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The Professors' Wives' Club Paperback – September 2, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade (September 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451224914
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451224910
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,484,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From 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.

From Booklist

The urban campus of Manhattan University harbors a fenced garden that serves as an oasis for four women. The garden is accessible by key only to the residents of the faculty housing that surrounds it. Married to a professor, Sofia had a successful career of her own but gave it all up to be a stay-at-home mom. Ashleigh is a lawyer in her family’s firm and holds a secret that could curtail her politician father’s career. Hannah is an artist married to another faculty member; her secret could threaten her marriage. And Mary, a faculty member in her own right, lives a lie as she endures a toxic marriage to the dean, who wants to bulldoze the garden and put in a parking lot. These four women are not acquainted but soon will become sisters-in-arms as they fight for their garden and then for each other. Alternately amusing and serious, with a little literary mystery thrown in for good measure, Rendell’s smart and pleasing tale of friendship and self-actualization has broad appeal. --Maria Hatton

More About the Author

Joanne Rendell was born and raised in the UK. After completing her PhD in English Literature, she moved to the States to be with her husband, a professor at NYU. She now lives in faculty housing in New York City with her family. Visit Joanne's website at www.joannerendell.com.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 23 customer reviews
It's well written, witty, and the characters are delightfully developed.
Brutus
I am such a sucker for books like this show the incredible bond between women!
Julie Peterson
This is not your typical chick lit book to use for easy reading on vacation.
Grace L

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stella W. on April 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
I had high hopes for this book, but it was so poorly written it was almost painful to read. The plot line was like a Lifetime made-for-TV movie, while it read something like a Babysitter's Club novel. The characters were one-dimensional and boring -- they were either purely evil or almost entirely good, making them unbelievable. The writing was chock full of cliches, and about every other sentence, someone "grinned" or "turned on their heel," both of which I can't stand. I can see how some people may enjoy this book as a light and easy read, but if you are looking for good literature, skip it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brutus on September 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
Rendell has really put a humorous finger on the social and political dynamics systemic at any college or university. It's well written, witty, and the characters are delightfully developed. This is a fun page turner and I hope for a movie!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anna on September 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Professors' Wives' Club is a great read. It will be an excellent book for book club discussions. There are several interesting characters who remind us of someone we know or have known. We can identify with the emotions the author presents and think about how we would react in similar situations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Linda T on April 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
Save yourself the two hour read and opt for Olivia Goldsmith's "The First Wive's Club," instead. The subject matter may be vastly different, but at least with "FWC," you'll get a good deal of humor and wit along with the social commentary, something sorely lacking in Joanne Rendell's "Professor's Wives Club." For a book about so-called scandalous secrets, and the lives of the women trying to either maintain, sustain, or over come them, "PWC" offers an apathetic, unenthusiastic, and worse of all, indifferent read. The professional reviewer used the word "tepid," which sums it up very well, there was simply nothing there into which I could sink my passion, at least not where it didn't quickly fall apart from the lack of any supporting storyline foundation. As a testament to the quality of the writing, while trying to follow the convoluted "Poe" tie-in, I found myself wondering whether my time might be better spent by putting the book away, getting out soap and scrub-brush, and doing the dishes, something I do not recall ever actually thinking prior to that moment, in all my 50+ years!

(I'm not sure if it is relative in any way, but at one point in her all-too-short life, Olivia Goldsmith- née Randy Goldfield- lived under the legal name of "Justine Rendel.")
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Olivia Carroll on September 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
I fell in love with these four woman who, through their friendship, find the strength to stand up for what they believe while coming to grips with their own personal predicaments. Joanne Rendell has woven an intriguing tale that kept me turning the pages until the very end.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Julie Peterson on September 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
I seem to always enjoy a good book about women and the strength of female friendships; and THE PROFESSORS' WIVES' CLUB by Joanne Rendell was no exception. This book covers the lives of four women who become friends in their efforts to save a garden retreat from being demolished. They all have a common enemy in the dean of the college who wants to tear down their park to build a parking garage.

I found all of the four main female characters to be very likable. In fact, I think most readers will recognize women they know and love in each of these characters. All of the characters were pretty different from each other in both personalities, interests, and even age; but they were drawn together by a common interest. I am such a sucker for books like this show the incredible bond between women!

One thing that I really liked was that the author tackled some difficult and controversial issues within the pages of this novel. Mary, the wife of the dean, was both verbally and physically abused by her husband. I commend the author for showing a professional, educated woman in an abusive relationship since so often think that abuse doesn't happen to these types of women. There were also serious issues discussed in this novel such as marital problems, infidelity, and motherhood struggles.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this book was that the author incorporated the Edgar Allen Poe angle into the story. I don't want to give too much away, but the book discusses the time period when Poe lived in New York City. In fact, there was a mystery surrounding some Edgar Allen Poe papers. I found that this side-story actually sets apart this book from other formulaic women's friendship stories.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shon on February 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
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.
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