Read Bluff by Lenore Skomal Online

bluff

"To the medical world, I was a host body, surviving only to bring a new life into the world. And while I wanted to die more than anything in the world, I never wanted this. No, I never wanted to cease to exist. This was the worst death of all.”Jude Black lives in that in-between, twilight place teetering on death but clinging to life in order to bring her baby into this wo"To the medical world, I was a host body, surviving only to bring a new life into the world. And while I wanted to die more than anything in the world, I never wanted this. No, I never wanted to cease to exist. This was the worst death of all.”Jude Black lives in that in-between, twilight place teetering on death but clinging to life in order to bring her baby into this world. Only she knows the circumstances surrounding her mysterious fall off the bluff that landed her in the hospital being kept alive by medical intervention. Only she knows who the father of her baby is. In this poignantly crafted literary novel, the mystery unfolds and the suspense builds as the consequences of Jude’s decisions threaten to reveal everyone's deceptions, even her own. Bluff offers a sensitive look at essential questions such as the value of human life, the consciousness of those in a coma and the morality of terminating life support. At the core is the story of a tragically misunderstood woman who finds peace, acceptance, understanding and even love on her deathbed....

Title : Bluff
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781478192473
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 298 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Bluff Reviews

  • March Shoggoth Madness The Haunted Reading Room
    2018-11-17 13:40

    Blog Tour Stop Oct, 3Review of The BluffReviewed for Full Moon Bites Blog Tours Oct. 3 2012An inescapable reader’s hook immediately yanks the reader into this fast-paced, engrossing novel, never letting go. While we ponder the unfolding story of Jude, from both within and without, we read with heart-in-mouth and pulse pounding, demanding answers to the questions: What happened? Why? Who was involved? What about her condition of pregnancy? Who will win the role of health advocate for Jude? Will she live? Will she die? What are the secrets other characters are concealing?The story opens with a young woman, battered and broken, in the ER of St. Michael’s Medical Center. She has fallen, inexplicably, in a snowstorm, from a bluff near her lakeside cottage. No one knows how or why, and the identity of the individual who called 911 about her fall is unknown. Was it accident? Attempted suicide? Attempted manslaughter? Did the secretive Jude jump, or fall, or did someone decide to silence her permanently?Wrapped within this mystery, tautly intertwined, are essential ponderings: where should life end? Is that decision in the hands of medical personnel, or family and friends, or a Deity? Who decides? Is it right to keep a brain-dead woman on life support to save the life of the fetus? Author Lenore Skomal examines bioethicism with a keen eye to detail, controversy, and divergent opinions, and draws in the reader to be part of the discussion. No one will walk away from this story and forget it easily, because it is not forgettable, and its questions will linger on long after the last page has been turned.I received an e-book copy from Full Moon Bites Blog Tours in exchange for my fair, honest, and impartial review.

  • Pooja (On books!)
    2018-11-14 16:26

    Review originally posted here: http://aandhowareyou.blogspot.in/2012...Intricate. Compelling. Powerful; three words I'd use to describe Bluff which opens with the words: I was born a weakling.Bluff weaves together the story of Jude, named after the patron saint of the same name, who is found fallen off a bluff and will indefinitely remain in a "persistive vegetative state". She is also carrying a child whose chances of being delivered without risk are high... further complicating the situation.How did Jude fall off the bluff? Was it foul play? Was it suicide?Who is the father of the unborn child? Why was even her best friend, Frances, kept in the dark?Should Jude be placed on life support indefinitely? Or would it be kinder to let her go once the baby was delivered?Bluff takes its time to reveal the truth behind what happened in the bluff through the perspectives of Jude as well as several key players in her story: Frances, Frances' husband who never liked Jude, her sister, her family lawyer, the nurse and more. And in the process, the author does not shy away from exploring the complexities in the law, religion, life, drug use and death.Dear Jude,You were floating in between life and death and that was precisely the place where you were fully able to accept and understand why things were the way they were. It was painful to watch you take in things from afar... but ironically, this was the time when you connected most with the people around you.It pained me to see you sad all the time... But with your family history and struggle with your sexuality... I fully understood your depression. It moved me to tears when you were finally on the brink of letting go of all of that sadness and anger. Dear Mary Shannon (the nurse),I marveled at the shades of gray in your personality. You, like most of the key players in the story... were so difficult to hate and like at the same time. You were so... human. It was depressing.Dear Father of the Unborn Child,Oh. My. God. You were the twisted revelation I could've lived without. May you... uh, I can't even curse you. It would affect all these other people in your life. Which was one of the things I loathed and admired in Bluff... the tight web of responsibility and carelessness... how one action affected several others with such ease.Dear Sequel,I hope there's... more retribution. And redemption. It was hinted that there would be.The characters in Bluff... they are brilliant. They are complex and difficult and most of the time- they are torn into making difficult decisions. While the story centered around Jude coming to terms with the cause and consequences of her fall... there were also debates on the ethics of so many important issues- related to euthanasia, the Church and medicine, organ donation, and more.All of the characters were active participants. None of them could deny responsibility. None of their skeletons stayed in their closet. Instead, they crept out eventually... choosing to catch up with them in the heart wrenching yet mind boggling climax. Of course I want to read more about them!Dear Bluff,I write this review hoping I can convey the weight, originality, eeriness and sheer brilliance of the premise. Every person's perspective mattered and Jude's ethereal presence was essential to tie everything together... to validate the need to ask all those questions which the book asked.You made me think and ponder over every last detail of the plot... to say I was impressed and completely satisfied with the book is an understatement.Yours,Me

  • Gaele
    2018-11-24 19:29

    I received a copy of this book from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility. I’m rather at a loss for words to accurately review this book: for I’m not entirely certain I’ve discovered all of the ways it makes an impact. It is a roller coaster ride from one peak in the revelations to the next, climaxing with the impact of that last big climb – slowly up until it crests and drops the bottom out from under you. Each of the characters encountered are involved, directly or indirectly with Jude and what seemed to be a sucking vortex of secrets, deceptions and resentments. Add in the rather inflexible edicts from the Pope and the Bishop, contrasted with bioethical issues surrounding the sustenance of life without considering the quality of that life and that is just a taste of what this book brings to the reader. Not by any stretch of the imagination is this book an easy read: but it isn’t meant to be. Challenging your thoughts on life support, living wills, suicide, secrets, Papal omniscience, and even application of edict and canonical law to the very real situations that people encounter; this story has so many facets to focus on, to provide new insight that it’s a never ending series of important revelations and perspectives that deal with the horrifyingly possible potential that you too, shall need to deal with an ‘end of life’ decision for a loved one. Of course, the author has managed to wrap all of the issues into a well-written, tightly characterized and deeply moving story. One that keeps you thinking long after you have put it down and wanting to go back and re-read sections as your opinion on everything starts to change and wander. The main character is named for St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes: although each character has their own ‘lost cause’ they are fighting against, some more successfully but no less traumatic than others. If you want a book that doesn’t challenge, ends with a “happy ever after”, that you will put down and not feel it calling for you to finish it – this is not the book for you. Skillful writing combined with a plot guaranteed to make you think, remember and even question: you must have this book.

  • Ellen
    2018-12-08 12:28

    "Mighty 'Bluff' offers a stunning view of life and death"In her author's profile, Lenore Skomal says she wants you to "eat her books," and gobble I surely did as I read her latest book, Bluff. This intriguing novel will keep you on the edge until the very last sentence. Skomal is a master at the cliff-hanger (or shall I say, bluff-hanger?) -- I finished each chapter only to be left begging for the next. Word to the wise: Don't deprive yourself of the thrill of getting to the end by skipping ahead or you'll miss the intricacies of the plot and the depth of the superbly crafted and complex characters.Skomal's non-apologetic portrayals of those characters are sometimes unflattering, but they do allow for empathy. Unlike in real life, we are privy to each character's inner-most thoughts, which allows us to best understand the motives behind the behaviors. At the heart of the story is Jude, five-months pregnant and left in a vegetative state following a tragic fall from the steep bluff behind her house. She is kept alive only to bring her baby to term, fully cognizant of conversations around her but without a means to communicate. Frances, Jude's best and only friend, suffers at her bedside, full of questions but no answers to the mystery of what happened and why. Frances too has secrets, as does her lawyer, Paul, and his wife, Mary Shannon, Jude's primary nurse, who finds an unlikely confidant in her dying patient. Jude's alcoholic mother, Gay, torments her from the grave, while her estranged sister April returns home after twenty years to tie up loose ends.Skomal jumps squarely into some of the tough questions pertaining to life and death. She examines relationship dynamics, the ethics of choices and how actions can -- intentional or not -- ultimately affect others. This is an intelligent read -- the pages fly by, but the impact of the story continues long after the final scene.

  • Tee loves Kyle Jacobson
    2018-11-21 13:33

    I would like to give Full Moon Bites a huge THANK YOU for allowing me to be a part of this tour. I have to say that I have never read a book that has taken my breath away like Bluff did. It causes you to look at an issue that is a controversy no matter how you look at it. Death and dying is a heated debate that will last as long as man kind is living and breathing.Who has the right to decide when a person dies? Who has the right to chose whether or not they will stay on life support or pull the plug. Bluff takes a look at that and so much more. Jude has fallen off a cliff and no one can figure out what has happened to her. The only thing they do know is that they need to save her unborn child. They place Jude on life support at the hospital until they can figure out what to do with her and her unborn baby. The police also have to figure out if it was an accidental fall or if someone pushed her off that bluff.As the story unfolds you get to see secrets, lies and deception role off of everyone surrounded by Jude. The age old question is what will they do with Jude? Will they keep her on life support or will they take her off. Who has the right to decide that? Will her baby die if she dies? This is a must read story that keeps you on the edge of your seat after each chapter keeping you reading until the end just so you can see what the outcome is.

  • Mpharris1
    2018-12-05 14:14

    It was sure hard to get anything done in my real life once I picked this book up. I kept thinking, "one more chapter" and I will...(clean house, get dressed, turn off the light, you name it). It completely kept my attention. The plot focuses on Jude, a gay single woman who is in a coma as a result of falling off the cliff near her home. How did that happen? Who was Jude? How does this accident impact her best friend? her lawyer? her nurse? I was hooked immediately on the concept of Jude telling her tale while in a coma.... a very thought provoking way to narrate her side of the story. It left me with lots of questions and thoughts about people who are incapacitated at the end stages of life. I was drawn in by the other characters as well, even those I did not like. Each of their back stories made them human, real, and, sometimes scary. The story unfolds in a most interesting way, leaking the past into the present, so you understand the context of what's going on. I feel like I just stepped off a roller coaster - my head is reeling, I feel a little sick, but I am dying to get back on the next ride.

  • Pragya
    2018-11-27 13:36

    I just finished reading this book and I'm...what...spellbound?..startled? No word seems to sum it up as per my expectations.It is indeed a very different kind of book. Everything from the plot to the characters to the the writing is new and fresh.It is not a book you can read, smile and put away. It is something that takes control of you, making you think and analyze. So if you love books that do that to you, you should pick this one up.Right from the beginning to the very end, this book doesn't have a single dull moment. Layers are revealed in so many ways that it kept me gasping. I adore books that make us delve deeper into a human mind and see what lies there. It is That kind of a book.I also liked the author interview at the end, how she came to write this book about from her experiences and creative writing process.

  • Lesa
    2018-11-25 17:15

    This book was interesting. The thing I didn't like about it was that there was very little storyline. Most of the book was background information on the characters, some of which was unnecessary, I thought. For instance, the secretary at Paul Williams' law office. Too much detail about her as she wasn't an important character at all. I wish there had been a little more action, but I guess that is hard to do when your main character is in a permanent vegetative state. I really did like the chapters that were written from Jude's perspective. I could have used even more of those. Overall, I thought it was worth the read. I would have liked to know what happened after the ending, but I think the author is planning to do a sequel.

  • Lee Fullbright
    2018-11-20 13:39

    I LOVED this book! If I could give it 10 stars I would. It’s smart, it’s meaty, and it’s relevant. Another reviewer characterized it as an “issues” story … if it is, then I’m an “issues” kind of reader; I like stories that make me think. I also admire this book’s structure—Skomal had a lot to balance here and she did it with grace and panache and real feeling for her characters—I know she felt for them because she made me feel for them, too. Skomal is a writer to be reckoned with, and this a book you just shouldn't miss.

  • Gail Root
    2018-11-16 17:36

    COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! Throughly enjoyed this book! The suspense just builds as each character is introduced. The mystery keeps unfolding as the characters are revealed. I loved it!

  • Nai
    2018-12-07 11:21

    I didn't manage to post a review during book club bash week, but since I was also signed up for a review during the Bluff tour, I decided I'd just make it a little more special in the holiday season.I have been busy, but it's the holidays right? The truth is, I'd rather be writing, and at hibernating in my house. (Or where I house sit, because it is quite inspirational).During the holidays for the past few years, I've house sat for a couple I know. They have a beautiful house, and its location in a secluded bluff of oak trees is quite amazing. It is almost the exact opposite aesthetically from my 'home'. However, I seem to be able to write effectively in one place or the other. I tend to write more music in the house sitting place.It is also an amazing place to read.So, I haven't been writing, I've been reading. A LOTThis book, and a 'few' others. (I may actually make my 100 goal on Goodreads yet...)Synopsis:To the medical world, I was a host body, surviving only to bring a new life into the world. And while I wanted to die more than anything in the world, I never wanted this. No, I never wanted to cease to exist. This was the worst death of all.Jude Black lives in that in-between, twilight place teetering on death but clinging to life in order to bring her baby into this world. Only she knows the circumstances surrounding her mysterious fall off the bluff that landed her in the hospital being kept alive by medical intervention. Only she knows who the father of her baby is. In this poignantly crafted literary novel, the mystery unfolds and the suspense builds as the consequences of Jude’s decisions threaten to reveal everyone's deceptions, even her own. Bluff offers a sensitive look at essential questions such as the value of human life, the consciousness of those in a coma and the morality of terminating life support. At the core is the story of a tragically misunderstood woman who finds peace, acceptance, understanding and even love on her deathbed.So that is what kept me from writing. A fantastic book that had as many twists and turns as the bluff in the story has rocks and crevices. When Lenor Skomal says she wants you to eat her books.I'd like to reply that I would if I could.[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="465"] Nom Nom Nom[/caption]Even though this is late, I'm still going to list the questions I'd ask if I went to 'real' book clubs (or started one...).1. This seems obvious, but the entire book should bring up a huge discussion on women's rights, the rights of the unborn child, and what should happen in the case of a patient in a coma with/without a living will.2. A favorite, but a fun questions - at what point did you figure it all out? (in relation to the plot line of course).3. Have you ever wondered whether coma patients are still sentient, or conscious on some level?4. Did this book in any way make you reconsider things in your own life, like writing a will? Did you enjoy getting into the heads of many characters rather than reading a book written from the perspective of one person? (I know I sure did.)I think what I enjoyed most about Bluff was getting inside Jude's head. The research hours that Skomal must have put into this book would probably make me fall over. It's clearly well researched, and flushed out, and the characters - especially Jude - have such depth they almost become real.Perhaps with Jude her 'realness' is all the more poignant since she's just as real on the page as she would be in her own head. The fact that she is essentially talking to herself throughout her role in the book made me realize just how much I actually talk/write to myself in my own head.I may have also enjoyed this book because I could identify with each of the characters. I mostly wear black. I like seclusion and bluffs of trees, and I love sparsity equally as much as I love my cozy book cluttered/wall-o-tech home.This book will make you want to eat it, and if you can't stomach the idea of chewing on an ereader, eat in a different sense. Go out and look up all the things you wonder about the book. Read research on whether coma patients are aware of the outside world. Find other books to read, hunt down Skomal on goodreads, amazon and her own website. You can also find her on twitter and facebook of course.Most of all, just feed your brain with information. Read Bluff, then watch the episode of Star Trek TNG where they're all in a dream world. Lenore Skomal is the author of the recently released novel Bluff. As an author, Lenore wants you to eat her books. She wants you to chew them in your teeth, savor them on your tongue, breathe them in, and feel her words in your skin. Her passionate desire is to touch your heart, inspire you, and luxuriate in the world of the written word. Winner of multiple awards for blogging, literature, biography and humor, Lenore Skomal’s catalogue spans many genres. With 30 years of writing experience, over 17 books published and a daily blog, the consistent themes in her work are the big issues the human experience and adding depth and voice to the intricacies involved in living a multi-dimensional existence. You can find out lots more about her at website.Just to make it that much better, here's an excerpt from the book. You can find another one here.Merry Holidays :)Excerpt #2“What? What did you say?” I called out.“You heard me, Miss Jude.” The cubes in her in glass clinked. Like a cowbell, it signaled she was on the move. Damn, she’s coming into the kitchen. I kept my head buried in the fridge, the cool air pushing against my face and neck, momentary respite from the hot anger searing through my spine.“The prom? You and what fine young man might be going—to—the—prom?”Behind me now, she punctuated her words, her sarcasm drilling a hole in my back. Oh, we had been here before, she and I. It was to the point where the vodka numbed her tongue and would soon derail her logical thought off a deadly precipice, sending her emotions and this conversation careening into the abyss of irrationality. The point of no return and one that Mother and I had fallen off together, yes, so many times before. In some macabre, perverse way, I was an eager participant, happy to fuel the engine’s fires.“Well, Gay,” I pivoted around, Coke can in hand, pointing it rudely in the direction of her face. “Since you clearly feel I owe you a response, here it is: No, I’m not going to the prom.”I backhanded the refrigerator door shut with a whoosh to punctuate my pronouncement, and pushed past her toward the counter, with a swagger swelled by feeble hope that my bold move would sufficiently end the conversation.But she blocked me, her face set, lips pursed and eyes smoldering black. I squelched my natural response to wince. Here it comes. She swayed a little in a boozy breeze.“Stop calling me by my first name. I am your mother. And I expect respect, Miss Jude.” Her voice crescendoed with her last words.“You think you are so perfect, don’t you? Look at you,” she continued. She glared at me now, snide in her rampage. “You think you’re so smart. Don’t you? Hmm? You think you are—so—smart.”I stood there, a few feet away, and took the assault silently, as I’d learned to do while still a child, knowing that any word, any response at all, positive, negative, thoughtful or coarse, would only inflame the tirade.We were on the runaway train now, and the precipice was clearly in sight.” Related articles Book Club Bash Extravaganza 5: An Interview with Lenore Skomal (naimeless.wordpress.com) Bluff Tour (newenglandmuse.wordpress.com) Bluff Take (thebrassragcnr.wordpress.com) BLUFF by Lenore Skomal (unicornsreviews.wordpress.com) Book Review: Bluff - Lenore Skomal (tweedling.com) Lenore Skomal: Love note bubbles up from the past (goerie.com)

  • Faye {Daydreaming_Star}
    2018-12-11 15:28

    A Daring MoveWhen I first read the synopsis for this book, I was instantly curious and I knew that it was a book I simply had to get my hands on. Now, after reading the book, I can say in complete honesty that I was so glad to have acted on my curiosity as this book was simply spectacular. It never shied away from anything, making sure that it went down and got into the nitty gritty of things, helping to make the book seem so much more realistic. It is books like these that really inspire readers to look at their own lives, to think about things deeply and to re-think their own views and thoughts on certain issues, such as death. I was deeply moved by this book and therefore I would easily pass it along to others.Changes EverythingThere are so many things that happen in our day-to-day lives that affect the people around us, that impact on the decisions we make and our friends and family make alongside us, and I feel that this book is a display of not only how different we all are as individuals, nor how selfish we can all be at times, but also about how our actions and decisions affect those around us. Essentially, there are many other things going on throughout this book that deal with issues of death, souls, religion, and morality but for me, it was the consequences of everything that really caught my attention the most. It is something that I have always thought about a lot, and this book was one that really shows it to others. With the multiple character POVs, it shows how everyone sees every different situation differently and how we do things for other people and for ourselves. Hard to put into words exactly, but it just shows much impact we all have on each others’ lives. Something which I find truly fascinating.And EveryoneThere were so many characters in this story and some I really connected with, while others I really couldn’t stand, and some I was cautious of. My favourite character, above them all, was our main protagonist, Jude. I felt that her space in the novel was perfectly situated and I absolutely loved everything about her character. She was troubled, had had a horribly dark past and her entire personality had changed because of it and it was only when things were spiralling out of her control did she really understand her life. I really connected with her, and could feel everything that she was going through. I also loved Mary Shannon and her son PJ, they were both really intense and interesting characters and while PJ wasn’t in the spotlight a lot and Mary Shannon was often seen as a contrite, uptight cow, I couldn’t help but like her. Or, until the end anyway.Other characters that can’t go without mention are Frances and April. I liked Frances but she also grated on my nerves slightly as well. Not entirely sure why but probably because she never really felt open or honest to me, like there was this detachment about her when there shouldn’t have been. April was a character that should have been hated and yet while I didn’t love her, I certainly didn’t detest her either. She was a complicated soul and I really liked seeing her journey and the way that her personality has occurred because of her background and the circumstances surrounding her up-bringing. It was interesting to see. There is one more character that should get a mention here but I feel it would be difficult to talk about them without raising spoilers and so I will leave it all unsaid. But do know that every character that was in the story was well-written, felt very real, and just showed how brilliantly Lenore can transform words into people.In More WaysIf there was one thing that I could pinpoint as to truly loving about this book, it would be the writing style. The way that Lenore not only jumped between the different POVs, but the way that she brought in the history and backstory of characters without taking away the tension and mystery was really well-executed. I loved the first person narrative and the way, despite that, you were able to connect with every character in the book. It was a truly inspiring way to write a novel that had me captivated from start to end. This novel did start with an air of mystery and suspense and while I expected it to siphon off during the middle of the book, I was glad that it stayed and was even still there right until the end, leaving the reader with many questions and thoughts about the book. It is definitely a style that I would happily read again and am looking forward to reading anything else that Lenore writes.Then You MayAt the back of the book is a short Q+A with the author and there was one question that I really loved and felt that it would be good to share with you as it would give you a good idea of why this book was so incredible and brilliant. These words are not my own and I take no claim to them;There are many life lessons and heavy themes in Bluff, what is your hope for your readers when they put it down? My burning desire is for them to re-examine their own beliefs about death and life. As an inescapable truth facing us all, death is an uncomfortable topic. If you have watched the most important people in your life die like I have, it seems we are gypping ourselves by not discussing it. End of life issues and whether or not the soul exits, are just the tip of the iceberg in this book. The much larger discussion is about life. Judgement and petty differences only prevent us from honoring each other and respecting choices. How we live our lives individually and collectively is a daily decision. And lying on our deathbeds may not be the best place to evaluate that.Ever ImagineOverall this was a book that I really connected with, one that made me think deeply when I finished it and one that I truly enjoyed while I was reading it. It was full of many different issues and really brought so many brilliant things to light. I connected with the amazing and totally different characters and I really feel that the ending was a really perfect way to finish the book. It answers many questions while leaving so many unanswered as well. It is a book that has managed to touch my heart and soul and one that I would recommend to others simply for that reason alone. But if that is not enough to persuade you to pick up this glorious book, a touch of humour as I was reading the “questions for thought” at the end, it is asked; “If you could smack any of the characters upside the head, who would it be and why?”. And we all know, you so want to answer it.

  • Cate Knox
    2018-11-21 12:37

    Damn. Yeah, that’s the first word that came to my mind when I finished this book. …And when I was in the middle of it. …And when I started it.I honestly cannot begin to tell you how much I absolutely adore this book. The only thing I can possibly pick at is a few errors in grammar/punctuation, but they didn’t hinder my reading at all, and, truth be, I don’t even remember what the errors where, I just know I saw them! So… I have nothing to pick at. I have nothing bad to say about this book. On with all the good things I can say!This is the first book I’ve read in which the main character is in such a state that only memories, letters, and an unheard/unseen presence, her spirit, remains. I need to read more like this! I’m serious, do you have any suggestions?That being said, I wondered how close I’d be able to get to the comatose Jude. Ah, such thoughts seem trivial now… I definitely feel close to her, closer than I feel to any of the other characters. I absolutely love her and, as I delved deeper into the novel, I kept hoping she’d come to peace as Lenore Skomal promised in the synopsis.She didn’t disappoint. I cried several times throughout this book, I had to gasp for air pretty much every time I opened it up, but I think my reaction to the ending was hilarious. I blinked, stared at my Kindle for about five minutes, and then asked an empty house, “Is that it?” No, no, not because I feel anything was left out, left unanswered. *shrugs* I just want more. I was not ready for this book to end; I truly wanted to hold on for a little while longer, even though I wished Jude peace and an ultimate end. I had very conflicting emotions and I’m still reeling!I’m not going to go over all the characters, but I will talk about a few of them. First, I should mention that there are quite a few characters from both the past and present on the ride, but Skomal does a fabulous job with them and I never once had to pause and wonder who the hell I was reading about. The viewpoint does change often, but I love the way it’s done and I think the frequent changes prevented me from growing bored with any of the characters.I’ve already spoken about how much I love Jude, so I’ll move on to her best friend, Frances.I didn’t care for her. At all. When I was first introduced to her, I was neutral…that went downhill fast. She’s very eager to adopt Jude’s baby once she learns it’s healthy. I realise that Jude’s case is all but hopeless while the baby’s is not, so obviously, as the synopsis says, she’s just there to serve as a host body until she comes to term. I get it. For me, Frances was just a bit too eager. As we learned her near obsession with adopting the child was only growing from what was already there, I even became suspicious and wondered if she had anything to do with Jude’s fall. Yes, yes, I know. She couldn’t know that the baby wouldn’t be hurt, but still… I’m no stranger to just how obsessive and mad a person can get, so I thought perhaps she’d snapped that day and, without a thought to the one thing she couldn’t stop thinking about, she shoved her best friend off the bluff. My dislike for her only grew as the story progressed, as she was revealed more and more.Well, onto the next character.April, Jude’s sister. I liked her. Yes, she’s vain and quite rude, but I liked her for some reason. I actually began to wonder if this is due to the fact that she was the only one who could stop Frances from getting what she wanted. …Man, I really disliked her. Anyway, I think it’s because April stood up for herself. Frances did too, but I’ve already gone over that. As I went on, I began to like April more and more as she realised she’d simply been a pawn to her mother, as she seemed to peek out of her own little world. Frances thought April didn’t care about the baby at all, that she only wanted to take custody in order to spite her; I actually agreed at first, and I had to question if I’d rather someone who didn’t care get the baby, or I’d rather someone I didn’t like get it. Truth is, though, by the end, I didn’t think Frances would make a good mom at all. Overall, I liked April and I’m glad she, in her own way, found peace.Everyone in this book is damned in some way. We all come from something, we all have a past, and I was overjoyed to see even the exteriorly “perfect” characters had things to hide, had pieces to pick up.That leads me to the final character I wish to talk about.Gay, Jude’s mother. Wow. She was…well, she was definitely someone a person, depending on their stance, could grow to either love or hate very quickly. I acknowledge that she stood up for what she believed in, she certainly had no doubts about what she was doing/saying, she knew what she wanted. That being said, Gay was a woman who used one daughter, an almost clone at the time, against the other. She played April like a violin and she used her as just another weapon in her arsenal against Jude. She really wanted to hurt Jude. She used everything she could. Jude’s sexuality, her sister, and nothing Jude ever did was good enough.Well… I suppose that’s about it. I loved the writing style, I loved everything about this novel. It’s truly an intense look at several controversial topics, and I’m so glad I decided to do this.Job well done Lenore Skomal!A solid five stars to Bluff, though it deserves so much more.

  • Rebecca
    2018-12-09 15:32

    Wow! I have to admit that Bluff was the best book I read in 2012. I know that I started a lot of reviews saying that the books were the best. But Bluff really hits the top spot. What you get when you pick up this book is nothing less than a slap in the face with a concept that will floor you, and a story filled with an amazing cast of intertwined characters.This book is not an easy read by any means. It is real, gritty and honest. It combines a host of issues from child abuse and rape to medical ethics. It is extremely detailed and impeccably written. I really hope this book gets the accolades and awards it so richly deserves. The premise alone is timely, a grownup read that demands more from the reader.When Jude is found barely alive at the bottom of a Bluff along Lake Erie no one knows her story or how she got there. A virtual loner who expects nothing from life, the only person who shows up at the hospital to claim her is her best friend Francis. Who drops the bombshell that Jude is pregnant. No one knows who the father is, and no one knows why she was on the bluff that day either. All they know is that Jude is in a coma and unlikely to pull out of it. Here is where Lenore Skomal pulls a twist on us, the narration changes from Francis to Jude herself. Jude is trapped in her comatose body, unable to communicate, but one hundred percent able to know what's going on around her. She feels every needle prick, the breathing tube being inserted and the shunt being put in her brain. She worries about her baby, theorizes on her life and adds commentary when we need it. Through the constant switching of POV, Skomal allows us to see the story from all angles. From Jude herself, her friend,her estranged sister and the medical staff, their lives all connect in ways one can not fathom. And sets up a series of events that will change everyone. I am amazed at how seamlessly and easy these transitions flow. I never once got lost at who was speaking or even befuddled by the ever growing cast of characters. That is how good Skomal is.The range of emotions she address and the tragedy of events open up questions to us. How we perceive the end of life. How we define the beginning of life. Who we trust, who we really know, and who gets to play God. We do know for sure that Jude wants to see her pregnancy through and live until her baby is born. She sees it as the last act she can do that will redeem her place in the world. But who gets to speak for Jude? Who can really make that decision? And we as readers know that Jude is feeling it all. To me that is the most frighting question of this book. When does life end? I find it extremely scary that someone can be trapped aware in their own mind and others are ready to write them off. We see these cases in the news. We hear the arguments over life sustaining measures and who gets to "pull the plug". How do we know where consciousnesses lies? That crazy gray area of defining life. This book left me shell shocked.I guess I have intentionally left out some major plot points, I was afraid I would give away too many spoilers. I tend to do that with books I love. I have read three great works of literary fiction this year. Charlender's Walk, The Angry Woman's Suite and now Bluff. Bluff is my star, It made me cry, it tortured me with it's honesty and rawness. It is my pick for book of the year.

  • Drennan Spitzer
    2018-11-17 14:17

    In Bluff, Lenore Skomal tells the story of Jude, a pregnant woman who is in a "persistent vegetative state" after falling off a cliff. It is unclear whether this is an accident, foul play, or a suicide, but the decision is made to keep Jude on life support until her baby reaches full term. All indicators suggest that the fetus has been unharmed by Jude's accident, and Jude, although unresponsive is conscious of what's going on around her. In one way Jude, then, is treated as little more than a host body for the child inside her. In another, her consciousness allows her the opportunity to find peace about her life and herself.Bluff is, among other things, what I like to think of as an "issues" novel, one that deals with contemporary ethical and social questions. In this work, Skomal addresses questions such as who deserves to make end-of-life decisions when someone is incapacitated, whether suicide is ethically acceptable, whether it makes sense for someone to be put on life support in order to serve as an incubator, and what it means if someone in a persistent vegetative state is unresponsive but conscious. In this way, Bluff, is in the vein of popular writers like Michael Crichton who attempt to deal with contemporary ethical issues while writing a compelling thriller. Skomal even includes a set of group discussion questions, making this work ideal for book clubs interested in discussing the issues.Bluff Cover Skomal's chapter structure makes this book a quick read. Each relatively short chapter is told from a different point of view, and allows the reader insight into a variety of characters. While I appreciate and enjoy this approach, at times I seemed to lose track of the main story--Jude's situation--because I became so wrapped up in the experiences of the other characters, experiences seemingly-unrelated to Jude. I expected for Skomal to tie these characters and their memories, perceptions and stories together more tightly than she did in the end.In general, I am not necessarily a fan of the "issues" novel, one that deals with contemporary ethical questions. It's not that I want sheer escapism and entertainment. On the contrary, I embrace fiction that invites me to think deeply about the world and about what it means to be human. In fact, I would argue that this is the very thing that makes literature important and valuable. But the "issues" novel, if not handled very adeptly, can easily slip into a heavy-handed discussion of the topics in question. And this is how I feel about Skomal's novel. Something about her writing style makes me feel as though she (or the narrator) is trying a bit too hard to force me to confront the questions connected to Jude's condition. I prefer a narrative that unfolds more naturally; this felt forced to me.With that said, I acknowledge that there is a contingency of readers who particularly enjoy a novel that is presented this way. Again, the suspense and mystery combined with the attempt to treat ethical questions puts Skomal's work in the same category as a number of contemporary writers who are quite popular and successful. And I'm sure that Skomal's Bluff will appeal to this readership.This review originally posted at my book review web site, Speaking of Books, www.drennanspitzer.com Please visit me there!NOTE: A review copy was provided by Novel Publicity. No other compensation was received.

  • Vidya-BooksAreMagic
    2018-11-25 12:20

    My first thought: I am going to recommend this to everyone, who can read emotional novels.Second thought: Wait, I think I am going to cry. :(The first reason I picked this up: BLURB. Read the above blurb. After reading that, I just can't pass this on. And like so many other books I accepted for review, I am glad again for my decision.There are some things we consider as good and bad. But, that obviously differs from person to person. When I read about each of the characters in this book, it only made me feel like an immature girl. Reason? Let me explain..Jude, the protagonist of this novel, is always sad and prefers loneliness. The novel starts with Jude falling off a bluff (a high steep bank (usually formed by river erosion)), heavily injured. She is rushed to the hospital, due to some anonymous call to 911 about the 'incident'. Then we meet Frances, Jude's best friend (actually, the only friend), who has been with Jude for nearly two decades. Jude completely adores Frances, while Frances trusts and loves Jude unconditionally. Then there is another bomb thrown at you -- Jude is pregnant. In spite of Jude's battered condition, the baby is healthy and can be saved. So, there starts the questions: - Did Jude commit a suicide? - Is this a murder? - Who is the father of the baby? - Will Jude survive enough to provide nutrition the child? - Will the baby survive?With all these questions still running in your mind, there are many papal issues, whether Jude must be continued with the life support system, that you have to worry about.And then there are other characters --April: Jude's sister. Working as a secretary and mistress to her boss. Jealous of her sister and loathing Frances, April's entry in Jude's life (or existence) after twenty years is another shocking change.Mary Shannon: Nurse and neighbor of Jude. Although portrayed with many flaws at the beginning, she did show her brighter side in Jude's case.Gay: God, I don't even know whether I hate or like her. I think I am leaning towards hate. Well, she is Jude's mother, who made her life more miserable and now, dead.Jude's unborn child's dad: I just HATE YOU!There are so many other minor characters, but coming back to 'feeling like an immature girl', you see why? I learnt again that people have different sides. Not all are good, but not all are bad. There are motives behind everyone and I really appreciate the author for making me understand and agree to that fact. I know this, but I still judge people on how they behave to 'me' - not with who they really are (because I never take the pain to know? Yeah, maybe!) This is what makes me feel immature.As the story unravels secrets after secrets, it just kept me hooked. Yeah, I was sad at most places, but the need to know more was so great, that I had to keep going on.The author has written an amazing novel. This is not your light read. It needs some patience, more than that, an open mind. But, I can assure you that you are in for a great read here.This one is just going to hurt for some time. But, that again is the success of this novel.Really, I want to give this to 5 STARS! But, this novel was something I never want to read if I want to move to some happy world and forget my real life. For this reason, I give this 4.5 stars!

  • Abigail
    2018-11-13 12:31

    What happens when the breaking of the body is what heals the soul within?The book is riddled with secrets and secret keepers. Some we find out about right away, some we find out only because Jude, the one person who never let anyone in on her own secrets before finally met her match, The Bluff… hears them from the trap of her own head. Some other’s know and others keep, it is a mess. At the center of this our author has put Jude into a vegetative state, basically a host for her unborn child. So broken, so messed up when alive, we have no clue how important she is and how fast things will unravel as well as heal in the endLost for so many years our protagonist, Jude finally wakes up, at least from her own walk-about through reality. Ready to deal with it all, the pregnancy the drugs, a plausible rape, an abusive childhood, bullying, her mothers suicide witnessed, her homosexuality and to all around everything a mystery. The problem? She wakes up in a vegetative state and cannot share all of her secrets she has kept from her best friend, her sister, the small town she lives in and finally to her own unborn child. Now what? She is awake enough to hear, and as her body dies, her child grows, others begin to die within, without and around…Before Jude falls from the bluff where she lives through miraculously, alive with her unborn child still healthy while her body broken beyond help. She is stuck in a medical limbo and becomes a magnet to the lost souls in the vicinity. Skomal has created a world of symbolism and metaphor as well as a story to immerse yourself slowly in. Will she wake up to tell and help with everyone’s secrets? Will the birth of her child uncover another? What about those secrets which need revealing in order to save that of another innocent? Will she finally be able to help, even if it is just being there to “listen”?Each of our characters seem to have a little tiny wisp of who she is and what she is about. She is like a center of a web, a web in a small town, a strand of which is the controversy of the Roman Catholic‘s take on pulling the plug, or the strand of the small town, a reflection on many throughout America, and homosexual women. How all and everything compounds these issues. Infidelity, drug abuse, suicide, shall I go on? Oh no, how about abortion… yep I said it, and one thing this book never brings up? Is abortion or adoption which for some reason bugs me the most.There is a lot going on and I am glad I did not slam through it. It is not one to jaunt through over the weekend, as the author has stated, she wants us to “eat” her books, and I nibbled, ate, put it in Tupperware… zapped it a bit to heat it up and finally finished it with a dollop of whip cream on top.This is a book about the struggle of one woman with a broken soul, a woman with more secrets than the church in question and the only people who learn the most about Jude are us, the reader! It makes you wonder “what…?” on so many levels. What would need to break in order for our own damage to be healed finally? I recommend this to anyone who is not afraid to face that question and to those who already have.

  • Carrie
    2018-11-18 18:20

    Bluff is an intriguing psychological tale that demonstrates how the people you think you know hide behind a façade of what you want to see. Jude Black has never let anyone get close to her. Aloof from society she lives her life content as a loner. Her only friend is Frances, a woman who appears to have the perfect life. She is happily married to a man who adores her; she lives in a beautiful home, drives a nice car, and essentially has everything you could wish for. Most of the people in town consider Jude a leech who lives vicariously through Frances and they dislike her for it.Jude however has the one thing Frances craves above all else: a child. Despite not dating or being in any sort of relationship Jude announces she is pregnant. She does not reveal how she became pregnant or who the father is. The fact it is suspected Jude is a lesbian just makes the mystery more intriguing.The story begins with Jude falling off the top of a bluff near her cottage. She is rushed to the hospital and when her pregnancy is discovered by the doctors the decision is made to keep her alive until the baby can be born. As the story progresses the reader is given an opportunity to peek into the lives of those surrounding Jude. Each person has secrets they hold dear. Jude’s accident raises questions: was she pushed or did she attempt to commit suicide?I was expecting this book to remain mostly in Jude’s POV but in fact it jumps to numerous characters. This aspect didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would as it revealed some of the secrets the characters are so desperate to keep. The mystery of Jude, her life, and her potential death is a twisty trail of possibilities. As she is trapped in her body waiting for the birth of her baby she is given an opportunity to review her life and make peace with the events that damaged her. As the title suggests, the characters, specifically Jude, have bluffed their way through life presenting what they want you to see. The tragedy forces the character’s to examine the worst of their own actions as they struggle to accept and deal with Jude’s choices regarding her life and her baby’s.The ending was shocking and not at all what I expected. The biggest mystery, who is the father of Jude’s baby, is revealed in a surprising way. I didn’t think it would be who it turned out to be. Near the end Jude is accept all she has done and she even accepts the child, loving it despite her negative experiences with her own mother.Like life, everything in this story came full circle. Those who deserved punishment received it, however not quite as you might expect. And Jude was given the freedom she craved.I enjoyed this novel and I look forward to reading more from the author.3.5 out of 5 stars.I was given a copy of this book for an honest review

  • Pam
    2018-11-23 11:31

    Jude is listening to everything going on around her. People are talking to her but she can't answer. Why because she is in a coma. She either fell, was pushed or jumped off bluff near her home. Now she floats around in a way outside her body listening to everything that is going on around her. The hospital is keeping her alive for one reason. She is pregnant and there is a chance to save her baby. They keep her living as long as they can in the hopes of saving the child. Jude is a lonesome person and no one knows who the father of the child is. Not even her best friend Frances. As Jude lays there she gets to know people like she never did before. They come to her and share their darkest secrets with her. It also gives Jude time to come to grasp with her past and what she hopes for the baby she is growing to love. The people around her have many secrets. Some of them so dark they are horrifying.Jude is the type of character that at first I didn't like much. Bad to say considering she is in a coma but as she reflescts back on her life parts of it make you see she wasn't nice at times. But near the end I really came to like her as you can see her life reflecting back changed her so much. Even in a coma you can see she is a changed person. Her best friend Frances is an ok friend I guess I can see good and bad in her as well. At times it seems she really loves Jude but times she does stuff to make you think she only wants Jude's baby. another character that really stands out is a nurse named Mary Shannon. All the town thinks her a mean woman but Jude gets to know her as she nurses her. It seems Jude is the only one Mary Shannon can talk to. The unknown father is a horrible person who deserves nothing less to die to me. This book is unlike others I have read. You get to read from a few different POVs but Jude is the one you get pulled in and attached to. This is a tale of everyday peoples lives and what they may be hiding. You get to see the dark and good sides from everyone involved. Some of these things you can kind of see coming and some of them will rock you to your core. In a way it is like the spirit of Jude is telling you things as you read even if she is in a coma. As you read you keep hoping she will wake up any time. I don't think a book has sent me through so many emotions in a long time as this one did. The ending left me in an emotional wreck. In some ways this is a hard book to read and so don't go into it lightly. If you like a harder book be sure to pick this one up and discover the secrets and horrors these people kept hidden.

  • Inga
    2018-11-24 11:32

    My review:Bluff by Lenore Skomal is the most intriguing and complex book of the year 2012 for me! With that said, it was also the most difficult book to read in 2012. If you look for something which is easy and all positive, then here is my word of warning to you - do not read this book! If you are looking for something which is mysterious, deep, dark, fascinating, intelligent, touches many serious issues, then you will definitely love Bluff!Bluff by Lenore Skomal was utterly well written and cleverly crafted. It takes you to the places where you do not want to go and it forces you to think, and to take a step back to reflect and clear your own thoughts. It is bluntly honest and hits you in your face with characters that you might not even like, but who are so very human and real that it can scare you deeply. I can honestly admit, that Bluff is haunting me in my thoughts even after turning the last page and I will definitely read it again.I loved it! Plot:I find it hard to describe the plot without revealing too much, so I m trying to do my best not to include any spoilers and keep it short. Meet Jude, a woman who is pregnant and who has mysteriously fallen off the bluff behind her house and ended in a vegetative state in the hospital. She is kept alive barely by the machines, but her consciousness is working very clearly. Through Jude's thoughts and through the characters visiting her bed side, the author opens a world filled with deception, lies, tragedy and hope. I truly enjoyed how the author helps the main character Jude to redeem her life. Even though that the novel is a heavy read, it gave hope through Jude's inner world. It was a beautiful story filled with mystery and secrets. It's Jude's swan song. Characters:The characters are interesting to say the least. I did not like many of them, but I could relate to them and I could understand them where they were coming from. There is Frances, who is Jude's best friend and who is carrying few burdens herself; there is Jude's mom Gay who is still haunting Jude from her grave; there is a nurse Mary who is using Jude as a confidant; there is long lost sister who suddenly shows up - all these characters add a lot of color and mystery to the story!Generally:Bluff by Lenore Skomal was an excellent and fascinating book. It provoked many thoughts and it is one of the most remarkable literary fiction books I have read for long time!5 stars.

  • Emily Alburns
    2018-11-21 15:13

    I haven't read an introspective book like Bluff before. I usually read light and easy romances, but the blurb hooked me, and I decided to give Bluff a chance. I'm glad I did. Skomal weaves the lives of her characters around Jude, a middle aged woman who falls from a cliff, under mysterious circumstances, and though severely injured, survives. Unfortunately, to stay alive she must be kept under a medically induced coma, otherwise she, and the baby she carries, will die. Through back story and multiple character voices, Skomal reveals how secrets affect the dynamics of a relationship and ripples outward, touching all aspects of our lives. Usually its confusing when an author uses more than one voice to tell the story, but it actually made for a more engaging read. Every character brought a different perspective to the table, and each had their own story to add to the whole picture. Its like a finely woven spider web, with Jude in the middle. Frances, Jude's best (and only) friend, is devastated when she hears of Jude's accident. Frances is the good girl. Outwardly her life seems perfect, loving husband, nice home, expensive car, etc. But inwardly she is jealous of her friend's pregnancy, as she and her husband are unable to have children. I liked following the twist and turns of their lives and discovering how everything ties in at the end. I also liked how the whole book wasn't just about the coma, and what would happen to Jude once the baby was born. Don't get me wrong, this is the main issue of the book, but you're so busy wondering what will be revealed about each character on the next page, that you forget what event the book is leading you to. Bluff is not a depressing book, as you might think it would be when you hear about a pregnant woman in a coma, but it really isn't. Its the kind of book that reminds you of the little things in life, and how they can bring happiness to the whole. I enjoyed reading Bluff, though the ending was not what I was expecting. I am curious to know where the story will lead in the next book in the series, and I hate that I have to wait! 

  • Tyler-rose (The Reading Pile)
    2018-11-28 17:21

    Review can be found at www.the-reading-pile.blogspot.co.uk/actual rating; 4.5/5Literally chapters from the end of the book, and cutting it close to my deadline, i'm writing an early review? Why? Because I feel I already can. I've enjoyed Bluff because Lenore has a way of writing that makes what she's saying quite powerful. I've read a few chapters where some serious subjects have been discussed, but she handles them beautifully. The character of Jude falls off a cliff into the bluff which results in her being in a coma and her baby kept medically alive, until the stage when the baby can be born. Reading chapters through Jude's eyes were tough because she felt unable to do anything - which she was due to the consequences of falling off a cliff in the first place. She was left paralysed and in a coma and all she could do was watch as other people spoke around her - tough. I originally worried that this book was going to be like something else I read recently (coma patient watching and listening to everything that's going on around them...) however I was wrong, especially since there was a sort of mystery involved. Who was the father of the child? Did Jude fall, or was she pushed? These made the novel more interesting and I enjoyed it. As I said, I'm literally chapters from the end of the novel, and to avoid spoiling anything at all, I'm ending the review here. I'm loving Lenore's book, though it's not something I think I'll pick up and re-read. For that reason...Rating: 4.5/5My Review: Part 2: THE END!I'm keeping this short, because I've already written a review for the main bulk of the book. But since it was a midway review, that meant my overall thoughts haven't been made clear! I have now finished the novel! And can comment!All I have to say, honestly, is how much I hate the father of Jude's unborn child. GAH! I have no words for you! Overall, I enjoyed the book. The ending didn't let me down, but the rating is remaining the same. Sorry! I did enjoy it though!

  • Sharon
    2018-12-11 15:23

    My Review:The book up for review is “Bluff” by Lenore Skomal.I was at my favorite mom and pops diner when I started reading this book. Soon I heard an ah hum as I looked up at the waitress who had placed my food down and was waiting for me to acknowledge her. The first chapter had me so engrossed every thing around me had disappeared into a void. To me that is a heck of a way to start a book. I came close to emailing Lenore to tell her this in fact.The book’s main character is Jude who has fallen off a bluff near her home. Ending up in the hospital with massive trauma and broken bones she lays in a coma. The plot thickens when doctors discover she is pregnant. Something that is a mystery due to the fact she is a lesbian and has clearly shown she is not interested in men.. She tells her dearest and only friend Frances prior to the fall her condition but that is all.Throughout the book while Jude is in a coma you can still hear her thoughts as she observes the ongoings around her. From this you get a sense of who she is and her thoughts on the people who come to visit her.The doctors decide to keep Jude on life support so the baby can come to term and be delivered. This is a slipper slope since the hospital is supported by the church.Who is the father? Does he know about the baby? Did she fall or was she pushed? The questions keep popping up making me unable to put the book down.There are numerous characters in this book. Normally when this happens I have to start writing them down so I don’t get confused. I did not have to do this once for this book. Each character was developed so well that they stuck in my mind easily. That was a major kudo for this author.The various twists and turns fill this book. Some you see coming while others come upon the reader without any warning. That also made the book very enjoyable. You just never knew what was going to be on the other page when you turned to it.

  • Donna Brown
    2018-12-10 19:35

    Jude Black is in hospital with severe injuries having been found on the beach after a fall – or a push? – from the bluff near her home. As the doctors try to save her life, it becomes apparent that they are striving to save two lives, not one. Jude is pregnant and the identity of the father is as much of a mystery as many things in Jude’s life. As Jude lies in her comatose state, aware of all around her, she begins to sort through some of the things in her life, in an almost subconscious effort to reach some kind of peace. As Jude moves closer to this, the turmoil in everyone else’s lives becomes achingly apparent.Bluff is very much a ‘things are never quite as they seem’ novel, with a lot more below the surface than is originally suggested. Characters who seem perfectly together, warm, friendly, kind, confident or focused have major flaws revealed over the course of the novel. Though Jude begins as the messed up disaster of the community, it becomes clear during the book that there are those with much darker secrets.Like many novels with a ‘difficult’ main character, I found Bluff to be very thought-provoking. Jude is flawed – the memories and flashbacks suggest she can be miserable and anti-social – but she does display real vulnerability and tenderness at times.The novel raises some big issues (some of which I can’t reveal without giving key plot points away), including organ donation, the church and drug abuse. I felt these complex areas were dealt with sensitively and in a thought-provoking manner.Bluff was a very enjoyable read that kept me hooked. Touching, poignant and very sad at times, I found it well written and interesting.**Review originally published on Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dave. I received a copy of the book in exchange for my fair and honest review. I did not receive any additional compensation and all views are my own.**

  • Sonja
    2018-11-25 14:14

    This is the first, in what I hope to be many of Lenore Skomal's books i will read. Having had this book in my library for a few weeks now, I just didn't think an amazing book lay between the unassuming cover and (at the time) nondescript title. I started reading this book late at night and was spellbound within the first few paragraphs. The book tells the story of Jude, a sufferer of depression, and raised by an alcoholic mother. Jude is a loner, and very misunderstood. The story also develops into many other characters, each woven intricately into the life of Jude in strange and sometimes surprising ways. The title is so fitting, but only seems to makes sense once all the characters develop and show their true colors, much like in real life. When meeting new people showing our first impressions we all bluff our way into the fantasy we want others to believe our life is like.This book touched me deeply as some of the things Jude and her mother went through felt like a word for word discussion I would have with my own mother about abandonment, being the unloved wayward child, and about always not being good enough, no matter how hard you tried. I read through these pages and I was amazed at the ability Lenore has to magically construct the thoughts and feelings into sentences I read in her book as if it was spoken by my own heart.It came as no big surprise to me when I read Lenore has won many awards and has many accomplishments. What is amazing to me is how, after more than 25 years of reading thousands of books in many genres this was the first time I came across one of her books. She is such an amazing author.Like I said, thought provoking and deeply moving, a definite must read.

  • ILoveBooks
    2018-11-26 12:35

    Skomal has written a book that makes you take a step back and ponder different subjects you might not have thought of before. It’s about a woman named Jude who fell off a cliff while pregnant. She ends up being in a vegetative state, but her mind is active so she can hear everyone around her. The doctors and family don’t know what to do. Should they take her off life support? Who should be the one to pull the plug: doctors or family? What about the unborn child? These questions and more come to mind. Secrets are everywhere in this book and Jude hears them all. Not only that, she has secrets of her own. All of the characters aren’t one-dimensional, they are carefully developed. The reader will see other sides and pieces to the puzzle while being around Jude; everything has a meaning.This book isn’t for the simple-minded and happily-ever-after people, so if you’re into the good-guy-always-wins type please don’t pick up this book. I loved reading about the characters. Who they are, their thoughts, how every person’s secrets affect others, and how that secret ties into the story. Bluff isn’t a book you’ll walk away from and forget. You’ll think about how the book ties into your life, and the question “what would I have done?” The plot isn’t straightforward and easy to pick up on, I believe that’s how the author intended it. Every problem is something that happens in real life and hopefully you will not have to make the same choice to keep or to remove the life support plug. Don’t skip any pages or you’ll miss an important aspect of the plot. I recommend Bluff to those that want to finish a book and be left with deep questions.

  • Kathleen Kelly
    2018-11-22 17:20

    Bluff is a story about a woman, Jude, who falls off a bluff and ends up with brain damage on life support. She is pregnant which really complicates things. The doctors have told Frances, Jude's best friend, that there is no hope of recovery but they want to keep Jude on life support until the fetus grows to term. Frances has hopes to be able to raise Jude's baby but there happens to be a sister that Jude has not seen for years who plans to take the baby to raise in Paris. Jude is able to go outside her body and see what is going on around her and the reader is able to find out what happened to Jude as a child with an alcoholic mother.So while no one knows who the father of the baby is, the reader really does not find out until the very end. This is a very character driven story with many characters and side stories. There is Paul, the lawyer, his wife Mary Shannon, who is one of the nurses that takes care of Jude in the hospital. Frances and her husband, and finally Gay who is Jude's and April's mother. We find out that Jude is an organ donor and since she is in a Catholic hospital, this causes some moral issues because after the baby is born a team would be ready to harvest the organs and the church does not condone this. It all comes together nicely to tell a rather sad story as to what happened to Jude..Did she want to jump off the cliff or was it an accident? If Jude is a lesbian, who is the father of the baby?? This is a book that definitely has you thinking of the moral issues and the human mind...very well written...I am hoping that there will be a sequel..

  • Diana Hockley
    2018-12-10 11:35

    Don't bother with this book if you want a light read! It's deep and totally absorbing. There have been many books written with the main protagonist in a coma but able to hear what is being said without being able to respond. However, I think Lenore Skomal has produced something different from the norm and congratulate her for that!Jude is pregnant and one day, at about the five month mark, she goes over the bluff, from which there should be no escape with one's life. However, Jude survives and is kept alive until her baby is full term.What follows the accident is a masterpiece of plot and characterisation. Each of the people involved with Jude, from the hospital administrator, the Bishop, her sister, her best friend, her nurse and her family - have played a part in Jude's life. One of them - the father of the baby - is responsible for her fall. But how did Jude fall? And who is the father and under what circumstances? A layer of lies, deceit and betrayal unfolds, with Jude as the central figure. Questions of morality and theology come up and the climax to this is unexpected.Lenore Skomal has set up some confronting hypothesis and challenges the reader to make judgements based on his or her own beliefs and conscience.Throughout the book,I was hoping that things would take a turn for the better, but alas, life is not like that. A brilliantly executed story which will stay with you long after the last page!

  • Nicole Henke
    2018-12-08 18:19

    I finished this book in one sitting- I could NOT put it down, until the end! The author gives us a very unique story- hindsight is 20/20 and as Jude is laying in her coma, she has the time to go back through her life, and bring the reader into her tale. I have to admit I guessed who the father was early on, but even with that knowledge, the story still kept me hooked, as you didn't know what would happen when the baby was born. This story will stay with you- I suggest NOT reading it before bed, as it will haunt you in your sleep! The topics of living wills, deathbed directives, what would happen to your child if you left no will, what would you do if Jude was your best friend or sister, all for starters! The author has given us a fine book that will get the reader thinking and discussing the issues within it! The surprises in the last fourth of the book will have you shocked, then in complete agreement about how the author ended the book. I was glad that there was an interview with her at the end of the book (along with book club study guide), as it helped to offer up her reasons for that last part of the book happening like it did.I don't want to give anything away- the story is in the reading. Ignore any reviews that give up any secrets- just READ this book! It will be THE book of the Winter reading season!

  • Emily L. Moir-Genther
    2018-11-18 13:25

    Bluff is a book that grabs you right away. Within the first few sentences of the prelude, you already feel Jude's desperation and deep depression. Without pause, the reader is drawn into a dismal life with the only bleak hope belonging to those gathered around Jude. Her best friend's hope that Jude is somehow still there, even in her coma state, and that the baby Jude carries will somehow be alright. The doctors' hopes that there work will be fruitful. But Jude's own hopes and dreams are at an impasse. It's clear she won't be coming out of this, and all that's left is to understand what brought her to this point. To break things down into more technical talk:The characters in Bluff are realistic and gripping. The emotional drive behind each character is introduced in a way that's none obtrusive, yet gives the reader desperately needed insight to connect with them.The pacing in Bluff is dead on. There's immediate action to draw the reader in, then things even out as details fall into place. All the while there's the looming intensity of what will happen to the baby and Jude's own awareness but helplessness in her coma state.