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The Actor

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Beth McHugh's brilliant debut novel takes place in the late 1960s in a Montana university town, and it revolves around thirteen-year-old Grace, her younger sister Franny, their beautiful mother, their beloved father--and a secret that must be confronted. Perceptive and elegantly understated, The Actor examines the divide between secrecy and truth and what it means to grow Beth McHugh's brilliant debut novel takes place in the late 1960s in a Montana university town, and it revolves around thirteen-year-old Grace, her younger sister Franny, their beautiful mother, their beloved father--and a secret that must be confronted. Perceptive and elegantly understated, The Actor examines the divide between secrecy and truth and what it means to grow up on such a precipice. McHugh received an MFA from the University of Montana and teaches high school English in Hamilton, Montana, where she lives with her husband. The Actor was the runaway winner for the inaugural Meadowlark Award. Praise for The Actor: "The Actor is breathtaking in its elegance, precision, and beauty. It is a multi-layered love story, and it cracks your heart; it opens your eyes. Beth McHugh is a wizard of perception. She has fashioned a fine, true thing. Read this book, please." - Deirdre McNamer, author of Red Rover, My Russian, and Rima in the Weeds


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Beth McHugh's brilliant debut novel takes place in the late 1960s in a Montana university town, and it revolves around thirteen-year-old Grace, her younger sister Franny, their beautiful mother, their beloved father--and a secret that must be confronted. Perceptive and elegantly understated, The Actor examines the divide between secrecy and truth and what it means to grow Beth McHugh's brilliant debut novel takes place in the late 1960s in a Montana university town, and it revolves around thirteen-year-old Grace, her younger sister Franny, their beautiful mother, their beloved father--and a secret that must be confronted. Perceptive and elegantly understated, The Actor examines the divide between secrecy and truth and what it means to grow up on such a precipice. McHugh received an MFA from the University of Montana and teaches high school English in Hamilton, Montana, where she lives with her husband. The Actor was the runaway winner for the inaugural Meadowlark Award. Praise for The Actor: "The Actor is breathtaking in its elegance, precision, and beauty. It is a multi-layered love story, and it cracks your heart; it opens your eyes. Beth McHugh is a wizard of perception. She has fashioned a fine, true thing. Read this book, please." - Deirdre McNamer, author of Red Rover, My Russian, and Rima in the Weeds

30 review for The Actor

  1. 4 out of 5

    Andrew C.

    I was fortunate to receive this debut novel in a Goodreads giveaway. I see that there are no prior reviews of this book on Goodreads, and this is a very difficult book to review but I will give it a try. Author Beth Hunter McHugh writes beautifully. She captures the atmosphere of a small Montana college town perfectly. The characters, featuring two pre-teen sisters, and their parents, classmates and neighbors are very well-developed. You feel the emotions of growing up with family quirks or I was fortunate to receive this debut novel in a Goodreads giveaway. I see that there are no prior reviews of this book on Goodreads, and this is a very difficult book to review but I will give it a try. Author Beth Hunter McHugh writes beautifully. She captures the atmosphere of a small Montana college town perfectly. The characters, featuring two pre-teen sisters, and their parents, classmates and neighbors are very well-developed. You feel the emotions of growing up with family quirks or challenges on every page, told through the eyes of the older of the two sisters. The book was building and building and the pages kept turning and turning, but the actual plot was slow in developing. There are secrets involved that the author hints at. I was most disappointed by the conclusion. More accurately, I am confused by the conclusion and the lack of clear resolution to what happens to the lives of all the principals involved in this book. I will look to future reviews and discussion about this book for guidance.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lee Parker

    I received a copy of this for free through Goodreads First Reads This was a very well written book. I think it could have been better if there was a little more point of view of the parents. At the end I really didn't know what happened. I know thats the way it would seem to the two children who the book centers around, but personally I would like to know how each character was feeling at the end.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rose Blum

    Interesting and realistic.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cara Orban

    Beautifully written book about the ways people respond to loneliness and finding our place in the world.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chris LaTray

  6. 5 out of 5

    Fran Milano

  7. 4 out of 5

    Barb

  8. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

  9. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

  10. 4 out of 5

    Beth McHugh

  11. 5 out of 5

    Martha

  12. 4 out of 5

    Stevie Chaffin

  13. 5 out of 5

    Gina

  14. 5 out of 5

    Eivor Pfannkuch

  15. 5 out of 5

    Micky Smith

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sally McHugh

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jen Caton

  18. 5 out of 5

    Becky

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lee

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Cauble

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Beck

  22. 5 out of 5

    Phyllis Dorrington

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joselyn Viera

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jeannine

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie B. Warne

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dee Ann

  27. 4 out of 5

    Margyk

  28. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  29. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte Padgett

  30. 4 out of 5

    Roger W

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