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Professors' Wives' Club

( 9 )

Overview

A debut novel about the intertwining lives of college faculty wives.

Nestled among Manhattan University'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.

With its maple trees, iron gate, and fence laced with honeysuckle, Manhattan U's garden offers faculty wives Mary, Sofia, Ashleigh, and Hannah...

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The Professors' Wives' Club

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Overview

A debut novel about the intertwining lives of college faculty wives.

Nestled among Manhattan University'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.

With its maple trees, iron gate, and fence laced with honeysuckle, Manhattan U's garden offers faculty wives Mary, Sofia, Ashleigh, and Hannah much needed refuge from their problems. But as Mary's husband, the power-hungry dean, plans to demolish their beloved garden, 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This tepid debut novel follows four women as they band together to save a garden from being gobbled up by an expanding college campus. Mary, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and professor; Hannah, an MFA student whose husband becomes increasingly distant; Sofia, a young mother who gave up her previous life as a powerful Hollywood agent; and Ashleigh, who is afraid to reveal her lesbian relationship to her conservative senator father, all share a love of the small garden nestled next to Manhattan University's faculty housing, and as they organize to stop the imminent excavation, they form friendships and make major changes in their lives. There isn't anything you haven't seen before in here, but Rendell does a fine job of following the formula. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451224910
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/2/2008
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,269,401
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Joanne Rendell

Joanne Rendell was born and raised in the UK. She has a Ph.D. in literature and is married to an NYU professor.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 19, 2009

    Weak First Novel

    This book reminds me of what a book would be like if I tried to write one: sophomoric. The concept was certainly intriguing, and that's why I picked it up. But after the first few pages, I knew it was not one to savor. Although I usually read the more challenging books that book clubs tend to choose, I've also read my share of chick lit, some of which has been surprisingly good. This was not one of them. I realize this is a debut novel, but there are some things Ms. Rendell may want to work on. First and foremost, learn to create characters of more depth and subtley. All, and I do mean every one, of her characters were complete stereotypes. No surprises, no challenge to decipher them. Another was overuse of certain words and phrases or using certain verbs in an effort, probably, to be colorful. After the fiftieth time a character "barked out" an admonition or "huffed" in protest, enough! I found myself skipping ahead just to find out if I was right in predicting what would happen to each person. The only review I agreed with that has so far been posted was Publisher's Weekly.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The power of friendship

    The Professors' Wives' Club takes place on the fictitious campus of Manhattan University. The reader is introduced to four women, in different stages of their lives, who meet and eventually form a treasured friendship. First there's Mary. She's married to Jack, the dean of Manhattan U and is also an English professor. She visits the garden as an escape from Jack's verbal and physical abuse. Next is Sofia. She's mother to Gracie and soon gives birth to Edgar. She's wife to Tom, an English Professor and a colleague of Mary's. Prior to getting married, Sofia was a top Hollywood agent. Third is Ashleigh. She's a lawyer in her family's law firm. She works hard and doesn't want any special treatment as her favorite uncle is one of the partners of the firm. She has a difficult relationship with her father, never feeling she's good enough for him. She's hiding a big secret from her parents and wants to come clean, however when he suffers a heart attack, she thinks remaining silent will be for the best.for him anyway. And finally there's Hannah. A beautiful model turned MFA grad student. Hannah is married to Michael but realizes she loves her in-laws more. Hannah does the one thing she never thought she'd ever do which causes her to rethink her marriage.

    The story centers around the friendship that is formed by these four women. They learn to trust and depend on each other to survive their current situation. Together they protest against the destruction of the garden. Jack wants to tear it down in order to build a parking lot. But when the ladies discover the true motivation for tearing down the garden, they will stop at nothing to make sure it doesn't happen. As they come together to stop Jack, they find the strength to deal with their own problems.

    The author's second book, Crossing Washington Square also takes place at Manhattan University. I'm looking forward to reading this novel as well. I wouldn't mind if the author brings back these four characters in this or future novels.

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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

    more from this reviewer

    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

    more from this reviewer

    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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    Posted June 16, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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