Saturday, October 23, 2010

A DESIRABLE RESIDENCE: REVIEW AND BONUS ENTRIES

GIVEAWAY ENDED
A DESIRABLE RESIDENCE
BY MADELEINE WICKHAM

ABOUT THE AUDIO BOOK:
From the author of the sensational bestselling Sophie Kinsella novels and the New York Times bestsellers The Wedding Girl and Sleeping Arrangements, comes a wicked comedy of adultery, angst, and modern marriage.

MY REVIEW:
Madeleine Wickham’s A DESIRABLE RESIDENCE Audio Book was not the book I had expected. Having read several of the Sophie Kinsella (Madeleine Wickham) books, I was prepared for a little more chick-lit lightness. Instead, I found A DESIRABLE RESIDENCE composed of well-crafted character studies intertwined to create a sharp witted tale set in suburban London. With the characters all connected in some way, it made for an interesting, but also challenging story to follow at times. Here is where the audio book made the story so much more enjoyable! Kate Kellgren seems the ideal reader as she bring the characters to life  and makes it easy to distinguish one from another with her range of voices and wonderful timing. With the story told through the main characters' points of view, the switching from one to the other is not only easy to follow, but also enjoyable to listen to because of the superb writing of Madeleine Wickham and the entertaining reading of Kate Kellgren.

One very important “character” comes from the title itself and is basically what the story revolves around. This is the “desirable residence in Silchester”, once the home of Liz and Jonathan Chambers. The Chambers, meanwhile, have invested in the once prestigious Silchester Tutorial College. Hoping to bring the school back to its former glory, Liz and Jonathan move in to live above the college itself but things don’t go as they planned. They certainly aren’t planned the way their fourteen-year-old daughter, Alice, thinks they should be. Her best friend has moved away, she hates the shabby place they now live in, and misses her old home. 

The Chambers’ residence doesn’t sell and so they are now stuck with two mortgages and so many debts that things are getting quite serious. Their desperate situation leads self-centered Liz Chambers to their realtor to find out why their property hasn’t been sold. The gentleman is trying to explain about the down market, but Liz loses it when reducing the price is recommended again. She is, however, rescued as it may seem, by the head real estate mogul himself, one Marcus Witherstone, who suggests that rather than selling, they might rent to cover the mortgage for a while. He promises to not only speak to the bank for her but also has a renter in mind. Thus, the knight in shining armor, Marcus, comes to the aide of fair maiden Liz, who by now is quite taken by him.

Marcus, was really only doing this to show up his partner who was trying to work with Liz, but Marcus does at least follow through by bringing in some tenants further rising in the esteem, and the romantic appraisal, of Liz Chambers. With Marcus Witherspoon and his wife, Anthea, whose lot in life is to see that her young sons get into only the best schools, the cast widens and the plot, as they say, thickens. Anthea runs the family pretty much with her attitude and her fits of temper, which tend to create a husband who distances himself and finds amusement elsewhere. It also makes their two sons none too happy especially when Anthea realizes that the eldest just MUST win a prestigious scholarship, even though they have no need of it financially. Anthea bonds with Jonathan Chambers when she realizes he has connections with the headmaster of the school giving the scholarship, and also that he can tutor her son to help get him admitted. Jonathan becomes quite revered by Marcus's wife.

Last but not least are the tenants that Marcus brings in to round out the main cast. Ginny and Piers Prentice move into the rental and make it over only further depressing Alice who continues to go by the house out of loneliness. She does, however strangely, begin a surprising friendship with Ginny and is at first welcomed to their home quite often. With this comes Alice‘s crush on Piers, and Ginny‘s confidante about her marriage. You see, Piers is an actor and is up for a major role in a soap opera, one that Ginny really hopes he gets as she is tired of being the bread winner and would love to start a family. If this job comes through their lives will change forever.

The lives of these characters and the story itself comes to a surprising finale that Madeleine  Wickham creates with such clever nuances and insinuation, that the reader is really left with an ending that one can draw many conclusions about. This would make a fine and fun book to talk about with a book club. Great fun, sharp wit, an enjoyable time, and all at A DESIRABLE RESIDENCE!


SEE ABOUT THE BOOK AND AUTHOR IN FIRST POST HERE FOR MORE ENTRIES!


GIVEAWAY
THANKS TO STEPHANIE AND THE GOOD
FOLKS AT MACMILLAN AUDIO BOOKS,
I HAVE THREE COPIES OF THIS AUDIO
BOOK TO GIVE AWAY!


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45 comments:

debbie said...

I liked your review. It is good that it flows smoothly from each character. The characters sound really self-absorbed, and not always very nice.
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debbie said...

I am a email subscriber.
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debbie said...

I am a gfc follower.
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Colleen Turner said...

I thought your review was great! I appreciated you stating that this book is a little less light chic lit then her previous novels, as I would not have known that otherwise (I would have assumed this was like the others). Thanks for the clarification!
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Colleen Turner said...

I follow you via GFC (Colleen Turner).
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Colleen Turner said...

I am an email subscriber.
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Colleen Turner said...

I am a Facebook friend (Colleen Turner).
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Colleen Turner said...

I signed up for Swagbucks through your blog.
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Colleen Turner said...

I am going after this to swagbucks to try to earn some points! I will atleast get my 1 swagbuck for checking for surveys and 1 swagbuck for doing the daily survey!
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Colleen Turner said...

I am a Networked Blogs follower (Colleen Turner).
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bermudaonion said...

I'm interested in this book because of the great character development you described. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

bermudaonion said...

I subscribe in Google Reader. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

Anonymous said...

It was a little long but who cares. Sometimes it just turns out to be long. When I write reviews for Good Reads or Library Thing, they end up all lengths. I think maybe because the story was not what you expected it threw you a little. That's OK! I would have thought it would be chick lit too with the name and the picture. Now this copmment turned out long!

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Anonymous said...

+ 5 SWAG


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Anonymous said...

I am an e-mail subscriber.

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Anonymous said...

I follow this blog with GFC.

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Anonymous said...

I also follow via Facebook.

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Anonymous said...

I also follow via Facebook.

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Anonymous said...

I follow your blog with Twitter. My Twitter name is Carolee888.


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Anonymous said...

No, I joined Swagbuck prior to when you put it on the blog.

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Anonymous said...

I won 12 Swagbucks today which is about average but it adds up!

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holdenj said...

I find the Madeline vs. Sophie books to be very different. I would love to give A Desirable Residence a try!
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holdenj said...

I am a GFC follower.
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holdenj said...

I subscribe via RSS feed.
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PoCoKat said...

I follow on GFC

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PoCoKat said...

Sounds like a good, witty listen!

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Anonymous said...

Looked at Sophie's site and decided that I would like to try to two books about secrets. People are are always telling me secrets, don't know why.

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Steve Capell said...

I am glad to hear that you welcome both positive and negative responses. You can’t say the same for some news organizations i.e. NPR firing of Juan Williams for stating how he felt. I really don’t have anything negative to comment about “A Desirable Residence.” As for something positive … I agree with that some books are better in audio than paper … especially those books that seem complicated and hard to follow. With the real-estate market in shambles this one may hit home for many readers. Thanks for the opportunity.

steven(dot)capell(at)gmail(dot)com

Linda Kish said...

I liked your review. I like that she varies her voice for the different characters so it is easier to keep them separate.


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Linda Kish said...

I am a GFC follower

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Laura H. said...

I'll have to beg to differ on the reader. I really didn't enjoy her read. See my earlier comment.

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Laura H. said...

GFC follower.

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Laura H. said...

E-mail subscriber.

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Laura H. said...

Follow via Networked Blogs.

Laura H. said...

FB friend.

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Laura H. said...

Twitter follower.

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hendy said...

What a great, informative review. I like that this book may be different from some of her others. Now this is where the audio book becomes advantageous-with so many different characters it's hard to distinguish who's talking with you're reading it but if you have someone reading it whose voice inflections can change with each character it can be easier to follow.
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hendy said...

Follow via GFC
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Subscribe via email
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hendy said...

Follow on Twitter @HendyMartin
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hendy said...

Subscribe to feed via google reader
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Teresa said...

I would love to try this kind of book on audio!

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Teresa said...

I am a GFC follower.

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Booksnyc said...

I like how thoroughly you reviewed the book! And thanks for commenting on the narration-it is so key to how much I like or dislike an audiobook.

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Booksnyc said...

I follow via google friend connect

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