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From the author of the #1 bestsellers, The French House, The Half-Life of Hannah and The Case of The Missing Boyfriend, Alexander’s new novel, The Photographer's Wife is an epic tale set in two eras, a tale of the secrets one generation has, rightly or wrongly, chosen to hide from the next. Barbara – a child of the Blitz – has more secrets than she cares to admit. She has p From the author of the #1 bestsellers, The French House, The Half-Life of Hannah and The Case of The Missing Boyfriend, Alexander’s new novel, The Photographer's Wife is an epic tale set in two eras, a tale of the secrets one generation has, rightly or wrongly, chosen to hide from the next. Barbara – a child of the Blitz – has more secrets than she cares to admit. She has protected her children from many of the harsh realities of life and told them little of the poverty of her childhood, nor of the darker side of her marriage to one of Britain's most famous photographers. With such an incomplete picture of the past, her youngest, Sophie, has struggled to understand who her parents really are, and in turn, Barbara sometimes worries, to build her own identity. When Sophie, decides to organise a vast retrospective exhibition of her adored father's work, old photos are pulled from dusty boxes. But with them tumble stories from the past, stories and secrets that will challenge every aspect of how Sophie sees her parents.


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From the author of the #1 bestsellers, The French House, The Half-Life of Hannah and The Case of The Missing Boyfriend, Alexander’s new novel, The Photographer's Wife is an epic tale set in two eras, a tale of the secrets one generation has, rightly or wrongly, chosen to hide from the next. Barbara – a child of the Blitz – has more secrets than she cares to admit. She has p From the author of the #1 bestsellers, The French House, The Half-Life of Hannah and The Case of The Missing Boyfriend, Alexander’s new novel, The Photographer's Wife is an epic tale set in two eras, a tale of the secrets one generation has, rightly or wrongly, chosen to hide from the next. Barbara – a child of the Blitz – has more secrets than she cares to admit. She has protected her children from many of the harsh realities of life and told them little of the poverty of her childhood, nor of the darker side of her marriage to one of Britain's most famous photographers. With such an incomplete picture of the past, her youngest, Sophie, has struggled to understand who her parents really are, and in turn, Barbara sometimes worries, to build her own identity. When Sophie, decides to organise a vast retrospective exhibition of her adored father's work, old photos are pulled from dusty boxes. But with them tumble stories from the past, stories and secrets that will challenge every aspect of how Sophie sees her parents.

30 review for The Photographer's Wife

  1. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I really cannot find one negative thing to say about this book. I've been a fan of Nick Alexander's writing for quite some time now, and have read almost all his published works. Some I have enjoyed more than others, but I would definitely say I am a fan. This however is, to me, the best piece of writing Nick has done so far. There is a real maturity in the feel of the book. But it's not heavy in any way; it flows so well that I was in real danger of staying up all night to attempt to finish it in I really cannot find one negative thing to say about this book. I've been a fan of Nick Alexander's writing for quite some time now, and have read almost all his published works. Some I have enjoyed more than others, but I would definitely say I am a fan. This however is, to me, the best piece of writing Nick has done so far. There is a real maturity in the feel of the book. But it's not heavy in any way; it flows so well that I was in real danger of staying up all night to attempt to finish it in one go. The format tells the story in two separate eras, and gradually you begin to work out the connections as the tension builds. It's clearly done so there is never any confusion about where you are, which I appreciated as I am not much for muddying the literary waters unnecessarily. There were points where I smiled, or laughed out loud, and there were other chapters where the tears fell as I anguished with a character over what was unfolding. I hate spoilers so I'm not going to spend ages telling you about a book I think you should be reading! On the basis of this book Nick deserves to be one heck of a lot better known than he is. I recommend you buy it - and then tell all your friends.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    This really is not a good book. It's a deeply mediocre book at best and I would have given it three stars however the regular inclusion of lazy and irrelevant cliches, and an eye wateringly clumsy metaphor of the protagonist comparing her life to a lasagna enforced me to cut a star. The final few chapters were just terrible; the sudden inclusion of a major character trait which I assume was meant to ramp up the drama of it all and yet just made the person even more unbelievable, and the completel This really is not a good book. It's a deeply mediocre book at best and I would have given it three stars however the regular inclusion of lazy and irrelevant cliches, and an eye wateringly clumsy metaphor of the protagonist comparing her life to a lasagna enforced me to cut a star. The final few chapters were just terrible; the sudden inclusion of a major character trait which I assume was meant to ramp up the drama of it all and yet just made the person even more unbelievable, and the completely pointless spelling out of exactly what happened in Wales just left me cringing. Did the author really not think that we had worked out what had happened at about half way through his novel? Patronising, badly written and dull.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    The Photographer’s Wife is my third outing with Nick Alexander and he is turning out to be an author I really like. This is the story of Barbara and her daughter Sophie. Sophie is trying to persuade her mother to help her with an exhibition of her late father’s photography, something Barbara is reluctant to get involved with and for very good reasons. The story is told in two time frames, and I particularly loved the parts of the book that told Barbara’s life story. We first meet her as a five ye The Photographer’s Wife is my third outing with Nick Alexander and he is turning out to be an author I really like. This is the story of Barbara and her daughter Sophie. Sophie is trying to persuade her mother to help her with an exhibition of her late father’s photography, something Barbara is reluctant to get involved with and for very good reasons. The story is told in two time frames, and I particularly loved the parts of the book that told Barbara’s life story. We first meet her as a five year old during the blitz and follow her throughout her life until the present day in a fantastic series of “snapshots” of family life during the second half of the twentieth century. It has a very authentic feel to it and I really liked the author’s attention to detail. During these sections we follow Barbara’s life with Tony and very slowly all the family’s secrets are revealed to us, if not to Sophie herself. They are very subtly brought to the fore as the author takes us almost to the point of reveal and then leads us to draw our own conclusions. Barbara is a fabulous character who really grows throughout the read and I really liked her. By contrast, it took me a while to “get” Sophie. I never really got a clear mental picture of her in my head and was wondering for some time as to how old she is. She is actually in her forties but she never felt like someone of that age, but came across as someone much younger. I had similar feelings about her boyfriend Brett. We are told he is American but I never felt like I was reading about an American, apart from the times he said “Gee”. I also found it difficult to age him, and it was only the fact that he was going bald that gave me any clues, although that in itself is not necessarily conclusive. From the moment we met him he just came across as a slimy sleezeball and I could never understand what Sophie saw in him. However, putting that to one side, this is a story that really captured my imagination and drew me in; one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Janine

    This was not a very satisfying read for me. For starters I didn't really believe in the characters enough to be really hooked. I'd figured out the 'secret' in the story quite early on and I found Sophie and Brett, the modern characters at the heart of the story, rather two-dimensional; cliched portrayals of urban media types who it was hard to believe in. The central relationship between Sophie and her mother, Barbara, was handled clumsily. The reader was expected to understand the obvious reaso This was not a very satisfying read for me. For starters I didn't really believe in the characters enough to be really hooked. I'd figured out the 'secret' in the story quite early on and I found Sophie and Brett, the modern characters at the heart of the story, rather two-dimensional; cliched portrayals of urban media types who it was hard to believe in. The central relationship between Sophie and her mother, Barbara, was handled clumsily. The reader was expected to understand the obvious reasons why this relationship was difficult, even though it was never explored fully. By far the best part of this story was the detailed account of Barbara's impoverished childhood and younger years during the war and into the 1950s. I thought the writer was at his most confident telling this part of the story and as my own parents grew up in London during WW2 I could totally relate to the authenticity and detail of this part of the story. I feel that if Nick Alexander had let this part of the story really develop, this novel would have been far more satisfying for me. Tony, Sophie's father and Barbara's husband (the man with the 'secret'), was at his most believable in the early stages of his development of the story, as a young man, and then receded into the shadows of this narrative, becoming a rather poor caricature of the man he was meant to be. The character of Glenda, Barbara's sister, was worth a story in her own right. She was a fully fleshed out character in the early part of the story with a life of her own, but after developing her so well early on, the writer just dropped her and she simply disappeared from the story. Such a shame. The ending was a bit of an anti-climax. We already knew what had happened in Wales so this final scene added nothing to the story and certainly wasn't a surprise or a twist. Having said all this 'The Photographer's Wife' wasn't a bad read. I'm sure some people will enjoy it but I can't really give it more than two stars.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Carolynj

    The Photographer’s Wife Nick Alexander This is the first novel by this author I have read. I chose it because it was billed as a dual time frame historical novel combined with a contemporary story , which is a genre I quite like. I also like photography. I dislike poorly researched and slap dash history and silly errors. This book had none of those. The book was arty without being farty, psychological without being overly pretentious, and had a certain humour in that the characters do not take th The Photographer’s Wife Nick Alexander This is the first novel by this author I have read. I chose it because it was billed as a dual time frame historical novel combined with a contemporary story , which is a genre I quite like. I also like photography. I dislike poorly researched and slap dash history and silly errors. This book had none of those. The book was arty without being farty, psychological without being overly pretentious, and had a certain humour in that the characters do not take themselves too seriously, and when they do it makes for a particular flavour of humour - the book , in places, laughs at itself. I did not give it 5 stars because 5 is for something absolute. This may nearly be there- wold really go to 4.5. It is beyond good but not sure if it will be great- we might know that in 20 years’ time. Alexander is a writerly writer. At first I was irritated by the use of the present tense in all the time frames, but got used to it eventually, and as the book went on, appreciated exactly why the device is (may have been) employed. It gives the story a quality of a commentary as opposed to a narrative, and as such reflects the idea of photo- journalism and a photograph as being a capture of a moment in time, but also as a continuance, a preservation of time. The vignettes , incidents chosen as representative of Barbara and Sophie’s lives are written like the differences in the photographic styles of the characters that become apparent in the exhibition- family snapshot, studio pose, social comment, documented realism, airbrushed, photo-shopped even. The characters also are metaphors of their photographic styles; incisive and enduring, (Barbara) blurred and lacking in focus with the occasional stroke of luck (Tony) contrasting moods trying to find an identity (Sophie) quirky and sophisticated (Diane) professional (Phil and Malcolm). Taking photography as a metaphor (and “ there are no new metaphors in the world” ) the book and all its themes, characters, tropes, ‘secrets’ are pulled together in a masterful manner by the author as the Retrospective Exhibition comes together to reveal more than the sum of its parts. Talking about characterisation- impressive. The locations are included as characters for this reader, also. Places, buildings, landmarks all have something to say, and the descriptions, although never boringly intrusive are comprehensive, like a good photograph, draw you in so that you become part of the essence of the place, the reader is necessary to complete the overall picture. To this reader, it is a real sign of good writing when he or she feels that she is actually necessary to complete the picture. The characters are all incredibly credible. From the random, irrational Tony, for whom we also feel some warmth because he has a quality of warmth about him despite the repulsion we feel at some of his behaviour- to Jonathan, the son who like Barbara has had his creativity repressed by the cruelty of the mediocre,(or at least the jealousy of those who may not be as good at it) insouciant Glenda, fragile yet resilient Minnie, all the peripheral characters fit into their time frames, develop with the time frames, are children of their times but move on with them. Although we are told that Barbara’s home (through Sophie’s eyes) is unchanging and old fashioned and Barbara caught like a fly in amber since Tony's death, or on Kodak paper never changing, it is patently obvious that the pragmatic Barbara never stops coming into higher resolution the longer she is left to develop. Only her daughter is too self absorbed to notice or know her. I suppose under characters I must mention the odious Brett. You feel like screaming at Sophie not to touch him with a barge pole, but hey, that is the loneliness of the 40 something singleton career/arty girl seeing it all rapidly disappearing before it even arrived. The fact he arouses (not) feelings in this reader, feeling of distaste that is, is testament to the author who has drawn a character that could so easily be cliché, but doesn’t fall over that line sufficiently to spoil the rest of the work , and manages to inspire the odd genuine moue in the reader With many novels the reader likes to yell at the characters and sometimes the author for being so dense. In PW, plotwise, you see what is coming, guess the ‘secrets’ early on, but that doesn’t matter because the secrets are not really the point. The Zeitgeist is the point, and how it affects the lives of our characters. As a photographic metaphor, but also a metaphor of the changing mores, a microcosm of post war working class society and post modern cultural and social change. Snapshots, snapshots that were sometimes photographs. There were a couple of points that I had thought the author had overlooked, and just as I wondered where was Glenda in all of this, sneered inwardly thinking I had caught him out, the explanation came, right on cue. Impressive, the way he managed to follow up on every dropped clue, character, aside, without the need for great unveilings. Having said that, I found the ultimate chapter as a finale disappointing. But that’s how life is, especially for poor old Babs- not so much a bang as a whimper. Which in this case was a strength of the commentary. There is so much in this book, hard to say what drives it- character, plot , psychological observation of human frailty, social history, art , journalism, communication- it is all there. I really liked the atmosphere, ambience, the way the author recreated each place and time to perfection and wrapped it around the reader… in the end, the camera may or may not lie, but it says a lot about the photographer. PS I have tried not to give away the plot lines which are important to some analyses I would have liked to mention, so have left some really important themes out of this review so as not to make spoilers... Read it! **********************************************************

  6. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    4 stars for the Photographer's Wife. But only 2 for the Photographer's Daughter which occupies much of the book... I thoroughly enjoyed the chapters describing Barbara's life, starting with poverty in London during the Blitz. I was interested by the social and personal situation the book described, and enjoyed the pace. On the other hand I found chapters describing Sophie's life less gripping. It is unclear why she stays with her blatantly dislikable boyfriend (apathy? sex? does she genuinely care 4 stars for the Photographer's Wife. But only 2 for the Photographer's Daughter which occupies much of the book... I thoroughly enjoyed the chapters describing Barbara's life, starting with poverty in London during the Blitz. I was interested by the social and personal situation the book described, and enjoyed the pace. On the other hand I found chapters describing Sophie's life less gripping. It is unclear why she stays with her blatantly dislikable boyfriend (apathy? sex? does she genuinely care for him?), I was surprised by her use of drugs, and found the Fifty Shades of Grey elements distasteful, unnecessary and off-putting. Everything to do with her was predictable and one-dimensional. The last scene in the book, during Sophie's exhibition, felt contrived, and the 2 postscripts clumsy, yet my final impression of the book was positive. I liked the way the book gently illustrated how differently a life can be perceived. Sophie learns facts which change the way she views her parents, and the reader is shown how Barbara's life, judged mediocre through Sophie's 2010 eyes, can be judged as a huge success when one takes into account the very different set of values and aspirations it is based on. Plot: (view spoiler)[Barbara is 6 in 1940. She survives the terror of the Blitz, grows up without her father in a life of poverty. She becomes pregnant, and marries Tony. Their marriage is not a happy one: she looses their first baby, their material conditions are harsh, Tony drinks and is probably unfaithful, neither he nor his friends have any interest or respect for Barbara - whose self-respect is very low. Fast-forward to the 2010s and her daughter Sophie views her as a mediocre being who held back her late father, an award-winning photographer. We gradually learn about Tony's personal weaknesses, and also about his basic lack of talent: his fame is based on other people's work. On the other hand we discover that Barbara was behind much of his success, and how bravely she tolerated her difficult home situation focussing on her main objective: to provide a home and food for her children. Furthermore, she knowingly accepted to bring up the child of her husband and his lover (she was a "saint"). She manages by detaching herself from the situation, creating a "bubble" - which is burst in the final confrontation during the exhibition, leading to Sophie finally learning the truth. Oh, and the disgusting boyfriend does indeed prove to be a bastard. This is entirely predictable, and it is unclear what it ultimately brings to he book. I wonder if more could have been done on the children's perception of their mother as weak, and their passivity in adult life: Sophie's brother subjecting to his insanely domineering wife, and Sophie staying in what is clearly not a healthy relationship . (hide spoiler)]

  7. 4 out of 5

    E.J. Bauer

    What amazes me about this author is that every single book he authors is completely different. There is nothing formulaic about his writing at all and that intrigues me. Yes, he addresses complicated family relationships and secrets that spill, untold, down the decades, but he has the ability to write equally well from the male or female perspective which is not easy. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and loved the juxtaposition of the wife, Barbara and her clichéd existense in the '50s and '60s wi What amazes me about this author is that every single book he authors is completely different. There is nothing formulaic about his writing at all and that intrigues me. Yes, he addresses complicated family relationships and secrets that spill, untold, down the decades, but he has the ability to write equally well from the male or female perspective which is not easy. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and loved the juxtaposition of the wife, Barbara and her clichéd existense in the '50s and '60s with that of her daughter, Sophie's, in the present day. The gradual disclosure of family peccadillos and their repercussions didn't prepare me for the final revelation which is always a positive for me.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I read ‘the Half life of Hannah’ and thoroughly enjoyed it so was very much looking forward to reading this one. First of all, it is a completely different kind of book, set in wartime Britain as we discover Barabara’s childhood, through to the present day and her daughter Sophie. Once again it is very well written with just the right amount of detail and superbly drawn characters. As Sophie decides to launch a retrospective of her father’s photographic career, secret after secret is unfolded at I read ‘the Half life of Hannah’ and thoroughly enjoyed it so was very much looking forward to reading this one. First of all, it is a completely different kind of book, set in wartime Britain as we discover Barabara’s childhood, through to the present day and her daughter Sophie. Once again it is very well written with just the right amount of detail and superbly drawn characters. As Sophie decides to launch a retrospective of her father’s photographic career, secret after secret is unfolded at just the right moment. The denouement won’t be a total shocker to the reader as the writer has given enough hints yet will come as a total shock to Sophie. Trying to find out more about her father, she perhaps discovers more than she really wanted to know. I won’t say any more as I don’t want to spoil it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tracey Austin

    After stumbling across Nick Alexander quite by accident, I read "other halves" and "half life of Hannah" and fell in love with his writing. As soon as his new book "The Photographers Wife" was released I was on to it as soon as I could and was not at all disappointed. This book had me engrossed from the beginning and I found it hard to put down. An excellent and very believable story that I can honestly say I enjoyed from start to finish. Nick Alexander now has me as a loyal fan and I look forwar After stumbling across Nick Alexander quite by accident, I read "other halves" and "half life of Hannah" and fell in love with his writing. As soon as his new book "The Photographers Wife" was released I was on to it as soon as I could and was not at all disappointed. This book had me engrossed from the beginning and I found it hard to put down. An excellent and very believable story that I can honestly say I enjoyed from start to finish. Nick Alexander now has me as a loyal fan and I look forward to reading more of his previous and future books.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Roxana McRoberts

    Great story! One of the best stories I hAve ever read. I couldn't put the book down. I will certainly read another of Nick Alexander's books Great story! One of the best stories I hAve ever read. I couldn't put the book down. I will certainly read another of Nick Alexander's books

  11. 4 out of 5

    Geraldine

    I got this as a freebie from amazon so got what I paid for! I read 20% and simply didn't enjoy it. I've given it 2 stars, over generously, because there was nothing offensive about it and nothing that made me angry. He writes fairly well - I mean, properly, good sentence structure, lack of annoying writer's tics, and the characters are not lacking in plausibility. In fact, I rather liked the chapters where he described the Blitz - perhaps justifying the extra star. I didn't like the parts set in I got this as a freebie from amazon so got what I paid for! I read 20% and simply didn't enjoy it. I've given it 2 stars, over generously, because there was nothing offensive about it and nothing that made me angry. He writes fairly well - I mean, properly, good sentence structure, lack of annoying writer's tics, and the characters are not lacking in plausibility. In fact, I rather liked the chapters where he described the Blitz - perhaps justifying the extra star. I didn't like the parts set in 2012 at all; has there ever been a duller couple in fiction than Sophie and Brett. As I stress, nothing offensive or of that nature. Just boring - why should I care about these dull people? I forced myself to read to the end of a chapter set in 1950 which conveniently brought me up to 20%. It was an effort, because it was just so boring. Long narrative of nothing happening - but not even in a arty literary way. I might have read more if I had spent longer on the beach yesterday. But the tide came in quite rapidly and it seemed sensible to pack up and find somewhere nice to eat.

  12. 5 out of 5

    LindyLouMac

    I usually read ebooks when I am travelling, much easier to take a Kindle in my luggage! The Photographer's Wife was a perfect choice for my last trip as I did not get much time to read, so a novel that was easy to pick up and put down without loosing the thread was important. The story covers two separate periods but clearly and concisely. The realistic plot unfolds as the tension builds, there was humour and sadness as the two story lines came together and it all began to make sense. I did gues I usually read ebooks when I am travelling, much easier to take a Kindle in my luggage! The Photographer's Wife was a perfect choice for my last trip as I did not get much time to read, so a novel that was easy to pick up and put down without loosing the thread was important. The story covers two separate periods but clearly and concisely. The realistic plot unfolds as the tension builds, there was humour and sadness as the two story lines came together and it all began to make sense. I did guess the result of the mystery quite early on as the author gives the reader plenty of hints and for this reason I did get rather annoyed with the plausible characters, who without exception all had flaws and annoying traits. Overall a read that kept my attention and was easy to pick up and enjoy in small bites. https://lindyloumacbookreviews.blogsp...

  13. 4 out of 5

    D.E.

    As many other reviews have already stated this book is Nick's best one yet. I loved how the story was split between two eras which slowly came together as time passed revealing more and more of the lives of the characters who we grew to know and love. The characters themselves are wonderfully human - no one being all good or all bad but with all the flaws and faults that we all have, perfectly relatable people who let us have a glimpse into their lives. A great read of a well crafted and well writ As many other reviews have already stated this book is Nick's best one yet. I loved how the story was split between two eras which slowly came together as time passed revealing more and more of the lives of the characters who we grew to know and love. The characters themselves are wonderfully human - no one being all good or all bad but with all the flaws and faults that we all have, perfectly relatable people who let us have a glimpse into their lives. A great read of a well crafted and well written tale that was filled with some surprising twists along the way. As always Nick has delivered in full... keep up the good work!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alix Harley

    I'm a huge fan of Nick Alexander, but I have to say this is his best so far. Full of his trademark introspective characters, the story slips seamlessly between the present day and Barbara's life right from the '30's upwards. Heartbreaking in parts, subtly witty in others, this is such an emotionally intelligent novel full of hidden secrets. I loved it. I'm a huge fan of Nick Alexander, but I have to say this is his best so far. Full of his trademark introspective characters, the story slips seamlessly between the present day and Barbara's life right from the '30's upwards. Heartbreaking in parts, subtly witty in others, this is such an emotionally intelligent novel full of hidden secrets. I loved it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alsy

    Whilst I enjoyed this book a lot, I did find that most of the characters were quite infuriating. None of them were particularly likeable, but I'd say their flawed nature is what makes the story work so well. I did see a major part of the end plot coming from about half way, which did give it a slight sense of anticlimax. That said, I'd definitely still recommend this book. Whilst I enjoyed this book a lot, I did find that most of the characters were quite infuriating. None of them were particularly likeable, but I'd say their flawed nature is what makes the story work so well. I did see a major part of the end plot coming from about half way, which did give it a slight sense of anticlimax. That said, I'd definitely still recommend this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    The author has a wonderfully intelligent and fun writing style. The characters in both storylines kept me interested because they were written believably. I was curious to find out the link between both storylines. What a good novel. Highly enjoyable. I will definitely read more of his novels.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Beverley Spiller

    excellent read another good author loved the parallel stories running together and the eventual conclusion

  18. 5 out of 5

    Allie Cresswell

    This is the second book by this writer that I have read. At the end of the first one I was surprised to see that Nick is a man , rather than a woman. There are few male writers that I can think of who tackle, let alone succeed so well at, writing female protagonists. This writer is interested - as I am - in the relationships that bind and break us, the things we give up for each other, the things we hold on to. At first I thought this book would have been better titled The Photographer's Daughter This is the second book by this writer that I have read. At the end of the first one I was surprised to see that Nick is a man , rather than a woman. There are few male writers that I can think of who tackle, let alone succeed so well at, writing female protagonists. This writer is interested - as I am - in the relationships that bind and break us, the things we give up for each other, the things we hold on to. At first I thought this book would have been better titled The Photographer's Daughter, because for much of it Sophie is the dominant and, to be honest, the more interesting character. She is engaged in trying to resurrect the popularity of her late father's photographic work whilst at the same time using it as a platform to launch her own career in photographic art. But the story's main focus - as it progresses - is Barbara, Sophie's mother. Barbara is very much a child and a woman of her time. Nick Alexander depicts with great puissance London of the blitz and the after-war years of Britain and the women who held it all - and their husbands - together. Although I saw the story's main plot twist coming from ten miles off, it didn't spoil the book for me. The writing was sound, the dialogue realistic, the characters flawed and human and the two story threads - Barbara's and Sophie's - alternated nicely. I have only two minor remarks. I wished that the older Barbara didn't become a facsimile of her own tetchy and difficult mother. I couldn't see the younger woman in the old and all the sympathy she had garnered in my heart dissipated in those sections. Secondly, Sophie's attitude to sex is too laddish. She wanted, thought of and spoke of sex like a man. Maybe I'm out of touch, but I think this was the only area that Nick mis-construed his otherwise excellent rendering of female. I visited Nick's website to find out a bit more about him. He describes his work as 'chick-lit.' I'd say he is doing himself a disserve there; there is nothing frivolous or lightweight about these books. The books I have read have been serious attempts to understand the people that we are in the world, society and culture that we live in.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sandra McKenna

    An enjoyable read. A well woven story beginning during World War II , moving to the present day and back again. The world of photography, and a family with lots of secrets, lies and surprises. Great characters, some you love, some you hate, and others who just need a good shake up. I love a good multi timeline with lots of twists and turns, and this one did not disappoint.

  20. 4 out of 5

    David Highton

    A novel written across two time frames - firstly 1940-1983 tracing the life of the title character - and secondly 2010-2013 tracing the life of her fortysomething photographer daughter and their interaction as the daughter plans a retrospective exhibition of her father's work. Enjoyable book but a bit too long for the story. A novel written across two time frames - firstly 1940-1983 tracing the life of the title character - and secondly 2010-2013 tracing the life of her fortysomething photographer daughter and their interaction as the daughter plans a retrospective exhibition of her father's work. Enjoyable book but a bit too long for the story.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mary Fabrizio

    meh. was hoping the girls would have been sent to whales and a much more interesting tale could have evolved. very obvious "mystery" that took way to long to evolve. Barbara was hard to root for or even like. meh. was hoping the girls would have been sent to whales and a much more interesting tale could have evolved. very obvious "mystery" that took way to long to evolve. Barbara was hard to root for or even like.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Hayley Summerfield

    I actually enjoyed the first half of the book more than the second half. The story didn't massively grip me but it was a nice easy read. I actually enjoyed the first half of the book more than the second half. The story didn't massively grip me but it was a nice easy read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mary Grand

    really enjoyed this book. Sophie is the daughter of Barbara and the chapters flick between each of their own stories. I particularly enjoyed the parts of the stories about Barbara’s childhood in the war.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Fiona Mccormick

    Absolutely loved this book. It is set both during the second world war and the present day telling the story of Barbara and her family. I really liked the way the story unravelled showing how the events of the past had affected the lives of those in the present day and also the way it jumped back and forward telling the story from the different character's perspectives, tying up the story neatly by the end. Some of the events that happened to Barbara were so well written that the reader could re Absolutely loved this book. It is set both during the second world war and the present day telling the story of Barbara and her family. I really liked the way the story unravelled showing how the events of the past had affected the lives of those in the present day and also the way it jumped back and forward telling the story from the different character's perspectives, tying up the story neatly by the end. Some of the events that happened to Barbara were so well written that the reader could really empathise with her. It was a realistic portrayal of family dynamics and betrayals. I felt the relationship between Sophie and her boyfriend was very believable, so many people just settle for someone, persuading themselves that they are happy in the relationship when really they are anything but. The way their relationship turned out was totally believable, without giving anything away, it was very apt! I have enjoyed all Nick Alexander's books that I have read, would definitely recommend The Half Life of Hannah and the follow up Other Halves.

  25. 4 out of 5

    feimineach

    (Stopped at 15%, kindle-measures.) I'm surprised, actually, I made it this far because I got very tired of the flitting back and forth between time periods very quickly.* Whatever she was called in modern-day London was vacuous and tedious and I couldn't distinguish between any of the characters in war-time London. So that was that. * Indeed, when I stopped at 15%, I decided upon two new rules: (1) From now on, I'm giving books about which I am unsure until 15-25% (or about one-quarter, if it's (Stopped at 15%, kindle-measures.) I'm surprised, actually, I made it this far because I got very tired of the flitting back and forth between time periods very quickly.* Whatever she was called in modern-day London was vacuous and tedious and I couldn't distinguish between any of the characters in war-time London. So that was that. * Indeed, when I stopped at 15%, I decided upon two new rules: (1) From now on, I'm giving books about which I am unsure until 15-25% (or about one-quarter, if it's hard copy) before I decide whether or not to persevere with them. Any novel worth its salt should be engaging in plot and characterisation by that point. (2) Books that are centred around a "X had always wondered... then X found... then X had a journey... then a SHOCKING SECRET ABOUT X'S FAMILY/ FRIENDS/ PAST/ XX IS EXPOSED..." plot are really just not for me and I will buy no more of them. The rule: read the damned summary before purchase.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Babus Ahmed

    Sophie is a fashion photographer who is the daughter of one of the first photojournalists to be recognised in the UK, however her idea of her father is based on a severely edited version of events in his life. Barbara, Sophie's mother has vowed alongside all involved never to tell her a secret that she has kept for over thirty years. A gripping tale about a woman discovering who she is through her art and history, which has been edited severely to protect her. This story is told from alternating Sophie is a fashion photographer who is the daughter of one of the first photojournalists to be recognised in the UK, however her idea of her father is based on a severely edited version of events in his life. Barbara, Sophie's mother has vowed alongside all involved never to tell her a secret that she has kept for over thirty years. A gripping tale about a woman discovering who she is through her art and history, which has been edited severely to protect her. This story is told from alternating Sophie and Barbara's points of view and although I found both compelling in terms of narrative, I can't actually say I particularly liked either character. A good read but very reminiscent of a recent seralisation "A Place For Us" by Hilary Evans, but without the host of likeable characters.

  27. 4 out of 5

    John

    This really worked for me after having read and disliked Khaled Hosseini's "And the Mountains Echoed" because it jumped from era to era and generation to generation without giving me a chance to establish how the characters were related. "The Photographer's Wife" just kept to two generations and to two eras and even though I thought it was a bit "light-weight", it managed to keep the surprise ending until the last few chapters of the story. Maybe I was a bit slow because on reflection, there wer This really worked for me after having read and disliked Khaled Hosseini's "And the Mountains Echoed" because it jumped from era to era and generation to generation without giving me a chance to establish how the characters were related. "The Photographer's Wife" just kept to two generations and to two eras and even though I thought it was a bit "light-weight", it managed to keep the surprise ending until the last few chapters of the story. Maybe I was a bit slow because on reflection, there were several clues on the way along!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    I really enjoyed this book. It's well written and a good story. It retained my interest all the way through. This is the second Nick Alexander novel I've read and it won't be my last. I didn't "love it" so that's why I gave it 4 stars. But it wasn't far off. Well worth the time it took to read it. I really enjoyed this book. It's well written and a good story. It retained my interest all the way through. This is the second Nick Alexander novel I've read and it won't be my last. I didn't "love it" so that's why I gave it 4 stars. But it wasn't far off. Well worth the time it took to read it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Marsh

    Another great book by Nick Alexander. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, Nick's latest book. The mix of history and modern day was fascinating and the story interesting right up to the final page. Another great book by Nick Alexander. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, Nick's latest book. The mix of history and modern day was fascinating and the story interesting right up to the final page.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This was a nice easy read, not too taxing and just the right bedtime book. The big secret was very easy to figure out though and the ending didn't really tie all the loose ends up, but other than that I enjoyed it. This was a nice easy read, not too taxing and just the right bedtime book. The big secret was very easy to figure out though and the ending didn't really tie all the loose ends up, but other than that I enjoyed it.

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