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Professors' Wives' Club

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted February 2, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing debut novel that makes me a fan of Joanne Rendell!

    I knew a bit of what to expect when I finally got my copy of Joanne Rendell's novel The Professors' Wives' Club but that changed when I started reading the novel. Each chapter of the novel is read through the prospective of one of the professors' wives' such as Mary, Sofia, Ashleigh, and Hannah. This is very different from the other novels I've read but I actually liked it and wasn't at all disappointed or put off by this way of writing a novel. Nestled among Manhattan U¿s faculty housing, there is a garden where four women will meet¿each with a scandalous secret that could upset their lives, destroy their families, and rock the prestigious university to its very core. In the interview podcast I listen to Joanne Rendell say that she is married to a professor who works at NYU and she lives at their faculty resident with her family. So Manhattan U is just a bit based on NYU but not completely because she said she didn't want to get her husband fired. I've never been to any of the NYU campus in Manhattan before so this was a new scene setting for me even though I've lived in NYC all my life. With its shady maple trees, elegant iron gate, and high fence laced with honeysuckle, Manhattan U's garden offers faculty wives Mary, Sofia, Ashleigh, and Hannah a much-needed refuge. For Mary, the garden is an escape from abuse from her husband who has changed so much in the five years since his own abusive father died. I think Mary is such a complex and amazing character in this novel and even thought I've never dealt with abusive people I could identify a bit with her fears and emotional feelings. For Sofia, it offers solace as she considers trading in her diaper bag for a briefcase because before she met her wonderful husband she use to be a movie agent to big stars including her husband's own brother. I like Sofia and she is the charater that I most identify with because she is a strong independent woman who puts her family first and who has a very fast temper that could really do damage. Then there¿s Ashleigh, who wonders if she should tell her conservative father something that might well give him another heart attack. Ashleigh is a lesbian who is living with her girlfriend Sam who is an African American professor at Manhattan U. She hasn't told her family about Sam because her father is a D.C. senator with a lot of power and a temper that she doesn't want to deal with. And last is Hannah, who rues jeopardizing her lukewarm marriage for one passionate night with her sexy art theory professor Patrick. Now Hannah use to be a supermodel before she married her husband computer nerd and professor at Manhattan U named Michael. After she married Michael she took advantage that her husband could pull some strings and get her a scholarship for the MFA program so she can work at her Masters of Fine Arts. She is an artist at heart but her husband can only think of her as a supermodel and doesn't want to face facts that that is not a part of her life anymore. As Mary¿s husband, the power-hungry dean of Manhattan U, makes plans to demolish this beloved garden that these four women have come to love so much. But these four women will discover a surprising secret about a lost Edgar Allan Poe manuscript¿and realize they must find the courage to stand up for their passions, dreams, and desires. This is one book that I could not put down for long because of the lives of these women were truly fascinating. I look forward to all future books by Joanne Rendell.

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  • Posted December 1, 2008

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    Impressive First Novel

    I was'nt sure if I could identify with the "academia" theme of this book, however I am so glad I decided to read it anyway.<BR/><BR/>I would imagine any reader would find it possible to connect with at least one of the well developed main charachters.This is what makes it EXCELLENT book club material-so many different takes on the same story and the personal pasts of the ladies in the book remind the reader of their own-which makes the novel personal.<BR/><BR/>I also enjoyed the Poe sub plot that was woven throughout.<BR/><BR/><BR/>I look forward to reading more from Rendell.

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  • Posted November 20, 2008

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    I Also Recommend:

    The Professors' Wives' Club

    This book is not my usual fare. I never like modern chick lit. I usually skip over books like this when in the bookstore. I am so glad that I was chosen to receive this book because I would be missing such a gem of a book because of my own prejudice. The Professors Wives¿ Club is one of the most engaging and entertaining books I have ever read. <BR/><BR/> Mary, Ashleigh, Sofia and Hannah are some of the most interesting characters I have ever encountered. The minute I began reading, I was completely invested in their lives and relationships. I felt I could identify with something in each and every one of them even though I have very little in common with any of them. These women could have easily developed into realm of the ¿annoying female character¿ (overly perfect, super-woman complex or weak-willed, dependent, water-works) without a writer as skilled at weaving a plot as Rendell. Her writing is crisp. She captures each woman¿s voice perfectly and weaves their stories together seamlessly. <BR/><BR/> The fact that the book centers around the world of academia was also a strong draw for me. The internal politics and conflicts of University life are especially interesting to me because I went to a university in New York where internal protests and strikes were a familiar and almost everyday occurrence. I do have a theory about the real life story that influenced the events in the book. In the book the dean of Manhattan U. decides to demolish and pave over a garden the women love. He also tore down a house the Poe lived in. Could these events have been influence by New York University¿s takeover of the historic CBGB club? Just my theory. Probably wrong.<BR/><BR/> Once I started the book, I could not put it down. This is not your typical chick lit book to use for easy reading on vacation. This book will distract you and get you so embroiled in the story, you will spend your vacation inside reading the book. I absolutely love this book. I will be anxiously awaiting Rendell¿s next book which comes out in 2009.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2008

    Book Club Material

    This is a great book for a book club choice. The interesting characters and the situations they face give opportunity for discussion. As I read the book, I pictured the characters in my mind. A movie producer could do great things with this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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