Alphabet Weekends: Love on the Road from A to Zby Elizabeth Noble
Natalie and Tom have been best friends forever, but Tom wants them to be much more. When Natalie's longtime boyfriend walks out on her just when she thinks he's going to propose, Tom offers her a different and wildly romantic proposition. He suggests that they spend twenty-six weekends together, indulging in twenty-six different activities from A to Z, and at the
Natalie and Tom have been best friends forever, but Tom wants them to be much more. When Natalie's longtime boyfriend walks out on her just when she thinks he's going to propose, Tom offers her a different and wildly romantic proposition. He suggests that they spend twenty-six weekends together, indulging in twenty-six different activities from A to Z, and at the end of that time Tom's convinced they'll be madly in love. Natalie, however, is not so sure.
As Natalie's touring the alphabet with Tom, her mother's going through her own romantic crisis—while Tom's unhappily married sister-in-law, Lucy, struggles with temptation. And over the course of six amazing months, three generations of passionate dreamers are going to discover that, no matter how clever they are, love—and life—is never as easy as A, B, C . . .
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Alphabet WeekendsLove on the Road from A to Z
By Elizabeth Noble
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2007 Elizabeth Noble
All right reserved.
Natalie heard Tom's car horn at seven p.m. on the dot. He was never late. But Simon always had been. Not for patients, just for her. She was still on Simon time.
At seven ten he hooted again.
'All right, you bugger,' Natalie shouted, to the empty room behind her, as she slammed the flat door.
At least she had something to pack an overnight bag for, even if it was only Tom. Natalie liked packing overnight bags. She hoarded those little bottles you could buy at Superdrug, and sachets that came in magazines, and kept them in an Anya Hindmarch bag Susannah had been given once when she was upgraded on a British Airways flight. Ever ready. It made her feel glamorous--the thought that she could head off at a moment's notice to Babington House or Gleneagles. Now it was in her holdall (fake Mulberry, M & 5), nestled alongside a travel hairdryer and two sets of matching underwear. Underwear always matched in an overnight bag.
If he'd booked one room he could think again. She wanted six feet of Frette linen all to herself, thank you very much. Thank goodness he had a bit of money. He might want to dress up the cheering-her-up process as this stupid alphabet game, but she knew they were both in it for a laugh. She was looking forward to a bit of pampering. Maybe there'd even be a spa ...
Tom had opened the boot and was leaningagainst the passenger door. 'Come on.'
'Da-dah!' Natalie spread her arms and gave a little twirl. 'I'm ready for A. Or should I say, I'm Available for A, I'm Able to A, I'm Amenable--'
'You're L for late.'
She ignored him. 'Come on, then. Where are we going? Don't keep me in suspense!'
'We're going abseiling.'
'You have got to be kidding me.'
'Nope. Kit's in the car.'
'Sleeping-bag, boots--you're a size five, if the shoes I read last week were telling the truth, Rescue Remedy, ingredients for packed lunch--'
'But you're kidding really, right?'
'I am totally serious. We're booked into a bunkhouse on Dartmoor tonight, and it's going to take hours to get there, so could you close your big guppy mouth and get into the car? We had a deal.'
'I don't remember any deal where I agreed to something life-threatening.'
Tom smiled. 'You'll be as safe as houses. Trust me.'
'Yes, well, that doesn't sound very likely, does it? Trusting you has ended me up here.'
Tom started the car, and pulled out into the traffic.
Natalie watched him. His brow was furrowed in concentration, one eyebrow--the one with the tiny scar from when he had fallen off a diving-board when he was fourteen--a little higher than the other. 'Abseiling? Really?' she said.
'In January? Really?'
An hour later, on the MS, she still didn't believe him. Maybe Exeter, somewhere like that. Topsham. There must be lots of hotels around there, the ones with linen sheets, posh shampoo and spas. He couldn't be serious.
And if he was, it would prove what she had said all along, ever since that stupid conversation in the pub on New Year's Eve. He so wasn't the right man for her.
She woke herself up with her own snore, head snapping forward, and realised the car had stopped. And that it was almost pitch dark. Driving rain smudged the view of what was clearly the only building for miles around, illuminated by pale lights through tiny windows.
'We're here.' Tom stretched beside her, his forearms flat against the top of the car. 'Thanks for the marvellous company.'
'I was tired.'
'Just as well, actually. I dare say you're going to get all princess-and-the-pea-ish about the bunkhouse.'
The smell of wet neoprene hit them as they opened the door. A drying room was immediately to their left, full of dripping wetsuits swinging like carcasses in an abattoir. To their right, the living room was occupied by a couple of mouldy-looking sofas, some Formica tables and chairs, and a family in perfectly co-ordinating fleeces, engrossed in a game of Scrabble. Everywhere signs advised them to 'switch lights out', 'behave with consideration' and 'deal responsibly with litter'.
Tom was watching Natalie.
'Brownie-camp flashback. What the hell have you done, Tom?'
'You'll be fine. Let's go and find our room.'
'Our room?' She trudged after him, up the stairs.
She was about to call him presumptuous, but then she saw the bunks. You'd need to be a contortionist, let alone presumptuous. The mattress was about two feet wide, with no sides, and, it appeared, no ladder to the top. Blimey.
Natalie stood in the corner while Tom busied himself unrolling their sleeping-bags and laying them out. 'D'you want to go on top?' His eyebrows waggled suggestively at her. She was too horrified even to take the bait, and shrugged.
'So, do you fancy the pub, or a microwave meal with Mr and Mrs the Family Who Plays Together Stays Together down there?'
'Are you planning to speak in whole sentences at all this weekend, or are these monosyllabic utterances the best I can hope for?'
'If you want a whole sentence you'd better feed me, then drive me home.'
He was pushing her down the stairs.
The pub helped a little. An open fire and a big bowl of chilli. Several whisky macs.
'So,' she asked, 'have you ever done this abseiling thing, then?'
'Nah. Bungee-jumped once when I was in Australia. Do you remember?'
Tom's year off. Her finals. He'd rung her at three a.m. once, off his face in some bar in Queensland, to wish her good luck in an exam. She nodded.
'I figure this can't be harder than that.'
'But you're about fifteen years older now,' she said.
'True. But I hardly consider myself to be over the hill. What about you?'
Excerpted from Alphabet Weekends by Elizabeth Noble Copyright © 2007 by Elizabeth Noble. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Elizabeth Noble is the author of the internationally bestselling novels The Reading Group, The Friendship Test, and Alphabet Weekends. She lives with her husband and their two daughters in New York City.
- Wonersh, Guildford, Surrey, England
- Date of Birth:
- December 22, 1968
- Place of Birth:
- High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England
- B.A., St. Edmund Hall, Oxford University, 1990
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This was a quick, fun read. What an inventive idea and I found myself wondering what I would do with each letter. However, I enjoyed that this had other stories entwined as well and I cared about all of the characters, not just Natalie and Tom. A must for summer beach trips!
Giving this a 3.5 rating. This sounded like a cute romance story In a way it was but at the same time, it was kind of sad. You have three story arcs going on, Lucy and Patrick, Anna and Nicholas and the main one Tom and Natalie. Out of the three, I thought the AN arc was kind of sweet, sad but sweet, the LP one not so much. Though TN was my favorite since well, the whole alphabet arc they had going was interesting and made the fun kind of cute in a way, wondering what they'll think up next depending on the letter they on. And of course while reading, I thought of Tom Hiddleston and Natalie Portman for some reason. Anyway, the writing was good, some of the characters were interesting, was not expecting the tone at times. Over all a good read.
I really enjoy reading Elizabeth Noble's novels. There is something real about the characters and the characters situation that are easy to relate to. My only criticism is that we don't know exactly what happens with Natalie and Tom (there is so much buildup but too little left unsaid) and what happens with Lucy and Patrick. Not knowing any of this leaves me with a feeling of unsatisfaction that I hate having after reading a novel. Other than that though its a great read, one worth reading.
I absolutely loved this book. I am a huge fan of "chiclet" books but was tired of the girl loved boy, boy left girl, girl found new better boy. This took that same idea but in a new direction. It had all the great elements embedded in a deeper story. What I also loved about it was it had different stories entwined in the major story between Natalie and Tom. They had their family members and their individual stories of love and hardship. I usually do not like when there is more than one story but this one was pulled off perfectly. It made this book worth reading from cover to cover in no time at all. I would reccomend this book to anyone who likes romance but not such a simple story. This book had romance but it also had heart which made it worth while.
A sweet story about love and relationships. Easy & light reading. Good book to give a girl friend for vacation. I enjoyed it.
Just a fun read!
Hard to get into but enjoyed the end a lot. Lot of thought went into writing this book.