The following customer reviews of Our Orbit were voluntarily posted at Amazon.com. None were written by relatives of the author, nor were inducements provided for any review. Our Orbit currently has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.
Great book – totally engrossing
Posted on April 11, 2015
Great book, a really fast read. Was hard to put this one down. You find yourself very invested in the characters. The last time a book like this went so fast I was reading Kingsolver.
Posted on April 10, 2015
When I began reading Our Orbit, I thought I’d get an insight into the more conservative side of American country life. I got that, and so much more. It’s clear that everyone has a point of view, understandable from where they sit, and the way Miller weaves the characters together is masterful. The story had such momentum — I couldn’t put the book down.
A fresh voice emerges to tell our universal stories…
Posted on June 24, 2015
A fresh, remarkable novel about a family’s struggle to come to terms with their differences and similarities. I was moved, over and over again, by the author’s compassion and understanding and her thoughtful point of view on the human condition. As a professional librarian, I see many new novels, and this one is outstanding for it’s original voice and universal themes.
If you like Sue Miller or Sue Monk Kidd or Anne Lamott, you will enjoy Orbit tremendously. This author is the new Edna Ferber, looking at the American Experience with timely insight and clarity and an abiding kindness. The perfect summer read!
A Blockbuster of a Story!
By “Kazzmoss” on June 24, 2015
This is a blockbuster of a story and weaves into the lives of two families, the Winslows and the Fletchers. The Winslows have broken down through tragedy and criminality and the Fletchers attempts to fix them by fostering one of their children. The two soon become interlinked with the rest of the Winslow clan.
Miller tells a story that draws you in and you find yourself become heavily involved with so many different and rich characters.
Both families are religious, one to the point of being fanatical. I loved the way the story slowly unfolded as each page brought a new saga that made me want to keep going to find out what happened next.
The characters charmed me and the descriptions took me to the places I had never been. At times I felt like I was part of the family, too. They made me laugh and cry as they dealt with problems of growing up, teenagers, drinking and relationships.
Miller is a great storyteller and Our Orbit is a truly recommended read.
A Strong Story About Characters You Can Believe In
Posted on May 6, 2015
The Culture Wars: Red versus blue, urban versus rural, religious versus secular. Or so the media over the last couple of decades would have you believe. Anesa Miller doesn’t buy into this simple view of contemporary American culture. In Our Orbit, her first novel, events throw people with distinct cultural differences together – how these interactions play out are neither simple nor predictable.
Neither are the characters themselves. The Winslow siblings are brought up under the influence of a fundamentalist father, but none are identical in how their father has affected them – only the confused Josh attempts to stay loyal to his upbringing. The true moral anchor of the novel is Rick and Deanne Fletcher, whose foster parenting of Miriam Winslow puts them in unavoidable contact with the other members of her family. The Fletchers are neither a secular nor a liberal counterpoint to the Winslow clan. Rather, they are a moderate and thoughtful voice in the face of challenging interactions. These challenges extend to Deanne Fletcher’s parents, particularly her mother.
The narrative of Our Orbit deftly propels forward, bouncing from Winslow to Fletcher, sometimes enacting the same scene from two or more viewpoints. This may be Anesa Miller’s first novel, but her storytelling skills are finely tuned. It is a character driven tale, by characters that realistically evolve throughout the book. Never predictable, always truthful in its belief in people, Our Orbit is an engaging and rewarding read.
Posted on July 28, 2014
If you enjoy a good psychological drama, Anesa Miller’s Our Orbit is sure to please. Her characters are complex and well-developed. I couldn’t help falling love with little Miriam and feel for her family—both of them. Miller paints a believable situation, which she develops gradually from a tense set of circumstances until it escalates with conflict that keeps pages turning.
Miller addresses some real issues when faith goes wrong, as in the case of Miriam’s brother Josh and his extremism. The author also delves into the psyche of Miriam’s sister, Rachelle, who grapples with the consequences of deviating too far from her upbringing. All of this is against the backdrop of the dynamics of Merriam’s foster family who tries to support and show respect for Merriam’s religious and familial background while trying to make sense of their own spiritual choices.
While this novel delves into a lot of religious ideologies, it does not come across as preachy or as if the author is supporting or disrespecting any particular viewpoint. It’s much more about the characters—their motivations and longings—than it is about religion. I found this story engaging and thought-provoking and highly recommend it.
Not All Constellations Are of the Heavenly Nature
By Tennessee Reader on July 22, 2014
The author has an uncanny ability to paint vivid images of characters and their environs that come alive on the written page that serves as her canvas. The “earthy” constellations of the author’s characters revolve around families that are smitten with secrets, tragedies, and acts of loving devotion – to both kin and stranger.
This book is a must and engaging read as the author introduces a cast of interwoven characters shaped and formed by families of origin, religious fundamentalism, and the existential struggle of what it means to be an individual and part of a family immersed in dysfunction. Yet, the reader is privy to more than the orbits of independent characters. The author invites the reader to step back from the action and observe the collisions and near collisions as the individuals follow trajectories both chosen and imposed.
Filled with plots and subplots, the reader will want to finish the book as soon as possible. The only disappointment is that the story must conclude. However, I still find myself thinking about the characters that seem like the embodiment of my own kin and acquaintances.
Looking for A Good Read? Read this!!!
Posted on July 19, 2014
In her debut novel, Anesa Miller takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the seasons of the lives of two families. The trip is by turns harrowing and heartening. The author’s prose evokes the natural beauty of Ohio as she illuminates the joys and pathos of family life.
The story opens in winter, early in the new year and is told in part from the point of view of Miriam Winslow. Miriam watches her family unravel and struggles to make sense of the monumental changes that occur in their lives.
The two families (the Winslows and the Fletchers) are bound not only by their connection to Miriam but also by their search for meaning and connection to the larger world outside their spheres. The author’s insight into both the foster care and prison systems is remarkable.
Miller successfully interweaves themes of personal and religious salvation with fundamentalism and moderation. As different as the families are, we come to see that both share the anguish of loss and grief, the isolation of addiction and the hope for their children’s futures. If you are looking for a good read, here it is.