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Ophelia in Pieces [Paperback]

Clare Jacob
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

1 Mar 2012
On the eve of her 39th birthday, top barrister Ophelia Dormandy decides she is going to make amends. Tonight, after months of late nights at her desk, she s going to return home early, cook a special supper maybe even wear that red dress Patrick once said he liked.
What happens when a high-flying barrister faces the trial of her life
outside the courtroom?

Frequently Bought Together

Ophelia in Pieces + Law and Disorder: Confessions of a Pupil Barrister + Defending the Guilty: Truth and Lies in the Criminal Courtroom
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Short Books Ltd (1 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190759549X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907595493
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 938,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Shifting between the world of wig and gown in London s Inner Temple and fraught domesticity in Camberwell, Ophelia in Pieces is a book for every woman trying to juggle work and home life, worried that they are failing at both. But ultimately it is about the painful, character-building business of having to pick up the pieces when everything seems utterly broken.Barrister Clare Jacob s every detail rings true... But it is Ophelia herself who is at the heart of this involving, absorbing, sympathetic novel, and you ll be rooting for her on every page.--The Lady

This first novel is a sharp, witty commentary on the male-dominated world of the law, and juggling motherhood and a career.--The Times

A very well-written, thoughtful and moving debut. --Wendy Holden, Daily Mail

This one comes highly recommended.--Cornflower Books

Wigs, high heels and extensive briefs: The shocking truth about life as a female barrister.--Daily Mail

Ophelia Dormandy had me hooked from the first page... an interesting insight into the way the courts work and the life of a barrister...This is Clare Jacob's debut and I do hope that we'll be seeing more from her in the future. --Book Bag Blog

A rare treat in chick-lit fiction. --Edinburgh Evening News

Ophelia in Pieces is a good read… with plenty of glorious moments. --Guardian

About the Author

Clare Jacob was brought up in London and New York. She read English at Oxford and became a
barrister because she loved John Donne. After
years of defending clients accused variously of
bomb-making, hiding cocaine in coconuts and
stealing underpants, she decided to capture the lunacy and mystery of it all in a novel. She is married with three children.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almodovar meets Rumpole 18 Jun 2011
By Hekate
Witty and fast-paced this novel is reminiscent of Almodovar's "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown". It's hard not to feel sympathy for Ophelia who, after months of late nights in the office decides to make it up to her husband, only to discover it's too late. With lovingly flawed characters, a hilariously honest depiction of the legal profession and the backdrop of a very familiar London, this was my most enjoyable read for a while. The most refreshing thing though was Jacob's uniquely eloquent voice that has probably served her well in her life as a criminal barrister but will surely serve her even better in her new career as a writer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Devil is in the Detail 25 Jun 2011
The characters in this book spring from the pages, and in fact they do not seem to be fictional creations at all. This does not mean to say that they seem like portraits of real people, however, because that hardly ever translates into verisimilitude in the context of fiction. Although it is interesting to see the legal profession from the inside, this is only incidental to this novel's success; the purpose of fiction is to show us that any walk of life can be utterly fascinating when one is immersed in it, and cares about the people involved. That is the achievement here, because although what Miss Jacob is describing could be considered a typical experience of a middle class well-educated women in London of a certain age, she has successfully avoided these and all other cliches. For example, it is interesting how the break up of the marriage is not intentional on the part of anyone, and yet it happens very decisively, which is very poignant and very realistic, showing an essential fragility in human relations that is often overlooked. The author has a light touch, and that is her true gift. It allows the reader's imagination to seep into the crevices of the narrative. Ophelia is so eager to get to that glass of white wine in the evening: one feels this, one is not told. This book is not about the plot, but about the characterisation and that is what stays with you when the book is finished, and it is what keeps you interested to the end. This is a talent in the writer that can be applied to any story and that is what makes this such a promising first book. It is exciting to pick up on a story like this right from the beginning, and now the only question is what is she -- Miss Jacob -- going to do next.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laughter, tears and love in legal london 18 Jun 2011
This is a delightful read; beautifully written, fast-paced and genuinely touching. Ophelia is at a turning point in her career, marriage and her relationships with her husband and young son. Unlike ChloeS (review above)I thought the son, Alex, was really convincingly drawn - it is the fact that he is slightly strange and in some respects grown up for his age and in others young that is causing problems for him at school which adds to the pressures on Ophelia; and I have known a couple of kids like that. The touching scenes between Ophelia and Alex made me cry several times. I frequently laughed out loud at the horribly real picture of bringing up a child in a middle class world I feel I know. Jacob is terrific at the complex and ambivalent relationship that Ophelia has with Patrick, Alex's father; she is great at the space betwen people when they are in love, attracted to or wounded by others: this is really a great and rather grown-up love story. The characterisation is more than convincing: I felt I knew these people and cared about some of them really intensely by the time I had finished the book. Jacob, according to the blurb a successful barrister in real life, has produced some exciting and plausible courtroom scenes and the picture of legal London is terribly convincing from the varied clients (smooth and lecherous to genuinely menacing and devious) to the atmosphere in chambers, the manoevering between clients and their counsel and the realities behind the courtroom evidence. Although I can see this story being snapped up for a TV series or film - it really works on the page with sparkling dialogue and an author with a great eye for place and the ability to conjure up a scene with small but telling detail. I loved it and found myself unable to sleep until I had found out what happens when real dangers overtake the family.

One piffling carp - I picked up at least eight typos which suggests it needs careful proofreading before the next edition.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grab a Piece of this! 2 Jun 2011
By Chloe S "Chick Lit Chloe" TOP 500 REVIEWER
The book dives in straight away to the main problem of Ophelia finding out that her husband Patrick has been unfaithful and Ophelia dealing with the fall out of that by kicking him out straight away, something I expect most people would do in that situation. Immediately, you feel sympathetic towards Ophelia - while you know her job has taken her away from her family for a long time, it doesn't give her husband the right to cheat on her and so you feel so sorry for her, especially knowing her son is involved in the situation too. I did like the character of Ophelia a lot, she's a good protagonist for the book and Jacobs' writing really brings to life the emotional turmoil Ophelia goes through, right up until the last page.

One thing I did find strange was Jacobs' portrayal of Ophelia's 9 year old son. He seemed much older than this age in the book, saying things I know my 8 year old nephew would never come out with and although this is highlighted in the book with the boy being somewhat of an exception, it did seem strange and I felt perhaps Jacobs should have made the child character that much older to suit the character she was writing. Also, I felt Ophelia and her son had a strange relationship - again this is reflected in the storyline and what happens with the various relationships within but it was very odd to read, especially as a mother of a young child myself.

I was expecting a little more to happen in the book than did happen, especially given the title of the book. However, this didn't sully my enjoyment of it by any means. I felt it really picked up pace once the court case got going, something I actually loved in the book!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius
What a book. The story sadly starts with our heroine discovering her husbands having an affair, they part and she struggles with her emotions. Very realistic. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Kathryn Wadey
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice read but slightly annoyed by the several typos...
The book is a nice and enjoyable read without requiring the reader to give much thought to understand the plot. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Angeliki
5.0 out of 5 stars Immediately absorbing
It was fortunate I picked up this book on a day I was able to indulge myself as it was unputdownable. Read more
Published 21 months ago by B. C. Wright
5.0 out of 5 stars A really terrific read
This wonderful book is simply impossible to put down. It is gorgeously-written, with sympathetic and well-drawn characters, a geunine insight into the exciting and... Read more
Published on 22 Mar 2012 by JCC
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing
Loved this book for the "honest" feel to it. A story of a career woman, wife and mother trying to juggle all the balls at the same time and catching none!! Read more
Published on 22 Nov 2011 by Stephanie
5.0 out of 5 stars A glimpse behind the bar
Ophelia in Pieces is a deeply enjoyable read: the central character is sympathetic and complex; the characters who surround her are engaging and rounded and the plot is... Read more
Published on 29 July 2011 by Bolton West
4.0 out of 5 stars Ophelia in pieces
It is beautifully written without being 'beautifully written'; the prose does not show-off in a way that might get in the way of being in the story and there are no 'look at me'... Read more
Published on 2 July 2011 by Alison
4.0 out of 5 stars Great summer read
This is a lovely summer read, with a touch of wistful romance and wry insight into working life at the Bar as well as the Bailey. Read more
Published on 20 Jun 2011 by Gissing
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine social portrait of London's chattering class
Ophelia in PiecesA finely drawn portrait of educated slightly selfish Londoners navigating the muddle they create in their lives. Read more
Published on 12 Jun 2011 by Alexandra
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