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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Absorbing and Poignant, but Ultimately Hopeful Tale
Rose Tremain's second novel 'Letter to Sister Benedicta' is an absorbing story, first person narrated by the story's main protagonist, Ruby Constad. Ruby, as she describes herself, is fat and fifty, educated only to be a wife and mother, and now that her husband is critically ill in hospital and her children have left home, she wonders what her place in life will now...
Published on 28 Jan. 2012 by Susie B

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2.0 out of 5 stars but this is a book with a rather dull and unsympathetic main character and the whole thing seems ...
Rose Tremain is obviously a very well-respected and literary writer, but this is a book with a rather dull and unsympathetic main character and
the whole thing seems particularly dated in 'feel' these days. The incest is unpleasant and the main character doesn't seem to bat much of an eyelid when she finds out that her son and daughter are lovers. Wouldn't...
Published 1 month ago by Lily Trelispen


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Absorbing and Poignant, but Ultimately Hopeful Tale, 28 Jan. 2012
By 
Susie B - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Letter To Sister Benedicta (Paperback)
Rose Tremain's second novel 'Letter to Sister Benedicta' is an absorbing story, first person narrated by the story's main protagonist, Ruby Constad. Ruby, as she describes herself, is fat and fifty, educated only to be a wife and mother, and now that her husband is critically ill in hospital and her children have left home, she wonders what her place in life will now be.

Leon, Ruby's husband, lies in a nursing home after a massive stroke that has left him paralysed, and poor Ruby now spends her days preparing for, attending, and recovering from her daily visits to Leon's bedside. In her distress Ruby appeals for help by writing letters, that will never be sent, to Sister Benedicta, a nun who taught Ruby when she was at school in India; and, by writing these letters Ruby describes to the reader, the events that led up to Leon's stroke, whilst she tries to make sense of her own life.

There is no getting away from the fact that this is a sad tale, but it is an absorbing one, covering love, the death of love, old age, lesbianism, incest, deception, infidelity, life and death - quite a wide range for a novel of only 175 pages, but Rose Tremain tackles these themes and she does it excellently. And the wonderful thing is that, although one would think this story would be depressing, it isn't. And this is because Ruby, beneath her diffident appearance, is actually a strong and generous character who does not wallow in self-pity and, despite her difficulties, she actually gets through by using not just her common sense, but also her sense of humour. By the end of the novel we see that she has taken control of her life in a way that many, in a similar situation, would find daunting. Rose Tremain is such a versatile writer with an original talent and, although I have enjoyed some of her novels more than others, I can honestly say that she never really disappoints.

4 Stars.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outspoken prayers, 27 Nov. 2010
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Morag - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Letter To Sister Benedicta (Paperback)
Loved this book, another Rose Tremain triumph. I have a very odd relationship with Rose Tremain's work, I don't like all of her books, and I have read many. I think this is part of her magic is that she is not formulaic and there may be others like me who prefer what I do not.
Great writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What it says, 22 Feb. 2014
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Carol Clark (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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Title describes the book well. Ruby is an insipid, downtrodden character for many reasons and uses the format of writings letters she will never send to explore things that happen to her and her own feelings about them. I enjoyed it in a quiet, unassuming sort of way but the majority view in our reading group was of irritation with the main character!
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2.0 out of 5 stars but this is a book with a rather dull and unsympathetic main character and the whole thing seems ..., 23 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Letter To Sister Benedicta (Paperback)
Rose Tremain is obviously a very well-respected and literary writer, but this is a book with a rather dull and unsympathetic main character and
the whole thing seems particularly dated in 'feel' these days. The incest is unpleasant and the main character doesn't seem to bat much of an eyelid when she finds out that her son and daughter are lovers. Wouldn't recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Rose Tremain's best, 1 Nov. 2014
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Not one of her best. I had to put it down and come back to it,it wasn't compelling.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Letter to Sister Benedicta, 3 Dec. 2010
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This review is from: Letter To Sister Benedicta (Paperback)
Another completely different book by Rose Tremain, that is what I love about her, she always manages to write a page turner novel that is thought provoking too. I would have liked the book to be slightly longer but even so could relate to the characters and dilemmas in suffering a stroke and caring for someone close.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Book Club read, 9 Jun. 2014
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I didn't like the book found it to be quite uninteresting and not worth the time it took me to read it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Letter to Sister Benedicta, 19 May 2014
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This was a moving, honest insight into a woman's thoughts and memories, dealing pragmatically with the shocks, disappointments and betrayals throughout her life as written to her former convent teacher, Sister benedicta. Written in true Tremain style - elegant prose, very human characters, and somehow at the end, the triumph of love and hope.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rose Tremain at her best, 12 April 2014
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Product as described. Promptly downloaded. Excellent Rose Tremain. Subtle writing, intriguing plot. Instantly engaged. Recommended for all Rose Tremain fans. One of her best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, 1 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Letter To Sister Benedicta (Paperback)
An intelligent, poignant and moving book. I warmed to the main character, liked the diary format and the thoughtful way the book was written.
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Letter To Sister Benedicta
Letter To Sister Benedicta by Rose Tremain (Paperback - 2 Sept. 1999)
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