The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle and Q&A with author

The Whole Golden World

  • By Kristina Riggle
  • Editions: ebook, hardcover, paperback
  • Published: November 5th 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks
  • Genre: Adult Contemporary / Drama
  • Source: review copy
  • In a Flutter: Dramatic and engaging!
  • rating-system4

    To the outside Diana and Joe have a perfect family-three lovely children, a beautiful home, and a café that’s finally taking off. But their world is rocked when it’s discovered that their oldest daughter, 17-year-old Morgan is having an affair with her married teacher, TJ Hill.
    Their town rocks with the scandal. When the case goes to trial, the family is torn further apart when Morgan sides not with her parents-as a manipulated teenage girl; but with TJ himself-as a woman who loves a 30-year-old man.
    Told from the perspectives of Morgan, Diana, and TJ’s wife, Rain, this is an unforgettable story that fully explores the surprising, even shocking, events that change the lives of two families.
    ~ Goodreads

    Amazon | Book Depository

    Fluttering Thoughts:

    Worldbuilding: Contemporary idyllic Arbor Valley, the small town with small-minded idiots (as Morgan sometimes describes them) houses a story of intrigue, seduction and lies with an intriguing cast of characters.
    Characters:Morgan, the 17 yo girl and ‘seductress’ was, I will admit, my favorite of the cast – that’s odd, I rarely like the type. Though her ‘perfect’ family looks pretty much picture perfect from the outside, her life is quite unhappy and she’s pretty much alone. At this point, everyone around her seems to care about anything but her, starting with her parents and going all the way to her ex and her best friend. Even when it’s not quite so, it seems to feel that way to her. Teenage angst and all, of course. I liked her, she was a very well built character and an interesting one too. I admired that she stuck to her guns when all the know-betters around intended to do the thinking for her too. She came to her own conclusions and once she did, she decided what to do and what to think on her own. She was strong and walked away from the ordeal wiser, which I loved about her the most.
    My second favorite of the novel was the infamous Mr. Hill. JC would probably be the character lots of us would easily hate, a cheater, a liar, a manipulator, selfish and all – though he starts as a very likeable character. I liked how he was built without liking him as a person, and I liked the ending too especially because of that. I won’t give it away, but the ending was definitely one of my favorite parts of the novel. If you ask me, he would have made a far, far, far more interesting POV for this story than the two mommies. I mean, speaking for me of course, his thoughts and feelings would have made much more interesting reading material than either Diana’s or Rain’s.
    It might be mean of me to say so, but I never get the appeal of mommy characters. Might be because I don’t get the appeal of the mommy thing either, so it’s obviously a very personal view on things. Diana was entirely boring for me to read and often quite annoying without doing anything outright wrong. Rain was highly, highly irritating, from start to finish – though I did like the fact that she got a bit out of her head and finally made the right decisions there at the end. By large though, The Whole Golden World present a lot of interesting reasoning, choosing, reacting, and lots and lots of feelings. This was pretty much like a window into the woman of all ages, the traditional and a bit of the rebel, the dreamer, the mother, the best friend, the lover, the wife, the survivor – The Whole Golden World pretty much covers it all.
    Favorite Character: Morgan {though I wasn’t in love with her, I liked her best}
    Plot: The story was very interesting particularly because we get to watch it unfold from a few points of view of those involved. I found it interesting, more so in the first half I think, and while I was fully engaged for the second as well, I wasn’t as excited. For sure that had a lot to do with my reaction to Diana and Rain though.
    Writing: Third person narrative, a few POVs. I liked the style and their voices, though the novel does feature one of my personal pet peeves: events don’t flow in the natural order of time, there are flashbacks and jumps in the timeline. Despite that, I liked the storytelling.
    Curb Appeal: Awesome cover, intriguing blurb. Not impulsive buy material for me, but a very good candidate for my ‘serious reading moods’.

    All in all, this was a really good read. I either liked or disliked characters, which means they were well built and felt real, and the story kept me engaged through and through though I lost some of the excitement somewhere along the way.
    I recommend this if you’re into dramatic stories that do end well(ish) and especially if you enjoy glimpses into the lives of more than one person involved in those dramatic stories.


    If you were to describe your e-book/book in only one word, what would it be?


    What would you say inspired you to write it?

    A newspaper article about a similar case.

    What was the source of inspiration for your protagonist? What about your antagonist?

    In both cases the answer is “my premise.” Since I started with a premise and plot, I had to consider what kinds of characters would find themselves in this particular predicament. It was interesting to work backward that way, since I often start with character.

    Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it?

    Nah, not really. I can always write something, even if it’s terrible. As has been often said, you can’t edit a blank page. Sometimes I switch to a journal and write longhand. Stepping away from the keyboard feels good once in a while.

    Your all time favorite book?

    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

    What made you pick that one above all others?

    It was the first novel that knocked the wind out of me. Its blend of tragedy and comedy is flawless.

    What’s the longest time you’ve spent working on a project?

    This book, actually. Funnily enough, though, I don’t know exactly how long it’s been. Not quite two years. I don’t really keep track, which I think frustrates people because I’m always asked how long it takes me to write a book.

    Would you say becoming an author has changed you? In what way?

    It’s made me proud to help support my family doing something I love. One of my good friends has said, “This is what you’re meant to do” and I think she’s right and I love that it’s obvious.

    Was there ever a time, during your work on the e-book/book, when you felt like giving up? What made you change your mind?

    No. I’m really, really stubborn about things that matter to me.

    What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside writing?

    I wrangle the kids, manage the household, read. I also recently took up running. Trying to get my 5k under 30 minutes.

    How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect?

    I don’t always read them. If they’re forwarded to me, say by my publisher (trade reviews like Publishers Weekly, Kirkus etc) I feel I should read them, so I do. I generally read blogger reviews because I want to thank them for their time. But I don’t read reviews at Goodreads or Amazon. In other words, I certainly don’t go looking for them.

    If I do find a stinker of a review, it will sting for a little while, but it goes away. As for advice, you can go re-read your good reviews, or cry to your friends, but really, the feeling will pass. It’s the price of admission to this author gig, after all.

    What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next, aside this title/series?

    Sorry, I never talk about works in progress! I’m researching a new project, but that’s all I can say.

    Fun facts:

    If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for?

    A cure for cancer.

    If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one book you’d absolutely wish to have with you?

    Complete collection of Shakespeare’s works. It’s also thick enough to double as a tool, like, smashing coconuts or something.

    Name your favorite fruit.


    Coffee or tea?


    Favorite season?


    How about fav time of 24 hours?

    After dinner/homework rush when we can just kick back as a family and goof off.

    Were you a boyscout/girlscout?

    Girl Scout, 3rd grade through 7th

    Favorite food for breakfast?

    Oatmeal with brown sugar

    Latest book you’ve bought and read?

    I’ve gotten a lot of ARCs from trade shows lately (like WE ARE WATER by Wally Lamb) but I did buy All The Summer Girls by Meg Donohue and loved it.

    Do you collect things, like stamps, or key chains, or shoes?

    Signed books!

    Favorite color, you know you want to tell us!


    Drama or comedy?

    Dra-medy. Love movies/books that make me laugh and cry, especially both at once.

    Have a fav quote or personal motto?

    Here’s a neat one: “Amore regge senza legge.” It’s Italian and means “Love rules without rules.” That’s so true.

    Cats or dogs?

    Grew up with cats but have allergic family. So now I’ve somehow become a dog person.

    Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing?

    I miss going out dancing back in the day, but honestly I’m usually in my pajamas by 9 pm, so I’ll go for the candlelit dinner.


    2 thoughts on “The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle and Q&A with author

    1. Terri Bruce

      I love the cover and the premise does sound intriguing! Great review!

      LOL – and I agree with Kristina on favorite book – Catch 22 is awesome! 🙂


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