* Prices may differ from that shown
After perusing the "just returned" section of the library, I was pleased to see that there were a few books there that I wouldn't normally have gone actively searching for, these usually turn out to be the best reads, so snapped them up immediately!
The book I will now review is - "Things I want my daughters to know by Elizabeth Noble".
The book starts with one of the title mentioned daughters luxuriating in a bath, looking at a photograph of her larger than life mother, and thinking about her and how much fun she was, was being the operative word as this is actually her funeral day and Lisa, the eldest of the four sisters, is reminiscing before she has to go through one of the hardest things she will ever have to do in her life, bury her mother.
The funeral comes and goes, and the real story begins....the sisters story.
Leaving four daughters behind with a bewildered and devastated step dad to three, and real dad to one, Barbara (the mum), has left what she thought was a secure a tight family unit, but once her funeral is over, it's seems that the lives of those left behind and that have been on hold whilst Barbara was dying from cancer, are now falling apart too, especially now their rock has gone.
Will their lives get back on track?
I know from my brief synopsis that this doesn't sound like much of a book, the reality is that this book is by far one of the best, most wonderful read I have ever had.
The book starts with the funeral, and this time span is used to introduce the characters and a little of their background story, with the family being made up from children from two marriages, and four daughters.
What soon becomes apparent is the book is near enough all about the relationship these women have with each other, their dad/step dad Mark and with there partners, before, during and after the untimely death of their mother.
Each daughter is as different a person from the next as you can get.
Lisa is the eldest and is the most like her other, being bubbly confident and her mothers rock, though she seems to be the most commitment phobic of the four due to her seeing the break down of her mothers first marriage.
Jennifer is next and is apparently happily married to Stephen, though her heartache lies in the fact that she never got the chance to confide in her other before her death, about terribly unhappy she was about not getting pregnant, and perhaps not actually wanting to!
Amanda is the traveller and actively avoided coming home for the death of her mother, staying abroad until receiving "that" email from Mark, she feels incredibly guilty as after she justified that this was the best thing to do, after returning the realisation that she never got to say goodbye is almost unbearable.
Finally there is Hannah, he product of Barbara and Marks intense love for each other and born to Barbara at the tender age of 45, she is much younger than her sisters, and finds that once her mother is gone as her father lean a little too heavy on her, pushing her right off the rails, with almost disastrous results.
The whole story is told through a mixture of dedicated chapters for each sister, with the occasional chapter for Mark and his recovery, and letters.
The letters were written for each girl by Barbara, these were then given out on the day of the funeral, some giving comfort and some causing despair.
Alongside this a diary is given of her moments ranging from when she first discovers she has cancer through to when she is told she is terminal, I know this sounds like it should be morbid and constantly sad, but it is written so beautifully that the pain and anguish is offset by the love she has for her children.
This diary also fills in blanks about the history of the family, and at times is hysterical to read!
The book has it all fun, laughter, romance, heartache and death, all rolled together and written about with such warmth, passion and love that you feel drawn to the family and you do find yourself questioning what sort of legacy you would leave for your loved ones.
Don't get me wrong, as fun as the book is a times, the desolation of this person leaving a great hole in the family was at times, really hard to read about, with the last chapter being the hardest and most emotional to read, but life is such, and at times I forgot I was reading a work of fiction, but more like an insert into someone's life.
Price wise this is available for £4.94 (paperback) from www.amazon.co.uk.
For more information visit - www.penguin.com
Thanks for reading x
This is the first book by Elizabeth Nobel I have read and I absolutely loved it!
Things I Want my Daughters to Know by Elizabeth Noble - I did make 2 attempts to read it. I hadn't read the back and I didn't realise it was going to be a sad one! I had to put it down the first time as it was round about the time my gran had just passed away with cancer, so too close to home. The opening chapter is a lovely poem which we later chose to read out at my Grans funeral. But don't worry there is also laughter in this book!!! Hope I haven't put you off.
The book is about letters and journals a mother leaves her four daughters after she has died of terminal cancer. I don't want to spoil it for those who have not read it but the story centres around four very different sisters - Lisa, Jennifer, Amanda and Hannah. You get to know the girls, how different they are and how they have been affected in different ways by it all. There is Lisa who is scared of commitment, Jennifer in a deeply unhappy marriage, Amanda the traveller who is never around and always runs away from her problems, then the youngest sister who is only 15, so is going through her teen tantrums and boy stage. In the middle of it all, is their step Dad Mark, (real dad to the youngest) whom they all turn to a different points during the story.
In the letters, the mother, Barbara says some of the things that she wishes she had been able to say to them before she dies, how much she loves and adores them, her worries for them and there is also a huge surprise for one of them in particularly that shakes her and the other sisters to the core. The book does not focus entirely around the letters; it also tells the story of the girls lives in the years following her death.
I was enthralled by all of the characters and their relationships. It was also nice that Mark stayed in their lives and proved a rock in all their lives.
There are so many subjects covered in this book - grief, guilt, love, forgiveness and more.
This book is an emotional rollercoaster but it's worth it. I cried lots of times but also laughed and in a strange way it made me feel good.
This book is perfect for curling up with in absolute privacy where you can let your emotions get the better of you!
I was sad when this book ended, I could have read on and on.
I will begin by saying that this is not the sort of book I would normally read. However, having forgot to take my book to work with me recently when on a sleep-over shift, I came across this in the staff bedroom, where we leave books we have read, incase someone else would like to read them.
On reading the back of the book, I was reminded just a little of Cecelia Ahern's 'PS I Love You', and having enjoyed reading that book, I thought maybe I would like this one.
'Things I Want My Daughters To Know', is written by Elizabeth Noble, American author of The Reading Group, The Tenko Club and Alphabet Weekends. I have not read any of her previous novels.
The story begins with a 'letter' from Barbara to all her family, giving instructions for her funeral.
You realise right away that Barbara has lost her fight against cancer, leaving behind her four daughters and second husband, Mark.
Before she died, Barbara penned a letter to each of her daughters expressing her love, hopes and dreams for each of them, as well as a few secrets which are revealed in a journal Barbara wrote for her daughters to read.
The book follows the lives of her daughters and husband over the year following her death, and how these letters touch them in different ways, as they face up to life without their mum/wife, and also their own problems and hurdles in the months that follow.
LISA - The eldest daughter, and the one that Barbara felt closest to. Lisa is in her thirties and terrified of commitment, despite having a lovely boyfriend, who wants to marry her. She came across as a strong woman on the outside, who is scared to let her feelings show. Lisa is both a likeable and believable character, who is easy to identify with.
JENNIFER - One of the 'middle' daughters. Unhappily married it seems to Stephen. Described by Barbara as brittle, fragile and hard to reach, Jennifer is quite a complex character, as she struggles with her feelings for her husband and what she wants from the rest of her life. Will she leave her husband or can they work things out? Again, this is a believable character, and the author describes her feelings and emotions very well.
AMANDA - The other 'middle' daughter. Amanda spends most of her life travelling and has always been a little apart from her sisters who never see her very often. In fact, they are not sure if Amanda will turn up for the funeral! I initially took a bit of a dislike to Amanda, but found myself softening towards her later in the book.
HANNAH - The youngest daughter at only 15 years old, and having to face up to life without her mum. Hannah was Barbara and Mark's 'miracle' , born after Barbara had met and married Mark, and Barbara was 45. Hannah finds it very difficult not having her mum around whilst she is still so young, but forms a stronger bond with her father and sisters.
MARK - Barbara's second husband, step-father to Lisa, Jennifer and Amanda, and father to Hannah. Mark is a rock to all of them, and a very likeable character.
The book is written so that each chapter is mostly devoted to one of the characters, and despite being written this way, it does flow really well. Often when books are written this way, they can be hard to follow, with the reader having to go back to another chapter for reference, but this was not necessary here.
I found the book very easy to read, and having lost my own mum to cancer when I was younger, I could identify with many of the emotions of the characters, especially after Barbara's funeral, when facing up to coping with the empty void in their lives, and I found myself shedding a few tears at the beginning of this book!
This is worth bearing in mind, if you have lost a parent to cancer, you will probably find yourself easily identifying with the daughters, and this may make for an emotional read throughout. Having said that, I found it quite therapeutic in some ways.
There are also both happy and funny moments in the book which will make you smile, especially when reading some of the contents of the letters and Barbara's funeral 'instructions' which insisted that nobody cried, or wore black, oh and definitely no 'Abide With Me'!.
After finishing the book, I did find myself wishing there had been a little bit more to it, as if something was missing, but this could just be down to the fact it is so different to the type of book I normally read.
Overall it is a moving tale of love, loss and moving on. How do you say goodbye to those you love most in the world?
Things I Want My Daughters To Know is available from Amazon, priced at £4.19 new, and used from 1p.
After reading a review on here about this book I knew I had to read it, so promptly went across to Read it Swap it to request the book. I was lucky enough to receive this in quick time, and set about reading it.
Things I want my daughter's to know straight away screams at you that the book will be a tear jerker. Reading the blurb you learn very quickly that the main character Barbara, who isn't in the book for very long, is suffering from terminal cancer, leaving behind her four daughters ranging from a teenager through to grown women, and a loving husband.
It's all very soap box and cliché in the first couple of chapters, but despite all this it will grip you and pull you deeper into the life of Barbara and events preceding her death.
The book is told in the third person and swaps between Barbara in person and then through diary format after her death, and each of her children, Hannah, 15, Lisa and Jennifer, both in their 30's and Amanda, 22, as well as Mark her second husband.
Each character has very different personalities and these conflicts and similarities pull the family together when needed, but also manage to distance them from each other.
All of them are affected differently by their mother's death, and we follow them through the 12 months after seeing how they cope with their own lives as well as dealing with their loss.
We learn a lot about the sort of character Barbara was, and about her past, as well as her present. Quick to learn that Barbara divorced her first husband and married again later in life to go on to have Hannah.
It's easy to see Barbara loved her children and she would have done anything for them. It's also nice to see how she coped with certain events in her children's lives, and how she wishes she may have done some things differently.
As a parent myself it was nice to read about childhood incidents and events that every parent has to face, but at the same time it does make you think about how lucky you are to have a happy healthy family when you read a novel, that whilst is a novel, could be so real for many people.
There are chapters in the book that will tear through your every emotion, and you might not want to read this in public if you are prone to cry at sad moments. I thought Noble was brilliant at tugging on the heart strings, and explain situations, grasping the body language and emotion that was needed at each stage.
The book isn't all doom and gloom and there are some very happy memories and moments included. I did find some of the filling spaces a bit slow and perhaps unnecessary to read, but in the end they all make for a book that describes a family, their emotions and all the turmoil's and joy that come with family life.
Overall this book is an easy read that you can pick up and put down whenever you want, but I do think that because it's so easy to read it won't take you long to get through the pages.
If you like chick lit then definitely give this a go.
I had read quite a bit about this book - Things I want my daughters to Know by Elizabeth Noble - but had actually shied away from reading it because I thought it would be just too sad. The reason why I thought this is because it is about the letters and journals a mother leaves her four daughters after she has died. However, recently I won a book on the Galaxy Book Club website and as this was one of the choices I thought I would give it a go and I am so glad that I did!
The story is all about four sisters - Lisa, Jennifer, Amanda and Hannah. At the start of the book their mother Barbara has just died and they are preparing for her funeral. Right from the start you get to know the sisters and see how different they are and how they have all been affected in different ways. Lisa, the eldest, is scared of commitment and finds it difficult to really trust in the relationship she has with Andy. Jennifer is deeply troubled in her unhappy marriage to Stephen. Amanda never really confronts her problems and nor does she stay around long enough to even try as she is always travelling around the world. Hannah, at fifteen, is the youngest and is going through those turbulent teenage years!
After the funeral, Mark (Hannah's dad but step dad to the other three) hands each of the girls a letter written by their mother before she died. In each of these moving letters, Barbara says some of the things that she wishes she had been able to say to them before she dies - how much she loves them, how she worries about Lisa'd inability to commit and she tells Jennifer how she can see just how unhappy her marriage is. She tells Hannah of all her hopes for her but for Amanda there is also a huge revelation that shakes her to the core! Barbara also leaves a journal for her daughters to read helping them to understand how Barbara has felt and why she has done things at certain times in their lives.
The book is not just about the letters and journal but about all their lives in the year after Barbara's death. It's totally absorbing to read how they use the letters to deal with some of their problems and you get the feeling that they know their mum would have been proud of them all. A lot happens in that year and relationships are tested as a lot of soul searching is done. I loved reading about the different relationships of the characters and I found it particularly moving how Mark remained such a lynch pin in all of their lives. There are so many themes in this book - grief, guilt, the strength of love, resolution, understand - and all are intertwined perfectly.
This book is an absolute emotional rollercoaster but it's worth it. I did cry - lots of times! Therefore it's not the sort of book you really want to be reading in a public place such as a train. It's much better to find a quiet place to curl up on your own to read it and just let yourself go with the flow! Not only is it sad though, it is also incredibly uplifting and a great example of how life goes on.
I really do recommend this book but I would also think that you might not want to read it anyone close to you is in a similar position. It might just be a little too close to home even though the message is extremely positive.
I absolutely loved this book. I could hardly put it down and I just did not want it to end. There are lots of quotes from reviews on the cover but the one I most identified with was from Penny Vincenzi who says:
'I cried, I laughed, I couldn't put it down!'
That definitely sums it up for me.
This was the first book I had read by Elizabeth Noble but I shall definitely be looking out for more books from this fabulous author!
It's published by Penguin Fiction and the paperback has a RRP of £6.99.
***** THE SYNOPSIS*****
'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.
Things I Want My Daughters To Know is Elizabeth Noble's fourth novel. It tells the story of a mother (Barbara) who has to say goodbye to those she loves most in the world. She does this via letters expressing her hopes and fears for each daughters as well as a journal. Things I Want My Daughters To Know is quite like Cecelia Ahern's PS I Love You and Lola Jaye's By The Time You Read This in the way that we never get to meet the people writing the letters. I enjoyed the previous two I read and also loved this one.
I loved how the writing style wasn't divided up into chapters but was divided up between the months and the thoughts of each person (Hannah, Amanda, Lisa, Jennifer & Mark) as well as having the odd journal entry from Barbara. It was a very clever way of writing the novel and worked really well.
I thought Elizabeth Noble wrote each character very well and loved how they were all so different from each other. Lisa, the eldest who is terrified of commitment; unhappily married Jennifer; Amanda the traveller; and Hannah a teenager who faces adulthood without her mother.
I felt sympathetic to all four sisters and absolutely loved the different obstacles each sister had to face. My favourite of the sisters had to be Amanda, I loved her flighty nature and yet, when love came calling... I so hoped Jennifer and Amanda would overcome their relationship worries. Hannah was also great and had her own problems to overcome, too.
I thought Mark's, Barbara's husband and Hannah's dad, perspective gave us a different angle on grief and the struggles he faced on how to move on and whether or not it was OK to move on.
I enjoyed reading the letters to each girl - and found a few shocking - and loved the journal entries. While we never met Barbara it did feel like we knew her - through the journal entries and the letters as well as what we learnt from the girls' and Mark's point of view - and could also sympathise with how she was finding knowing she was going to die as well as how it impacted on the rest of the family.
There were a few scenes in the book that really lifted the lid on grief and keeping things bottled up in particular a scene where Jennifer is drinking with Mark and she really lets go of herself and lets out some shocking revelations.
Eilizabeth Noble has taken a really difficult subject and made it into a fabulous novel. Light-hearted yet serious and very moving. A lot of books say they are tear-jerkers but this one is actually one that is a tear-jerker! A definite must-read!
Also posted at http://chicklitreviews.wordpress.com
I got this book after reading a good review in a magazine about it and after reading it I am left with mixed feelings about it.
The storyline is centred around Barbara, a woman who dies of cancer at the age of 60 leaving behind her 4 daughters and her husband Mark, she leaves each of her daughters a letter and a journal full of "things she wanted her daughters to know". Barbara is described as the matriarch of the family a few times and I was starting to wonder what decade (or century this was supposed to be set in), she was an attractive woman who was always the life of the party, she ran her own business which she built up from scratch, loved her children fiercely and was a brilliant mother, she was also in an amazing relationship with second husband Mark. Basically she had it all - no wonder her daughters have got problems, I don't think anyone could follow that.
So a little about her daughters -
Lisa - wrong side of 35, a bit of a good time girl and commitment phobe, Jennifer - mid thirties, described as brittle countless times and who is trying unsuccessfully for a baby with husband Stephen,
Amanda - mid twenties, the traveller, never happy standing still - always running to (or from) somewhere and
Hannah - 15 - typical teen.
Mark is the father of Hannah and stepfather to the others.
Barbara is due for a sainthood at the beginning of the book, each of her daughters (except maybe Hannah, not sure) seem in awe of their mother and her passing just seems to make her even more perfect in their eyes, but it wouldn't take a reader long to realise that this is a dysfunctional family, and some of the blame lies squarely at Barbaras door, cue "shocking revolution" from beyond the grave which leaves the family reeling. Maybe I'm from the wrong side of town but I felt a bit let down with this part of the book, and I kept waiting for more or even some sort of resolution but sadly I waited in vain.
The journal Barbara left, which is drip fed to you throughout the book, is probably the best thing about the book, it seems more real than the other storylines. One thing I did like about this book was that it made my family seem normal!! The characters are actually quite difficult to like - my favourite character was probably Stephen and I'm not sure I was supposed to like him at all as Barbara wasn't sure about him. Mark was a bit scary at times, Lisa was incredibly selfish (and a bit of a tart), Jennifer was a bit one dimensional, Amanda was okay, one of the more pallitable characters and Hannah - well she was 15/16 so what girl that age is easy to like.
I do think this novel was well written but as a 31 year old woman with 2 sisters of my own I thought I would be able to relate to this book more and I'm disappointed to say that I didn't. Don't get me wrong, if you are given this book read it, and it may really appeal to some women but it is definitely missing heart in my opinion
Things I Want My Daughters To Know
I loaned this book from the library after so many recommendations from my friends. They had been raving about the book for weeks before I eventually got the call to say I was next on the reserved list to borrow the book Things I Want My Daughters to Know. I must admit, when I collected the book I had enormously high expectations and I was a little disappointed by the time I had finished it.
*About the Author*
Elizabeth Noble, 39, resides with her husband and two daughters (Tallulah and Ottilie) in New York. Noble graduated from Oxford University after studying English and embarked on a career in writing. She has three other novels which are The Reading Group, The Tenko Club and Alphabet Weekends, all of which were Sunday Times bestsellers.
*A Brief Outline of the Storyline*
Things I Want My Daughters to Know is a novel about four daughters who lose their mother. Before losing her life to cancer, Barbara writes 5 letters to help her family continue with their lives once she is no longer with them and Mark, her second husband gives them to the girls the day after the funeral. Each letter is unique to the daughter and extremely special and personal in its own way and is something that they can treasure. In her letters, Barbara attempts to give them advice as to how to deal with the ordeals and achievements they will face throughout their lives.
Will the letters help her daughters to enjoy their lives? Will they bring her family closer together? Read it to find out!
- The Daughters -
Lisa: The eldest daughter of the four and somebody who is scared stiff of commitment. Her partner Andy is faultless but there is a secret that is preventing her from settling down with him. She pushes away her family and friends that try to help her come to terms with the death of her mother and for this reason, I felt that she was a believable character.
Jennifer: Married to Stephen but extremely confused about her emotions. She struggles to know what she wants from life, perhaps not even her husband anymore. Is a family what she wants? Jennifer was my favourite character in the book as she seemed to have slightly more depth than the others and you could genuinely relate to her. It takes a holiday for herself and Stephen to be honest with one another about how they really feel.
Amanda: Out of all the sisters, Amanda is the extrovert and loves travelling. I start the book disliking her because she didn't come home even when she knew her mother was dying of cancer. But as you read the novel, you learn about her personality and reasons as to why she didn't return. She is the type of person who runs away from her problems rather than dealing with them head on. Thankfully, she meets a lovely guy and sees what is important in life.
Hannah: She is youngest of the daughters, still in her teenage years. She is the one who will find the loss of her mother the most difficult, without someone to guide her through the adolescent years that as all girls know, are some of the most difficult emotionally. She finds after her mother's death a fantastic relationship with her father, and they make the most of the disaster that has fallen upon them. The journal that is given to Hannah for her birthday shows a side to their mother that they didn't know existed and causes quite a shock for the girls.
Mark: Barbara's second husband Mark is probably the most likeable character in the book and is a rock for the four daughters. Despite having lost the wife that he was totally devoted too, he is exceptionally strong but also sensitive to his step-daughters needs and emotions.
Barbara: Although we only know Barbara through her letters to the girls and her husband, we learn a lot about her personality. Her daughters had always believed for her to be a saint, however after she has gone they learn through her diary that like them all, she has made mistakes throughout her life as well. She is portrayed as a very compassionate and loving mother who would do anything for her daughters.
Before you begin reading this book, be aware that you will lose a few days until you have finished the book. It is the kind of book that you find difficult to put down because it flows so well. The way the book is laid out is not in chapters but in the form character segments. By the time I have read one section, I was eager to read the next immediately.
The idea behind the story reminds me a little of the novel P.S I Love You by Ceclia Ahern. Not that I am complaining as my favourite part of this novel was reading each of the letters sent by Barbara to her daughters. Things I Want My Daughters to Know is a novel that strangely makes you smile throughout despite it being about such a sad topic.
I liked the fact that there wasn't a focus on a specific daughter throughout the novel. It is an equal balance between the four girls, although I would have liked to have a bit more written about Mark.
Although I would define this as chic lit, it has a little more substance than books like the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella. I believe what makes the book a success is that it had the perfect balance of joy and sorrow throughout the book. It wasn't so sad that you didn't want to endure anymore once getting half-way through the book like a few I have read recently.
I can't quite work out what it is that I think is missing from the book. Maybe it is for the reason that there wasn't enough going on in it. I'm not disputing that it was well written, but without any amazing plot.
My recommendations if you liked or like the sound of this book are:
- Thank You For The Memories by Cecelia Ahern
- P.S I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
- Second Chances by Jane Green
On the whole, I think this is a really heart wrenching book that genuinely moves you to tears. So beware, have tissues at the ready. However, maybe I had too high expectations for the book as I didn't feel it lived up to the excitement surrounding it. Nevertheless, I thought it was a fine read and would recommend it, although don't expect it to completely blow you away because it didn't me. If I could give the book four and a half out of five, I would have.
You can buy this book from www.amazon.co.uk for £4.89.
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Penguin (4 September 2008)
I have recently been making my way through a lot of books and when I arrived in work on Monday my colleague handed me this book and said "Who wants a cry next?"
I then took the book and began to read it and 5 days later I have read it from cover to cover and loved it!
*~*About the Author*~*
Born in High Wycombe, Bucks Elizabeth Noble lives in New York with her husband and two daughters.
After studying at Oxford University she began a career in publishing, before deciding to write full time.
She has three other novels, The Reading Group. The Tenko Club and Alphabet Weekends which I plan on reading next.
Barbara is a mother of 4 daughters Lisa, Jennifer, Amanda and Hannah all ranging from their mid thirties to their teens and all at different stages of life, leaving behind her loving second husband, Mark.
Barbara has been diagnosed with cancer, realising she is not ready to leave her family behind she decides there are things she still needs to tell her daughters and give them advise for the future as she will no longer be at their site to guide them as mothers do so she begins to write personal letters to each of them and her husband, Mark is instructed to deliver the letters to the girls the day after her funeral.
Lisa is the eldest daughter and in her mid thirties but is a commitment phobe, she has a wonderful partner in Andy but Lisa just doesn't know if this is what she wants from life.
Jennifer is trapped in a stale marriage feels pressured to have a baby with her husband but how can she even consider doing that when she is unsure if she even wants to be with her husband any longer.
Amanda is the traveler, she has always run away from her problems and distanced herself from the rest of the family and its not until she meets Ed that she realises just what she has been running away from.
Hannah is the baby and a teenage girl on the verge of womanhood, her mother is leaving her just when she needs her most but Barbara still has some words for her to help her on her way.
Barbara's letters are touching and as we read each letter one by one it somehow makes the pain of losing a loved one a little less painful as she is leaving a piece of her behind even after she has gone.
The inspirational words from their mother inspire them to live their life to the full as you just never know when it will be taken away from you and as each daughter moves forward in life they remember their mother's letters.
My colleague gave me this book to read and told me to be careful as I would cry the whole way through but I didn't. I was laughing as well as crying as the characters and their lives are written so realistically you can imagine being a fly on the wall as each character dicusses how they feel and the emotions that they are feeling are easy to relate to.
We learn a lot about Barbara's character even though we never meet her when she is alive. The letters that Barbara writes to her daughters reveal secrets that she has kept to herself for years and when a journal is left behind for them to read once she has gone the girls realise exactly what their mum was like.
Having experienced cancer within my own family I thought I would be a lot more emotional reading this book but I really wasn't it wasn't written in such a sad way that every page would be crinkled with my tears it was written with strength, determination and courage and although in parts Barbara lets slip just how scared she is about dying her character is never written to feel sorry for herself she is written as a determined lady that is going to get the last word in whatever it takes.
A lovely read and one you will find hard to put down.
You may also want to take a look at her website listed below as here you can post a message or send an e card to someone special.
Published by Penguin Books RRP £6.99
This was yet another list of newly released books that I wanted to read, and again another hardback release meant I couldn't go out and buy a copy because they are too expensive! So once again, I turned to my local library and quickly reserved my copy online. I was surprised at the brick of a book I was handed at the desk, but I looked forward to reading it and started it that night.
Barbara has been diagnosed with cancer, and realises she isn't going to be around for her family much longer. So she decides to write her four daughters a series of letters, each personal and individual for them, so that they have a little bit of their mother left after she has gone. Her daughters are devastated at their loss, but will they manage to draw any comfort from their mothers letters?? Will they be able to come together as a family to miss their mother properly, and will the letters set them free from the lives they are living in?
When you read that synopsis, it doesn't sound like the most cheerful book in the world. It certainly is emotional and upsetting at points, because of course the topic is the death of a mother and the grief suffered by the ones left behind, but at the same time, there is an uplifting side to the book which comes through the sad side of the book and makes you smile and feel good. That for me is what worked about this book - it had a good balance of sadness and sorrow, and happiness and a family really coming together much closer than they ever have before, albeit in terrible circumstances.
We don't get to meet Barbara in person, for obvious reasons. The only way we hear from her is the letters and diaries she has left for her daughters which are written in the first person. She comes across as a lovely mum, but there are a few bits which are quite shocking, and certainly not something you'd expect a dying woman to admit in a letter. Her character was instantly likeable and I warmed to her, and really enjoyed reading the letters from her. Her daughters on the other hand, well my opinion of them changed throughout the book to be honest!
The eldest daughter Lisa is a commitment-phobe to the highest degree. It was her who really grated on me throughout the book, because although she clearly missed her mother, she seemed to push away everyone who wanted to love her, and I just can't understand that myself. She was well-written but not particularly likeable by anyone. Jennifer, the second daugher is trapped in her marriage to Stephen, neither one admitting their true feelings to each other. She was a more complex character, with different layers to her. I particularly enjoyed a scene where she was drinking with her step-father and the author really allowed the character to let herself go. It made great reading, and showed the talent of the author.
Amanda is the traveller of the group, jetting off around the world for months at a time leaving her family behind. She doesn't feel settled at home, and shocking things are revealed to Amanda which makes her question everything she thought was true about herself. Finally, there is teenage Hannah, who is devastated to lose her mother just when she needs her most. Her father Mark is concerned about bringing up hus daughter and 3 step-daughters without Barbara but will his family make it easy for him?
This really is a wonderful book full of love and hope, and shows how important families are when you need them the most. The book explores so many levels of relationships between people; mother and daughter, father and daughter, step-parenting, first loves, old loves and finding a new love - its all in this emotional roller-coaster of a book. The third person narrative from the author makes it easy for the reader to follow each girls story, as the book is divided not into chapters, but into a section about a person of the story (Lisa, Jen, Amanda, Hannah and Mark) and this allows the book to flow freely with an ease of reading that makes it a joy. The switch to first person for Barbara's letter feels wholely appropriate and fits in well with the story and allows a break from the present and the girls to really come into the mind of Barbara during her dying days. It's a really emotional book which will touch your heart and leave you praying that the awful tragedy in this book never affects you. Brilliantly written and a joy to read - I recommend it highly.
ISBN: 9780718152314. Published by Michael Joseph Ltd in February 2008. On Amazon at the moment in Hardback for £7.49, with the paperback due for release in September 2008 for £5.59. The hardback contains 448 pages. For more information on the author see her website www.elizabethnoblebooks.com, or visit the books dedicated website http://www.thingsiwantmydaughterstoknow.com/ (although get the tissues handy!).
Thank you for reading.
How do you cope in a world without your mother? When Barbara realizes time is running out, she writes letters to her four daughters, aware they'll be facing the trials and triumphs of life without her at their side. But how can she leave them when they still have so much growing up to do? Take Lisa, in her mid-thirties but incapable of making a commitment; or Jennifer, trapped in a stale marriage and buttoned up so tight she could burst. While twenty something Amanda is the traveler, always distanced from the rest of the family. And Hannah. A teenage girl on the verge of womanhood, about to be parted from the mother she adores.But by drawing on the wisdom in Barbara's letters, the girls might just find a way to cope with her loss. And in coming to terms with their bereavement, can they also set themselves free to enjoy life with all the passion and love each deserves? The bestselling Elizabeth Noble returns with a tale of families, friends ...and the glorious, endless possibilities of life.