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The Friendship Test: A Novel Paperback – December 27, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Noble (The Reading Group) spins another compulsively readable yarn, guided by the cozily familiar conceit of lifelong friendship taking root among vastly different gals. This fab four, deftly rendered with a few pen strokes as distinct personalities—brassy American Freddie; doting, maternal Tasmin; beautiful, sensitive Sarah; and scholarly, serious Reagan—meet in Oxford in the '80s and nurse each other through heartache and calamity with soul-baring dish sessions and fervent avowals of friendship, calling themselves the Tenko Club. The divergent threads of their adult lives are destined to knot again in 2004, after Freddie suffers a double blow with her husband's affair and her estranged father's death. Her oldest friends rally to her cause, each in her own way—from caustic honesty to fierce protectiveness—though bouts of tragedy and betrayal threaten to unravel their bonds. The action spans England and America, with a sprawling, twisty plot that will appeal to readers in both places. Noble's tender wit depicts the love among friends as steadfast and magical as any romance. Breezy and heartwarming, the novel's beach-book disposition also makes for a cozy winter read.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Freddie, Tamsin, Sarah, and Reagan met at Oxford and quickly forged a bond that continued through careers, marriages, and children. Fast-forward 18 years to the day that Freddie gets a double whammy: her husband tells her that he is seeing someone else and wants a divorce; hours later, her fathers housekeeper calls from America to break the news of his death. So begins a story of friendship that captivates readers from the outset. Certainly, it is formulaic in places: as Freddie tries to come to terms with jarring life changes, she finds herself depending more and more on Sarahs widowed husband. But for the most part, Noble bestows enough imperfections in her characters and twists in the plot to take the story beyond typical romance fare. Readers will enjoy the appealing sketches of London, Cape Cod, and Boston as the friends travel across the Atlantic to help Freddie sort out the ramifications of her parents death. Nobles second novel solidifies her reputation as a graceful and stylish writer with the ability to blend the humor and complexities of everyday friendships.–Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Library System, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; First Edition edition (December 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060777745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060777746
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,434,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elizabeth Noble is the internationally bestselling author of The Reading Group, The Friendship Test, Alphabet Weekends, and Things I Want My Daughters to Know. She lives in New York City with her husband and their two daughters.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Annie on February 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
The Friendship Test opens with Freddie having a real bad day. First, she had to drop her son Harry off at his private school. Second, on the way home, her husband Adrian rang her cell phone to tell her that he is having an affair and is leaving her for someone else. Third, she gets a call from the states and was told that her estranged father just died.

Freddies two best friends, Tasmin and Reagan offer to go to the states with her to help sort things out with her fathers estate and just in time for the funeral, Matthew, the widowed husband of the fourth best friend, Sarah arrives.

While these four people are in the US, several secrets, truths and betrayals are revealed and friendships are put to the test.

If you enjoyed The Reading Group, I truly think you will also enjoy The Friendship Test. You will love Freddie, Tasmin, and Matthew and Reagan is someone you will love to hate.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Marg Stark on January 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
I really believe that women are healthiest and happiest when they have great girlfriends in their lives, not just spouses, jobs and/or children. Elizabeth Noble has captured this feeling so well in The Friendship Test, and along with the hilarity and candor of women's friendships, I got a fix of British humor, which I've come to need almost as much as chocolate since the Bridget Jones books. Noble is adept at sorting out the sometimes complicated dynamics of women's friendships and does so with both pithy humor and great insight. I was charmed to by the romance of the story, too, and the sweet image of Matthew carrying a torch for so long. I read this book in two sittings, and wanted to host a Tamsin-style lovefest dinner for all my girlfriends when I'd finished. You'll love it, too.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ronna on January 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
This marvelous book, THE FRIENDSHIP TEST by Elizabeth Noble, remindes me of a saying that my Mom used to tell me---"A friend is not a fellow who is taken in by shame, a friend is one who knows your faults and doesn't give a damn." Noble artfully uses the premise of an old World War II movie about women in a prison camp to characterize her main characters. Noble's characters love each other, commit to each other, forgive each other, and by all means accept each other. Though sometimes jealously rears it's ugly head and then how do friends respond?

THE FRIENDSHIP TEST shows us that no matter how you say it---and Noble says it masterfully and uniquely---friendships hold us up in fun, in pain, in failures, in every aspects of life, and sometimes in great book reads. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you will yell at some of the characters, but mostly, you will wish that this book never ends. Elizabeth Noble definitely "gets it". I now have a whole new cast of old friends!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. August VINE VOICE on March 8, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wanted to read something "light" but the characters were too simplistic and lacked depth. The story was predictable and the plot presentaton was choppy. Comparing this book to others where, I believe, friendships were the main theme, this book lacked substance.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bearette24 VINE VOICE on January 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed Elizabeth Noble's previous novel, The Reading Group, but this one was even better. The characters here are more fleshed out and memorable. The novel is about 4 friends: Reagan (making American readers think of Ronald Reagan, but her name is actually taken and misspelled from King Lear), Freddie (short for Frederica), Tamsin, and Sarah. They meet at Oxford and swear to always stick together, putting each other above men, jobs, etc.

Then the novel fast-forwards several years to their thirties. Sarah has died (the cause is never explained); Reagan is a prickly, ambitious lawyer; Freddie has a troubled marriage; and Tamsin is an earth mother.

There's no real story line around Tamsin, and Sarah doesn't seem to have a plot function either, other than leaving her husband, Matthew, behind to get entangled with the others. The story is really about Reagan and Freddie, and Tamsin is just a listening ear to Freddie's problems. Reagan is difficult and hard to like, though not impossible, and it's easy to predict that problems in the friendship will begin with her.

Therefore, the story is kind of predictable, but Freddie, Matthew and even Reagan are engaging characters, and readers will find themselves quickly drawn into their lives. Although the novel was long (over 400 pages), it went quickly. Noble develops her characters well and gives them engaging, if somewhat melodramatic, problems and lives. I'm looking forward to her next novel.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. Pickett on March 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book was a selection in my book club. It definitely lacks the content and depth of most of the books we read. I found the characters pathetic, weak and self-absorbed. At some point, people need to realize that they can't blame their parents for everything that they don't like about their lives, and just move on. THis book would be a light read to take to the beach, but I was glad to be done with it. It just went on, and on and on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lois Lain VINE VOICE on November 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
No doubt that Noble can write! While she could easily succumb to the chick lit phenom and write half-baked, "Sex and the City"-type book. But instead, she gives real thought to the characters, their own backstories, and how they interact. The main three characters are complete, with issues and problems of their own.

The complaints I have are:

1. Things wrapped up a bit too neatly. I would have liked to see a little more change and friction instead of a "they all lived happily ever after" end.

2. Freddie is supposed to be American, but she uses turns of phrases that NO American would use. Same for some of the dialog when the story moves to Massachusetts. Noble should have had an American editor read through for these slips that really distracted me.

3. With all the talk about "The Friendship Test," I think they would have applied the test to all the women in the book they encountered -- including Rebecca and Grace. I was very interested to see how they stacked up.

Still, a great book that was a fun read.
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