The Eighth Wonder - Kimberly Young

3 stars

Nicole Benson is a self-made woman. She put herself through school, sacrificing marriage and children for her career. In the summer of 1997, at the age of 35, she finally graduated with a Ph.D. from NYU, but her life is thrust into chaos when her father, the only person she's ever leaned on emotionally, is diagnosed with terminal cancer. After fifteen years in New York City, Nicole leaves everything and everyone she knows to teach for a year in Bradford, Pennsylvania to be close to her father in nearby Buffalo. Now, trapped in tiny Bradford, she has never felt more alone in her life. . . until she meets Tom Ryan.

At 44, Tom represents what Nicole longs to be: settled, secure, and clear about his purpose and direction in life. Emotionally scarred, he and his wife of 23 years survived the death of their daughter to leukemia. Tom and Nicole's story begins as a journey of self-discovery for both of them but turns to bittersweet tragedy when their friendship becomes love. Nicole risks offering what she has never given before, her heart; and Tom has never felt happier or more conflicted when he falls in love for the second time in his life. Their lives become intertwined and changed forever when they both must face the most difficult decision of their lives. 

Dr. Kimberly Young is a licensed psychologist, an author, and a speaker on Internet addiction. Since 1995, she travels nationally speaking on the impact of the Internet on individuals and families and she has written numerous articles on Internet addiction including three recovery books, Caught in the Net, Tangled in the Web, and Breaking Free of the Web: Catholics and Internet addiction. Her latest book, Internet Addiction: A Handbook for Evaluation and Treatment published by Wiley is the first guide for mental health professionals to treat the problem. She is a professor at St. Bonaventure University and has received awards and honors for her research. She has written creatively on and off since she was eight-years-old, mainly working on poems and short stories. While recovering from retina re-attachment eye surgery, she decided to pursue her creative writing more seriously. The Eighth Wonder is her first novel.

I had very mixed feelings about this book. There were parts that I really liked and parts that I was turned off by.
So I will start with the good. This story takes place in historic Bradford, PA. My husband works in the "Oilfield" in PA so reading about PA was great for me. There was so much history in this book. She wrote all about the Kinzua Bridge, and the park around it. All this was done very well. She was very descriptive when telling about hiking up to the bridge and taking pictures. I just loved this whole part and could have easily read a whole book about it.
"The Kinzua bridge was built in1812, and was once dubbed The Eighth Wonder of the World," Tom said as he pointed to the bridge. "Upon completion, it was the world's tallest and longest railroad bridge, 301 feet high and 2,053 feet long."
"Actually, in 1977, the Kinzua Bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks."
I learned so much while reading this book! And I thank the author for that. When I told my husband that I was reading a book about Bradford and the bridge He said "Oh yeah, I know all about that bridge. It was destroyed by a tornado I think."

Unfortunately I didn't care for either of the main characters. I never warmed up to Nicole. I don't really know why. Maybe I just will always hate "the other woman" since I was a wife that had been cheated on (years ago with my ex.). This whole scenario just rubbed me the wrong way. I have read books about infidelity before and they are either funny or make the "other woman" seem like a tramp. But this book almost made it seem like it was ok. And I was not OK with that! I was really hoping that the wife would find out and shoot her, LOL.
The other thing that was a real turn off for me was Nicole smoked and if that was not enough, Tom used snuff (chewing tobacco) - UGH! I started to like Tom and then he pulled out the snuff and I seriously just wanted to put the story down. I was done. It was such a turn off. Even if the author is a smoker I think this was a really bad choice to put it in the book.

This was the author's first novel. I do think she has promise! There were parts of this book that were done very well. I would like to see what she does for a second book.
Note to author - please leave out the smoking! I don't like it in real life, and I guess i don't like it in books either!

This is a mixed bag sort of book filled with real PA history and a forbidden love story between a woman and a married man. Despite all the differences the book and I shared, it was a well written book with great descriptions.

Thank you - Virtual Author Book Tours for sending me this book to read and review!


  1. Thanks so much for taking part in the tour and for your review.

  2. I love how different our views are on the same books. I read this and fell for the characters, and was actually happy that the wife didn't find out about the affair, because that seems so overplayed as an angle in stories about infidelity. Though I can definitely see why you had the feelings you did about the characters and their affair.

    I agree with you on the smoking and the snuff, I didn't like that either.

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