Bed Rest

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In a charming and witty novel, Sarah Bilston tells the story of a busy career woman who finds her pregnancy a breeze — until she's ordered off her feet for complete and total bed rest.

Quinn "Q" Boothroyd is a young British lawyer married to an American and living in New York City. She's checked off most of the boxes on her "Modern Woman's List of Things to Do Before Hitting 30," and her busy working life has been relatively painless. But when her doctor tells her she must spend...

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Bed Rest

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In a charming and witty novel, Sarah Bilston tells the story of a busy career woman who finds her pregnancy a breeze — until she's ordered off her feet for complete and total bed rest.

Quinn "Q" Boothroyd is a young British lawyer married to an American and living in New York City. She's checked off most of the boxes on her "Modern Woman's List of Things to Do Before Hitting 30," and her busy working life has been relatively painless. But when her doctor tells her she must spend the last three months of her pregnancy lying in bed, Q is thrown into a tailspin. Initially bored and frustrated, Q's days soon fill up as she tries to reconnect with her workaholic husband, provide legal advice for her sweet Greek neighbor, find romance for a loyal co-worker, forge new emotional bonds with her mother and sisters, and figure out who will keep her stocked up in cookies and sandwiches.

Q experiences adventures on the couch she never would have encountered in the law firm, and learns a lot about herself and what she wants out of life — above all about the little one growing inside of her.

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Editorial Reviews

Leslie Morgan Steiner
Bed Rest is brightened by Bilston's witty repartee and enticing tangents about a paralegal's sordid affair and Q's bid to save her impoverished neighbors' rent-controlled building. These plots thicken nicely, as do Q's chin and waistline, but not enough to make this novel worth reading.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
By the time she's 28 years old, British-born Quinn "Q" Boothroyd has worked her way through much of "The Modern Woman's List of Things to Do Before Hitting Thirty": a successful career with a New York law firm, check; an American husband she loves, check; and a soon-to-be child whom she likes to think was conceived during passionate, drunken grappling on the kitchen table, check. But for the last three months of her pregnancy, she's put on bed rest, left waiting for visitors, food and, hardest of all, her busy husband. When heavy exposition and the introspection of a self-absorbed protagonist don't weigh down Bilston's debut, written as Q's diary, it does offer a humorous glimpse into a pregnant woman's thoughts. Through her time-out on the sofa, Q questions the checklist and comes to terms with her marriage and herself. She rethinks her uncomfortable relationship with her mother and sisters, and establishes unlikely friendships with her visitors, a co-worker having an affair with a married man, and an elderly Greek neighbor, who involves her in a legal dispute that may jeopardize Q's marriage. Bilston, who spent time on bed rest herself, creates an authentic voice for Q, but her protagonist's housebound existence makes for a sluggish plot. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Twentysomething Quinn (nicknamed "Q") has a plan for her life, including having a baby before 30 and continuing her job as a New York City lawyer. When a routine ultrasound leads to a diagnosis of low amniotic fluid, Q is forced to spend the last three months of her pregnancy on bed rest. The adjustment is difficult-Q's life, formerly a flurry of activity, comes to a dramatic halt. Her husband is frequently absent (he's trying to become a partner at his law firm), and Q comes to rely on the kindness of casual acquaintances-turned-friends, who serve as her only window to the outside world. When her neighbor informs her that a real-estate developer plans to tear down the apartment building next door in order to construct expensive condominiums, Q reluctantly offers legal advice and finds herself drawn into the situation. Though the overall plot is somewhat light, readers may find first novelist Bilston's treatment of the issues facing dual-career couples who are starting a family thought-provoking. Recommended for public libraries.-Nanette Wargo Donohue, Champaign P.L., IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Three months of bed rest forces a pregnant lawyer to reexamine her life. Quinn Boothroyd managed to neglect her personal life for years. The demands of being a successful corporate lawyer in New York meant Q (her snappy nickname) and her husband, Tom, spent most days amassing huge billable hours. It's astounding that Q was even able to get pregnant at the pace the couple kept. A diagnosis of oligohydramnios changes everything. The doctor orders a strict bed-rest schedule for the final three months of Q's pregnancy; ignoring orders could mean risking premature birth or worse. Scared into submission, Q is at first optimistic about her predicament. It's a perfect opportunity to read the classics and sample some of New York's finest take-out food. Boredom quickly sets in and then turns to panic as Q realizes she and her husband are woefully unprepared for the baby. The novel is written from the point of view of Q, who records each day of her bed rest. There are far too many lonely rants and descriptions of Q's sweets-laden diet, and there's nothing fresh in the romantic portion of the novel. The standard lack of communication between Tom and Q leads to a few predictable fights and tension. Q's marriage never conjures much sympathy, as both its parties are dull, stubborn and self-involved, leaving the reader to ponder their suitability as parents. An addled subplot involves Q's ditsy pal falling for one of the couple's married friends. A bright spot is the author's rendering of the untenable relationship between Q and her headstrong mother and two competitive sisters, who live in England. When the Boothroyd women fly over to assist Q, personalities clash and the reader is finally givensomething meaty to feast on. The estrogen-fueled conflicts aren't enough to save this tiresome tale.
Plum Sykes
“Even if you’ve never been pregnant you’ll be as instantly hooked on this addictive novel as I was. ”
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
“Sarah Bilston reads like Sophie Kinsella’s big sister—a bit more serious, a little wiser, just as irresistable.”
Elizabeth Noble
"Prescribe yourself the same so that you can bask in the humor and warmth of this gorgeous novel."
Marian Keyes
"[H]onest and irreverent ... I laughed out loud and I couldn’t put it down."
— Elizabeth Noble
“Prescribe yourself the same so that you can bask in the humor and warmth of this gorgeous novel.”
—Marian Keyes
“[H]onest and irreverent ... I laughed out loud and I couldn’t put it down.”
--Marian Keyes
“[H]onest and irreverent ... I laughed out loud and I couldn’t put it down.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061127939
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/25/2006
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 6 CDs, 6 1/2 Hours
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 5.80 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Bilston is the author of Bed Rest. Originally from England and married to an American, she teaches at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where she lives.

Elizabeth Sastre was nominated for a Barrymore Award for her starring performance in Camila. Other stage work includes Sweet Bird of Youth, A Dybbuk, Nine, and Carousel. Her TV work includes As the World Turns, and Law and Order.

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Read an Excerpt

Bed Rest

By Sarah Bilston

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright ©2006 Sarah Bilston
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060889934

Chapter One

I haven't written a diary since I was twelve. Wait, that's not true. I kept one for about six months when I started dating Mike Novak. I still have the notebook somewhere, a scruffy green ring-binder half filled with teenage angst about Mike and his terrible kissing and his lamentable desire for a student nurse named Susie.

Writing a diary seems like an admission you have nothing better to do. It's the life story of a person who doesn't have a life. And frankly, I'm not sure that anybody's existence is worth recording for posterity, unless you're a world leader or a Theatrical Great or something. Maybe not even then. I read my grandmother's diary once, it was all about the weather and her trips to the Women's Institute and the progress of her runner beans. I'd rather leave no record of my existence than that. I'd rather my life was a big blank page, so my future granddaughter can imagine me as a toothsome lovely whose youth was one long succession of olive-skinned, silk-shirted men.

On the other hand, when you really don't have anything better to do, writing a diary is as good a way of passing the time as any other. It makes the hours and minutes seem less of a vacuum -- I thought, I felt. I existed. I suppose I'll just have to hide this bookfrom any future granddaughters.

This afternoon, I left my office early, just before three. I work at -- wait, why am I telling myself this? I know where I work.

Time for the first admission. I'm an anxious obsessive. I hate gaps and omissions; I have to record everything. That green ring-binder started out normally enough ("Mike Novak has a tanned chest and nipples that flush brown when I pull them with my teeth") but by page five it was more like a scrapbook, filled with lists of the important people in my life (1. Mum. 2. Mike. 3. Our cat) and terrible poetry ("Mike has gone and my life is / A dark page / A black night / A bottomless sea / Of / Unequalled Misery"). As soon as I get a pen in my hand, or a computer keyboard beneath my fingers, I can't stop myself, there it is, the contents of my brain in black and white, facts and fictions, thoughts, details, imaginings, everything.

And anyway, if I'm reading this in fifty years, I'll probably have forgotten things like the name of my law firm. My memory will be going, and it'll be really irritating to find that my younger self failed to record the nitpicky details of her life. So here goes.

I work at the law firm of Schuster & Marks, in New York City, on Fifty-fifth and Fifth. Today I locked my office door just before three, leaving the printer spewing out the pages of a brief I need to proofread before tomorrow morning. I flung myself through the heated revolving doors at the front of my building and out into an arctic February afternoon. Fifteen yellow cabs tooled past, their snug passengers watching, emotionlessly, the heavy pregnant woman in a sodden camel coat dancing up and down on the sparkling cold sidewalk (I forgot the important bit, I was twenty-six weeks' enceinte on Monday, yesterday). Nothing for it, I thought helplessly, as icy water prickled at my eyelashes. I pulled up my collar, clasped my hands around my enormous belly, and ran the eleven blocks uptown to my obstetrician's office through crowds of scurrying pedestrians, their faces stretched taut against the freezing wind.

Dr. Weinberg's office is as elegant as a Chelsea art gallery. Abstract lithographs in hushed silver frames decorate the waiting room. The receptionist peers out from behind a tall, slender glass vase stocked with impossible-looking South American orchids, pearly white with a faint pink flush and deep, jaundiced yellow throats. The doctor herself is an inordinately well-preserved fifty-something with high cheekbones, a narrow, burgundy mouth, and hair that seems to have suffered a serious shock midfluff.

After a few preliminary questions she set about prodding my stomach, pushing hard under my ribs and diaphragm. She produced a coiled fabric tape measure and measured from my pubes to just above my navel. Then she slid across the floor on her wheelie stool, leafed through the pages of a large pink file, and finally looked at me over the rim of her rectangular steel spectacles. "You're measuring small," she said.

Huh? I thought; I'm enormous. Children point at me in the streets. Workmen -- oh-so-kindly -- tell me the way to the hospital. I wear trousers with huge nylon gusset panels in the front and extra folds of elastic hidden in the waistband, and by the evening I still feel like I'm strapped into an instrument of torture.

Small? I said to her. Small? In relation to what?

She explained that the top of my uterus wasn't where it should be -- i.e., halfway to my chin -- and sent me for an immediate ultrasound. I called Tom (my husband, in case I develop really galloping Alzheimer's in the future) in a panic from the waiting area, but before he could leave his meeting at the Federal Courthouse I found myself in a darkened sonography room three doors down from Dr. Weinberg's office. A heavyset, expressionless woman with short graying ash-blond hair, a white coat, and loose beige trousers glanced up at me as I entered. She looked as if she'd spent most of her life underground. Her pale round face gleamed oddly in the gray-white light of a computer monitor.

"Onto the table, please," the woman said, nodding curtly at the examining couch beside her. She turned away and busied herself finding and inserting a disc into the computer, which whirred and clicked respectfully. I heaved myself up and exposed my white whale belly, feeling suddenly vulnerable, longing desperately for a bit of reassuring girly chatter ("Nothing to worry about, I'm sure, I see this all the time, it's no big deal"). . . .


Excerpted from Bed Rest by Sarah Bilston Copyright ©2006 by Sarah Bilston. 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 4.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2008


    Where is her new book? due out in July then December now I don't even see it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2008

    Hard to put down

    Such a great book could not put it down. Would definetely reccomend to anyone who has or has not been pregnant before.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2006

    For All Women

    Q,is a pregnant woman who is used to a fast paced life as a lawyer. Now, the doctor has ordered her to bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy. Filled with bordom & nothing to do but analyse her relationships with her over critical mother, & her two competitive sisters, who live in England, but come to visit her seperately. The only people to visit her is one girl from the office, who she barely knew, that turns out to be in a rocky relationship with a MM (married man), & the other is her neighbor,a maternal Greek elderly lady who is trying to save a building full of old people that have rent controlled apartments. Q, also begins to suspect that her work-a-holic husband's loyalty lies more with his job, than with her & the baby. With so much time on her hands, all she can do is worry about her baby's health & who will bring her her next meal! At times this book is funny, but for anyone who has been odered bed rest during a pregnancy, this book rings all so true! This is a must read, even if you aren't pregnant. It's still a fun book. I loved the way all the characters where portrayed. This book has all the charm to make you fall n love with everyone. Even the over critial mother!

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