Posts Tagged With: Elizabeth Noble

The Girl Next Door by Elizabeth Noble

Book Type: Large Print Hardback from Library

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

What makes a house a home? For Eve Gallagher, home is miles away in England since she and her husband relocated to an apartment building on New York’s Upper East Side. And life isn’t remotely coming up roses. What makes a neighbour a friend? Violet has lived in the building for decades but she’s always kept herself apart.

I was worried about how good this book was going to be when I opened up the first page and saw a list of characters. There were a few pages and my initial thought was simply “oh no”. To be honest, the first time I tried this book I only managed around 50 pages. The second time was much better however. This is mature chick-lit that looks at the idea of relocating, making friends and starting a family.

The central character is Eve, who moves to New York with her husband as he has earned a promotion. She finds herself living in a gorgeous flat, but even though there are people all around, she is isolated and alone. That is until a fellow neighbour hosts a meeting about the roof terrace – they have permission to make it a nice garden area. Eve goes along and meets some fellow neighbours, most notably Violet. She is an old lady who also emigrated from England, but until meeting Eve has kept herself apart from others. The book mainly follows these two characters with interludes from others in the apartment to break up the story. To be honest, although I can remember the other story lines – the over-bearing mother of a spoilt toddler, a love affair between two unlikely people and a new friendship – the characters themselves haven’t stayed with them, I couldn’t name them for instance. In reflection though, that doesn’t bother me as I remember Eve and Violet, and how Eve struggles with life in America, and then gets pregnant and has to deal with a premature birth. Violet is there all the way through and we learn her story and about her heartbreak, and that to me is the main story and worth remembering.

Noble takes on tough issues in this novel. She looks at relocating, premature birth and death. There are moments when this is a sad tale, and other times when it is uplifting. This shift in mood keeps the book entertaining. This is not the best Noble novel I have read – that would be Things I Want My Daughters to Know, but I enjoyed this.

I liked Eve and felt sorry for her. I could relate her as she struggled in New York – I wouldn’t have been brave enough to go out and make friends either. Ed, her husband, was nice enough but he didn’t understand her that well, and I was a bit gutted that he wasn’t too keen on her the pregnancy at first. I had to grow to like him, whereas I liked Eve instantly. I liked Violet as well. She was kind and caring, but she was stern and motherly, just what Eve wanted. The other characters were pleasant but don’t stick out in my mind that much. It was nice that Noble included the other storylines but I think the people she wrote needed to be more inspiring.

This is mature chick-lit and I really enjoyed it. I would happily recommend this novel to others who like Elizabeth Noble and like a good, emotional, realistic, interesting read.

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Things I want my Daughters to know ~ Elizabeth Noble

things i want my daughters to know

Synopsis from Waterstones

‘My beautiful girls. If you’ve read this, you’ll know it contains some – not all, but some – of the things I want my daughters to know. And the greatest of these is love …’ How would you say goodbye to those you love most in the world? Barbara must say a final farewell to her four daughters. But how can she find the words? And how can she leave them when they each have so much growing up to do? There’s commitment-phobic Lisa. Brittle, unhappily married Jennifer. Free-spirited traveller Amanda. And teenage Hannah, stumbling her way towards adulthood. Barbara’s answer is to write each daughter a letter, finally expressing the hopes, fears, dreams and secrets she couldn’t always voice. These words will touch the girls in different – sometimes shocking – ways, unlocking emotions and passions to set them on their own journey of discovery through life.

My thoughts

What a lovely book. I don’t normally read much ‘chick lit’ but this book was recommended to me by the BCF and has really reflected what I have recently gone through with my mum.

Barbara, the girls mum is dying of cancer and has written each of them a letter to read when she is gone and also had kept a Journal of her fight with cancer.

The book follows the four daughters and their lives and how they deal with their mums death. At times funny, at times sad but nevertheless a lovely lovely book. I could relate to so much of this book and found myself recognising myself in many of the experiences.

There were so many similarities to my mums own way of dealing with cancer; arranging her funeral with everyone wearing bright colours, being buried at an humanist site in a biodegradable coffin and the wake being held outside on a bright summers day.

I would like to quote the following from the book about her funeral:

It was exactly how she would have wanted it to be – good friends, good food, good weather.

Even if you haven’t (thankfully) lost your mum it is still a good read and certainly I will look out for more of the authors work.  If you have sadly lost your mum,  I think this book would offer you comfort and understanding.

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The Tenko Club by Elizabeth Noble

the tenko club

Synopsis from Amazon:

Club Rules

Men, children, work, shopping, wine and chocolate. Important, but not AS important.

When they need you, you are there. No giving up.

Members

Freddie, Tamsin, Reagan and Sarah

They meet at university in the heady days of the 80s: four women with little in common but an eagerness to live life to the full. And over romantic crises, long gossipy nights and too many bottles of wine, they form the Tenko club and swear they’ll always be there for each other.

Life Membership

Twenty years later, that promise is put to the test.

Regan, Sarah, Tamzin and Freddie met at university and formed a lasting friendship. Their friendship remained after their uni years, through marriage, and children,  and the death of Sarah. Now they need each other a lot more. Freddie receives two doses of bad news, which send her to America. Regan and Tamzin go with her, and they explore themselves, their lives and their friendship. Through fights and laughter the Tenko Club move forward.

I really enjoyed this book. I am a huge fan of Elizabeth Noble. I have enjoyed the other books of hers that I have read. I love her writing style – engaging and fun, gripping and enjoyable. All her characters are believable, and the way Noble writes makes you wish you know them. I wanted to be a member of the Tenko Club! I even liked how they had memories and flash backs contained Sarah, even though she is dead.

This is definitely chick-lit, but this is chick-lit at its best. I found the book believable, but quite predictable. It was a heart warming read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

9/10

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