Item description for Only Best Place The by Carolyne Aarsen...
Overview Leslie Vandekeere thought her big-city career made her life worthwhile, but a move to small-town Montana shows her how big the world really is.
Publishers Description Leslie Vandekeere thought her big-city career made her life worthwhile, but a move to small-town Montana shows her how big the world really is. Leslie had a good life: a happy family, a great career (even if it did pull her away from her home), and all the energy of urban living. But she finds herself miles away from the city she knows and loves when her husband moves her and the children back to his boyhood home in Montana to help his mother work the struggling family farm. Being a farmer's wife was definitely not in Leslie's plan, and now she finds herself dealing with dirty cows, giant machinery, eccentric neighbors, and an extended family she doesn't quite fit into. When her husband hints that the move might be permanent, Leslie must decide--can she really handle this much fresh air?
Citations And Professional Reviews Only Best Place The by Carolyne Aarsen has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
CBA Retailers - 10/01/2006 page 48
Publishers Weekly - 07/24/2006 page 37
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8" Width: 5.3" Height: 0.91" Weight: 0.66 lbs.
Release Date Sep 1, 2006
Publisher HACHETTE BOOK GROUP
ISBN 0446696811 ISBN13 9780446696814
Availability 0 units.
More About Carolyne Aarsen
Carolyne Aarsen is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Only Best Place and All in One Place. She has raised four children and numerous foster children, and lives on a farm in Neerlandia, Canada.
Reviews - What do customers think about Only Best Place The?
I LOVED THIS BOOK~~~~ Jan 9, 2008
THIS BOOK WAS A 1 NIGHTER FOR ME. I HAD A VACATION DAY IN AT WORK AND THIS WAS MY ENTERTAINMENT~~I STAYED UP ALL NIGHT READING THIS!! I JUST LOVED LESLIE. SHE GOES THRU SO MUCH OF THE SAME EMOTIONS AS MOST WOMEN. SHE DEALS WITH A DEMANDING MOTHER IN LAW, OVER-BEARING SISTER IN LAW, AND A HUSBAND WHO STARTS WONDERING (IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN). LEAVES HER LIFE IN THE CITY FOR A LIFE ON THE FARM WITH HER IN-LAWS. LIVING ON THE FARM BRINGS HER TO TERMS WITH ALL HER PROBLEMS, INCLUDING HER LACK OF FAITH IN GOD. I AM READY TO READ THE NEXT ONE. I WOULD DEFINITELY ADVISE THE BOOK TO ANYONE. IF YOU LOVE KAREN KINGSBURY'S STYLE, TRY THIS OUT. SHE IS SORT OF THE SAME STYLE, BUT WITH A LITTLE LESS DRAMA AND A LITTLE MORE HUMOR. THIS BOOK WILL BE PASSED AROUND TO MY GIRLFRIENDS AT CHURCH AND WORK. GIVE HER A TRY, YOU'LL BE PLEASED!!!!!
Don't be fooled -- this is NOT a Christian novel! Jun 26, 2007
Oh man, this book made me really, really angry. It started out pretty entertaining, which is why I ended up reading the whole thing, despite the misgivings that started to kick in right around page 200 (which, right around page 250, slowly began to turn from simple misgivings to stunned horror). It's about a young married couple, Dan and Leslie, who are struggling with a variety of issues in their marriage (infidelity on the husband's part, and a loss of their business in Seattle) when they decide the best thing to do for their finances and their family of four (two kids) is to go live on the farm where Dan grew up. The farm, in Montana, has been struggling for a while, and Dan wants to return -- for a year only, he promises -- to help his mother get the farm back into good shape so she can sell it. Leslie is 100% city girl, an emergency room nurse and a lover of Seattle, and she agrees to the move as long as Dan swears -- really swears -- that it's temporary, that he'll be compensated for the work he does to the farm, and that they will not touch the thirty-thousand or so dollars they've worked so hard to save for their dream house.
The problems start almost immediately. Leslie doesn't know anything about farming, and Dan's mother and one of his sisters are overbearing, judgmental, and just outright nasty people to be around. Everything Leslie does is wrong, and she feels lambasted and criticized at every turn, with no one there who truly supports her, including her husband. Speaking of her husband, Dan gets back to the farm and almost immediately begins to renege on every promise he made to his wife -- including essentially robbing the dream house account of $19K, without talking to Leslie first, so he can buy a tractor, and telling Leslie he has decided he does not want to return to Seattle. He doesn't support his wife's struggles against his mother's callousness, and when Leslie decides she wants to return to work at the local hospital, the one place where she does feel she fits in, he acts like a big stupid baby about it and essentially tells her doing so will destroy their family.
Things go rapidly downhill from there. By the end of the book, Leslie has turned into a Stepford Wife, suddenly turning to religion (turns out, this is a Christian book, though after finishing it, I'm pretty dubious that its author actually knows a damn thing about Christian values) and falling in love with the farming life and her husband all over again. The reason this SO sickened me was because it made me realize that all along, Leslie was actually being portrayed sort of as the enemy of Christian ethics. She wanted to work instead of care for her children -- well, she'll soon learn that's not acceptable. She didn't want to go to church -- well, she'll soon learn the option is being alone and miserable. She wanted a husband who honored and respected her, instead of failing to support her, cheating on her, and flat-out stealing the money she'd worked so hard to earn for their future -- well, she'll soon learn she's to OBEY her husband, and that questioning his actions only leads to marital strife and unhappiness. She didn't like the judgmental way she was treated by her husband's mother -- well, she'll soon learn that his mother was RIGHT and that she ought to listen to her more often. Not only that, two characters in the book start out acting like non-Christians, and that's when they're supportive of Leslie, and then radically reveal themselves to be Christians after all, immediately snatching back their support of Leslie in the process (I'm referring to Dan and Kathy here, if you've read the book). What is this really telling us about Christian values, I ask you? The "good" Christians in this novel are mean, duplicitous, judgmental, and, in Dan's case, adulterers and thieves. The "bad" Christians (Leslie, e.g.) are struggling to do all the things that are actually good, in my opinion -- trying to raise her kids to be happy and making decisions based on what's best for them instead of what her mother-in-law wants, trying to maintain her own personal identity while also fueling her relationships and marriage, trying to adapt to a radical change in her lifestyle to support her spouse, etc.
All in all, this novel left me feeling queasy and utterly, completely offended. I think all Christians should be outraged by the message of this novel, and that goes double for any Christians who are also feminists (and yes, there actually are Christian feminists!). Ugh, I can't believe I held this book in my hands and found myself ENJOYING it for the first half. I think I need a shower.
Great Read Feb 7, 2007
I really enjoyed this book and especially how skillfully all the characters were drawn. I did feel much sympathy toward the main character and found her faith journey and her marriage journey quite realistic. I felt like I could almost see the area described by Aarsen. I think you will really enjoy reading this book.
Aarsen makes you laugh and cry at the same time. Oct 3, 2006
Aarsen has delivered an engaging story of one woman's lonely struggle to discover who she is and where she belongs. A trained nurse, Leslie is competent in the emergency room, but her husband's family thinks she's greedy and a bad mother. I fell in love with this confused character from the first page. I chuckled at Leslie's loving-but-misguided sister, who through emails encourages Leslie to take control and not "give in to the cult."
A domineering mother-in-law and a plethora of VandeKeeres to keep straight don't make Leslie feel welcome. Only her new job at the local hospital gives her a sense of self-worth and a dangerous alliance. How Leslie reconciles all this is a wonderful journey of discovery and faith.
Terrifically empathetic story of a woman struggling to make it Sep 29, 2006
The Only Best Place by Carolyne Aarsen is one of the finest books I've read this year. Leslie VandeKeere gives up the job she loves in Seattle to follow her husband to his family farm back in Montana, and she has to decide if dealing with a meddling mother-in-law and living out in the middle of nowhere is worth her marriage. Aarsen writes Leslie's thoughts in an unbelievably real way. Leslie is easy to identify with; even when she's wrong-headed you can't help but empathize with her. She captures the uneasy intricacies of an in-law relationship while making sure that everyone is portrayed evenly. Along the way, Leslie watches her husband renew his faith in the Lord, and she finds some herself. The quick emails at the end of a few chapters introduce the Leslie's sister, the main character in the next book in the series. I'm looking forward to it.