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Shortlisted for the 2013 Costa Novel Award Cecilia Banks has a great deal on her plate. But when her son Ian turns up on her doostep with the unexpected consequence of a brief fling, she feels she has no choice but to take the baby into her life. Cephas's arrival is the latest of many challenges Cecilia has to face. There is the matter of her cancer, for a start, an illness shared with her novelist friend Helen. Then there is Helen herself, whose observations of Cecilia's family life reveal a somewhat ambivalent attitude to motherhood. Meanwhile Tim, Cecilia's husband, is taking self-effacement to extremes, and Ian, unless he gets on with it, will throw away his best chance at happiness. Cecilia, however, does not have to manage alone. In a convent in Hastings sits Sister Diana Clegg who holds the ties that bind everyone not only to each other, but to strangers as yet unmet. As events unfold and as the truth about Cephas is revealed, we are invited to look closely at madness, guilt, mortal dread and the gift of resilience. No one will remain unchanged. 'Frank, courageous and entertaining. I felt better for reading it' Margaret Drabble
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The great-granddaughter of the poet Alice Meynell, Bernardine Bishop was the youngest witness in the Lady Chatterley trial in 1960. After writing two early novels, she taught in a London comprehensive school for ten years and then had a distinguished career as a psychotherapist, during which she brought up her two sons. Cancer forced her retirement in 2010 and she returned to her first love, fiction. Bernardine Bishop lived in London with her husband, until her death in July 2013.Review:
A tender and acerbically witty tale of two women who survive cancer and become friends * Sunday Mirror * Exquisite, funny and sad * TLS * This . . . novel, written in illness, is full of vitality and happiness - a sort of miracle -- Margaret Drabble * Guardian Blog * Considered and reflective, humorous and entertaing, this is a surprising and moving novel * Good Book Guide * Full of humour, kindness and gentle irony, this is a richly satisfying read * Sunday Mirror * 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 * Bishop wanders rich fictional ground * Times Literary Supplement * Effortlessly graceful writing * Sunday Times * '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 * 'This is a vibrant and even welcoming novel . . . it offers such a rich range of pleasures' * Observer * '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 * '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, 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 * '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 * 'A charming, playful novel' * Red * 'A refreshingly candid, unexpectedly witty and ultimately moving tale' * Candis, Jan 2013 * 'A remarkable, immensely readable and warm-hearted book' * Sunday Express * 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 *
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Book Description John Murray, 2013. Hardcover. Condition: New. In stock ready to dispatch from the UK. Seller Inventory # mon0000115621