Symbolically presiding over this emotionally powerful novel is the recently deceased Barbara Forbes. Before she succumbed to cancer, Barbara thoughtfully composed letters to each of her four daughters. This novel, Elizabeth Noble's fourth, follows the sisters as they cope with their shared loss and attempt to navigate their futures, guided partly by their mother's posthumous notes. Another engaging ensemble novel by the author of The Reading Group.
Noble (The Reading Group) hits her stride in her tearjerker fourth novel. Before Barbara Forbes, a mother of four, succumbs to terminal cancer, she leaves words of wisdom for her four daughters in the form of letters to each of them. In the year following Barbara's death, her daughters draw strength from her words and from each other as they move forward with their lives. Lisa, the eldest, is advised to "let someone look after [her]" for a change. Jennifer, "fragile and hard to reach," struggles with an unraveling marriage. Free-spirited Amanda is thrown for a loop by a family secret, and teenaged Hannah, experiencing her first taste of rebellion, is reminded that she still has a lot of growing up to do. Though Barbara's life-is-short aphorisms are nothing new, her sharp wit and distinctive voice is a nice complement to the four nuanced stories of coping with death. (Apr.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Four sisters come to terms with the death of their mother over the course of one year, buoyed and buffeted by the letters and journal she left behind to guide them. Eldest daughter Lisa reaches a moment of truth with her boyfriend-to marry or not. Stoic Jennifer is at a crossroads in her marriage, complicated by the decision whether to have a baby. Amanda, consumed with wanderlust, wonders why she's always running away and considers what it would take for her to stay. And the youngest, 16-year-old Hannah, struggles to navigate her turbulent teenage years, mourning her mother while trying to comfort her father. Noble's fourth novel (after Alphabet Weekends) is a bittersweet yet ultimately uplifting story of love, family, and the bonds between mothers and daughters and among sisters. Letters and journal entries are sprinkled throughout the narrative, expanding the novel's focus to include the family's history from the very beginning and making for a sweeping, engaging, and comfortable women's fiction choice. Highly recommended for all public libraries.
A beyond-the-grave, mother/daughter heartstring-tugger, from the shrewd British novelist (Alphabet Weekends, 2007, etc.). No crying and no black at the funeral, insists Barbara, a 60-year-old mother of four girls, in the first of her to-be-read-after-I'm-gone letters to her children. Noble's story of how Barbara's daughters (and second husband) survive her premature death from cancer, aided by farewell letters and a journal, is an unashamed tear-jerker, with its lovable-but-flawed parent sending caring advice into the future to her four grieving but eventually happy girls. Noble assigns each of the main characters a more or less trumped-up problem or secret to be resolved, after which contentment reliably follows. Commitment-phobic eldest child Lisa mucks up her relationship with nice Andy by having an affair and not really wanting to accept Andy's marriage proposal, but she ends up walking down the aisle. For possibly infertile Jennifer, with her cooling marriage, all is resolved by a sex-fueled holiday and a proper chat, after which she quickly becomes pregnant. Amanda, the wanderer, needs to stop running away, digest the fact that her father was neither of Barbara's husbands and open up to flawless new boyfriend Ed. And young Hannah simply requires some space in which to grow up. A comfortable if formulaic and sentimental scenario, delivered in a light tone with professionalism and a straight face. Agent: Jonathan Lloyd/Curtis Brown