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'Hoffman is shrewd and witty about the networks of gossip and affection in town, and she evokes place superbly... spellbinding' - Sunday Times
Alice Hoffman is married with two sons and lives in Massachusetts.
As this novel opens, March Murray Cooper returns to her hometown, ostensibly to bury the woman who raised her but needing to resolve the unfinished business of her youthful love for Hollis, from whom she has been separated for years. Hollis has now grown into a man embittered by loneliness. He has learned neither to forgive nor to forget, and March must discover whether he can ever learn to love. Hoffman (Practical Magic, LJ 12/94) takes great care here to examine the many facets of love and relationships, turning them like a prism to reflect on March and Hollis. Hoffman's evocative language and her lyrical descriptions of place contrast sharply with the emotional scars that her characters must uncover and bear. Her novel is a haunting tale of a woman lost in and to love; it will enthrall the reader from beginning to end. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/97.]‘Caroline M. Hallsworth, Cambrian Coll., Sudbury, Ontario
Often, in her soulful novels, Hoffman (Practical Magic, etc.) lets mystical atmospherics-animals that take on superhuman qualities, intense colors and temperatures, minute vibrations in the air that signal ghosts or spirits-do all the work while her characters behave in strange and incredible ways under the influence of forces outside themselves. In this novel, the characters' behavior, while highly emotional, is initially at least traceable to psychological motivation. Unfortunately, Hoffman abandons psychological credibility halfway through, after which her protagonist, March Murray, behaves like an automaton. When March comes back to her childhood home in a small Massachusetts town after 19 years in California, she is swept with longing for Hollis, her former soul mate and lover who ran away in a fit of pique. March waited for him for three years, then married her next-door neighbor, Richard Cooper. When Hollis finally did return, he wed Richard's sister, who has since died. Hollis now determines to win March back, and she can't resist his single-minded pursuit. Hoffman conveys the mesmerizing lure of a lost love with haunting sensuality; but March's excuses for Hollis's violent personality and for his physical abuse of her and her teenaged daughter, Gwen, are well beyond the willed myopia of even obsessive love. Other love affairs‘between the housekeeper who raised March and the man who was her father's law partner; and between rebellious teenager Gwen (the best character by far, drawn with delightful realism) and March's reclusive brother's son‘are described with much more insight and plausibility. The high drama of this novel, and Hoffman's assured and lyrical prose, may carry the day for readers who can accept the premise that a passionate obsession can make sweet reason, maternal protectiveness and the instinct for self-preservation fly out the window. 100,000 first printing; $150,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild featured alternate; film rights to Douglas Reuther. (Sept.)
"There is something irresistible about the novels of Alice Hoffman. Her themes of love, marriage, family and friendship are reassuringly familiar and her style agreeably evocative...Her stories have a quality of mystery and even darkness that puts a fresh spin on the commonplace, and at its very best can make the reader look at life from a fresh angle. If I could see things through Hoffman's eyes, I'm convinced life would be richer and more interesting... Here On Earth is a wonderful piece of storytelling" * Literary Review * "Hoffman is shrewd and witty about the networks of gossip and affection in town, and she evokes place superbly... spellbinding" * Sunday Times * "Imagine Wuthering Heights set in a small New England town during the last 30 years. The characters escape not to wild moors but marshes haunted by foxes and souls of drowned men-compelling" * Independent * "Wuthering Heights meets The Horse Whisperer... riveting and memorable" * Mail on Sunday * "A gripping novel that evokes the tensions of small-town life" * Elle *