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The Great Husband Hunt [Kindle Edition]

Laurie Graham
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $9.99
Sold by: Hachette Book Group

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Book Description

From the author of The Future Homemakers of America comes the hilarious and moving story of one unstoppable woman's unforgettable ride through an ever-changing century.... What hope is there for Poppy Minkel? She has kinky hair, big ears, skin that's too sallow, and an appetite for fun. Poppy's mother, Dora, despairs of ever finding her a husband, despite the lure of the family fortune offered by Minkel's Mighty Fine Mustard. Correctness, duty, and Dora Minkel Ear Correcting Bandages are the weapons in this husband hunt-and they serve as torture to a girl who has her own hazy ideas about beauty, love, and marriage. After the sudden death of her father, Poppy's rebelliousness bursts into full bloom. From one World War to the next, from New York to Paris, she'll invent her own extraordinary life with never a moment of acclaimed author Laurie Graham treats us to a rollicking, exhilarating celebration of passion over prudence.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Graham's humorous fictional autobiography of Poppy Minkel, the tart-tongued heiress ("Jewish, to just the right degree") of Minkel's Mighty Fine Mustard, is a Zelig-like romp through the 20th century. Poppy's irrepressible voice recreates her world with a disarming bluntness that often abandons propriety for a good laugh ("education is a greatly overrated thing") while never sidestepping the essential truths of any well-lived life (e.g., "No one can be expected to look at difficult art without a glass in one's hand"). Graham's enjoyable The Future Homemakers of America toasted the delights of long-term friendship between women and exhibited the author's flair for nostalgic historical fiction. Her new novel views history through Poppy's wide, self-obsessed eyes, painting a lyrically linear portrait of a flawed, believable character who never abandons her quest to be a "heroine." Poppy's "memoir" begins with her grief over losing her father on the Titanic, barrels along at a great pace through WWI, the 1920s, the 1930s, WWII, the 1960s and ends with a sanguine widow's observations in the late 1970s. Poppy's evolution through heiress/shop girl, fashion "originator"/wife, aviatrix/seductress, mother/art gallery owner/widow proceeds at a dizzying clip. Married first to a rake she meets while selling ties at Macy's, Poppy divorces him after their first child is born and takes up with a Brit distantly related to the Royals. Their affair results in a surprise pregnancy and leads to a second, happier marriage. Poppy weathers many losses, but her friendship with her stepbrother Murray-most beloved of her family members-teaches her a great lesson: "In life you have to look ahead and not behind." Graham's protagonist is much less conventional than the book's title leads readers to expect; those looking for ordinary historical romance will get more than they bargained for.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Poppy Minkel-Minton Catchings Merrick is every bit as eccentric as her name. Heiress to the Minkel Mighty Fine Mustard fortune, she's a fey flibbertigibbet living in the shadow of her pampered sister and under the glare of her domineering mother and aunt. Though the dynamic may be pure Cinderella, there's no fairy godmother, glass slipper, or Prince Charming coming to her rescue. Poppy manages to make her own way in life, despite a disastrous first marriage and the death of her second husband. Indeed, from the sinking of the Titanic to the 1929 stock market crash to the Nazi terrors of World War II, Poppy has always found herself in the thick of things, yet armed with an indomitable spirit and a rebellious nature, she manages to survive and thrive where lesser women would fail. Charting the course of Poppy's life against such a historically rich backdrop, Graham takes a sometimes silly, sometimes serious tone in this capricious exploration of one memorable woman's life. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 587 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0446691321
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (December 14, 2008)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001MT5NRI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #940,104 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be misled by the cover January 16, 2004
This is not a romance! The title and photo on the cover could mislead you. But this is a clever book, a marvelous character read. And I loved it. I think Laurie Graham has captured the ultimate eccentric spirit in Poppy, who is modeled somewhat on Peggy Guggenheim, according to Graham's interview at the end of the novel. (By-the-way, author Graham now resides in Venice, the home of the Peggy Guggenheim Museum.)
I am reminded of the Mitford novels and biographies, not Jan Karon, but Nancy Mitford, i. e. Love in a Cold Climate, The Pursuit of Love, Don't Tell Alfred. And of the Five Sisters: The Langhornes of Virginia. There is even a taste of the absurditiy of AbFab of BBC TV.
For certainly Poppy has genuine feelings, as expressed by her loss of her father and the confusion over his double life, and she belabors her having been controlled by her mother and her aunt. But she is a strong and willful rich woman, a mustard heiress who seems to have no sense of conventional behavior at all, especially as it concerns her daughters, or husbands. She buys her way through life, but it isn't all despicable. In fact, her ways as an avant garde originator/fashion designer, and discover and seller of art, are not so foreign to those who actually fill that world even today. Witness the emergence of design of all kinds in the world of cable TV channels and realize what entertainment value it must provide to not only stay on the air but multiply and clone itself into more and more programming.
There is a definite message in this journey the reader takes with Poppy at the helm, and it is the importance of one's family after all. In addition there is a sense of history, as in the effect of world events on culture.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but no February 3, 2004
This book keeps you entertained. But don't look for plot, meaning or messages here. Its kind of depressing. Its a story of a womans life through the early part of the 20th century. It has a catchy title, but don't let it mislead you. "The Great Husband Hunt"---is not really about a husband hunt. It talks about how Poppy has to whiten her neck and wear things to keep her ears from sticking out so she can catch a husband. Ummm, thats about it. Its really a sad kind of life story. Yes, shes an aviatrix and an arts dealer. She has two daughters, Sapphire and Emerald. They're jewish, depending on the decade.This Poppy sort of staggers through life, through one relationship after another, seeking nothing rewarding or signifcant out of any thing. Shes never happy. Its sort of like an average womans chronicle of life. However, I read fiction for escapism, because I am an average woman. So I feel like I just read---almost a biography of sorts. Did I mention this is NOT a romance? Another reviewer remarked on that, and I feel I should mention that, considering the title of the book is misleading.
But really, the style and the story are not bad. Just not what you think.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, even when annoying March 5, 2004
The Great Husband Hunt, while the title is seriously flawed, is a fun, quick read. The main character, Poppy is a woman that you will love to hate. Uneducated, spoiled, and self-absorbed, she is also fun, impulsive, and hedonistic. Born into an affluent family in the early 1900s, she experiences all of the highlights of the 20th century; the sinking of the Titanic, 2 World Wars, Vietnam. She bounces through life with a carefree, unconcerned attitude, and, in spite of herself, everything always seems to work out in the end. There were times when I found myself disliking Poppy so much, I wondered if I wanted to finish the book. A few pages more, though, and I'd have forgotton all about how much she ticked me off and get caught up in her next adventure. Now, don't we all know people just like that??
Don't let yourself get too caught up in the historical details of this book. After all, it is just fiction! Let go a little, and, hopefully, you'll enjoy this as much as I do.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book January 7, 2004
By A Customer
I really enjoyed this book. It was an easy read, and I loved how it explored Poppy's entire life. It started in the early 1900's when Poppy was only 15 and she lost her father in the Titanic and then it took us through her life up until her 70's. We learn about her 2 husbands, her 2 kids, her mother and sister, her aunt, and her stepbrother. The author gives a lot of information about all the characters in the book. Good Book!!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dreck January 5, 2004
By A Customer
Okay, maybe it's because I majored in English/Literature that I'm a bit more picky about what I read than the others who have reviewed this novel, but I have to ask - did we all read the same book?
To begin, both the title and book "blurb" were tremendously misleading. The gist of both was that Poppy was a spunky, free-spirited girl trying to fight against the oppression of her mother's grand scheme to find her a husband. Instead, this is the rather self-centered ramblings of a rather uninteresting woman. Whoo - Poppy's an aviator? Whoopie! I'd have been more impressed if that part of the story was enlarged upon... what was it like for her, as a woman in the early 1920s, to take flight lessons, etc.? In fact, I would have been more impressed, period, had the author actually told a story. Instead, the reader is subjected to Poppy's constant "I'm so great, I'm so much better than everyone else is" bragging. It got extremely tiresome and this book plodded on.
It seems to me that because the "book club guide" questions are often intelligent, they lend to certain books more credibility than they actually deserve. This is one of those books. While I am the first to admit that I found Graham's "Future Homemakers of America" sadly lacking in both plot, essence and skilled writing, I was willing to give this book a try (because of the aforementioned "blurb"). What a letdown. In the author interview, Graham blatantly admits to having done "no research". This, above all, is abundantly evident in this book. For example, the sinking of the Titanic has been so deeply documented, I found it incredible that she managed to get her facts so screwed up. Tell me please, Ms.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the time
Poppy Minkel is a mustard heiress. And after spending her childhood under the thumb of strict vanity and duty by her mother Dora and Aunt Fish, she is all too prepared to spend her... Read more
Published on October 29, 2011 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing but praise
I'm still shocked that some people did not absolutely enjoy this book. It is my second Laurie Graham novel and I cannot wait to delve into another. Read more
Published on October 12, 2009 by BuytheBook
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother reading this book
Like others, I found the cover illustration, blurb, and even the title misleading. This book has very little to do with the main character, Poppy, as a teenager, or about her... Read more
Published on August 31, 2009 by Reading girl
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful on so many levels
Story starts off light and fluffy, then reader realizes the depth of the story camouflaged by the zinging oneliners. Still savoring the characters.
Published on June 18, 2009 by C. Henry
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read, memorable characters.
This book made for an enjoyable read, despite a character that was unusual at best. The American publisher changed the title and cover photo to something our public would "get", as... Read more
Published on March 21, 2007 by Barbara O'Reilly
5.0 out of 5 stars very entertaining
I love the way Laurie Graham writes. I really enjoyed her book, The Future Homemakers of America, and thought this would be similar, but the style of writing is different. Read more
Published on April 4, 2006 by Charlotta Carter
3.0 out of 5 stars still hunting for a better book
I really give this book a 3 1/2. The high parts of this rating I reserve towards the beginning of the book, but as the work progressed I became disappointed with the character of... Read more
Published on January 2, 2006 by Cynthia
4.0 out of 5 stars Romance?
I would like to know where people got the idea that this book is a romance. It is in the general fiction area of any book store I've been to. Read more
Published on March 9, 2005 by Melissa Treufeldt
1.0 out of 5 stars A terrible book
This was an awful book. I could not finish it because the main character was so annoying.
Published on February 9, 2005 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but ultimately unsatisfying
It may be a personal quirk but I have a hard time really enjoying books where I don't like the main character. Read more
Published on April 17, 2004 by E. Kendall
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More About the Author

Laurie Graham's social comedies have been described as combining the sharpness of Florence King with the gentle Englishness of Alan Bennett.
A former radio script writer and journalist, Laurie has been let go by a prestigious raft of conservative broadsheets and glossy women's magazines.
Nothing daunted she now gives vent to her opinions on her own website and at
She lives in Dublin, Ireland.

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