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Unexpected Lessons in Love

Unexpected Lessons in Love [Kindle Edition]

Bernardine Bishop
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Product Description


'This is one of the most enjoyable books I've read in years. I found it completely gripping. The carefully but unobtrusively structured plot (involving adoption, DNA and paternity) is domestic but with a wide reach; it is played out against a backdrop of world events. On reflection, I have never before read a book which confronts a serious and almost unmentionable illness with such lightness of touch. It's happy and it's cheering, with a beautiful warmth to it, achieved without a moment of sentimentality. I loved it' (Margaret Drabble)

'A remarkable, immensely readable and warm-hearted book' (Sunday Express)

'A refreshingly candid, unexpectedly witty and ultimately moving tale' (Candis, Jan 2013)

'A charming, playful novel' (Red)

'Bishop treats a fearful subject with an extraordinary lightness of touch; her humour and her emotional wisdom make this a delightful and humane novel' (The Times)

This novel, wise, sharp and startlingly frank, distils a lifetime of reflection on the rules of attraction, affection - and family life. From confused youth to the ordeals and confusions of old age, her wry insights delight' (Independent)

'A wonderful novel, one of those rare books which leaves the reader with a deeper understanding of the human heart . . . This is an author of exceptional intelligence, subtlety and warmth. Expect to hear the name Bernardine Bishop when the lists for the Costa and Man Booker prizes are compiled later this year' (Spectator)

'This novel should appeal to Joanna Trollope fans . . . Bishop is a fine, intelligent writer, capable of handling moral and philosophical themes with a light touch' (Sunday Telegraph)

'This is a vibrant and even welcoming novel . . . it offers such a rich range of pleasures' (Observer)

'This is the sort of story which grabs you, pulls you in and won't let you go - but in a very gentle way. The characters are superb. It's wise and it's witty. It's sublimely well-written, not with flowery literary devices but in the sort of prose that leaves you surprised when you realise that you've read a hundred pages and you've no intention of giving up just yet. On a cold winter's day I was left with a warm glow when I finished reading' (Bookbag)

Effortlessly graceful writing (Sunday Times)

Bishop wanders rich fictional ground (Times Literary Supplement)

It's impossible to recommend the late Bernardine Bishop's wondrous book too highly . . . You will not be so afraid of cancer after reading this book (Guardian 2013-07-27)

Full of humour, kindness and gentle irony, this is a richly satisfying read (Sunday Mirror)

Considered and reflective, humorous and entertaing, this is a surprising and moving novel (Good Book Guide)

This . . . novel, written in illness, is full of vitality and happiness - a sort of miracle (Margaret Drabble Guardian Blog 2013-11-29)

Exquisite, funny and sad (TLS)

A tender and acerbically witty tale of two women who survive cancer and become friends (Sunday Mirror)

Book Description

With the wit of Marina Lewycka, the piercing observation of Jane Gardam, and the bittersweet charm of Mary Wesley, this will appeal to all who love Penelope Fitzgerald or the Potato Peel Pie Society.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 537 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre (17 Jan 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008VGWI6Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #28,506 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Surprisingly Entertaining and Satisfying Read 17 Feb 2013
Cecilia Banks, recently retired from her profession as a psychotherapist due to ill health, receives a rather large surprise when her forty-year-old son, Ian, a foreign correspondent, telephones her to inform her that she is a grandmother. Cecilia is shocked; she hadn't even known Ian's girlfriend was pregnant and she is even more shocked when Ian tells her that the baby is the result of a fling he had with a rather beautiful, but unstable woman, who has now disappeared and left his son, Cephas, with him. As Ian expected, Cecilia rises to the occasion and, once she lays eyes on Cephas, she bonds with him immediately and agrees to take him into her home and into her life; but Cecilia's life is rather complicated at the moment. For one thing, Cecilia is recovering from cancer; and then there is her husband and Ian's stepfather, Tim, who seems to be withdrawing from her as he fills his life with his work and his tennis. Added to this, there is her friend Helen, a writer, who shares Cecilia's illness, but isn't coping quite as well as Cecilia appears to be doing; and what's more, Helen has a secret from her past which she reveals to Cecilia, which gives Cecilia even more to think about. And then Ian receives a very unpleasant shock, which could have far reaching consequences - not just for him, but for Cecilia and Cephas, also.

This is a warm, absorbing, intelligent and entertaining novel which looks at morality and at those things that are really important in life: love, loyalty, family, friendship and, importantly, our health. What is really surprising is the way the author confronts a serious and life-threatening illness in such a straightforward and, in some places, humorous fashion and without becoming overly sentimental.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous - highly recommended 17 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Combined with writing a really great and interesting story the book touches on difficult topic in a light and funny way.. I really enjoyed and have now bought for 3 friends one of whom has a stoma and she says it helps to know and understand what others go through and she is not alone.. found it hard to put down
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A completely wonderful read 21 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Bernadine Bishop, a beautiful woman, has written a lovely, warm, moving and funny novel where the characters and their personalities are even more interesting than the entertaining plot. I seem to remember that Bernadine Bishop is a psychotherapist and if she is then she is certainly the one I would like to consult if I needed therapy! I feel the book cover does the book a disservice by making it look like chick-lit which it is not. The main character is a woman in her 60s struggling with living with a colostomy and I am tempted to call it sick-lit but it was such a heartwarming read that would also be unfair.
I would urge anyone looking for a book that's hard to put down and which continually surprises with its understanding of human nature to get this book! Especiaslly in the Kindle version!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected Lessons in Love 11 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It was a fascinating story, elegantly written and attention holidng from the first page to the last.. It left many questions unanswered, but perhaps that was part of it interest. I shall certainly reread it in the near future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lesson in truth 3 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As someone who knew Bernardine, I cannot be completely unbiased. Bernardine was a psychotherapist first. The book is a testament to her search for truth. Lovely.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful. 23 Jun 2013
By Emma
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a beautifully written book. Once the first page was started I had to finish it. It's heart warming, honest, thought provoking and beautiful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read 12 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Enjoyed this book, well written and deals with love, families, coming to terms with cancer, growing old, mortality. Heavy stuff usually but she writes so well its a good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As I had experienced life for 9 months with a stoma, my interest in this tale was high. I identfiied with lots of the feelings experienced by the writer and wished that I had a "buddy" to share thoughts with during that distressing time of my life. The story was fascinating with its twists and turns.

The fear of this dreadful disease is omnipresent but Cecilia's doggedness in trying to live a "normal" life is impressive, so is her husband's unfailing support.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars If this is "women's fiction", I'm proud to be a woman
Women's fiction is often dismissed in literary circles as being concerned with the domestic, implying a narrowness not only of women's lives, but of their outlook. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Lucy Corkhill
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Two stars instead of one because I did finish the book. But I agree with the criticisms voiced by other reviewers: it's not well written, the characters are simply not convincing,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by User201202
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A good read but rather petered out at the end.
Published 3 months ago by mrs s james
4.0 out of 5 stars Love comes in many forms and at different times
Bishop wrote two novels in her early 20s but did not return to her first love fiction until 50 years later, after a career as a teacher and a psychotherapist, during which she... Read more
Published 3 months ago by R. Darlington
4.0 out of 5 stars My kind of book
I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to my friends. It felt real and I had an empathy with the characters. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Gillike
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good characterisation - but the ending was a bit of a let-down. I would have liked more.
Published 3 months ago by jenny pery
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent about time of life and philosophical questions without...
Characters well drawn and I recognise life's difficulties and strengths I see and understand or worry about with small but identifiable strands that interweave throughout the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Josie teasdale
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading
This is a book I did manage to finish - brings understanding to several difficult issues
Published 5 months ago by wise owl
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Surprisingly refreshing. Worth reading
Published 5 months ago by BCH13
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved, loved
Loved, loved, loved this book. A sensitive novel, dealing with stuff that isn't usually the subject of literary fiction, ie. Read more
Published 5 months ago by annie6724
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