Friday, December 14, 2012

Things I want my Daughters to Know by Elizabeth Noble,

Paperback: 438 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Penguin 2008
 Purchased on a trip to the UK
First Sentence: (Letter) Dear All of you, Despite my controlling streak, there aren't too many rules, so far as the funeral goes.
Review Quote: 
 Witty, affectionate and unashamedly tear-jerking (Red ) 
My Opinion: 
isappointing as potentially it was a great idea.

Despite having read three of Elizabeth Noble's earlier novels and having had two titles sitting on my bookshelves for a few years this is the first time I have read one, since I started reviewing. I have always considered her novels to be ones I will enjoy without having to think to hard. Why it has taken me so long to pick another one up I have no idea. It is six years since I last read one, anyway now I have rediscovered her I hope it will not be long before I get hold of the rest of her back catalogue as this was a good read. The subject is far from comfortable but Noble tackles it sympathetically.

I plodded through this which was disappointing as potentially it was a great idea and as I have said already tackled sympathetically. Barbara has a terminal illness and has so much that she wants to share with her four daughters, knowing she is leaving them when individually they still have so much growing up to do. That part of the story worked well for me but I felt let down somehow by the rest which was seen from the points of view of her daughters.

Barbara is very much aware that her time is running out fast and that she will not be able to share the ups and downs of her daughters life's and give them the first hand support they require. She decides therefore I felt in an extremely brave move to write her four daughters individual letters. Each daughter deals with the death and the shocks they receive when reading their letters in a different way, but all with a mixture of anger and sadness before acceptance. Lisa the oldest in her mid-thirties is frightened of commitment, then there is Jennifer married but unhappily hiding this from the rest of the family. Amanda still in her twenties is the free spirited adventurer, seemingly unable to settle anywhere for long and Hannah mid teens living at home and devastated to watch her mother dying. 
Trying to help them come to terms with the early loss of their mother is Mark, stepfather to the eldest three girls, Barbara's second husband and father to Hannah. He recalls how his wife would have reacted as he tries to guide them all including himself through the home truths that the letters reveal.

I did not love this, but neither did I hate it, I was just disappointed. It will definitely not be another six years before I read another of this author's novels, if you are a fan of contemporary fiction that is also thought provoking then this might be for you.

Author Profile
Goodreads Profile Photo

Elizabeth Noble was born on December 1st 1968 in High Wycombe, Bucks, she now lives in New York with her husband and two daughters. She studied English at Oxford University and after graduating embarked on a career in publishing before taking up writing full time. She is the author of seven novels, The Reading Group, The Tenko Club, Alphabet Weekends, Things I Want My Daughters to Know, The Girl Next Door and The Way We Were, which were all Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers. The Reading Group reached Number One. Her new novel, Between a Mother and Her Child, is out now.
A précis of all these novels can be found on her Official Website just click the link for more information.

The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.

 Amazon Author Profile   Elizabeth Nobel Official Website   Goodreads -Author Profile

I have chosen to read this title as the letter T for The A - Z Book Challenge which I have decided to attempt to achieve in alphabetical order. I have a good selection of titles to choose from our bookshelves, it will be interesting to see how far I can get before I get stuck. Letter T and I am still not stuck for titles, very pleased with the challenge so far. You can follow my progress here.   


  1. Hi Linda, I was going to buy it a while ago , but fortunately for me I did not ... I have read her books before as well and enjoyed them.

    I think for me it is because the subject is death, which I know we all have to face at some point in our lives, .. young or old .. I lost my dad at the age of 10 ,, which was a huge huge loss to me, and my mum is still going strong .. 80 years or something like that .. I really don't like reading about it, so maybe that is why .. xo

    1. It is a difficult subject to both write and read about Anne, although in this case sympathetically tackled.

  2. Sad that you were disappointed :(
    Indeed a great subject!

    1. Yes Divenita it is rather as the author dealt so well and sympathetically with the subject from the mother's point of view.


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