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A Desirable Residence Hardcover – March 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (March 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031215108X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312151089
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,960,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Chick lit superstar Wickham (The Wedding Girl) is in stellar form in her latest, a story of intersecting fates set in suburban London. Self-centered Liz Chambers, bored with her job and under a mountain of debt, frequently lashes out at her even-tempered husband, Jonathan, and begins an affair with wealthy realtor Marcus Witherstone, who proposes that Liz and Jonathan rent their unsold house to a young couple, Ginny and Piers Prentice, with whom Liz and Jonathan's sullen teenage daughter, Alice, strikes up an unexpected friendship. Ginny, meanwhile, pins her hopes on would-be actor Piers getting a part in a soap opera, and Jonathan is put on a pedestal by Marcus's wife, Anthea. Marcus begins regretting a shady business deal that could land him in huge trouble, and as Liz grows more delusional, Ginny becomes more worried and desperate, and Anthea more unforgiving and relentless. It all comes to a head at a party Ginny throws on the eve of Piers's big audition. A well-executed and unexpected ending caps the dizzying action and demonstrates why Wickham is so deservedly on her genre's A-list. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Following The Tennis Party (LJ 3/1/96), Wickham's delightful tale of entanglements examines the manners and morals of three family units in suburban London. Teachers Liz and Jonathan Chambers have a difficult adolescent daughter, two mortgages, an old home, and a new business, Silchester Tutorial College. When real estate mogul Marcus Witherstone finds tenants for the Chambers's old house, their finances improve. However, personal entanglements create problems for Liz and Marcus, as well as for 14-year-old Alice and the tenants, Piers and Ginny. While circumventing the consequences of deceit and guilt, the main characters acknowledge and rectify mistakes, thus ensuring a satisfying completion. Recommended for popular collections.?Ellen R. Cohen, Rockville, Md.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

The characters were not as interesting as characters in her other books.
Jacqueline A. Jolly
I didn't like the end, and I kept waiting for something good to happen to any of the characters, but I felt it never really did.
myz
Besides the initial letdown of already having read this book, it is a good read...quite perfect for the summer.
Momma Mary

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
Reading "Desirable Residence" was like going to a party and hearing the latest gossip about all your friends and neighbors. The plot was juicy and the characters likable. As a huge Maeve Binchy fan, I enjoyed reading another British author with a flair for characters and plots that connect them to each other. It was a fun and frothy book and made me want to read more of Wickham's work.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Bobbewig TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This review is written by my daughter for whom I obtained a copy of A Desirable Residence.

Being a huge Madeleine Wickham/Sophie Kinsella fan I was very excited to hear that a new book of hers was coming out. I jumped into reading A Desirable Residence with much excitement but that excitement faded pretty quickly! Usually when reading Wickham/Kinsella's books I get so deeply into them from page one that I can't seem to put it down. However, with A Desirable Residence I couldn't seem to ever want to pick it up! My only incentive to keep reading was so that I could finish the book and start on a new one. In her defense, Wickham did, as usual, a great job of getting the reader into the minds of the characters and understanding what they are thinking and feeling. Unfortunately, I found the overall story of the book to be quite uneventful and even boring. It wasn't until towards the end of the book that things started to get slightly interesting where I found myself wondering how things would turn out -- but then the ending turned out rather anti-climactic. The only excitement I got out of this book was completing it so I can move onto another that hopefully does a better job in keeping me captivated. Let me just clear up, though, that my status as a major Wickham/Kinsella fan has not changed at all! I would still highly recommend all of her books (minus this one) and will continue to read any new ones that come out in the future!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Danielle VINE VOICE on June 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've read all of Madeleine Wickham's books that have come out in the US as well as of all of Ms. Wickham's books written under the Sophie Kinsella name. I've enjoyed them all but I just don't think that "A Desirable Residence" lives up to her other books. It took me over a week to read this novel and it never takes me that long to read one of her books. The story just wasn't that compelling and none of the characters were that enjoyable to read about. Actually, apart from Jonathan, I found that the characters were rather unlikable.

Liz and Jonathan have bought a tutorial college but that haven't sold their old house yet and they are running low on money. Liz is told by Marcus Witherstone, one of the founders of the real estate company, that she can rent out the house to keep some income coming in. That meeting changes all of the lives of each character in the book. Ginny and Piers, along with their friend Duncan, move into the house. Liz and Jonathan's daughter Alice hides out in the garage at the house and eventually becomes friends with the group. Anthea, the wife of Marcus, is a shrewd woman who is bent on getting the son a scholarship to college. Marcus has several secrets to juggle. Actually, in one way or another, each character has a secret to keep.

Like I said before, none of the characters were that likeable. Liz was annoying from the start, Marcus was shallow, Alice was shown as a clingy and bratty teen, Ginny was alright in the beginning but became almost unbearable towards the end. The ending to the story wasn't that satisfying either. It seemed abrupt and unfinished. But because I didn't really care for the characters, it was hard for me to root for them or really, to want to read about them. So I certainly don't feel that "A Desireable Residence" is Madeleine Wickham's best but it certainly is not the worst book I've read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Red Rock Bookworm TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"What we have here is a failure to communicate". That line from the old Paul Newman movie Cool Hand Luke could just as easily apply to the characters in Madeline Wickham's A DESIRABLE RESIDENCE. Although this book was published in the UK several years ago, it is just now making its way into the US marketplace.

Ms. Wickham's book addresses several issues. We have overbearing, social climbing mothers, hen-pecked, wimpy fathers, underemployed actors, children seeking acceptance and friendship from teachers and household help, characters who are overextended financially, everyone worried about what everyone else will think, and of course the titillating extra-marital affair. Through all of these scenarios, most of the characters are looking for happiness and fulfillment, but no one is talking. It's obviously not "cool" to divulge your innermost feelings to your parents or your spouse. For me, Liz Chambers was a particularly unlikable character with Marcus Witherstone running a close second. Billed by the publishers as a "wicked comedy", RESIDENCE is more a social commentary that is melancholy rather than amusing. The book is, however, a quick, easy read that keeps you curiously fascinated.

Wickham previously authored the "Shopaholic Series" under the name Sophie Kinsella, but do not expect to find a Rebecca Bloomwood gracing the pages of this book.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Kay on June 1, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a great read, well worth the money I spent, which I can't say for every book I buy. I wish this author had more available, because this is the kind of book I like to take on trips. It has interesting characters, a compelling story line that moves along quickly, intelligent writing, and lots of charm.
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