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Publisher's Summary

A novel about family and the secrets that we keep - a young woman learning to love and leave home and realizing that, maybe, she never quite left. From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Still Life with Bread Crumbs and Rise and Shine.

This story begins in the 1960s, and explores how Mimi Miller comes of age, over and over again.

As a young girl in Miller's Valley, an ordinary farming town that may be facing its final days, Mimi is observing adults, selling corn, growing up and changing, and watching the world around her change, too.

As the years go by, the unthinkable starts to seem inevitable. Anna Quindlen's novel takes us through the changing eras of Mimi and her family, as secrets are revealed, and the heartbreaks of growing up and falling in love with the wrong man are overcome.

A deeply moving, inspiring story of a young woman learning to love and leave, the place and family from which she comes.

©2016 Anna Quindlen (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"In a quiet, unaffected performance, narrator Brittany Pressley makes 1960s Miller's Valley, Pennsylvania, incredibly real.... Quindlen's spot-on insights allow Pressley to give each family member a convincing personality--from Mimi's no-nonsense mother to her gentle father, from her two older brothers to her agoraphobic aunt. Engrossing listening." ( AudioFile)

What listeners say about Miller's Valley

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Quietly engaging

Anna Quindlen has written a few good books and a few mediocre ones. Whatever you think of each book what comes through in all is her skill at writing and her own experiences in life. This book is about a woman reflecting on her youth in a small town and how events played out with her family, her friends, her loves.Its about the choices she made and the opportunities that presented themselves. It describes the complicated relationships we have in our lives. There is nothing earth shattering in this book, so if you are looking for that don't bother. What this book delivers is excellent character development, excellent writing and a story that keeps you listening because you develop a "relationship" with the characters and an interest in how it all turns out. Our book club read it and we generally disagree on most books, however, 90% gave it a thumbs up and we had a great discussion. The narration was excellent. I am glad I listened and would recommend it.

17 people found this helpful

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Anna Does Not Disappoint

First, I must say that I have grown up with Anna Quindlen. I use to read her columns. I love this author. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Good narration. Themes I can ponder and talk about. Can't give 5 stars as the timing of the book was not even and confusing at times. It is also not my favorite of her books but still very much worth listening to. Recommend!

11 people found this helpful

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Not Typical Quindlen- I was disappointed

Normally Anna Quindlen wows me. She normally starts off her impeccable novels with normal families who do normal every day things. Her formula seems to be having a very shocking thing happen to a seemingly normal family half way through the book.

Miller's Valley is the story of a family over decades. The family is normal, has normal issues (pre marital sex, pregnancy, PTSD from Vietnam War, Dad has stroke, etc). The problem is- the story doesn't seem to have a point. It rambles on and on and it's hard to care about the characters. I probably put this book down and then picked it back up to listen, hoping it would get better- about fifteen times. Unfortunately, it really didn't.

I hope Quindlen's next book is back to her usual shocking style. I felt like I was being led on or teased through the whole book unfortunately, and it was more irritating than inspiring.

This wasn't worth the wait...

Wendi

9 people found this helpful

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Quintessential Small Town Story


What is it that makes fiction set in a small town so engaging? Is it our perception of life in a rural place as an iconic lifestyle ? Nostalgia for a way of living that we fear might be in danger of extinction? Or is perhaps about the quaint and at times odd social dynamics that are conventional in places where everybody knows everybody?


Miller’s Valley follows the life of Mary Margaret Miller (Mimi) and her family. The Millers have lived in this fictional rural Pennsylvania town for more than 200 years.
Above all, The Millers are decent, hardworking people. Buddy Miller is proud of the land he inherited from his family and Miriam Miller is a dedicated professional nurse.

Mimi their youngest daughter is bright, responsible and determined. She has a very close connection with her Aunt Ruth, a reclusive woman who for reasons we don't know, never leaves her small one-story house located behind her sister’s home. Miriam cooks and provides for Ruth more out of a sense of duty than fondness.

Edward, The Millers' oldest son is married but has become somehow estranged and disconnected from the family. Tommy is the middle child, he's handsome, charming and beloved by everybody. But by the time he comes back from a tour in Vietnam, he finds himself in constant trouble with the law due to his inclination to get involved in shady businesses and his penchant to consume drugs.

The main theme of Miller's Valley revolves around the pressure the community feels from public officials to relinquish 6,000 acres of land. The government wants to seize an existing dam to divert a river and convert the valley into a reservoir.

Although there’s something iconoclastic in the way Quindlen describes the town's relationship with the government, I felt that some of the characters, Miriam and Mimi in particular, could have shown a little bit more determination in fighting public officials in their resolved to take control over their farms.

We see how dramatically Eminent Domain practices changed the lives of these people, but there is also a sense of inevitability and a tacit acceptance that the outcome is a foregone conclusion. My impression was that Quindlen wanted this to be mostly a character-driven story and that she consciously avoided going to deep into the politics of this issue.

Still Miller’s Valley sheds light into a real socioeconomic phenomenon known as "drowned towns", which is described by Wikipedia as U.S. towns and villages flooded by the creation of dams, destroyed by the advancing sea, or washed away in floods and never rebuilt."

By the end, this short, eloquent novel asks us to consider what is it that best describes the place we call home? Is it the land a family inhabits for generations with its it ability to provide sustenance and economic viability or is it the people that are part of our families, neighborhoods and our communities at large?

I felt a deep connection with the story and the characters depicted on Miller's Valley, perhaps not so much because they resemble my own experience as I was growing up, but because there are so many elements I can relate to, including love, loss, grief, poverty, mental health issues, aging, the consequences of war and the profound impact government policies can have, for good and bad, in our lives.

Brittany Pressley did a fantastic job narrating this story.

9 people found this helpful

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Memorable

I felt rather than heard this book… When the book is an experience rather than words you know it's great. This book was great.

7 people found this helpful

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Too much telling... boring

I have loved two of Anna Quindlen's novels (Black and Blue and One True Thing) and really disliked two now - this, and Blessings. The start of Miller's Valley described this idyllic and hard-scrabble rural life, reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird. The problem is that the narrator filled us in on the background of every person and place, and that quickly got boring. I lasted about an hour and a half, and couldn't listen to any more. Nothing was learned through plot or dialogue. Not my kind of novel. The narrator was great. Too bad the story could not grab me, even a little bit.

6 people found this helpful

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Appealing

As a big fan of Anna Quindlen, i found this book a little disappointing but still very enjoyable. The story of a young girl growing up in a doomed valley, she encounters life with its joys and sorrows and secrets. Beautifully written and thoughtful, it's a great book for a lazy weekend.

5 people found this helpful

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Another beautiful story from Anna Quindlen! Keep them coming!

Written like a dream. Nostalgic, loving, hopeful, bittersweet and heartbreaking. Recalling a life that almost feels like you lived it yourself. Wish I could have met Mimi on the road selling corn. I can hear the clink of the quarters hitting the bottom of the can and smell the cows in the barn..,

5 people found this helpful

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Disappointing Story

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Characters are single dimensional and predictable

What was most disappointing about Anna Quindlen’s story?

The depressing tone of the story.

What about Brittany Pressley’s performance did you like?

Good

Did Miller's Valley inspire you to do anything?

Move on to a new book.

Any additional comments?

Not typical of this author.

3 people found this helpful

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Balance of drama, pleasantries, believability

I found this book a good balance. It was dramatic without being overly dramatic, not particularly predictable or unbelievable, a little sad and a little happy. Enjoyed it very much overall!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-03-18

A steady climb to the end

for most of the book - I didn't feel the story was moving on, it felt like treading water but it built beautifully over last few chapters - and I was left feeling quite moved and deep in thought as the story concluded.

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