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All the Hopeful Lovers Paperback – 26 May 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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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 x 2.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 103,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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

'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. (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. (Daily Telegraph)

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 the Hardcover edition.

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover 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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Format: Hardcover 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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Format: Hardcover
"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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Format: Paperback
Enjoyable and emotionally satisfying, All The Hopeful Lovers is a set of variations on an age-old theme. A large cast of inter-connected characters struggle with their emotional lives and find themselves caught between twin poles of idealism and compromise.

Young, old and middle-aged, they weave in and out of each other's lives, some impeded by selfishness, others by honesty; some gifted with good-looks, others with sensitivity, some borne aloft on confidence, others crippled by self-consciousness, all in search of love.

It's a challenging narrative structure - so many plot-lines, so many different solutions to the same essential problems. What carries the novel forward is the acute observation of human nature and the authenticity of the characters. These feel like real people, their weaknesses and strengths are familiar to us all.

Nicholson is always looking for the truth about the individual under the chaos of impulse and he finds that truth in the small details. As one of his characters, an elderly artist whose portraits have long ceased to be fashionable, observes, "You paint what you see and what you feel. I can see you but I can't feel what you feel, I can only feel what I feel. So I latch on to the little clues I get from your face that take me to my own feelings."
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Format: Hardcover
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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