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The Awful Mess: A Love Story by [Hutchison, Sandra]
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The Awful Mess: A Love Story Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Length: 410 pages Word Wise: Enabled Language: English

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Product description

Product Description


Divorced by a husband who wanted children she couldn't have, editor Mary Bellamy has left the Boston suburbs to telecommute from tiny, affordable Lawson, New Hampshire. All she wants is peace and quiet and maybe a cat. But an unhappily-married Episcopal priest who's trying to save her heathen soul might be susceptible to more earthly temptations. And the handsome local cop who's also an excellent kisser confuses her by being in favor of gay rights, but opposed to sex before marriage.

Soon Mary's keeping a scandalous secret at great cost to her own happiness. Worse, her disintegrating ex-husband threatens what little she has left. But in this witty and affectionate tale of small town life, Mary discovers that the connections she's made can result not only in terrifying risks, but in unexpected blessings.

If you like small town fiction with compelling characters, page-turning suspense, and occasionally spicy romance, you'll love THE AWFUL MESS. "Look inside" to give it a try today.

"THE AWFUL MESS is a wonderful read!" -- Julia Spencer-Fleming, author of IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER

"It puts me in mind of Jane Austen, the moral mathematics here....It renews me as a reader, to enjoy a book so much; and as a writer, see it done so well." -- Tim Farrington, author of THE MONK DOWNSTAIRS

A semifinalist for the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.


Includes group discussion questions.

The Sex and Language Warning: This book has bad behavior in it, including a couple of fairly explicit sex scenes and some language some might prefer to avoid.

The Religion Warning: This book contains religious themes, but if you require piety and reverence in such matters, this is not the book for you. Skeptics will probably be able to cope.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2442 KB
  • Print Length: 410 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Sheer Hubris Press; 1 edition (17 January 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DHX0GNS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #313,061 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top customer reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I selected this book from the Awesome Indies catalog, feeling very comfortable that it would be a good read. I was not disappointed. The writing was flawless - indeed, one of the few books I've read where I never, once, had to re-read a passage for clarity. I enjoyed it immensely.

This is not a sweet romance, nor a squeaky-clean story about God fearing Christians. This is a story about flawed individuals, making mistakes and trying to learn from those mistakes. Many of them are Christians but I will leave it to others to decide how "good" they are or are not. I, for one, loved how it brought to life that whole "let he who has not sinned be the first to cast a stone" message.

5 stars, without question.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 262 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IT ISN'T WHAT IT SAYS 4 October 2013
By Gene Hull - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An Awful Mess?

Well, one thing An Awful Mess isn't is an awful mess!

What an engaging first novel. Congratulations to Sandra
Hutchinson. I loved it. Really.
This is sterling story telling! And more than that, a compelling read.
I am reminded of the saying: Life is what's happening while you're making other plans. A classic example.

Believable characters. Intriguing plot. Loved the style.
The setting.
The tone.
The pacing.
The interesting side characters and sub-plots.
Refreshingly addresses contemporary issues, i,e. marriage, sex, babies, divorce, religion, relationships, small town life, careers... you name it,
with appropriate climaxes (excuse the pun) in the right places.
It's a contemporary "Everyman" tale...(and for women, of course)... who've lived a little and know life.
Unlike the heroine in Laura McLain's excellent "The Paris Wife", (Hemingway's first wife - who often seemed to give up and just let things happen to her), Mary, the protagonist in "The Awful Mess" is aware of her circumstances. But is always pro-active.
Mary is soft and sensitive, but no wimp.
I strongly recommend his one to everyone who values good stuff in this genre.
This book has a great market... with lots of readers.
I smell a huge success.
Deservedly so.

Gene Hull
Author, Chasing the Muse,
The Sun God Is A Ham.
Slice of Life
Hooked on a Horn
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Awful Mess: A Love Story complicated and compelling 1 April 2014
By Hard to Please book lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Awful Mess is one of those books you open, expecting a good strong small town story. You get that, but so much more. Mary is a woman you won't necessarily fall in love with, but if you have a pulse you will totally empathize with where she is in her life and admire her for MOST of the choices she makes. Hutchison is a splendid, sure-footed author whose range of characterization tops any list...her portrayal of the complicated cop, Winslow, the excruciating pastor, Arthur, the unblinkingly disappointing mother and the entire cast of The Awful Mess is awesome. She never takes a fake step, never goes for the cliche. To this somewhat jaded reader, my only moment of disbelief was how wonderful, warm and embracing this small town turned out to be. But that's on me. Do yourself a favor and believe in your fellow man and woman again. Read The Awful Mess:A Love Story and you'll go to bed more optimistic than when you got up today. Bravo, Ms. Hutchison! And get to work. We need another book.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant Read 10 July 2013
By Lynne Clark - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I confess that I read at least two or three early drafts of this novel, and I watched the characters develop into the intriguing people they are today. I always loved the protestation that this isn't The Scarlet Letter, given that it's set in a New England town with two characters named Arthur and Roger (a villain like Chillingworth), and features an adultery resulting in childbirth. But it's modern and timely, with a crumbling economy, a changing workforce, kindly treatment of an unmarried pregnant woman, and best of all, a universal presentation of human nature, which doesn't change at all, ever. Oh, how I LOVE Winslow's dad!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awful mess; wonderful characters 10 September 2013
By E. Browning - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Reading the description of this book's plot, I had grave doubts. Divorce, debt, unemployment, a one-night stand with a priest, unexpected pregnancy...it all sounded a bit too much like real life. :)

But: You do want to read this book. The characters are unforgettable. Our 'heroine' is as believably funny, self-critical, bull-headed, and resourceful as your best friend. The priest is as creepy and weak-willed as he needs to be. The romantic interest is a satisfyingly good guy but with some quirky aspects: good-looking but with a bit of a paunch, nearing 40 and single, suspected by the town chatterers to be closeted gay, living with his holy-roller but totally loveable farmer dad.

The dialogue is among the most believable I've ever read in recent American fiction. The plot has some impractical twists including a surprise appearance by the evil ex-husband, and later his radical conversion to born-again Christianity. (Ways to be and not be religious are a sub-theme of the book that is handled very well.)

In all a most satisfying read and I was very sorry to reach that 98% point on the Kindle. I only have one suggestion for the author: When you introduce a cat, especially one adopted from a shelter for company, you can't just drop him for the next 9 chapters. Do something with him! All the heroine's running around town had me worried for the poor guy. Only near the end of the book does someone remember to feed him. This could have been another nice dimension of the novel but it was not carried through.

That said, excellent writing and super characterization.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Done, Ms. Hutchison! 24 December 2013
By Alec Hastings - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
The Awful Mess is the story of Mary Bellamy's attempts to get her life back in order after a divorce. She moves to rural Lawson, New Hampshire and is befriended by the local Episcopalian priest and chief of police. If a little shaken, she is fairly optimistic. She has rid herself of an abusive husband, retained her editing job, bought a house, and made a new friend. Then, she loses her job at the same time she becomes responsible for someone else. Suddenly, she finds herself headed for disaster, trying to strike the right balance between accepting help and taking care of her own problems. Mary's story is poignant because it explores the nature of love. How do we recognize love? How do we distinguish it from desire, need, or illusion? This is an old question, of course. Judging by the divorce rate of the last fifty years, it's still of interest. I enjoyed the writing, cared about the characters, and kept turning the pages to find out what would happen next! Well done, Ms. Hutchison!

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