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the Young Widow's Guide to Home Improvement

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  90 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Virginia Lloyd was single at 32, married at 32, and widowed at 34.

A young professional woman finally meets the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with, only to discover that he is terminally ill. After her beloved John's death from cancer, Virginia was faced with addressing the chronic rising damp problem in the house they had shared and, over her first year as a
Published 2008
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Lizzy Chandler
The only reason I didn't originally give this memoir five stars is because I wanted more. A year later, the book still lives vividly in my mind and I know that's the work of a talented author, so I've re-rated it.

The Young Widow's Guide to Home Improvement is both a love story and a memoir of loss. There are no surprises: it's all laid out in the title. The author Virginia Lloyd falls in love and discovers too soon that the illness which her beloved is being treated for is terminal. The memoir a
Sep 08, 2011 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Such a moving book. The author conveys such a feeling of intense devotion between her and her husband as they battle through the final stages of her husband's secondary cancer.

It's amazing what love does to a person. It can fill you with such hope that even terminal cancer doesn't faze you and you dive head-on into cohabitation and marriage.

This is a book about cancer, death, grief and describes a fleeting yet beautiful love story.

Nov 01, 2008 Judith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
A moving but not maudlin meditation on love and death, beautifully structured and written with grace and understatement. It's astonishing to realise that John and Virginia lived a whole life in just two years, and heartbreaking to know how much life and love they could and should have had together.
Aug 27, 2011 Sharon rated it it was ok
I was glued to this book for probably the first three quarters, but then found myself reading the rest "just to get it finished". I'm stuck between "it was ok" and "i liked it".
Katische Haberfield
Review: The Young Widow’s Book of Home Improvement- A true story of love and renovation by Virginia Lloyd

Can you imagine waiting your whole life to meet the man of your dreams, to find that he had terminal cancer? The irony is not lost on Virginia Lloyd, who has written a powerful memoir about her journey from being single, to married and widowed all in a 2 year period. It is first and foremost a love story which takes the reader on a journey of the love between two people, who are aware that th
Yvette Adams
This title caught my eye in an op shop just after my baby sister tragically lost her husband. I thought I might get something out of it, but set it aside less than half way through as I was getting nothing out of it and I wasn’t liking the author.

I’m doing the Pop Sugar reading challenge and one category is “a book you started and never finished” so I came back to this after about 9 months (it’s the only book I had never finished). I didn’t dislike it as much once I got going again. As it turne
Feb 23, 2012 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy reading biographies but usually try to stay away from "sad" ones. I read a review of this book in Good Reading magazine so reserved it thinking that perhaps it would be good to step out of my comfort zone and try a tear jerker for a change. However, Young Widow's Book.. is not a tear jerker as such but a young woman's journey through her grief at loosing her new husband to cancer (she did know he had cancer when they married). Using the rising damp in her house and it's repair as ...more
Dec 16, 2008 Kristylemmon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a lovely book about a modern romance that is tragically cut short, though the bride knew she was marrying a man with terminal cancer, and her subsequent renovation of their home due to excessive moisture. It was probably not the best for me to read this so close to the first anniversary of my brother's death. At one point she brought back the pain of his last moments so vividly I almost dropped the book (at the community pool!). But I am glad I read it and glad she shared her story. It ...more
Mar 02, 2011 Suzanne rated it really liked it
I found this book making me want to read on to find out how the author's difficult life was progressing. Well written and I felt like I was listening to a friend I had a very deep friendship with. No holds barred story.

Good to see an Australian author produce such a great book.

I read the hardback version of the book and was immediately drawn to the cover which was simple but effective but raised paper (not sure of what the right name is for this type of artwork to paper) which made the Jasmine a
Jul 16, 2008 Libby rated it it was amazing
This was one of the most moving books I've read about a love affair, a couple grappling with an old house in need of love and care and then a partner in desperate need of love and care, as a terrible illness robbed the couple of a life together. And yet in the two short years they had together Llloyd, in her compelling memoir has managed to cram a lifetime of experiences and portray their journey as something positive
Feb 06, 2009 Juliet rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, 2009, australia
Virginia Lloyd was single at 32, married at 33 and widowed at 34. This book is her true story. I whizzed through this book in one day and I just could not put it down. Although it centres around Virgina's husband John's death from cancer, the book wasn't sad and morbid. In fact, quite the opposite. I found the story really uplifting and sweet.
Jul 19, 2008 Merryn rated it it was amazing
This is the most amazing story (true!) about a young Sydney woman who was single at 32, married at 33 and a widow at 34. Her husband died of cancer and her house was falling down round their's the story of her journey during and after his illness and death.

This is the most beautiful book I have ever read and despite it being sad, it is a fantastic love story.
Aug 04, 2013 Mariana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in 2008 after a bad break up, it was cathartic and I cried and cried with Virginia for lost dreams and lost lives, heartbreak and the agony of losing the love of your life.
May not be everyone's cup of tea but I loved this book and the poem at the beginning is wonderful and full of meaning and sentiment for me.
Dec 04, 2013 Kirsten rated it it was ok
Not a dry eye present after reading this. This book tells an honest account of not only the psychological effects, but also the lifestyle changes of grief and palliative care. However I did find the home improvement narrative a bit drawn out.
Worth a read.
Aug 06, 2011 C rated it liked it
I seem to be drawn to books about grief and loss, even when they are the worst thing in the world for me to read.

This was a good book, but I shouldn't have read it.
Dec 08, 2009 Indi added it
This is a beautifully written book, i really loved it. Great to read a Sydney book, but it was sad!
Jan 21, 2012 Michelle rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
Tells the story of Virginia's short relationship with her husband, who suffers bone cancer, and her efforts to renovate their run-down house after his death.
Jul 14, 2010 Elisabeth rated it really liked it
Not bad - as always, I wanted to know what happened next but a warm, funny and heartbreaking memoir. I would recommend this book.
Mar 01, 2016 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
A good book. Virginia Lloyd is wonderfully open about dealing with grief.
Zoë Schuthof
Zoë Schuthof rated it it was amazing
Apr 22, 2014
Dec 30, 2010 Bethany rated it it was ok
Went too long
M rated it it was amazing
Dec 18, 2013
Vanessa rated it it was amazing
Jun 29, 2008
Jenny Ackland
Jenny Ackland rated it really liked it
Jul 23, 2015
Lisa Hurry
Lisa Hurry rated it it was amazing
Feb 25, 2015
Irene rated it it was amazing
Jul 31, 2011
T rated it really liked it
Jul 28, 2008
Gemma rated it really liked it
Nov 10, 2013
Dec 22, 2009 K rated it really liked it
Sad but ultimately hopeful memoir. Inspires me to fully live each day.
Shelly Hardy
Shelly Hardy rated it liked it
Jul 12, 2014
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