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Alphabet Weekends: Love on the Road from A to Z

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Overview

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...

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Alphabet Weekends

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
From British author Noble (The Reading Group, 2005), a romance that revolves around an alphabet's worth of dates that climaxes on a trip to Las Vegas. After 35-year-old Natalie is dumped by her snarky longtime boyfriend, her oldest friend, Tom, proverbial boy next door, takes her out for New Year's Eve for some cheering-up. He half-jokingly proposes a game to prove to Natalie that she could fall for him: They will go on 26 dates, taking turns choosing the activity, one for each letter. Don't expect suspense here. Tom is kind, sensitive, cute and easy-going, yet manly. He is obviously crazy about Natalie, and all of Natalie's friends and family recognize he's perfect for her. In fact, he has already started to win her over by B, when the difficult Birth of her sister Bridget's new Baby allows them to escape the Ballet. (Proudly low-brow, Tom and Natalie disdain high-falutin' culture like ballet, opera and Ian McEwan.) In H for Hotel, they drunkenly make out but pull back. In P for Paris, they spend a romantic day and almost kiss, but again are not ready. It takes the magic of V for Vegas to ignite their passion (the alphabet's last four letters are the anticlimactic wind-down to the inevitable proposal of marriage). In counterpoint to Natalie and Tom's blossoming romance, Natalie's parents struggle to find equilibrium as they age and as illness enters their lives, while the marriage of Tom's brother Patrick and his wife Lucy disintegrates after Patrick loses his job and Lucy has an affair with her best friend's husband. Meant to be a warning, Lucy and Patrick steal the show by allowing in an occasional fresh breeze of unhappiness. Slick, skillful, predictable-and bound to be a bestseller.The cover includes a "win a trip to Vegas" offer. Agent: Emma Parry/Fletcher & Parry
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061122187
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/23/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 930,465
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Noble

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.

Biography

Elizabeth Noble was born in December 1968, in Buckinghamshire, England. She was educated in England and Canada, where the family lived for several years in Toronto.

In 1990 she graduated from St. Edmund Hall, Oxford University, with a B.A. (Honors) in English language and literature. But it was the diploma (Intensive Secretarial) that she was awarded by the typing school above the Italian café in Covent Garden that got her into her chosen career -- publishing. Over a six year period she worked in the editorial, marketing, publicity, and sales departments of several big publishing houses -- moving every couple of years, once she had made a big enough mess in the filing (note to bewildered successors: check under "m" for miscellaneous). This makes her a tricky author. She speaks fluent publishing.

She took a career break -- she called it "retired" -- to have her two daughters, after her marriage in 1996. When her youngest daughter was ready to go to nursery school, and real work beckoned, she decided to try what she had been threatening to do for years, and wrote a hundred pages of The Reading Group.

Then it took her nine months to work up the courage to send it to an agent. The Reading Group was published in the UK in January 2004 and went straight to the number-one position in The Sunday Times's Fiction Bestseller list. She was supposed to be signing stock in London bookshops the day the chart was announced, but she had grown bored and was trying on trousers -- they didn't fit -- in a ladies' clothing store when the call came. So she was literally caught with her pants down.

The book has since sold almost a quarter of a million copies in the UK. But the other day her elder daughter, Tallulah, told her she would rather she got a job in a chicken plucking factory because then she would be at home more, so she doesn't think there is much danger of her getting conceited.

She has recently finished her second novel -- there were no vacancies at the chicken plucking factory -- and begun her third.

She lives with her husband and their ungrateful children in a haunted vicarage in "the safest village in Surrey," England. They obviously don't know about the ghost.

Biography courtesy of the author's official web site.

Good To Know

Some outtakes from our interview with Elizabeth Noble:

"Researching my novels has changed my life. This year alone, in the name of research, I have abseiled 100 feet off of a viaduct, learnt how to gamble, and danced on stage in a Las Vegas show. At the ripe old age of 36, I've finally realized that you are only here once, and I'm never going to say no to a new experience again (so long as its legal!)."

"I am perpetually engaged in a quest to be thinner, fitter, have better hair, and look more stylish. I'm usually losing."

"Each morning, I pump up the volume on the stereo and dance about the living room with my five- and seven-year-old daughters. It's the best ten minutes of every day."

"I am incredibly close to my parents and siblings. We have gone in very different directions -- my brother teaches mathematics in France, and my sister is a midwife -- but we all have a strong sense of family."

"My friends are hugely important to me, and spending time with them is a precious part of my life."

"I like chocolate, floral white wines, cinema, and being lazy. I love U.S. import TV -- Sex and the City, The West Wing, Desperate Housewives, and Six Feet Under (God bless HBO!)."

"I dislike almost all politicians, pushy parents, and bad manners. And I hate, hate, hate cell phones, and the fact that they mean you can never be ‘unavailable.' "

"I unwind in a hot bath with a big glass of wine, and my ultimate luxury would be 12 hours sleep a night (but my children do not agree)."

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    1. Hometown:
      Wonersh, Guildford, Surrey, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 22, 1968
    2. Place of Birth:
      High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England
    1. Education:
      B.A., St. Edmund Hall, Oxford University, 1990
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Alphabet Weekends

Love on the Road from A to Z
By Elizabeth Noble

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Elizabeth Noble
All right reserved.



Chapter One

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.'

'Kit?'

'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.

'Really.'

'In January? Really?'

'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.'

'Very probably.'

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?'

'Pub.'

'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?'



Continues...

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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 15 of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2008

    A Fun Read

    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!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2013

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    I really enjoy reading Elizabeth Noble's novels. There is someth

    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.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Alphabet Weekdends

    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.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Chick Lit

    A sweet story about love and relationships. Easy & light reading. Good book to give a girl friend for vacation. I enjoyed it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2009

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    Cute story!

    Just a fun read!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2009

    Alphabet Weekends

    Hard to get into but enjoyed the end a lot. Lot of thought went into writing this book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted November 8, 2008

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