isn’t entirely true. From their mansion on the illustrious Summit Avenue to their manor at Great Heron Lake, where the rich and powerful play, her life is no longer her own. But fifteen years and two children later when Nathaniel grows ill, she takes her rightful place where women weren’t allowed in order to secure her children’s inheritance and her future. An inspiring family saga of two determined woman who found meaning in their lives by following their passions and not allowing society, or propriety, to hold them back.

30 review for The Women of Great Heron Lake

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    Nope. Nope. Ugh. Nope. This was my book club’s latest selection and was an (almost) complete bust for me. One star gone for typos & grammatical errors, another star gone for a completely unbelievable storyline. One more star gone for the cliche, saccharine, vomit-inducing plot and characters. One star remaining for the setting and the second star (graciously) given for the “heroine’s” circle of friends who were disappointingly underdeveloped. Ironically, this book tries to condemn snobbery but e Nope. Nope. Ugh. Nope. This was my book club’s latest selection and was an (almost) complete bust for me. One star gone for typos & grammatical errors, another star gone for a completely unbelievable storyline. One more star gone for the cliche, saccharine, vomit-inducing plot and characters. One star remaining for the setting and the second star (graciously) given for the “heroine’s” circle of friends who were disappointingly underdeveloped. Ironically, this book tries to condemn snobbery but ends up being snobbish. I abhor snobbery but am also absolutely a book snob. So, don’t necessarily listen to my opinion here, but also don’t go into reading this expecting a classic work of literature. Cheers!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susan (The Book Bag)

    I love the idea of connections between generations, stories of people or things that come together over time and mesh, for whatever reason. The Women of Great Heron Lake does just that. After Marla's husband dies, she is at a loss as to what to do with herself. She has lived her husband's life and in his shadow for so many years. As she starts to change the house they lived in, she finds a journal written by another Mrs. Madison, many, many years ago. As the house changes, so does Marla. As she r I love the idea of connections between generations, stories of people or things that come together over time and mesh, for whatever reason. The Women of Great Heron Lake does just that. After Marla's husband dies, she is at a loss as to what to do with herself. She has lived her husband's life and in his shadow for so many years. As she starts to change the house they lived in, she finds a journal written by another Mrs. Madison, many, many years ago. As the house changes, so does Marla. As she reads the old journal, she finds similarities between her life and and the life of a woman who lived in the late 1800's. The words in the journal speak to Marla and help her move forward. This is a story full of interesting, evolving relationships and strong women who stand up for themselves in a time when that wasn't done or when it goes against what society expects of them. As the women grow and change, they discover their own strengths and learn to do what makes them happy. One of my favorite parts of the book was how the book group embraced Marla and read the journal together as they discovered how Alaina's life unfolded. The women were so accepting of Marla and helped her get her priorities and life figured out. They became so important to her—women supporting women. The Women of Great Heron Lake is a captivating tale of loss, friendship, discovery, fate, growth, and strength—a story spanning over 100 years. This is historical fiction at its best and is definitely one everyone should pick up. I loved it and highly recommend it!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    This was a sweet, easy read and perfect for taking one's mind off of woes of any sort.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lady Delacour

    This Storyline felt like a Black and White B Movie with all the good parts left on the cutting room floor. Interesting, just not Good. 2 Sub-par Stars. Listened with TTS. Cleanish. One Mild Bad Word.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dianna

    I LOVE Deanna Sletten. I have been following her from the beginning. I always say that she CANNOT get any better and WHAM she comes along with a BETTER story. If you haven't read Ms. Sletten I strongly advise you to do so. Her stories are amazing. Her research is amazing. Cannot wait for the next one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Janet Friesner

    Outstanding book Loved this book. One of best books I've read. A really good story. Maybe the fact that I was born in St. Paul 88 years ago added to the joy. The book is a keeper. Highly recommend it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Martha Alderson

    Wow! I could not put this book down. I would love to see the story continue where this one ends. There are still Madison ancestors we haven't heard from.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shreedevi Gurumurty

    A captivating tale of loss, friendship, discovery, fate, growth, and strength-a story spanning over 100 years. When Marla Madison's husband, Nathan, dies, she realises that her life has been limited. Her daughter, Reese, is in college now and Marla has spent the better part of twenty years always focused on her husband's friends, his interests and his ancestral home, which he has bequeathed to her in his will. Feeling lost, she throws herself into fixing up the 150 years old manor property on th A captivating tale of loss, friendship, discovery, fate, growth, and strength-a story spanning over 100 years. When Marla Madison's husband, Nathan, dies, she realises that her life has been limited. Her daughter, Reese, is in college now and Marla has spent the better part of twenty years always focused on her husband's friends, his interests and his ancestral home, which he has bequeathed to her in his will. Feeling lost, she throws herself into fixing up the 150 years old manor property on the lake. In doing so, she soon discovers an old journal in a secret drawer and is instantly intrigued. The handwritten book tells the tale of another Mrs Madison from over a century ago, the first woman to reside in the lake manor.As Marla reads the journal, she discovers that her life parallels that of the woman who wrote those words and Marla finds inspiration from her strength. In 1875, Alaina Carlton was content to be a spinster and help her beloved, widowed father, Arthur, out with his growing textiles business, but then he introduces her to Nathaniel Madison, one of the most prosperous men in St Paul, MN. Even though she values her independence, Alaina is intrigued by Nathaniel and they marry after a year's courtship. Once married, Alaina believes that she'll have a marriage of equality, but then finds out that isn't entirely true, as Nathaniel believes in status.He expects Alaina to play the role of a dutiful wife and perfect society hostess. From their mansion on the illustrious Summit Avenue to their major at Great Heron Lake, where the rich and powerful play, her life is no longer her own. But 15 years and 2 children later, when Nathaniel becomes ill, she takes her rightful place where women weren't allowed to be in order to secure her children's inheritance and her future.An inspiring family saga of 2 determined women who found meaning in their lives by following their passions and not allowing society, or propriety, to hold them back.The Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association was an organisation that struggled to secure women's vote from 1881-1920. They organised marches, wrote petitions and letters and gave speeches.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Carol Deegan

    I loved this book! When Marla Madison’s husband dies, she is left with a huge family mansion and plenty of money. To keep herself busy, she decides to redo some rooms, and comes across a diary written by Alaina, the first Mrs. Madison to live in the house. She discovers she has many things in common with Alaina, including mental abuse and seclusion. She meets a new group of friends through a book club, and together they read Alaina’s journal. The book club ladies support Marla and help her to fi I loved this book! When Marla Madison’s husband dies, she is left with a huge family mansion and plenty of money. To keep herself busy, she decides to redo some rooms, and comes across a diary written by Alaina, the first Mrs. Madison to live in the house. She discovers she has many things in common with Alaina, including mental abuse and seclusion. She meets a new group of friends through a book club, and together they read Alaina’s journal. The book club ladies support Marla and help her to find out what she wants to accomplish in her life. The historical fiction story spans over 100 years and is one you should not miss!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Valerie L. Rider

    Lovely story The past and the present are skillfully intertwined when Marla discovers a journal written by Alaina who lived over a hundred and fifty years before her in the same estate. This amazing woman was married to her recently deceased husband's ancestor. The journal helps Marla through her grief as she reinvents herself along with the help of her new friends. Alaina and Marla's lives parallel one another and are so inspiring!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    Excellent story As a lover of genealogy I immediately was drawn in the moment the main character found a hidden 150 year old journal. The transition between present day and the past was seamless and easy to read. I would recommend this book to lovers of both historical and women's fiction. After reading this book, I will definitely be interested in reading more of the authors works.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Johnnie Steinberg

    I really enjoyed the way this book was written. Not only was it a clean story, but the plot was different from most. A modern day character, Marla, was paralleled by a character from 150 years ago, Ariana. Connecting the two was a diary which chronicled Ariana’s life: her marriage & upper crust life to a husband who was the ancestor of Marla’s husband. The author segued easily from the present to the past & back again effortlessly. There was a lot of good psychology imbedded in the thoughts & re I really enjoyed the way this book was written. Not only was it a clean story, but the plot was different from most. A modern day character, Marla, was paralleled by a character from 150 years ago, Ariana. Connecting the two was a diary which chronicled Ariana’s life: her marriage & upper crust life to a husband who was the ancestor of Marla’s husband. The author segued easily from the present to the past & back again effortlessly. There was a lot of good psychology imbedded in the thoughts & resulting actions of the two main characters. It was hard to put down!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tab

    Wonderful message for women I truly loved this book. As a matter of fact, it would be a great book club, book! I enjoyed the main character, Marla, she never allowed hard times or others to stand in her way. She was going to pioneer through, and she did. I would definitely recommend this book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mary Sue Wilson

    A Really Good Novel I thoroughly enjoyed reading this well written novel about strong women. The author chose very memorable characters to weave this novel.It was very difficult to put down.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Barbara J

    Wonderful and inspiring novel I found this novel fascinating filled with the history of a by-gone day. This author made me feel so close to the characters and frankly I couldn’t put this book down.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Joann Stewart

    Totally loved this book and hated that it came to an end. The parallel stories were well done and I found myself rooting for both Marla is present day and Alaina from the 1890's. Both are amazing, strong women who you want to see suceed.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    This is a fantastic book. I enjoyed it so much I have to recommend it to everyone! The story of two women married into the same family centuries apart who have parallel lives. It is written so well with good character development and plot line. You just have to read it!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dr Honora

    Interesting women Enjoyed how history repeats itself; of two women who made a difference in their communities and how both eventually found men who complimented their strengths. Good read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    RM LAHIFF

    Too silly The story was silly in that two women, decades apart in time, could be so similar in their lives. It would be more believable if the were blood related.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

    Such a great book showing women's struggles and accomplishments. This book shows how women have struggled in past and present for their independence and respect as an equal in life.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    I loved the setting of the old mansion and the two woman’s lives between a span of 100 years. Great story!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Evelyn

    What a great book What a great inspiring book of women and friendship especially the history of women’s rights and struggle in marriage in the 1800’s highly recommended it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    A

    Great story! We women are accomplished and make things happen! Read it you won't want to put it down! Relax, have a glass of wine and enjoy! Live your life!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Marcia

    Really enjoyed this one!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mary A. Burns

    Very good story! I really enjoyed this book that tied the past with the present. So well written and realistic. Loved Marla and Aleina.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    Wonderful reading This was a very good read. I enjoy reading history of homes and or families. I would look forward to a series of The Women of Great Heron Lake.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Marcia

    Marla and Alaina Madison, two women separated by 150 years. Finding a hidden journal, leads to learning of the past life in comparison to life today. Very enjoyable story, highly recommend.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Edith

    What a lovely novel. At times I couldn’t put it down and I highly recommend it for reading

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Messenger

    This was a really “feel good” book to read. Beautiful story and told with great description of the time and characters. It took place in St Paul, Mn where I lived for many years. I loved how the author told the story through the journal she found and her book club. Very clever.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gary Cook

    Wonderful This book was gripping and very entertaining. The author created a descriptive picture of the past and present. I very much enjoyed this book.

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