The Godmother [NOOK Book]

Overview

Nothing scares Tessa King more than the thought she will never have children. It doesn't matter how good her life is, and it is, it never feels good enough. She has four godchildren and dozens of friends, yet love eludes her. She knows how good a mother she could be, if only she had the chance. And then one terrible day she does, and Tessa learns firsthand that life on the other side of that white picket fence is more complicated than she ever could have imagined.

Heartwarming, ...

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The Godmother

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Overview

Nothing scares Tessa King more than the thought she will never have children. It doesn't matter how good her life is, and it is, it never feels good enough. She has four godchildren and dozens of friends, yet love eludes her. She knows how good a mother she could be, if only she had the chance. And then one terrible day she does, and Tessa learns firsthand that life on the other side of that white picket fence is more complicated than she ever could have imagined.

Heartwarming, funny, and genuine, The Godmother speaks to anyone who has wondered about the next step and reminds us that happily-ever-after is just the beginning of the story.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

While 30-something Londoner Tessa King questions her no-strings-attached lifestyle, she also witnesses her friends' difficulties in marriage and parenthood while playing godmother to their broods. Nick and Francesca battle to keep their sullen teenager out of serious trouble; Billy, a single mom, can't break ties to her now remarried ex-; Helen and Neil, fairy tale parents to twin boys, are hiding something; successful Claudia and Al struggle to conceive; and Ben and Sasha have no plans to have children. But Ben also happens to be Tessa's best friend, and perhaps the love of her life. When tragedy eventually strikes the group, bonds are tested, and Tessa is forced to re-examine what she thinks will really make her happy. A painful look into the fears, doubts and desires that make and break marriages, this debut novel from Londoner Adams is notches up from the usual chick and mom lit fare. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Tessa King is godmother to four children but desperately wants to be married and have her own family. At least she thinks she does. She's really not sure whether she's ready to give up a swinging London social life full of one-night stands, and, anyway, the man she's been in love with since they were teens is already married. And when she takes a careful look around at her married friends, Tessa begins to see that they aren't living such perfect lives: Neil cheats on Helen, who is exhausted from having twins; Fran and Nick's teenage son is doing drugs; Claudia and Al have lost another pregnancy; and single mom Billy struggles desperately to make ends meet. But when tragedy strikes the group of friends, Tessa gets the chance at what she might want most. This heavy-handed British soap opera is overstuffed with too many characters and overdramatic subplots yet remains unsatisfying. For larger public libraries where British women's fiction is popular.
—Rebecca Vnuk

Kirkus Reviews
A perky debut considers whether a Londoner's life of drinking, clubbing and one-night stands is more enviable than her friends' bumpy marriages and parenting woes. Tessa King is single, blonde, gorgeous and popular, although finding dates is getting harder as she doesn't "do married men." Her group of friends is important to her, and she is godmother to most of their children, including Francesca's 16-year-old son Caspar, whom she tries to discourage from his flirtation with drugs. Then there's privileged Helen, who still needs propping up in her struggles with her new-born twins, post-natal depression and a jerk of a husband; and Billy, whose ex-partner is being dishonest about child support. One of Tessa's oldest friends is Ben (now married to Sasha), whom she's known since they were teenagers. Ben doesn't have children but Tessa wishes he did, and with her, except that she is fond of Sasha too and has no wish to break up their happy marriage. Instead, Tessa turns to a new admirer, James King, until she learns he has a wife and two children. When Helen and her husband are killed in a car accident, Tessa has to fight Helen's unpleasant mother over custody of the twins and is forced to confront her own role in her friends' lives. She confesses her feelings to Ben and he declares his love for her too, but eventually Tessa does the right thing and turns him down. Having found a good home for the twins, she resumes her life of work and godmothering-and maybe getting back together with James, who turns out to be separated after all. Unusually child-centered for chick-lit-and considerably too long-but engaging enough.
Marie Claire (UK)
“A lively fusion of chick lit and mummy lit . . . great.”
In Style UK
“Carrie Adams eschews the traditional happy-ever-after in this witty and realistic take on modern life.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061871504
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 324,301
  • File size: 637 KB

Meet the Author

Carrie Adams is the author of The Godmother, which is being adapted for film. She lives in London with her husband and three children.

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First Chapter

The Godmother

Chapter One

A sinking feeling

I knew my luck had changed when I was upgraded to business class on my return journey. My curious gold-encrusted traveling companion made the long flight pass too quickly. He turned towards the transit lounge with the unforgettable words, "If you're ever passing through Vladivostok . . ." I waved him off, set my wheelie bag on the ground and, after five wound-licking, soul-searching weeks away, headed for home.

This was it. My moment to start again. I had dealt with what had been a hideous year and I'd put it behind me. OK, it was only September, but I had decided to return to the academic timetable. Anything to be able to punctuate what had been and now. New year. New start. New me. Tessa King was back. I smiled at everyone. Sharing the love and our good fortune at being alive. The Customs official eyed me warily and promptly took my bag apart. I didn't mind. Nothing was going to ruin my return. Having found nothing but festering clothes and gifts for my godchildren, he let me go. I was almost jogging by the time I reached the sliding glass doors. An expectant smile quivered at the side of my mouth, ready to burst forth the moment I saw my welcome-home party. The doors opened. I stepped through and yelled "Hi" at a woman I'd never met before.

"Sorry," I said. "You look just like my friend."

Francesca would have been mortally offended. The woman was older, shorter and wearing velour. I looked around me to check I was where I thought I was. I was. But she wasn't.

I must be mistaken. Francesca and I had made this plan on the day of my tearful departure. My greatestfriend from university had promised to escape the clutches of domesticity to spend a lost afternoon drinking wine and catching up. It was only imagining this moment that had got me through the previous five weeks. I looked around again. Double-checking the faces of -people who averted their eyes, and the placard-holding drivers who didn't. My smile wouldn't accept there was no friendly face waiting for me and kept grinning at -people who didn't want to be grinned at. Maybe I was early? I checked my watch, knowing full well I wasn't. Eventually my smile accepted its fate and retracted. I sat down on my suitcase while all around me travelers ran into the open arms of their loved ones. I chose not to notice the many others who hurried on alone to the trains and buses. I only saw what I feared. I had gone to India hoping I could downward dog my way out of trouble and I was sure I had succeeded. A peppery heat prickled my eyes. Damn it, how many uddiyana bandhas would it take?

"Tessa, over here. Tessa!"

I stared at my phone, wondering whether I could be bothered to go through a month's worth of messages to get to the one Francesca may have left if she hadn't forgotten completely.

"Tessa!"

It was my name, but a man's voice, so I didn't register it.

"Tessa, you deaf old cow, it's Nick!"

I looked up. Francesca's husband, red-faced, was waving frantically at me. Nick and Francesca had been together since our first year at university. A staggering eighteen years. I knew him as well as I knew Fran and immediately my spirits rose.

"Welcome home. So sorry we're late, traffic. Anyway, you don't want to know about that. How are you? You look terrific."

We? Was Francesca here? Who was with the kids? And then I saw Caspar, my fifteen-year-old godson. The fact that I had a godson who was beginning to resemble a man was alarming, but he had arrived early to our party and I still marvel at Nick and Francesca's brave decision to keep the baby and make a go of it. These days Caspar reminds me of how far I have failed to come. He sloped towards me. We are very close, my godson and I. Throwing down my bag, I opened my arms wide. Not so long ago he would have run the length of the airport and buried himself under my neck. But he was about to turn sixteen; times were changing. I didn't realize then, how much.

"Hey, handsome, you are getting so big . . ." I saw the smile in his eyes, but nothing else in his body language changed. He was bristling with awareness. I know a defensive position when I see it. I'd been carrying myself around like that for months. I lowered my arms.

"You might like to know that my plane had a four-hour stopover in Dubai."

"Huh?"

"United Arab Emirates." There was no register on Caspar's face. "The Middle East? Ever heard of it?"

"Yeah," mumbled Caspar.

"Caspar, don't mumble," said Nick.

"Well," I interrupted, not wanting there to be a teenage scene, "it's the shopping capital of the world. Tax-free. Very iPod friendly."

That got his attention. Caspar has wanted an iPod Nano since they came out. But Nick doesn't earn that sort of money and Francesca doesn't work. Which is where I, the fairy godmother, often come in. No wonder he loves me . . . I'd love me.

"Isn't it your birthday next weekend?"

"Yeah."

"Well, let's just say I got so friendly with the sales assistant he gave me a photo of his kids. Who, by the way, live in a different country and only get to see their father every two years—just in case you were feeling a little hard done by today."

"I get enough of the Third World shit at home, thanks." Caspar sloped away. I turned to Nick with an open mouth. Sloping? Backchat? This wasn't my godson.

Nick shook his head, exhaled long and hard, then lowered his voice. "He's being a nightmare, I'm so sorry. Fran was desperate to come today, I mean desperate, but someone at school has swapped birthdays around, and she's got to bring Katie's party forward three weeks to tomorrow."

The Godmother. Copyright © by Carrie Adams. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Reading Group Guide

Questions for Discussion

1. Do you think Tessa is happy or unhappy? How does her role as godmother 'superstar' contribute to her happiness/unhappiness?

2. Did Tessa make the right decision in choosing not to tell Francesca and Nick about Caspar's problems? What would you have done?

3. How does Tessa hide behind her "Godmother" title?

4. How does the expression, "you always want what you don't have" ring true for The Godmother?

5. Is Tessa a better godmother or a better friend? How are these two roles different? Does Tessa differentiate these roles? If so, how?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

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(5)

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(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Yawn

    I took this book out of the library because I had never heard of the author before and thought it might be good. I read a lot of books and this book didn't turn out to be one of my favorites. The whole book is about the main character always being involved with her friends, godchildren, etc. and how she even got in the way sometimes when she got involved maybe a little too much. The story never seems to develop beyond that. I was hopeful when the story started to turn towards a little romantic twist but that turned into pretty much nothing. If the author would have turned up the excitement at that point, maybe it would have turned out better for me. Who knows...I wouldn't recommend this book unless you are looking for something to make you fall asleep. I can appreciate serious books but I don't think that this book was meant to be so serious. It would have been better with a little romance or something...a little "spice". I apologize to anyone who loved this book...no offense!

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  • Posted March 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Cute!

    Very cute story! The author is a bit more British than the likes of Sophie Kinsella though and some of her words made me laugh! Tessa has 7 godchildren but none of her own. She wonders if she made a mistake somewhere along the way. As the story unfolds, the plot thickens and the characters are much deeper than they originally seem. Not a typical "chick lit" book - a little heavier but excellently written!

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  • Posted October 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    ABSOLUTELY AWESOME! I cannot believe this is Carrie Adam's first novel!

    I bought this book as an add-on to my shopping cart in order to qualify for a free-shipping opportunity. I rarely read fiction unless it's highly recommended by a very close friend that knows my tastes.
    I COULD NOT PUT THIS DOWN! The characters are so real; you can identify with them so well it was easy to put faces to each one as if a movie was playing in my head. When it ended,I felt like I did when all my favorite shows on Thursday Nights on NBC ended and there was nothing to watch.
    I love the main character's sarcasm; I laughed out loud many times. It's balanced though, I found myself on the edge of my seat with suspense, like in a movie theater, and then reaching for the kleenex in tears, at other times..Great work. A must must buy for yourself, gift,any occassion.

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  • Posted September 28, 2009

    Meh..

    At least it was better than the other book named Godmother...and this girl wasn't completely insane.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An Enjoyable Read!!

    I am so happy to have found this author!!
    I found this book to be very witty, funny, sensitive, thoughtful & insightful. Though it may seem a little bit predictable at times,
    I think that overall it's a realistic journey through the assorted lives of a handful of people who have grown up & shared much of
    their lives together.
    It reminds me very much of the following quote:
    "Friends Are The Family That We Choose For Ourselves".
    I was sad to come to the end of this book as I enjoyed it so much,
    but I am also very excited to read her most recent book...'Stepmother'
    - I am confident that it will be equally satisfying!!

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  • Posted March 9, 2009

    The Godmother

    I was totally disappointed with this book. I had seen a large advertisement about this book in PARADE and couldn't wait to order it. When it came in, I ran home, got comfy and started reading. It was hard to not just lay this book aside and never pick it up again. It was so slow moving, I found it hard to stay interested. I think I was half way through the book before I finally decided I was going to finish reading it.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    strong character study

    After spending six months in India to get away from London following the settlement of a sexual harassment suit that she won, Tessa King comes home. She looks forward to seeing her friends and her godchildren. At the airport her best friend Francesca is too busy to pick her up, but sends her spouse Nick and Tessa¿s oldest godson teenage Caspar. --- Tessa talks to her impoverished pal Billie and her second godchild, seven years old Cora Billie refuses to accept that Cora¿s dad will never be there for his illegitimate daughter as he has a family of his own. She next chats with her pal Helen, mother of five month old twins who will soon be her latest godchildren she hates Helen¿s spouse comedian Neil who cheats on her and has left her so despondent. Tessa also says hi to childless couples, Claudia and Al who are trying to have a child, and Ben and Sasha Tessa is attracted to reliable Ben. Whereas her friends are somewhat jealous of Tessa¿s freedom and appreciate how she dotes on their offspring, Tessa is jealous of their marriages and wonders if it is time for her to marry and raise a family. --- The lead protagonist is a reliable caring person who keeps the story line focused in spite of the myriad of subplots floating around and through her. The ensemble support cast contains several clearly defined characters as each of those mentioned above and others have distinct personalities. However, there are too many major strings to follow although the sum of the parts leads to a deep character study of a swinging single relooking at her values. --- Harriet Klausner

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    Posted February 16, 2011

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    Posted August 11, 2009

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