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Wife in the North

3.17  ·  Rating Details ·  332 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
When Judith O’Reilly, a successful journalist and mother of three, agreed to leave London for a remote northern outpost, she made a deal with her husband that the move was a test-run to weigh the benefits of country living. In the rugged landscape of Northumberland County, O’Reilly swapped her high heels for rubber boots and life-long friends for cows, sheep, and strange n ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 5th 2008 by PublicAffairs (first published January 1st 2008)
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Belong to Me by Marisa de los SantosThe Lost Husband by Katherine CenterUmbrella Summer by Lisa GraffWife in the North by Judith O'ReillyGoodbye, Jimmy Choo by Annie Sanders
Rain Boots
4th out of 35 books — 7 voters
Nobody Was Here  by Alison PolletThe Devil Wears Prada by Lauren WeisbergerI Gave My Heart to Know This by Ellen BakerThe Kindness of Strangers by Katrina KittleGoodbye, Jimmy Choo by Annie Sanders
Shoes (no people)
63rd out of 168 books — 13 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sep 05, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it
This book was nothing like I thought it would be. I was expecting a light-hearted memoir, but instead got a moving, poignant tale of motherhood.

This author has a writing style unlike anything I've read before, and it took me awhile to get used to the cadence and tone of her writing. I struggled with it at first. But once I got attuned to her style, it became a much easier read.

Yes, there are moments of hilarity. But there are also many more moments of despair, love, sadness, fear, happiness, bel
Kat Hagedorn
Mar 09, 2010 Kat Hagedorn rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, non-fiction

Surprisingly, it took me quite some time to realize that this book is a collection of blog posts. I think that's because the series of posts had a definite theme that was enhanced as the diary entries continued. That theme being: why the heck have I moved away from London on the whims of my husband who isn't even here half the time and who leaves me to handle the wild countryside, loneliness and 3-kid-ring circus.

O'Reilly is a clever and experienced writer, so these issu
Joan Colby
May 29, 2012 Joan Colby rated it it was ok
This book turns out to be a transcription of O’Reilly’s blog about a London wife removed to the north of England—hardly the Arctic adventure that I imagined from the title. O’Reilly, mother of three small children, and a former Sunday Times correspondent and TV producer, chronicles her daily life in what she sees as the remote sticks populated by farmwives. While she gradually grows to appreciate some of their qualities and the natural surroundings in which she has been immersed by her husband, ...more
Apr 09, 2010 Janelle rated it liked it
Judith O'Reilly's book, based on her blog of the same name, has a unique combination of dry humor and poignant, heart-wrenching family stories. I particularly enjoyed her writing style, but at the same time, it's obviously a collection of blog posts that were combined to create a book.

It took awhile to get through and at the end, I was left to wonder if I would have enjoyed reading the author's blog more. When something is published, I expect it to have more meaning, and while well-written, I d
Apr 10, 2015 Emma rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015-books
I actually read the author's 2nd book "Doing good for a year" first, quite some time ago before reading this and unusually for me I would recommend that others read the books out of sequence too! The writer has a good and dry sense of humour and clearly loves her children as all good mothers should but the first half of this book is basically her complaining about the move to Northumberland and I think that will put a lot of people off. (Judging by other reviews it did!) I think the writer shoul ...more
Lies Van herreweghe
Aug 03, 2014 Lies Van herreweghe rated it liked it
It took me some effort to get through the first bit of the book. I found it very whiny and negative, and all I could think was 'Woman, get a grip on yourself'. While she is constantly complaining about how hard it is, she is very sociable, meets friends easily, and she just doesn't seem to realize it. When her car runs out of petrol for the umpteenth time and she keeps blaming her husband, I really wanted to chuck the book out. Don't get so whiny about something you can easily do yourself. But t ...more
Jul 31, 2014 Kim rated it did not like it
Unfortunately, I didn't get much more than 50 pages into this book!

I found Judith O'Reilly's account of her move from London to Northumberland to be whining and negative. From the many observations she made it appeared she was unable to get beyond her belief that she had made a major sacrifice in granting her husband's greatest wish (to move north). She complained and resented it all the way.

Some people may say that this is an honest account of a person going through a difficult time. It is a
Jan 03, 2009 Laurie rated it really liked it
This book is Judith O'Reilly's account of her family's move from London to the Northumberland countryside. A devoted city girl, O'Reilly is married to a Northumberland man who dreamed of going back, so she decideded to grant his wish; she agreed to move to the north for two years. But for O'Reilly life in the north is hardly a dream. She misses her London life, lacks close friends in her new home, and finds that everything, from her neighbors's dress to local pastimes is a world apart from what ...more
Susanne Pichler
Judith O'Reilly liebt London von ganzem Herzen. Nebst ihrer Familie genießt sie Ausstellungen, Kino, Starbucks, Shopping, den wöchentlichen Blumenmarkt und ihren Beruf als Journalistin. Doch ihr Ehemann träumt von einem neuen Leben in Northumberland und da Judith die Träume ihres Mannes wichtig sind, willigt sie ein, probeweise nach Northumberland zu ziehen. Hochschwanger und mit zwei kleinen Jungen beginnt Judith O'Reilly ein neues Leben im Norden Englands. Da ihr Ehemann beruflich oft nach Lon ...more
In 2005, journalist Judith O'Reilly agrees to move to the north of England with her husband and three young children to sample life in the country. Judith loves London, is a successful journalist and has many friends. Not only is living in the country like being a fish out of water for her, her husband's job takes him frequently back to London for days and weeks at a time, leaving her alone to cope with this strange new life.

O'Reilly brilliantly captures the experience and her reaction to it wit
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
Dec 31, 2008 Kathy (Bermudaonion) rated it it was ok
Judith O’Reilly and her husband and children were living in London. Her husband has always dreamed of living in the country, so they move three and a half hours away to Northumberland. Judith agreed to a two year trial period and Wife in The North is her diary of that period.

At the beginning of the book, I found myself wondering why he wanted to move to the country when he still worked in London, and Judith ended up living as a single mother during the week. As the book progressed, I wondered wh
Wife in the North is the memoir of Judith, a Brit who leaves her happy and exciting life in London to support her husband as he fulfills his dream of living in Northumberland, a rather barren stretch of land bordering Scotland. She has two children when she arrives in the country; a third arrives shortly after she does. Her husband, however, still works in London, so he is often away from home and Judith has to learn how to be the mum of three and a country girl, all on her own.

The book is initi
Julie Hedlund
Sep 27, 2010 Julie Hedlund rated it really liked it
Shelves: in, own, 2008, memoir, early, reviewer, arc
I should start by confessing that after reading several "blog-to-books", I've decided I don't care for the genre overall. Anecdotes that I might find funny, quirky and insightful in a day-to-day or weekly format don't seem to translate well into books. I find they often come off as too self-absorbed (how could they not?), too whiny and just plain trying too hard to pull a story out of an everyday, non-linear life. What works in small doses becomes hard to swallow in a tome.[return][return]After ...more
Apr 23, 2009 Lisa rated it liked it
Loved her style of writing, her dry sense of humor, her amazing descriptions...But throughout the book, I just keep thinking "why is she doing this?" Don't get me wrong--I'm all for adventure. I even understand crazy adventures for which no one else can fathom your reasons...quitting university to work as a deckhand on a fishing boat, jumping off suspended pipelines, cross-country skiing into frozen landscapes to live for days at a time. I even understand taking on adventures at the request of o ...more
Nov 10, 2008 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Wife in the North is Judith O’Reilly’s journey. Come along as Judith and her children are taken hostage to the North-Eastern part of England, especially Northumberland. Ok, so maybe Judith wasn’t really taken hostage for real but it felt like it to her. Who in their right mind would want to move from the city of London to the North? The answer is no one, that’s exactly what Judith is going to blame it on when she agreed to move…her mind. She blames it on her hormones due to the fact that she was ...more
Jan 19, 2012 Themistokeles rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Inhalt: Die Autorin Judith O'Reilly beschreibt in diesem Buch ihr Leben nachdem sie von Lodon nach Northumberland gezogen sind. Sie selbst wollte dies jedoch eigentlich nie wirklich und macht es nur ihrem Mann zu liebe, der sich in ihren vielen Urlauben in Northumberland in diese Gegend verliebt hat. In Blogform erzählt Judith O'Reilly die ersten zwei Jahre, die sie in Northumberland verbracht haben und in denen sie entscheiden wollten, ob sie für immer bleiben oder nach London zurückkehren werd ...more
Aug 08, 2008 Donura rated it really liked it
Shelves: own

DATE: August 8, 2008
TITLE: Wife in the North
AUTHOR: O’Reilly, Judith
PUBLISHER: Public Affairs

RATING: 4.5 of 5

The subtitle of this book is three young children, two aging parents, and one absentee husband 350 miles from home, but it should end with ‘one very funny woman’.

As I started reading this book, I got out my little sticky tabs because there were so many funny, sarcastic sometimes but very funny, comments. After a while the edge of my book looked like it had been sprinkled w
Aug 06, 2016 Katy rated it liked it
I Started reading the Wife in the North blog almost 2 years ago. I loved following her stories and relections. When she annonced that she had a book deal I was very excited for her.

Now that I read it... I have to say I am some what disappointed. I gave it 3 stares because at its core, there is a lot of good writing in the book. There are a lot of stories here that I would go back to in a minute, that make for great relection and conversation. But like someone else said, not a lot happens. This i
Dec 13, 2008 Alea rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-for-review
I thought this was a really sweet and funny book in a journal format. The journal format works really successfully in this book, turning her memoir into a bunch of little stories and memories.

Throughout the whole book, the author longs for London and I can definitely understand that. I am a city person one million times over, I don't know how I would fare in the country. There is a great passage where the author encounters a double decker bus in the country and hopes it will take her back to Lo
Ich habe von dem Buch eine Leseprobe gelesen und fand sie durchaus unterhaltsam. Leider hab ich das Buch bei der anschließenden Verlosung nicht gewonnen und bin daher nun erst durch Bookcrossing zu diesem Buch gekommen.

Die anfangs unterhaltsamen Berichte einer Mutter von 2 1/2 Kindern (die ja dann bald drei werden), die mit Mann, Sack + Pack aus der Großstadt London rauf auf's Land zieht, werden mit der Zeit doch leider immer mehr uninteressant. Vieles wiederholt sich (ständiger Ärger mit Handwe
I think this is the first book that I have read that is in the blog-to-book format. I think that Judith O'Reilly is a very talented writer. I like her voice and her narrative style. Despite this, I felt like her blog and her writing talent provided what could have been great raw materials for a really nice memoir and I think I would have liked this book far more if she had expanded on her blog to create a more personal memoir. It was of course very clear that she was not thrilled with moving to ...more
Alison (Ali of Worducopia)
A blog in book form, chronicling the adventures of a woman who agrees to an experiment her husband proposes, leaving London for the northern English countryside. O'Reilly comes across as a personable woman, a loving mother and wife, a good friend. None of the other characters came alive for me, though--perhaps because none of them had names. I understand protecting anonymity in a memoir; that's what pseudonyms are for. I had no mental image of "the four-year-old," no way to distinguish "the Pati ...more
Oct 18, 2014 Emma rated it it was amazing
loved it! related so much to it, being an older mother and struggling with sandwich generation. being in love with husband but frustrations. being frustrated with self for not being a good enough mum and of course, all the british references. great read. loved the line when she was stressed about her 6 year old being bullied at school and thought maybe she should home-school. she then said "but then i'd have to worry about bullying at me!" totally related.
Jan 02, 2014 Tracey rated it it was ok
I picked this up in a charity shop as the blurb lead me to think it would be a light-hearted read for the Christmas holidays. It wasn't. I have to be honest and say while some of the episodes were a little amusing I didn't howl with laughter - unlike the quote on the front. Judith O'Reilly writes well and her style is very accesible but I just kept getting infuriated - not with her, but with her damn husband and some of her London friends. I found the book annoyed me so I only read it in small d ...more
Nov 14, 2013 Chrisiant rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoir
This book was not for me. I am already predisposed against the journal-of-a-year-of-experience-by-woman-trying-to-find-meaning genre, but it seemed like this one might not wholly fit that mold. I made it about 65 pages of whining about how she didn't want to move to the north of England but her husband did and there were practical reasons why they did before I gave up. I flipped through the rest of the book to see if the whining petered out, but it was just as complain-y at the end as it was at ...more
Jan 18, 2009 Bookworm rated it really liked it
Judith O’Reilly and her husband move from the city of London out to live in the country in the North. They have two young boys and Judith is pregnant. Its more her husband's idea to move so far away and Judith is trying hard to adapt to country life. Her husband continues to work in the city, while Judith stays home with the kids. She had a career going before she had the children, and now staying home with them is wearing on her.
I found this book moving and funny. I like Judith's style of writ
Jan 25, 2016 Anne added it
Shelves: read-in-2015
I read this book just before giving birth to my second child. Luckily, most parts of the story didn't come close to my own experience. This book was much more serious than I thought and I was happy about that.
Aug 06, 2008 Kirsten rated it it was ok
This book pinged a lot of my buttons, and I wanted to like it, but at the core, it's a lot of venting from a whiny annoying bitch who probably has post-partum depression. Her husband moved the whole family to Northumberland, but she loves London... blah blah blah. In general, I don't have a lot of patience with big city types who rag on country living, and this was no exception. HOWEVER, if my husband moved me from my beloved London to a backwater and then spent all *his* time in London himself ...more
Aug 09, 2009 Lindi rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, funny
Hmmm -- what to say? She whines and complains about her life, her kids, her husband, but she clearly and dearly loves all of the above and she is damn funny! Here's the premise: ex-journalist, now mummy to 3 children under the age of 5, moves with husband to remote spot in northern England. Ex-journalist loves London which is where her husband has to be much of the time, commuting to work while she wrangles a newborn, ailing parents, home renovators, sick kids, boisterous kids, sweet kids, bulli ...more
Nov 14, 2008 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
A book, put together into a book, about a pregnant London Journalist & her 2 young sons,moving to Northumberland to live in their holiday cottage, because it's her husband's dream. All well & good, but ironically, she gives up her job & he keeps his & spends 3 weeks at a time away in London while she has the new baby & the 2 other children & no local friends.

Some of it rang true as we moved to a new area with a 3 year old & a 4 month old baby & it was tough.

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