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Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman: A Novel Paperback – December 30, 2003

3.7 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Buchan's latest novel finds the carefully managed life of 48-year-old Rose Lloyd, a successful book review editor, turned upside down. First, her husband of 25 years announces he's leaving Rose for her own sexy assistant. Next, insult is added to injury: Rose is fired from her job and replaced by none other than the woman who broke up her marriage. Buchan lends a compelling emotional depth to her main characters, seamlessly merging Rose's struggle to rise above the betrayal, shock and fear of middle-aged "invisibility" with flashbacks to her youth, recollections of her first love to a now famed travel writer, memories of family vacations and her grown kids' childhood. With extensive stage and theater work to her credit, and incorporating myriad voices to the diverse cast, Gilpin makes the book's transition to a 10-hour unabridged audio format exceptionally smooth. Narrating mostly in a proper British accent, which perfectly suits Rose's "delight in domesticity" and enhances the book's dry, slightly askew sense of humor, Gilpin also captures the outrage of Rose's son and daughter (both of whom have their own relationship issues), the American drawl of her old flame (who makes an unexpected return), the grumpy rumblings of an elderly neighbor she cares for and the feisty opinions of her mother, making for a good production listeners will enjoy.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Happy for 25 years, Rose watches aghast as both her career and her marriage suddenly go down the drain. A best seller in England that's slated for the post-Bridget Jones crowd.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (December 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142003727
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142003725
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #913,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Elizabeth Buchan's book REVENGE OF THE MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN is about the destruction and ultimate resurrection of a single life. At the start of the book, Rose Lloyd's life appears idyllic. Married to Nathan for twenty-five years, she has concurrently raised a son and a daughter, forged a career as a book critic and editor, and kept a beautiful home. Life is comfortable, easy and lovingly predictable. She feels blessed by the ease with which her days pass. Whether she is tending her garden or dining out with colleagues, Rose is grounded and at peace.
But then one day, forty-pushing-fifty Nathan comes home and announces out of the blue that he wants out of their comfortable, easy, predictable existence. He uses the oldest cliché in the book: he has found love, or at least lust, with a younger woman. And, ouch, the younger woman is a good friend of Rose's. As if this devastation is not enough, a waterfall of catastrophic events happens in quick succession, sending Rose over the edge. She loses her job, a beloved pet dies, a child marries while in another country and her mother becomes ill. Buchan hits every potential nerve, leaving readers raw from the emotional barrage.
Rose sinks to the greatest depths of depression, drinking too much, eating too little and sleeping too much. Buchan spends many pages expertly plumbing the recesses of a devastated psyche and, for anyone who has ever experienced such grand and vast loss, Rose's self-questioning, self-hatred and self-abuse will be all too familiar.
As low as Rose sinks, ultimately, REVENGE OF THE MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN is about resurrecting one's life from the unrecognizable heap of self that is left after loss --- and resurrect she does. Buchan never fails to write without great wit and Rose never loses sight of the irony of life.
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Format: Hardcover
Please ignore the silly title when considering this book. Its author, Elizabeth Buchan, is highly popular in the UK, where she is a reviewer for several newspapers. I had the pleasure of reviewing her two previous books that were released in this country: Perfect Love, a truly brilliant work; and Consider the Lily, which I did not like at all.
After a hiatus of several years (at least in the U.S.), we now have the treat of "Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman," which concerns a well-to-do UK couple who both work for a prominent newspaper: he as a business manager, she as the head of the book review department. Nathan and Rose, a modern, undowdy couple, have been married many years, and are happily settled into middle age. They have two children in their twenties, an elderly cat, a beautiful garden (product of Rose's long obsession) and a house that has sheltered them throughout their lovely lives.
All is fine until Rose is blindsided by a sudden announcement: Nathan has somebody else and wants out. As a bewildered and devastated Rose faces that fact, she also learns in rapid succession that the other woman is someone she knows well-and that her own cherished job may be in as much danger as her marriage.
Rose's reaction to this upheaval in her life is predictable but different. So many hundreds of books have been written on this same subject that it is very hard to keep one's sympathy and attention. But Rose is not a whiner. And Rose is not a quitter. And above all, Rose, who is devastated but not broken, is a realist. How she copes with the blows that come her way is an inspiration to those of us who may have been in the same position, or who may be so in the future. At the very least, it's a good old-fashioned story for our times. At best, it's a wonderful model of how to be. No wonder this was a best-seller in Britain. It should be here as well.
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By A Customer on March 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book! In Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman author Elizabeth Buchan has given us a new heroine to love; confident, comfortable, charming and successful forty-eight year old Rose. Although we meet her on the eve of her undoing (at the hands of her convincingly conniving husband- and job-stealing assistant), Rose is no hand-wringing cliche of the wife-done-wrong. Instead our Rose navigates her new, and painful world with the grace, dignity and class we all wish we could muster when things come undone in our lives. Rose is not destroyed by her suffering, she is transformed in a deeply satisying and understandable way. I especially recommend this book for the quality of the writing which was consistently exquisite from page one through the final chapter.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not into women's books. They annoy me much in the same way that a veruca will annoy you. However the case of "Revenge of the Middle Aged Woman" I will make an exception to my rule, well who said rules were made to be bent whenever is necessary!

This is a deliciously entertaining book about Rose, her adulterous husband Nathan, the other woman, the diabolical Minty (a rather fragile she devil) and Rose's oddball grown up children Poppy and Sam.

The plot centres around Nathan's affair with the brittle but beautiful Minty and the affect it has on Rose, his wife of many years. When the affair finally becomes public Rose has lost not only her husband but her job too. However Rose is more resilient than she thinks and bit by bit she finds herself shedding her previous life, and heading down a path she might have taken if she had not chosen to marry Nathan.

Add to this a cast of quirky characters like Rose's eccentric mother Ianthe, an ancient cat called Parsley, Richard, the man Poppy marries suddenly in Thailand, a suicidal ex-girlfriend of Sam's and Hal the man Rose might have taken up with if she hadn't chosen Nathan and you have a novel to make you laugh and cry in the same breath.

Page by page we are treated to Rose's rebirth as a new woman, no longer in Nathan's shadow, no longer the wronged wife. With each trial and tribulation Rose rises to the fore and survives even the most bitter of blows. Like when she is forced to sell the marital home she finds herself able to exhale and move on to the next task at hand. And in the background Nathan is finding that life with the "other" woman isn't all it is cracked up to be and that Rose the wife that he had complained confined him, is now the one that is free.
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