The Goddesses
The Descendants meets Single White Female in this captivating novel about a woman who moves her family to Hawaii, only to find herself wrapped up in a dangerous friendship, from the celebrated author of We Could Be Beautiful.When Nancy and her family arrive in Kona, Hawaii, they are desperate for a fresh start. Nancy's husband has cheated on her; they sleep in separate bedrooms and their twin sons have been acting out, setting off illegal fireworks. But Hawaii is paradise: they plant an orange tree in the yard; they share a bed once again and Nancy resolves to make a happy life for herself. She starts taking a yoga class and there she meets Ana, the charismatic teacher. Ana has short, black hair, a warm smile, and a hard-won wisdom that resonates deeply within Nancy. They are soon spending all their time together, sharing dinners, relaxing in Ana's hot tub, driving around Kona in the cute little car Ana helps Nancy buy. As Nancy grows closer and closer to Ana skipping family dinners and leaving the twins to their own devices she feels a happiness and understanding unlike anything she's ever experienced, and she knows that she will do anything Ana asks of her. A mesmerizing story of friendship and manipulation set against the idyllic tropical world of the Big Island, The Goddesses is a stunning psychological novel by one of our most exciting young writers.

The Goddesses Details

TitleThe Goddesses
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 25th, 2017
PublisherDoubleday Books
ISBN0385542216
ISBN-139780385542210
Number of pages320 pages
Rating
GenreFiction, Adult Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Adult, Psychological Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Contemporary

The Goddesses Review

  • Sam
    February 4, 2017
    WHAT DID I JUST READ? To get right to it: after finishing The Goddesses, I had two main reactions:-I wish Huntley had gone full "Single White Female" in the end and taken the crazy to 11 rather than a lukewarm embrace in the climax-Why does this book exist, why did I keep reading this, and who would I ever recommend it to?Rarely am I stumped for words when trying to review a book. Yet my reactions while reading Swan Huntley's The Goddesses vacillated between the following: being irritated by and WHAT DID I JUST READ? To get right to it: after finishing The Goddesses, I had two main reactions:-I wish Huntley had gone full "Single White Female" in the end and taken the crazy to 11 rather than a lukewarm embrace in the climax-Why does this book exist, why did I keep reading this, and who would I ever recommend it to?Rarely am I stumped for words when trying to review a book. Yet my reactions while reading Swan Huntley's The Goddesses vacillated between the following: being irritated by and empathetic to Nancy the main character; feeling tense as the deeply obsessive bond between her and Ana forms and waiting for the shoe to drop; disappointment and disgust as certain twists I saw coming miles away so wasn't caught off guard or surprised by anything in the climax while Nancy is more or less oblivious until the last possible moment; not caring at all about a late reveal of a critical moment from Nancy's past in the epilogue. This is a 2 star read for me: I didn't completely dislike it, but it really did not work for me in terms of plot or characterization, and I might have given it a higher rating if the climax had gone as full on absurdly insane as the rest of the book. But ultimately I was left wondering why I had read the whole thing, so I can't even say I was entertained.Huntley is not a bad writer, even if her observational style is not one I typically gravitate towards. The real issue is that the entire conceit is absurd and yet it doesn't go far enough. It's fluffy and dark at the same time; it needed to choose a side and stick to it. Huntley is striking this middle path between a tale of a grifter glomming onto a broken woman and a slow psychological build versus two women becoming dangerously obsessed with each other and leading to horrifying results. But with a foot in each camp it doesn't go far enough either way for me. Ana is crazy, both of the like a fox and batshit variety - we see her instability and dishonesty and dark currents early on - but she's also not quite crazy enough in thinking about her actions at the end. Nancy is a blank slate, homemaker undone by a philandering spouse, insecure and trying to reinvent herself with her family's move to Hawaii. She's mildly dim and though Huntley purports for her and Ana to share similar backgrounds of hardship that had vastly different outcomes, Nancy never once gets an inkling of the wolf in sheep's clothing, in this case yoga pants, that Ana is. And while I could have occasional empathy for Nancy, her negligence of her teenage twins, her lack of a defined personality, and her immediate adoption of Ana to the exclusion of all else made her more irritating and unlikable than empathetic. Unlikable characters can be very compelling reading material and subjects, but this was not the good kind of unlikable where you're desperate to read more about them; rather the kind of unlikable where I questioned why I was continuing to swipe the pages at all. For the depth of Nancy's feeling/obsession for Ana and upending of her life to accommodate and cater to Ana, I was expecting a more emotional reaction from her at the conclusion. And because the climax was a letdown, I was all the more cranky to have continued with a story and characters I wasn't responding to much only to be left empty handed in terms of meeting my expectations.Most of the side characters are unmemorable or very limited. Chuck is the drunk husband who feels bad about cheating on Nancy but also is in a hurry to just put everything back together with a new Hawaiian sheen. I actually liked Chuck and Nancy's twins, who deserved far better from their parents during this Hawaiian period, but liking them just put into greater focus both parent's negligence, and made me freshly irritated with Nancy for thinking it was a remotely good idea to expose her children to Ana. I did like though that Huntley is making a not so subtle point about trying to outrun one's past or pain: Hawaii may be paradise in a sense but there's nothing that will let Nancy, Chuck or Ana truly escape what hurts and haunts them from the mainland. And as much as Ana swings between perpetuating her good and bad karma, she'll always be hung up on her past, her misfortunes, and the unfairness of it all. Huntley's idea rang true, but it wasn't large enough to make up for the larger missteps, unlikeable and boring characters, and lack of real thrill or fire or action right when things were finally in place to capitalize on the tension. I would not recommend The Goddesses overall: even if there were ok elements, I really don't know who they would appeal to and who I would recommend this to. Not all books are for me: this one most asssuredly was not. I hope other readers have a better experience with it!On a final note, if this hadn't been set in Hawaii, I probably would have never picked it up. Hawaii is my favorite place on Earth, the one destination I've visited most often and spent the most time, and so I do like to read fiction (or nonfiction) set in Hawaii. If you're looking for Hawaiian set fiction (and non), here are some other things to look at instead: Moloka'i, This Is Paradise: Stories, Diamond Head, From Here to Eternity, The Three-Year Swim Club: The Untold Story of Maui's Sugar Ditch Kids and Their Quest for Olympic Glory-received an ARC on edelweiss thanks to Doubleday
    more
  • Angie
    June 19, 2017
    Enough with the bad reviews! This is a brilliant book, and has a lot to offer, especially on a deeper level. That seems to be a strength of author Swan Huntley, the ability to write from inside someone's mind, their soul even. Nancy is a woman who's had her heart broken, and, not to sound cliche, is having a mid-life crisis of sorts. She feels unwanted, unneeded, and wonders if she even likes herself at all. When her family moves to Hawaii for a change of scenery, she vows to make changes in her Enough with the bad reviews! This is a brilliant book, and has a lot to offer, especially on a deeper level. That seems to be a strength of author Swan Huntley, the ability to write from inside someone's mind, their soul even. Nancy is a woman who's had her heart broken, and, not to sound cliche, is having a mid-life crisis of sorts. She feels unwanted, unneeded, and wonders if she even likes herself at all. When her family moves to Hawaii for a change of scenery, she vows to make changes in herself. She's a vulnerable character, and we see into her and get a peek at her innermost thoughts, feelings. Feelings many of us have had ourselves. On her route of self-discovery, she meets two women who are potential new friends: one a bit boring and one more exotic and exciting. She embarks into a close relationship with one which seems amazing initially, but how long will that last? Is Ana everything she claims to be? Are we able to see when things become toxic in our own lives? As the reader, you want to at times shake certain characters and make them see what you see. But as in life, people learn best when they experience it themselves. How often do we as people not see the value in what is in front of us? In what we have already? Forever looking for something better, something More. This is an insightful, different read, and I invite you to read it with the open mind and heart it deserves. I hate that many readers didn't receive what this book has to offer. **Huge thanks to Doubleday and NetGalley for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest, unbiased review!**
    more
  • Holly B
    April 19, 2017
    I previously read Swan Huntley's first novel, We Could Be Beautiful and I loved it so much that I was excited to read this next novel . WCBB had lots of twists and wasn't predictable. This one didn't really capture my interest and I didn't find that I liked any of the characters. I almost gave up on it several times, but wanted to "give" it a chance. I was underwhelmed when it came to twists and overall plot. The ending was just not interesting/thrilling and it left me feeling unsatisfied. On a I previously read Swan Huntley's first novel, We Could Be Beautiful and I loved it so much that I was excited to read this next novel . WCBB had lots of twists and wasn't predictable. This one didn't really capture my interest and I didn't find that I liked any of the characters. I almost gave up on it several times, but wanted to "give" it a chance. I was underwhelmed when it came to twists and overall plot. The ending was just not interesting/thrilling and it left me feeling unsatisfied. On a good note, I did enjoy the setting of Hawaii and the plot did pick up toward the end. She is a talented writer, but it fell flat for me. It is an easy read if you are looking for something light.Thank you to netgalley and publisher for my arc Publication date 7/25/2017
    more
  • Leah Bayer
    December 22, 2016
    3, maybe 3.5 stars. Really like 3.25I feel like recently I have read a lot of sophomore books from authors where I enjoyed their debut work a lot. But, for various reasons, the second work of theirs never seems to quite live up. Universal Harvester, Swimming Lessons, The Fire Child... all books I just didn't love quite as much as the author's first. And, sadly, The Goddesses falls into that category. I really enjoyed Huntley's first book, We Could Be Beautiful: it was kind of amazingly fun given 3, maybe 3.5 stars. Really like 3.25I feel like recently I have read a lot of sophomore books from authors where I enjoyed their debut work a lot. But, for various reasons, the second work of theirs never seems to quite live up. Universal Harvester, Swimming Lessons, The Fire Child... all books I just didn't love quite as much as the author's first. And, sadly, The Goddesses falls into that category. I really enjoyed Huntley's first book, We Could Be Beautiful: it was kind of amazingly fun given the themes and content. I was hoping for more of the same here. I do wonder if it's because authors have a lot of time to perfect and hone their first work while shopping it around, but there's such a push to get out a second novel in 1-2 years that the sophomore work is much more rushed. Anyway, onto the actual book in question! Nancy, our protagonist, could not be any more different from WCBB's Catherine. Nancy is an overweight, overworked mother of twin boys. Her husband has an affair, and they decide to move to Hawaii for a 'fresh start.' While there, Nancy becomes friends with her eccentric yoga teacher Ana and things kind of spiral out of control.I do love stories about destructive female friendships, and that aspect of the book was great. Nancy and Ana have an instant connection, but the reader can tell that something is not quite right from the very beginning. Nancy is alone and vulnerable, and Ana clearly has more to her than meets the eye. Nancy's increasingly bad decisions do make sense because Huntley takes the time to make us really know her: like in WCBB, the first-person narration is wonderfully done. Nancy is a complex, deep character. By the end of the book you really feel that you know and sympathize with her, even if she isn't the best person in the world. Then again, who is?My main problem here is similar to the one I had with WCBB. There's a lot of heavy-handed foreshadowing that shit is eventually going to go down with Ana, and I felt like the character-driven parts of the book were much better than the ~what's going to happen~ mystery elements. It went a little off the rails at the end: this is a domestic drama, and the action gets much bigger than what I expected at the climax. It almost didn't fit the tone of the book, and I was quite disappointed at how quickly and neatly things are resolved. There's basically this slow but huge buildup to a big event, and when it finally happens there's like 30 pages where we get a neat wrapped-in-a-bow ending. That doesn't mean that it has a good ending in terms of how things wrap up for the characters, but it felt very neat and this is a messy book. Messy in a good way: we're in the middle of the mess Nancy has made of her life, and the clean conclusion was such a tonal shift. Though the setting (Hawaii vs NYC) and main characters (image-obsessed single woman vs dowdy middle class mom) couldn't be more different, this is indeed very similar to WCBB in a lot of ways. There's snarky humor, a lot of character-driven drama, great first person narration, a backburner mystery, flawed characters, and a focus on the mundane details of life. If you like one, you will probably like the other, but this just isn't as strong as Huntley's first novel. I wasn't as compelled by Nancy's story, and I think the ending needed quite a bit of editing before this went to press.[arc provided by netgalley in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own]
    more
  • AnisaAnne
    June 28, 2017
    3.5 Stars.The island of Hawaii is the perfect place to restart a new life. Across the Pacific, Nancy can wash away the past of her husband's infidelity and her subsequent insecurities. With a fresh start in Kona, Nancy decides to focus on her health and appearance. With her children in school and a working husband, Nancy has some free time and takes up yoga. Ana, the yoga teacher, becomes a fast friend and helps Nan finds her true self. But did she find more than she bargained? The more time she 3.5 Stars.The island of Hawaii is the perfect place to restart a new life. Across the Pacific, Nancy can wash away the past of her husband's infidelity and her subsequent insecurities. With a fresh start in Kona, Nancy decides to focus on her health and appearance. With her children in school and a working husband, Nancy has some free time and takes up yoga. Ana, the yoga teacher, becomes a fast friend and helps Nan finds her true self. But did she find more than she bargained? The more time she spends with Ana, the less time Nan spends with her family. Nan and Ana quickly develop a destructive relationship entangled in lies and secrets.The story in set in the lush and tropical setting of Kona and Swan Huntly takes us on vacation. This part of the narrative I enjoyed. However, I could not connect with the main character Nan. In the first few pages, Nancy's raw emotion is displayed in a stream of consciousness. The account was repetitive and difficult to read. Once I got through the rambling, the story started to capture my interest. Nancy, highly critical of herself, seeks not only to loose the forever "five pounds" but shake up her everyday routine. I think that some people can relate to Nancy's vulnerability at one point or another in their lives. Who has not thought about losing a few pounds or wanting to change the way their lives look? The friendship with Ana vividly exposes the layers of Nancy making her somewhat likable. But as Nan gains a superiority type confidence we start to see that it is the same insecure Nancy from San Diego. This unappealing trait is shown from the outset and is amplified with Nancy's constant undermining of her husband and friends. These flaws prevented me from truly engaging with the character. Nan is just generally unappealing. I do have another bonified criticism of the novel which made me take the rating down to three stars. Initially, I was drawn to this story for its comparison of "Single White Female." The plot had some intensity, but I was less convinced as Ana emerged as disingenuous and an annoyance throughout the pages. Ana was unlikable and two-dimensional. The Goddesses is not a complicated story but it was entertaining. After all, I do watch the Real Housewives with great pleasure and with the same criticism. I would recommend this book with the above caveat.Thank you Netgalley and Doubleday Books for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
    more
  • Elaine
    April 28, 2017
    I disliked Ms. Huntley's debut We Could Be Beautiful more so for the ridiculous plot and less for the shallow, hollow, empty characters because I'm a native New Yorker. I've pretty much seen and met them all.When I won a copy of The Goddesses from a Goodreads Giveaway, I was excited because Duh! It's a free book! That meant I came into this with no expectations, no assumptions, no likelihood and no chance of me actually, possibly perhaps enjoying this.And I was right. And I do love it when I I disliked Ms. Huntley's debut We Could Be Beautiful more so for the ridiculous plot and less for the shallow, hollow, empty characters because I'm a native New Yorker. I've pretty much seen and met them all.When I won a copy of The Goddesses from a Goodreads Giveaway, I was excited because Duh! It's a free book! That meant I came into this with no expectations, no assumptions, no likelihood and no chance of me actually, possibly perhaps enjoying this.And I was right. And I do love it when I'm right.I don't know what's worse; the dull, boring characters no one likes or cares about. No one is hateable, just not interesting. No one is particularly bright, or diabolical, treacherous or kind. They're just...you know, blah. I definitely didn't want to have dinner with any of these morons (and you won't either). I liked Ana more than I like Nancy but that's a weak like to begin with. Once again, adultering does poke its ugly head here but its more of a side note here, a reminder of why Nancy's husband is a stupid dickhead.Then, there's the thriller aspect or lack of one. Nothing happens, and when it does, it occurs as a blurb, a bump in the night (pun intended) and then...nada. Nothing. Happens. Nothing is resolved, nothing climatic, nothing traumatic, just...nothing. A big 'ol goose egg.And that pretty much sums up this book. It's nothing you want to read about.The only plus: the gorgeous setting of Hawaii. But nothing could save this book. But you can save yourself from reading it! Run for your life!
    more
  • Nikiverse
    June 12, 2017
    Nancy is a stay-at-home housewife and her husband Chuck works at Costco. Chuck has recently cheated on Nancy so they decide to move to Hawaii (with their two sons) to start a new chapter in their life. Nancy starts taking yoga with Ana (pronounced On-a). Ana starts calling Nancy "Nan" and they start to hang out in a jacuzzi and hand out sandwiches to homeless people in their personal crusade to feel better about themselves (Sandwich Sistahs, holla). Nan starts leaning out and dressing boho chic Nancy is a stay-at-home housewife and her husband Chuck works at Costco. Chuck has recently cheated on Nancy so they decide to move to Hawaii (with their two sons) to start a new chapter in their life. Nancy starts taking yoga with Ana (pronounced On-a). Ana starts calling Nancy "Nan" and they start to hang out in a jacuzzi and hand out sandwiches to homeless people in their personal crusade to feel better about themselves (Sandwich Sistahs, holla). Nan starts leaning out and dressing boho chic while she rolls her eyes about her other stay-at-home housewife friends who are still dressing in mumus and 10# overweight. As they story progresses, Nan starts bail out on her family by hanging out with Ana instead (and LIES about it for no god-damned reason). Without spoiling the book - Ana starts to have serious trouble in her life and, as a result, Nancy helps Ana. Ana does some bullsh*t to which Nan responds by shrugging her shoulders and "going with the flow." I hate the characters. Nancy's reactions didn't make sense. Her choices didn't make sense and she's a horrible representation of a 40-something mother trying to get her groove back. She lies or omits the truth from her family ("I settled on a half-lie"), she does not protect them, she runs from her problems, and has little to no meaningful growth throughout the book. She's also judgmental af. EXAMPLES Nancy is making leis with another housewife and comments how her friend "pushed her small wire-framed glasses up her big nose." Un-necessary. Making leis with the other housewives: "I eyed the other women and thought they were homely. And very serious about their leis- almost sadly serious, because this was obviously the highlight of their day. I may have felt a little superior knowing it would not be the highlight of mine. I may have noted that my laid-back position in the chair and my who-cares workout attire suggested I had a life beyond stringing flowers. I may have also noted that everyone at the table had covered their flabby middle-aged arms with distracting floral fabrics while my shoulders were proudly exposed." Nancy on her husband, Chuck: "On the side of the pool, Coach Iona with his hands on his knees said something to Jed [their son], and Jed untied his cap and smacked it on the concrete. Great, anger is inherited. Or learned. Either way, it was Chuck's fault." Dude can't fucking win. Then, towards the end of the book, her son has a pretty life-changing experience (as a result of Nancy's choices), and Nancy seems to want to parent the child WITH the child and not include the father in the conversation. "Are you going to tell Dad?""No," I said. "You're an adult [this is false, btw]. You choose what you want to tell your dad." Nancy lies or omits the truth during the WHOLE book. She never calls herself out on her own bullshit. This whole book is #whitepeopleproblems and has no soul. I can not wait to delete it off my Kindle.EDIT: I got this book for free via netgalley bc I liked the book cover, so some of these quotes might not be accurate to the final copy. Maybe the author changed the whole book and it's not god-awful anymore too.
    more
  • MaryAnn
    June 2, 2017
    I finished this book and all I could think was WTH did I just read? Then I pondered what I was going to say in this review. I waited a day to let it sink in and to figure out what I wanted to say.I never read Ms. Huntley's first novel so I can't compare the two as some reviewers are doing. This is the first I've read by her and I'm just shaking my head. How in the world did "Nan" as she came to call herself not see what a huge, stinking mess her life was turning into? Hawaii was supposed to be t I finished this book and all I could think was WTH did I just read? Then I pondered what I was going to say in this review. I waited a day to let it sink in and to figure out what I wanted to say.I never read Ms. Huntley's first novel so I can't compare the two as some reviewers are doing. This is the first I've read by her and I'm just shaking my head. How in the world did "Nan" as she came to call herself not see what a huge, stinking mess her life was turning into? Hawaii was supposed to be the big reset button in this family's life, in Nan's marriage and in the very unwise choices her sons had been making. Instead everything ran off the rails and evidently Nan was oblivious.How anyone can suddenly spend the night at a friend's home that has only been a friend a short time, leaving her teenagers that have been known to burn things and break the law and her husband who has again succumbed to his nemesis alcohol, is beyond me.There was such a heavy hand with the foreshadowing in this novel that I almost quit reading several times. Anyone could see where it was going, but I kept thinking there had to be some redeeming feature ahead of me. I mean, the book made it to publication, right? The utter lack of consequences really irritated me. All the things that were done in this book that were illegal and there just were no consequences at all. I know you have to get an ending in place, but did you have to ignore all that went before or just turn it into a minor thing?I'm sorry, really sorry, to have to leave a review like this, but people should know what they're getting into before they purchase this book. I appreciate the fact that Netgalley, the publishers and the author made the early reader copy available. I just wish I had liked it.
    more
  • Sarah (Books Before Bandaids)
    May 19, 2017
    Hawaii seems like the perfect place to start over for Nancy whose personal life is in shambles; so, when Ana, a yoga teacher, offers friendship and understanding, Nancy dives in. Soon Ana and Nancy are inseparable, but the manipulation that underlies their friendship has dangerous undertones for everyone. The twists and turns of the plot were intriguing, but the foreshadowing at the beginning of the narrative took away from much of the mystery. While I liked the idea of the paradise of Hawaii ve Hawaii seems like the perfect place to start over for Nancy whose personal life is in shambles; so, when Ana, a yoga teacher, offers friendship and understanding, Nancy dives in. Soon Ana and Nancy are inseparable, but the manipulation that underlies their friendship has dangerous undertones for everyone. The twists and turns of the plot were intriguing, but the foreshadowing at the beginning of the narrative took away from much of the mystery. While I liked the idea of the paradise of Hawaii versus the lack of perfection in the characters’ lives, it was jarring to read a book set in Hawaii that didn’t feature any of the diversity that Hawaii is so well known for or the language correctly. The flawed characters were what initially drew me to this story, but they felt hollow, as if their pasts were a little too obvious. Nancy’s immediate love of Ana and ability to ignore everyone else was hard to grasp especially with her reaction to the ending of the story. This flat reaction felt like it was a common occurrence throughout the story and made it less believable for me, especially with the character driven plot. Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
    more
  • Rebecca
    May 26, 2017
    I'm not sure why I disagree so much with other reviewers, but I actually loved this book. I loved reading about the setting in Hawaii, and I felt that the main character, Nancy, to be very identifiable. The toxic relationship she developed with Ana was fascinating. And, I found the ending to be a realistic take on what could happen in this situation. This book certainly wasn't a thriller. However, the psychology behind what can happen when one is desperate for life satisfaction makes this a page I'm not sure why I disagree so much with other reviewers, but I actually loved this book. I loved reading about the setting in Hawaii, and I felt that the main character, Nancy, to be very identifiable. The toxic relationship she developed with Ana was fascinating. And, I found the ending to be a realistic take on what could happen in this situation. This book certainly wasn't a thriller. However, the psychology behind what can happen when one is desperate for life satisfaction makes this a page turner!I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.
    more
  • Aisling
    March 14, 2017
    I received an advance reading copy of this title- I picked it because my goal for the year is to focus on books written by women. I also liked the idea that the book incorporated elements of yoga (I'm a teacher) and I liked the idea of the Hawaiian setting. The cover is beautiful. I gave the book 3 stars because the ending was clear from the commencement of the novel and the characters weren't as rich as I wanted them to be. As a yoga teacher, the actual representation of yoga was interesting in I received an advance reading copy of this title- I picked it because my goal for the year is to focus on books written by women. I also liked the idea that the book incorporated elements of yoga (I'm a teacher) and I liked the idea of the Hawaiian setting. The cover is beautiful. I gave the book 3 stars because the ending was clear from the commencement of the novel and the characters weren't as rich as I wanted them to be. As a yoga teacher, the actual representation of yoga was interesting in the beginning but largely fell away in the middle of the book and was entirely absent by the end, which was a pity because yoga would be a useful narrative tool to push forward on a journey of self-knowledge. Some of the writing here feels a little clunky- very dramatic in places but in these places the descriptions fall by the wayside in order to rush the narrative. I found the last few pages quite bemusing and the effort at pathetic fallacy didn't quite catch my imagination. The author often explains that the town the book is based in is beautiful- but for the outsider, the actual descriptions of the beauty are non-existent. The story here is mildly interesting- family relocates from the mainland to the islands, attempting to start a new life but without addressing any of the older problems. Each of the characters is rather hard to like but that alone kept me reading- they may be detestable but they are readable. On the whole this is worth reading and is a quick, easy rush if you want something light.
    more
  • Stephanie Doyle
    February 4, 2017
    This seemed really long to me - maybe because I realized very quickly what it took the main character an eternity to get. At one point, I was like why am I still reading this? I liked the writing, but the storyline was tough in spots. It was hard to connect with or have sympathy or empathy for anyone in this book.Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition
    May 30, 2017
    I rated this book 3 stars - it was not poorly written, but the characters could have been better developed.Ana's character started out fun and fascinatingly manipulative, but instead of being diabolical, she ended up a narcissistic and immature grifter.I think the protagonist, Nancy, was overly naive and a little dumb - I mean, how dense not to be even a little suspicious of someone who wants to be instant best friends, then move into your house by saying they are dying, but becomes more and mor I rated this book 3 stars - it was not poorly written, but the characters could have been better developed.Ana's character started out fun and fascinatingly manipulative, but instead of being diabolical, she ended up a narcissistic and immature grifter.I think the protagonist, Nancy, was overly naive and a little dumb - I mean, how dense not to be even a little suspicious of someone who wants to be instant best friends, then move into your house by saying they are dying, but becomes more and more energized the longer they stay with you?Does Nancy really love Chuck, or was her ego hurt when he cheated on her?Boo hoo, it certainly is easier for poor Nancy to stay with Chuck and move to Hawaii to start over, so she can complain about that too.She didn't seem to care enough about Chuck to make it work until she decided that following around Ana on her karma tour was going nowhere.All this new self awareness apparently didn't include working to support herself. Much easier to live off her husband and pout about how unimaginative he is.I think the story would have worked better they didn't literally get away with murder and the yoga self actualization was expanded on, instead of dropped by the middle of the book.I get that they both ran away from their problems throughout​ their lives and the suburban housewife was no different than the pretty con artist from the decisions she made and the things she did. However, I didn't come away from this book feeling as if any of the characters learned anything or grew from their experience. Ana just latched on to another lonely woman and Nancy's family went back to living in the same town, in the same house and Chuck got his same job back.
    more
  • Carla
    May 13, 2017
    The Goddesses could have been a decent read if it had the raw intensity of Single White Female as the description suggests (I did not read The Descendants so I can't make comparisons). Sure, The Goddesses has Ana, a single, white, female- and it's obvious from the beginning something about her is "off," but for most of the book Ana comes off as more of an annoyance (sort of like a fly you keep swatting away but it still comes back) than crazy. When Nancy, her husband Chuck and their two boys lea The Goddesses could have been a decent read if it had the raw intensity of Single White Female as the description suggests (I did not read The Descendants so I can't make comparisons). Sure, The Goddesses has Ana, a single, white, female- and it's obvious from the beginning something about her is "off," but for most of the book Ana comes off as more of an annoyance (sort of like a fly you keep swatting away but it still comes back) than crazy. When Nancy, her husband Chuck and their two boys leave San Diego for Hawaii looking for a fresh start after Chuck's affair, Nancy meets Ana (who immediately announces her name is pronounced On-a) at yoga class. Nancy is instantly attracted to the mysterious Ana, and they begin spending time together outside of class. Even in the early stages of their friendship Ana sends up red flags that should have sent Nancy running in the opposite direction, yet Nancy is drawn to Ana like a moth to a flame. By the time Ana announces she and Nancy are "soulmates" (there are subtle references to a sexual attraction but it never goes further than a kiss), Nancy should have been thinking "Soulmates? This woman is a nut case." When Nancy does realize Ana is not the person she presents herself to be, serious damage has been done, but the story has dragged on for so long it's hard to really care. The only good things I can say about The Goddesses is that it features an "average" family (Chuck is a manager at Costco), instead of the usual upper middle class women with too much time on their hands, and the beautiful descriptions of Hawaii. Other that than, The Goddesses is one of the blandest books I've ever read.ARC from NetGalleyDoubleday books, a division of Random HouseJuly, 2017
    more
  • Jamie Holzberg / Fluff Smut & Murder
    May 4, 2017
    More reviews of my books are at www.FluffSmutandMurder.comThank you to NetGalley.com for the opportunity to read an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.So this has been touted as “The Descendants” meet “Single White Female”. Now that I’ve read the book, I’m still looking for the SFW part. To me, its more like “Lost in Translation” meets…meets…. I don’t know, maybe “The Grifters?”  I wanted to have high hopes for this book, but I feel like I was sold a bad bill of More reviews of my books are at www.FluffSmutandMurder.comThank you to NetGalley.com for the opportunity to read an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.So this has been touted as “The Descendants” meet “Single White Female”. Now that I’ve read the book, I’m still looking for the SFW part. To me, its more like “Lost in Translation” meets…meets…. I don’t know, maybe “The Grifters?”  I wanted to have high hopes for this book, but I feel like I was sold a bad bill of goods.What I loved:   I can easily pluck out the parts of the story that put a smile on my face – the beautiful, lush descriptions of Kona and the people there; the monologues Ana uses while teaching yoga are incredibly soothing and inspiring. That’s it. Nothing more.What I didn’t love:  Where do I begin? Am I more disappointed in Ana’s lies and actions? Or am I more annoyed with Nancy – how can you be so clueless about cancer?  Seriously – it was bad enough when a fake cancer plot ripped through the Real Housewives of the OC a few years ago .. As someone who’s grandmother passed away from pancreatic cancer, I was getting more heated with Nancy as the story progressed. How are you so fricken clueless?What I learned:  A snake is in no way, shape or form a lizard.Overall Grade:  C-
    more
  • Karen Crissinger
    May 16, 2017
    It's impossible to hide from reality, even in paradise. Nancy shakes up her routine housewife life and attempts to jump start her family with a move to Hawaii. But she finds that monotony can follow her anywhere, and that relationships don't change because of lava fields. Nancy struggles to find herself and her family and becomes the perfect magnet for the drama that is Ana. Through a very realistic look at a suburban wife's struggles, set against the wildly untethered life of a gypsy woman, Hun It's impossible to hide from reality, even in paradise. Nancy shakes up her routine housewife life and attempts to jump start her family with a move to Hawaii. But she finds that monotony can follow her anywhere, and that relationships don't change because of lava fields. Nancy struggles to find herself and her family and becomes the perfect magnet for the drama that is Ana. Through a very realistic look at a suburban wife's struggles, set against the wildly untethered life of a gypsy woman, Huntley creates a ying and yang of people and morals. How easy it is for a woman in need of a strong relationship to be drawn down a wicked path. How disillusioned she might become to find out that the fabulous is all smoke and mirrors...and the real relationship was right under her nose all along. Huntley writes truly believable people, set against the beauty of Hawaii. Pick up the book if you want to think hard about the meaning of trust, or if you simply need a place to escape while you ponder what changes are possible in your own life.
    more
  • Sandra
    June 29, 2017
    Nancy and her family have been having problems. How could Chuck have cheated on her? When the opportunity to transfer to Hawaii comes up, they decide a fresh start might be all they needed. They all agree that Hawaii is beautiful. How can anyone be sad in such a paradise? Nancy soon becomes close with Ana, her yoga teacher. Before too long, the closeness is too much, when Nancy becomes willing to do anything Ana asks.This is an interesting story of how people can look for happiness in the wrong Nancy and her family have been having problems. How could Chuck have cheated on her? When the opportunity to transfer to Hawaii comes up, they decide a fresh start might be all they needed. They all agree that Hawaii is beautiful. How can anyone be sad in such a paradise? Nancy soon becomes close with Ana, her yoga teacher. Before too long, the closeness is too much, when Nancy becomes willing to do anything Ana asks.This is an interesting story of how people can look for happiness in the wrong places. Happiness, after all, is not about where you are. This interesting tale shows us that happiness is what you make it. It also shows how we can learn from our experiences and, consequently, know more about how to achieve happiness. These very real characters and beautiful Hawaiian settings make this a very enjoyable read.I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
    more
  • Lindsay
    June 13, 2017
    I finished up The Goddesses last night. It was really good, but it also kind of made me mad because as I reader, I was able to see all the red flags that were happening. And I couldn't do anything about it. I wanted to reach into my iPad and shake Nancy to get her to see the light. But she chose to fall down the rabbit hole of a toxic friendship because the loneliness she faced in her life was too much for her to overcome alone. And we were all there to witness it. I kind of enjoyed being a "fly I finished up The Goddesses last night. It was really good, but it also kind of made me mad because as I reader, I was able to see all the red flags that were happening. And I couldn't do anything about it. I wanted to reach into my iPad and shake Nancy to get her to see the light. But she chose to fall down the rabbit hole of a toxic friendship because the loneliness she faced in her life was too much for her to overcome alone. And we were all there to witness it. I kind of enjoyed being a "fly on the wall" watching all the drama that went down, if I'm being honest. It was really something. Ana was a real freaking piece of work. The sad thing is, there are a million people just like Ana who manage to manipulate people in a way that makes them feel insane for questioning anything. So, I definitely recommend The Goddesses. It was very well written, the story was captivating, frustrating, but so good.
    more
  • Jane Sibley
    June 4, 2017
    What I'm sure of in this book is that it was written well and I easily finished it in a few sittings. I'm also sure that you could feel the tension building in the book and that the plot while it has been written about before had great potential and you could feel the vulnerability of the main character who just wanted to step away from her mundane life into something quite different. And how naive she was in trying to change. However this book was described as a stunning psychological novel. Th What I'm sure of in this book is that it was written well and I easily finished it in a few sittings. I'm also sure that you could feel the tension building in the book and that the plot while it has been written about before had great potential and you could feel the vulnerability of the main character who just wanted to step away from her mundane life into something quite different. And how naive she was in trying to change. However this book was described as a stunning psychological novel. That's where I was left feeling a little disappointed. While there were some crazy moments it was defiantly not a stunner. It was smart and Interesting but not really crazy which I do like. In that being said it was still a worthwhile read with lots of believable moments and a few clever twists. I could really relate to the family dramas and life changes and I felt the characters were real and engaging. Thanks to NetGalley and Doubleday for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Darlene
    May 31, 2017
    Y A W N! Think nearly break your jaw joints! And what a shame! The description made it sound like fun women finding their inner goddesses. I think their inner goddesses fled mid-book. I thought with this 'new start' taking place in Hawaii it would at least give scenery and traditions and history a good read. Alas. No. There were nods but not enough to make up for the lack of character development or plot with any interesting thing happening.I started to love the yoga instructor, but she wasn't a Y A W N! Think nearly break your jaw joints! And what a shame! The description made it sound like fun women finding their inner goddesses. I think their inner goddesses fled mid-book. I thought with this 'new start' taking place in Hawaii it would at least give scenery and traditions and history a good read. Alas. No. There were nods but not enough to make up for the lack of character development or plot with any interesting thing happening.I started to love the yoga instructor, but she wasn't allowed her own reigns. She seemed to have something going but how she would choose that boring housewife to hang with was beyond me. Neither women grew, at all. And the ending was so disappointing. It felt like the author didn't want the story to be told the way it wanted so she forced the story into strange convolutions.The only thing I like about this book is its title and description. Too bad it didn't live up to either.
    more
  • Danielle
    May 8, 2017
    Thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for the ARC to reviewI didn't completely love The Goddesses but I didn't hate it either. It's difficult for me to pen a review for a book that was predictable- I figured out the big plot twist within a few chapters of meeting Ana or On-a as the author explained many times. The main character, Nan, seems to be lost. Her husband Chuck cheated on her with a blonde named Shelly and her twin boys are in high school and don't need her much anymore. Nan is excited Thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for the ARC to reviewI didn't completely love The Goddesses but I didn't hate it either. It's difficult for me to pen a review for a book that was predictable- I figured out the big plot twist within a few chapters of meeting Ana or On-a as the author explained many times. The main character, Nan, seems to be lost. Her husband Chuck cheated on her with a blonde named Shelly and her twin boys are in high school and don't need her much anymore. Nan is excited when Chuck's job with Costco transfers him to Hawaii. The island provides a beautiful backdrop for this "OK" story. Ana is a yoga instructor with a lot of secrets. She and Nan become friends- or soul mates as Ana would have it. Then the secrets start to come out and Nan's life begins to unravel...in a totally predictable way.
    more
  • Amy Warren
    June 28, 2017
    DNF @ 15%When I receive advanced copies of books, I normally try extremely hard to finish it and give the book the benefit of the doubt even if it is losing me. However, in this case, I just could not go on anymore. I had a difficult time relating to Nancy, Chuck, Jed, Cam... pretty much anyone in this novel. I couldn't find it in myself to feel bad for Nancy or even care about what was going on. As for the writing style, I do not think it is for me. The sentences were extremely short and choppy DNF @ 15%When I receive advanced copies of books, I normally try extremely hard to finish it and give the book the benefit of the doubt even if it is losing me. However, in this case, I just could not go on anymore. I had a difficult time relating to Nancy, Chuck, Jed, Cam... pretty much anyone in this novel. I couldn't find it in myself to feel bad for Nancy or even care about what was going on. As for the writing style, I do not think it is for me. The sentences were extremely short and choppy. There were times when the sentences could have been combined with an oxford comma but weren't. I just lost interest extremely quickly in this story and I'm disappointed by that. Despite my initial interest, the book just couldn't hold it for an extended period of time.
    more
  • Pernette
    May 16, 2017
    Swan Huntley's The Goddesses was a smorgasbord of all things literary. There were contrasts of light versus dark, good versus evil, paradise versus hell. Nancy and her twin sons and husband move to Hawaii for a fresh start after Nancy learns her husband has cheated on her. She makes new friends in her yoga class. Ana and Nancy become good friends and are soon doing everything together. This psychological thriller will have you questioning the characters; their beliefs and actions. What motivates Swan Huntley's The Goddesses was a smorgasbord of all things literary. There were contrasts of light versus dark, good versus evil, paradise versus hell. Nancy and her twin sons and husband move to Hawaii for a fresh start after Nancy learns her husband has cheated on her. She makes new friends in her yoga class. Ana and Nancy become good friends and are soon doing everything together. This psychological thriller will have you questioning the characters; their beliefs and actions. What motivates a person to do what they do? And how can two people with similar circumstances turn out so different? The Goddesses is a thought provoking work of fiction. (ARC)
    more
  • Laura Edgely bishop
    May 10, 2017
    I am still questioning why I read this. Hence the three stars, it was different enough to keep me till the end. The relationship between Nancy and Ana, and Nancy and her family actually remind me of someone I know. It is a grass is greener type novel. And yes, these two women are so different and yet so the same! I loved Nancy's husband Chuck, yeah, he messed up, but if you decide to forgive, you have to make the effort. Her boys are typical 17 year old boys, rebelling because their once picture I am still questioning why I read this. Hence the three stars, it was different enough to keep me till the end. The relationship between Nancy and Ana, and Nancy and her family actually remind me of someone I know. It is a grass is greener type novel. And yes, these two women are so different and yet so the same! I loved Nancy's husband Chuck, yeah, he messed up, but if you decide to forgive, you have to make the effort. Her boys are typical 17 year old boys, rebelling because their once picture perfect family is falling apart. So, is it worth a read? Yeah, give it a go. I was given a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Ann
    June 13, 2017
    This was an okay story about new beginnings. Sometimes people think their life is in a rut and need to start anew and that's what Nancy and her family think. They move to Hawaii for their new start. Her husband has cheated, her sons are under arrest for illegal fireworks. It seems to be working for them as Nancy makes a new friend, Ana and her life becomes exciting veering away from her family. This story seemed to bog and drag a little. I liked the idea of second chances and starting over but t This was an okay story about new beginnings. Sometimes people think their life is in a rut and need to start anew and that's what Nancy and her family think. They move to Hawaii for their new start. Her husband has cheated, her sons are under arrest for illegal fireworks. It seems to be working for them as Nancy makes a new friend, Ana and her life becomes exciting veering away from her family. This story seemed to bog and drag a little. I liked the idea of second chances and starting over but this book seemed to make a big circle.
    more
  • Susan Wisnewski
    June 2, 2017
    I recevied an ARC from NetGalley for this book. Although I liked the writing style and the book was well thought out with good characteriztion and a plot that moved forward, I didn't like the story. We have a pathetic woman who lived through her husband and children only to be let down by them. They "escape" to paradise after her husband cheats on her to start over. She finds a new friend and tries to live through her. Didn't work the first time, not going to work the second. I hate weak women i I recevied an ARC from NetGalley for this book. Although I liked the writing style and the book was well thought out with good characteriztion and a plot that moved forward, I didn't like the story. We have a pathetic woman who lived through her husband and children only to be let down by them. They "escape" to paradise after her husband cheats on her to start over. She finds a new friend and tries to live through her. Didn't work the first time, not going to work the second. I hate weak women in books.
    more
  • Angela Mcvay
    June 10, 2017
    Wow! I really enjoyed this psychological thriller about Nan and her family who move to Hawaii from San Diego for a fresh start when her husband Chuck is offered a job transfer. Nan makes fast friends with Ana, her yoga instructor, which quickly turns into a sisterhood and then into something more dark. I was on the edge of my seat as the friendship got deeper and then spun out of control. Thank you Netgalley for this ARC in exchanged for an unbiased review.
    more
  • Stella
    June 1, 2017
    Look. You can't promise me "Single White Female" and give me....this. The Goddesses is the very tepid story about escape and obsession. However, Nancy, our lead character, is kind of dim and was too blind to see what was going to happen with Ana. The lush setting of Hawaii provided a nice backdrop, but in the end, this story fell flat.Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for this review.
    more
  • Dorothea
    June 1, 2017
    I received a copy of "The Goddesses" from NetGalley for an honest review. I wish to thank NetGalley, Random House LLC, and Swan Huntley for the opportunity to read this book.This book was just average to me. It was a very easy read and would be a perfect book for by the pool on a summer day. The story was just okay with nothing spectacular to it.I would recommend, but not highly.
    more
  • Teresa
    May 28, 2017
    The description that likens this book to "Single White Female" is spot on, so I don't think that I can elaborate much more than that. I didn't read Huntley's previous book and this book didn't really captivate me like I had hoped but I would be interested in reading more from her. Thanks to Random House for the ARC!
    more
Write a review