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The Widow's Guide to Sex and Dating: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Carole Radziwill
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)

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Kindle Price: $11.99
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Sold by: Macmillan
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Book Description

"Radziwill's delicious debut novel… is a poignant tale of love and loss."--Publishers Weekly

"One of the richest, most deeply satisfying stories I've read in a long time."--BookPage

"Carole Radziwill writes like a cross between Sophie Kinsella and Christopher Buckley. Cautiously romantic, unexpectedly moving, and funny!"--Susan Sarandon

The Widow's Guide to Sex and Dating is Carole Radziwill's deliciously smart comedy about a famously widowed young New Yorker hell-bent on recapturing a kind of passionate love she never really had

Claire Byrne is a quirky and glamorous 34-year-old Manhattanite and the wife of a famous, slightly older man. Her husband, Charlie, is a renowned sexologist and writer. Equal parts Alfred Kinsey and Warren Beatty, Charlie is pompous yet charming, supportive yet unfaithful; he's a firm believer that sex and love can't coexist for long, and he does little to hide his affairs. Claire's life with Charlie is an always interesting if not deeply devoted one, until Charlie is struck dead one day on the sidewalk by a falling sculpture ... a Giacometti, no less!

Once a promising young writer, Claire had buried her ambitions to make room for Charlie's. After his death, she must reinvent herself. Over the course of a year, she sees a shrink (or two), visits an oracle, hires a "botanomanist," enjoys an erotic interlude (or ten), eats too little, drinks too much, dates a hockey player, dates a billionaire, dates an actor (not any actor either, but the handsome movie star every woman in the world fantasizes about dating). As she grieves for Charlie and searches for herself, she comes to realize that she has an opportunity to find something bigger than she had before--maybe even, possibly, love.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

When Claire Byrne’s intellectual husband dies in a freak accident with a falling sculpture (a fake, at that), she must figure out how to be a widow. Her marriage was defined by the age gap, Charles’ insistence (academic and otherwise) that there is either love or sex (not both), and his frequent infidelities. Claire has almost no identity of her own, and she is convinced by friends to lose her widowed virginity and move on. Radziwill’s first novel (after her memoir, What Remains, 2005) is a very New York book, even when Claire travels to L.A. to interview (and sleep with) a movie star. There is a constant war between lightness and heaviness in the subject, in the story, and in the telling that seems intrinsic to city dwellers. The plot features a lot of takeout, and Claire sees multiple therapists, a psychic, and a botanomanist to get herself sorted out, which, by the end, she more or less does. Radziwill’s book may receive extra coverage due to her association with the Kennedys and her appearance on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. --Susan Maguire


If you are looking for the perfect fast-paced, light hearted, humorous novel, consider your search to be over. Carole Radziwill's debut novel, The Widow's Guide to Sex and Dating earns five out of five stars. Radziwill's novel is the perfect book for your solo reading or your next book club. The title is tongue-in-cheek, so you won't find yourself delving into deep grief issues. Instead, you will be carving out time to lose yourself in this splendid novel. Humor permeates Radziwill's writing, and the dialogue is flawless . . . The complete triple package--joy, humor, and romance. (The Huffington Post)

One of the richest, most deeply satisfying stories I've read in a long time . . . [Radziwill's] spare writing and wry voice make The Widow's Guide an exhilarating, insightful and moving story about loss and identity. (BookPage)

Claire's story is comedic from the first page, skipping over the stages of grief straight to 'acceptance.' And, through multiple bad dates, a firework romance with Hollywood's leading man, and a lot of over analyzing, the humor stays throughout her entire journey of re-discovering herself. (Justin Jones, The Daily Beast)

A serious attempt to do something comic, a novel about grief and starting again that feels like the product of lived experience. (

From the author of the best-selling memoir What Remains comes a cheeky, affecting debut novel about a woman grieving for her husband and gradually learning to get back in the game (O, The Oprah Magazine)

Witty and charming, Carole Radziwill's first novel is a delight. I fell in love with the character of Claire--a modern-day Holly Golightly. (Candace Bushnell, author of Sex and the City and The Carrie Diaries)

Carole Radziwill writes like a cross between Sophie Kinsella and Christopher Buckley. Widow's Guide is a sharp, flamboyant New York novel that revels in the tragicomic absurdities of the city. It's a smart take on Hollywood, too, with gorgeous movie stars and a quirky cast. Cautiously romantic, unexpectedly moving, and funny! (Susan Sarandon)

Glib, comic. . . [a] novel about a young Manhattan widow looking for love in all the wrong places . . . This may be a grief and recovery story for the privileged, but sharp-fanged Radziwill can be pretty funny . . . .Think Sex and the City in black. (Kirkus)

Claire never thought about the odds of losing her husband. But after a freak accident abruptly ends her husband's life, she is forced to wrestle with the question, "What next?" For the next year, Claire's life takes a wild turn . . . and somewhere in the middle of the madness, she begins to realize that her old life wasn't so perfect and perhaps this is all a blessing in disguise--a second chance at life and love. Verdict: Fans of authors such as Jane Green and Madeleine Wickham will enjoy this. (Library Journal)

I couldn't put the book down . . . . It's fun and fast and filled with lines that make the whole book enjoyable. Like: 'A husband dies and the world gets just another widow. A wife dies, and a star is born.' The book is undoubtedly entertaining . . . . Radziwill recasts the traditional widow for us. (The Rumpus)

Radziwill's delicious debut novel . . . is a poignant tale of love and loss. (Publishers Weekly)

The book's witty humor and Didion-esque raw language provide for a gripping read that triumphantly announces a profound new voice in literary fiction. (

A hilarious account of a young widow's journey to find herself and re-establish her identity. (PW Show Daily)

Product Details

  • File Size: 711 KB
  • Print Length: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (February 11, 2014)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,793 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Blue skies can be misleading." February 12, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although this book is fiction, it feels like a different approach to Radziwill's memoir. In both books she discusses the dislocation of a young widow, but this one takes the approach of dark humor. Claire's husband has been killed suddenly by a falling sculpture caused by a broken cable.

In her exploration of the societal and personal reactions New York's elite Claire's new status, Radziwill is witty and literate. She is especially deft in her mocking of the literate celebrities who have failed to find the humor in themselves. While still ceding grief its piece of reality, she is still able to turn a mocking eye on those who prey on widows.

I have to nod to the range of books emerging from the Real Housewives franchise. Certainly this is the most literate and worthwhile of this genre. While this book doesn't meet the promise of her first book, perhaps neither was this Radziwill's intent. Sometimes you just want to read for fun, and this book scratches that itch.
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62 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars actually, completely brilliant February 13, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
So, really, a book by a 'Housewife'?
Although I am cool enough to admit I watch 'The Countess' (for her impeccable instructions on class friend) - I'm not cool enough to admit reading a novel by a NY Housewife.
Plus Radziwell annoyed me on the show. She was too cool...and willowy and literate....She was not funny or trashy, so why was she on that show, for goodness sakes!
What the heck. She wrote a book. I'll read the book.
And I just finished. It is brilliant. Uniquely and glowingly brilliant. Written with a smooth and knowing hand and speaking to the reader in an engagingly intimate manner.
This book is cool. Radziwell is immaculately cool. If you enjoy really rather amazing writing and like the feeling of being a charter reader of a classic work, do read this book. It is really achingly gentle, fragile....
God I hope she doesn't go back on that show. I think it would break my heart.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Readers Guide to a Great Book February 11, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I adored Radziwill's first book, "What Remains", which is a masterfully written memoir about love, friendship and loss. "Widow's Guide" is another great read, its a funny and wildly entertaining NYC based novel about sex, acceptance and moving on. I highly recommend this book, its great fun.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book March 20, 2014
By Jana
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved "What remains", this one was obviously different kind of book, but I could still see her thru the masked words. Book was lovely in a strange and witty kind of way
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Claire Byrne is married to Charlie, a reknowned sexologist, author of many books on the subject. One day, he is killed by a huge statue falling from a crane on Fifth Avenue in New York. Claire finds herself a widow in her 30s and completely lost as to what to do next.
She goes to two different therapists, visits psychics and even follows a griot, a storyteller who travels the city sharing stories about famous New York City dwellers, to try and find her way to a new life. Then she meets Jack Huxley, the notoriously heterosexual movie star whom every woman wants, and has some sort of relationship with him.
Throughout the novel, Claire shares the rules she is learning about sex and dating for widows, like
Rule #34- "Never discourage anyone who continues to make progress, no matter how slow" (Plato)
Rule #29- A boy says, "Have a good trip", a man says "Call me when you land."

I loved Carole's emotional and moving memoir What Remains, about losing her young husband to cancer and her two best friends, John F. Kennedy and his wife Carolyn in a plane crash. It is a brilliant book, and so I was interested to see what her fiction would be like.
This is definitely a book for anyone who loves to immerse themselves in the wealthy NYC culture; those who religiously watch The Real Housewives of New York City will love it (and Radziwill is a cast member of that show).
Claire is an interesting character, a little snarky, and her journey through widowhood (the depression, the setups with widowers forty years older) rings true. She is trying to find her place after being in the shadow of her famous husband, what her friend describes as "Charlie's Sundance to Claire's Butch Cassidy.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, funny, read February 15, 2014
This was a great, funny, and easy read! I loved Carole's first book and now I love the second! I would highly recommend this book!
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific and fun read--Buy this book! March 4, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Carole Radziwill is a great storyteller. Her journalism career probably trained her, her memoir established it, she has the best voice on her Real Housewives show and here she is again. Death, sex, love and reinvention are the universal themes in this book and she handles all of them with a very deft hand. I have recommended her book to all my friends, and we are reading it for our book club!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprised to have loved this book March 3, 2014
I wasn't expecting to enjoy this, thought it would be just another hastily rushed out book with a cute cover (the cover is very cute!) -- but it was really smart, well-paced, and had the most interesting cast of characters. There are so many fun cultural references placed throughout. Some people will get them, some won't. It feels like Radziwill had great fun writing it, I hope she's working on another.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A unique and fascinating caricature novel
I bought this book on my iPad, and knew I shouldn't have bought that media for this book. There's quite an excerpt online (here, her website, etc) so I knew by the writing style... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Ashley
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Up To The Authros Previous Standards - Disappointing
Not up to The Authors Previous Standards - seemed she was trying too hard. I had to force myself to finish this. kept longing for something more substantial. Very disappointed.
Published 14 days ago by Sara / Gull Cottage
5.0 out of 5 stars FUNNY AND WELL-WRITTEN
Very funny.
Very well-written. This book will not disappoint you.
Published 21 days ago by Jeff L. Restad
4.0 out of 5 stars If you love Carol this book is for you
I love her. She is vCard closely related to the Kennedy's, but is someone who would be great to know.
Published 1 month ago by Faith Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great week. Really witty!
Published 1 month ago by Paul Werner
2.0 out of 5 stars Probably a Very Good Book if One Can Listen Beyond the Narration
Though the writing may be good, the narration is very annoying. The book is read by the author, who has a shrill, northeastern accent. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Stan Praisewater
5.0 out of 5 stars Read This and then Thank me!
Thanks Carol for another great book worth the time and money! Love your writing style and it just keeps me looking for more. A fun story with some deeper meaning.
Published 1 month ago by Linda Hart
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A decent read but not her best work.
Published 1 month ago by Cheryl Miller
3.0 out of 5 stars Ms. Radziwill Should not Narrate her own Book
I wish I had paid attention to the fact the Ms. Radziwill was the narrator. I was able to listen up to the point where the main character became a widow. I had to stop listening. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Renee Wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't sweat it —everybody is f'd up.
If you enjoy sarcastic, irreverent, black humour, chances are you'll enjoy Widow's Guide. While Carole more than proved her talent as a writer with 'What Remains' I liked this book... Read more
Published 2 months ago by J.G.
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