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All the Hopeful Lovers [Paperback]

William Nicholson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
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Book Description

26 May 2011

Belinda wistfully reflects how much better at sex she is now than when she was in her twenties. She's thought about taking a lover, but ultimately could never do that to her husband Tom. So imagine her despair when she discovers he's having an affair...

And what about Tom, and his lover Meg? It's not easy for them either. Alongside this knot of middle-aged lovers is a tangle of younger ones, as Belinda's flirty daughter Chloe tries to set up Jack with shy Alice, without realizing that Jack actually has a crush on her.

Nicholson casts an unflinching eye on men's attitude to sex, on women, love and family life. This is our own familiar world rendered pacy, funny, emotionally on the button and hugely entertaining.

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All the Hopeful Lovers + The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life + The Golden Hour
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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (26 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849163901
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849163903
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 164,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Nicholson was born in 1948 and received his early education at Downside School, a Roman Catholic monastic school, set in the countryside near Bath.

He went on to study English Literature at Christ's College, Cambridge, graduating with a double First Class degree in 1970. After leaving university, William joined BBC television, where he worked as a documentary film maker. It was not long before William's talent was channelled into writing for television dramas and his professional writing career took off.

William is perhaps best known as an acclaimed Hollywood screenwriter, whose work includes Elizabeth: The Golden Age, the Bafta award-winning Shadowlands, and Oscar-winning Gladiator.

He has written several screenplays for films due for future release, including Long Walk to Freedom, an adaptation of Nelson Mandela's autobiography.

Nicholson's first trilogy for young readers, The Wind on Fire, met with universal acclaim. Winner of the Smarties Gold Award and the Blue Peter Book Award. Nicholson's latest trilogy the Noble Warriors has also been enthusiastically received. The final book Noman is published on 4th September 2007:

'The events rip along, but the real strength of Nicholson's novel lies in its wonderful characters: Morning Star, drowning in the power of her love for Wildman, and Echo Kittle, captured by the enemy of Orlans' Daily Telegraph

His latest book, the highly anticipated Rich and Mad is a compelling and beautifully written novel about first love, first sex, and everything in-between.

Nicholson has been cited as one of the most gifted and imaginative writers alive in the world today. His adult titles include The Trial of True Love and The Society of Others.

William lives in Sussex with his wife Virginia, and their three children.

Product Description


'You'll love it ... so intimate, so socially spot on. Nicholson writes beautifully about love, tear-jerkingly well about parents and children' Wendy Holden, Daily Mail.

'It's the simply truthfulness of his portrayal of men and women's emotional and sexual lives that will surely earn Nicholson another batch of happy readers' Daily Telegraph.

'William Nicholson writes so well about love ... It's a comfortable scenario, yet heaving with emotion and yearning ... as we all do' Daily Express.

From the Inside Flap

Belinda wistfully reflects how much better at sex she is now than when she was in her twenties. A lover would be nice but she'd never be unfaithful to her husband, Tom. So when she finds out he's having an affair, she's more than angry. The seven days following her discovery see her through a rollercoaster of highs and mostly lows. And what about Tom, and his lover Meg? It's not easy for them either. Alongside this knot of middle-aged lovers is a tangle of teenage ones, as Belinda's flirty daughter Chloe tries to set up Jack with shy Alice, without realizing that Jack is full of secret longings for her. Each character faces their own personal dramas, unaware of the troubles that engulf those around them. Nicholson casts an unflinching eye on men's attitude to sex, on how women feel, on love and family life. This is our won familiar world rendered pacy, funny, emotionally on the button and hugely entertaining.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome return 27 Oct 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was a very welcome return for me to the village in East Sussex, and some of the characters, from The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life. Although not strictly a sequel, it is a loose follow on. The books can be read independently, but I would recommend reading them in order.

This book, as with Secret Intensity, looks at the lives of the people who live in the village over just a few days, this time in December 2008. William Nicholson is a master at taking the everyday events in the characters' lives and making them interesting to the reader. I read this book very quickly and found myself reluctant to put it down.

I understand he is writing a third book in the series and I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on it.

Highly recommended.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching and beautifully crafted 30 Nov 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I discovered a copy of Nicholson's 'The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life' on our bookshelf. I've no idea where it came from, someone probably gave it to us and it was filed under 'may read sometime...' At a loose end, I picked it up one day and couldn't put it down. Nicholson has the ability to capture thoughts and emotions that I know so very well - there are moments when he puts on paper a sentiment that I recognise as being my own. I bought 'All the Hopeful Lovers' (the sequel) immediately. It covers the lives of largely the same characters, eight years onwards and it continues in the same vein. It is simply crafted, almost like a screenplay (he wrote Gladiator, so it's not surprising) and yet, simple though it is in construction, it is touching and thought provoking. He joins my list of favourite modern novelists alongside Helen Dunmore, William Trevor and Penelope Lively.

My only gripe? The hardback covers would lead you to think of these as frilly, vacuous, romantic novels. They're not and the books deserve a better representation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Couples 2011"--pace Updike 1968 27 Feb 2011
By Gorilla
"All the Hopeful Lovers"
Well, there is Belinda & Tom, in the middle years of their marriage, not particularly happy but tottering along. Plastic surgeon Tom (cosmetic) is bonking Meg, in Admin. Belinda finds out & decides to indulge an itch of her own involving Kenny, a man she knew years ago and who has a certain reputation. She knows where he lives! She confides all this with her friend Laura, similar age, has some regrets but married to Henry in a quiet sort of way. Laura has a sister Diana in London married to Roddy who has suddenly gone all silent on her. It turns out he is "looking for God" which puts the fear of God up Diana. Diana introduces Belinda to the installation art work of Joe Nolan, whose work is being promoted by Chtistina, who used to work for Henry & fancies getting off with Joe. She tries to engineer a contretemps between modern Joe and stuckist Anthony Armitage, Joe's former tutor. Meanwhile Belinda's daughter Chloe back from uni. & the object of Laura's son Jack's desire is trying to set up a romance between him & Alison, the daughter of estranged Guy & Liz Dickinson, the partner of Alan Strachan a frustrated script writer. All very middle class and southern counties, but now enter Matt Early, plumber & violin restorer who lives with his mother but determines to make adulterous Meg his own.....

So far, so soap? Actually, no; much more perceptive. A better insight into the minds & personalities of the characters & their motives is very rare. Needless to say, nothing quite works out the desired way & there is resignation, reconciliation, disappointment and downright frustration to be seen.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard to put down 21 Jan 2011
This was just one of those perfect indulgent reads. The stuff of ordinary middle class English life rendered with honesty and sympathy. I found myself nodding many times with the well expressed dilemmas of the hopeful lovers of all ages. I will look out for the first one and look forward to the next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read 31 Mar 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read the prequel to this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. There are moments in 'All the Hopeful Lovers' where I found myself totally absorbed in the author's personal reflections on life and the meaning of love and sex. Yet at times I felt unwillingly shaken out of this reverie by dialogue that was far too similar for each character: at some point in the book almost every character exclaims 'Christ!', no matter what their age or sex. This is an editing oversight in my opinion. I never exclaim 'Christ!' nor do my friends, but my elderly mother does. It's a small detail, but one that began to annoy me. I wanted to like this book as much as the first, but I felt it didn't live up to my expectations. Despite this I still look forward to reading more of Nicholson's work in the future as I really like his generous personal philosophy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent sequel 16 Oct 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
'All The Hopeful Lovers' is the second book which I have read of this author. The chapters on the supposed reasons for male infidelity are an insight into the male psyche! I found myself reading passages to my husband to get confirmation of this view point. A very well written book. Hurry up Mr. Nicolson and write another one!!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't quite hit the spot 18 Oct 2010
By Claretta VINE VOICE
I really wanted to like this book but somehow it didn't work for me. A number of the many, many characters just didn't convince me, such as Alice and Jack their terribly grown-up conversations, and too many of them were deeply unsympathetic. There are some scenes that work brilliantly - Joe and Christina's conversation in the car near the end of the book being a case in point - but too many that fall flat. Three stars is probably a bit harsh, but I can't bring myself to give it four.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Loved it from beginning to end. Thoroughly absorbing, enjoyable and very funny too. I cared about all the characters. Clever book.
Published 15 days ago by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant evocation of love in the real world
Wonderful! I just love William Nicholson to bits . . . his writing is so true. Although there were many different people in this novel, their lives loosely linked, each one was... Read more
Published 2 months ago by S. V. Rhodes
3.0 out of 5 stars The law of diminishing returns in action
The second volume in Nicholson's loosely constructed trilogy of books based around lives and connections between people, this is still readable but lacking the punch of The Secret... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jl Adcock
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
This is the middle book of a trilogy and all 3 books by this author do not disappoint the discerning reader. Read more
Published 6 months ago by jennifer steen
4.0 out of 5 stars I like it
This is the second book in the trilogy. The people we met and got to know in the first book are older and some new characters are introduced. Read more
Published 6 months ago by L. Barlow
5.0 out of 5 stars I love William Nicholson's books
OK so this series of books is probably what one would call 'Aga sagas', but they are also fun to read, insightful about the trivialities of every day life and well written. Read more
Published 7 months ago by oxo
4.0 out of 5 stars Another in the trilogy
A whimsical story with a variety of characters, some more likeable than others. I preferred the first and third of the three books to this one.
Published 10 months ago by Doris Willis
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
I brouht this after reading a review about the book. I was very happy with this book. I thought it was a good read and i would buy another book by Willam Nicholson. Read more
Published 12 months ago by ireadnovels
3.0 out of 5 stars Not exciting enough for me....
I felt this book was very well written and much more sophisticated that a run of the mill romance/love story, however I agree with another reviewer that it just didn't quite hit... Read more
Published 13 months ago by E. Banks
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable
Those mis-leading covers/bylines are still in evidence. But I made this trilogy my Book Group recommendation of the year. It's completely absorbing. Read more
Published 15 months ago by helen chilton
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