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Wife in the North [Paperback]

Judith O'Reilly
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

3 July 2008

How far would you go to be the perfect mother? The hilarious Wife in the North by Judith O'Reilly, based on her enormously popular blog, recounts one woman's attempt to move her family and her life from cosmopolitan London to rural Northumberland.

Maybe hormones ate her brain. How else did Judith's husband persuade her to give up her career and move from her beloved London to Northumberland with two toddlers in tow?

Pregnant with number 3 Judith is about to discover that there are one or two things about life in the country that no one told her about: that she'd be making friends with people who believed in the four horsemen of the apocalypse; that running out of petrol could be a near death experience and that the closest thing to an ethnic minority would be a redhead.

Judith tries to do that simple thing that women do, make hers a happy family. A family that might live happily ever after. Possibly even up North ...

'Genuinely funny and genuinely moving' Jane Fallon, author of Getting Rid of Matthew

'Cold Comfort Farm with booster seats. Funny, honest and moving' Stephanie Calman, author of Confessions of a Bad Mother

'I howled with laughter, tears of recognition at every page' Jenny Colgan

'Funny, poignant and beautifully written' Lisa Jewell

Judith O'Reilly, a journalist and the mother of three young children, was persuaded to move from London to Northumberland by her husband in August 2005. She started a blog, wifeinthenorth.com, in November 2006, which quickly picked up fans around the world with its witty tales of family and country life. Her second book A Year of Doing Good is published by Penguin.

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Wife in the North + A Year of Doing Good: One Woman, One New Year's Resolution, 365 Good Deeds + Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 1st Paperback Edition edition (3 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141033436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141033433
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 307,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


I howled with laughter, tears of recognition at every bloody page. My only problem with this book was choosing who to pass it on to first. (Jenny Colgan, Author Of Amanda's Wedding )

About the Author

Judith O'Reilly, a journalist and the mother of three young children, was persuaded to move from London to Northumberland by her husband in August 2005. She started a blog, wifeinthenorth.com, in November 2006, which quickly picked up fans around the world with its witty tales of family and country life

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars beautifully written 11 Aug 2008
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a blogger myself I was really interested to see what happens to a blogger who gets propelled to the literary stratosphere. I had read some of the blog but not all, and was not really sure what to expect from the book.

It was beautifully written and very poignant. Judith agrees to her husband's life long dream to life in Northumberland and uproots her existence to live in total chaos with two small boys, whilst also being heavily pregnant. The house is not ready. It is too small. It takes months for planning permission to be granted and the money keeps running out. Her husband, the man who wanted to live there in the first place, comes home for the weekend once every three weeks and spends most of the rest of the time in London, which is where she wants to be but isn't. She catalogues her woes in this blog/book.

People have criticised the book and the woman for being petulant and selfish. I disagree. She is writing about what is true for her. I feel that if I were in her shoes, I too would be rather depressed and find it very hard to find a silver lining. Living on what is a building site, out of boxes with three small children, one a newborn who is waking most nights is not easy, not easy at all. I applaud her for having stuck it out and not run off screaming into the distance.

My only beef is that this book is being marketed as a 'hilarious' read. It isn't. It is funny, in places, and indeed has some laugh out loud moments, but it is also tragic, poignant and heartfelt. It tells the truth of someone's chaotic life, their highs and lows and at times I felt that I could weep with empathy. Don't be fooled by the cover. It is not a jolly read. It's much more than that.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wish I hadn't bought this book 14 Feb 2009
If you like "humour" borne out of moaning then this is the book for you. Unfortunately I don't and struggled half way through and then gave up. Escapism this is not.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sooo boring 26 Oct 2009
Where's the humour? The laughing tears of recognition promised on the cover still haven't been found. I didn't know the author wrote a blog before I read some of the reviews on this page (which I should have perused before). So now I better understand the way it is written with very short episodes. I do not like it better though. I find it annoying and I don't like the constant whinning, I do not like this way the writer doesn't give a name to the characters. I find them hard to identify in the end (as if they were not sufficiently devoided of any interest). I had a lot of difficulties to read the first 100 pages and I think my trip will end here.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Try Norway if you think Northumberland's cold 18 Jan 2009
My Dad bought me this, clearly spotting a connection between Judith O'Reilly's situation and mine. We moved to Norway two years ago, two children and eleven animals in tow and took on a small farm where the only accommodation was a tiny one bedroom cabin, proceeding to build a house, learn the language and wonder why Norwegians don't have proper sausages.

O' Reilly's book is based on the blog of her move to Northumberland, with two toddlers and one on the way. Emotional tension is created by the fact that it is Mr O'Reilly that wants the relocation, but Mrs O'Reilly who ends up spending most of her time in their new home. She is lonely, misses her friends, suffers the stresses of being alone with small children and having building work done and finds it hard to adapt from city dwelling to her new rural lifestyle.

Whether you like this book or not will depend very largely on whether you identify with O'Reilly and her experiences. She writes amusingly and well, but the content is, naturally, a bit limited. There are the "lego in the soup" bits, the "heyoop tha's a city lass" anecdotes and "how did we get ourselves into this mess" breast beating as various domestic crises strike. If you've been there, as I have, it's addictive, if you haven't you might find it slightly pointless.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing chick lit 31 Dec 2008
By altjo
I read this after reading an extract in the Times and was really disappointed. The extracts gave a good idea of what to expect - chatty, funny writing, but the book as a whole is too long. There is a limit to how long you can read this type of writing and I got to the limit within 100 pages.
There were some good bits which were well described (eg the sweep before birth), but on the whole the tone and content were tiring - yes, London and the North are different, but she made the point far too many times.
Overall: amusing in places, but overlong and repetitive.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars tricky one, this....... 15 Sep 2008
By kermit 333 VINE VOICE
gosh this book stumped me - at first I was all set to give it one star because of the womans incessant moaning and whinging on how wonderful London is blah blah blah wish she was back there yadda yadda yadda and this went on for the entire book! I pushed myself to finish it as I wanted to know if the family ever returned to London...... and yes WHY was it her husband's job to fill up the car when he's in London????? Does she never check her fuel herself....? And the fact that she was extremely well off - most of us normals wouldn't have the money to do what she and her husband did.... buy two cottages and knock them into one have the builders in for months rent a house to live in meanwhilst and then at the end of it all install the Londoners dream of the AGA (mega bucks) and clawfooted bath (ditto) I certainly didn't find it funny despite what it said on the front cover!

And yet, and yet, she writes like a dream come true in some of her ruminations, particularly her observations of nature. And near the end of the book I was absolutely slain by her stark account of family tragedy - the suffering was there in every word. So I guess you pays your money and takes your choice - I see other reviewers liked it...... takes all sorts!!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars this awakened a nostalgic longing for the Northumberland of my...
I enjoyed the description of the rugged beauty of Northumberland and empathised with the feeling of loneliness and isolation, having myself moved from a loved place to answer a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Gill
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
I loved this book! I chose it because I had recently returned from a week in Northumberland (a beautiful county, which I too, fell in love with) and I thought it would be... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Lucy Locket
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Still in the middle of read the book very good once I was into the book Thank you
A***** First Class
Published 9 months ago by Carol Phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for women readers!
All married women will identify with some of the sentiments in this book and therefore laugh and cry with the author. Very honest admission of human emotions.
Published 11 months ago by S C Lindsey
4.0 out of 5 stars Really Good Read!
What a good read! I bought this book after hearing about it from a friend & I'm so glad I did.

It was a giggle in places, not completely hilarious as the cover suggests,... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Mel Barber
3.0 out of 5 stars nice
It's not hilarious, there are some witty scenes and descriptions, situations, but I kind of expected more. It+s not a bad novel, but it could be better, too.
Published 15 months ago by dasa sagmeister
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtakingly beautiful
A wonderful tour of Northumberland - its charming and ruddy people, its interesting and packed history, its delightful culture and norms and its breathtakingly beautiful landscape... Read more
Published 18 months ago by All Joy
4.0 out of 5 stars wrongly marketed!
I bought this book as a 'light read' and for a bit of a laugh during my holiday - something I wouldn't normally read! Read more
Published 23 months ago by pink lady
3.0 out of 5 stars Good writing but poor marketing and proofreading
This is a well written book. It's poignant and thoughtful. However it is not a hilarious tale of rural living, it's the author's soul-searching reflections as she totters on the... Read more
Published on 30 Jan 2012 by GarnetLiz
5.0 out of 5 stars funny and touching, a "one sittiing" read
I read this great book at one sitting and it made me laugh and cry. If you have ever had a child, watched as your parents become old,had a bad back or moved house because your... Read more
Published on 27 Jan 2012 by Elle
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