Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Brimstone Wedding” as Want to Read:
The Brimstone Wedding
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Brimstone Wedding

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  1,339 ratings  ·  113 reviews
Jenny's marriage is loveless, and she is having an affair. She works at an old people's home, where she is especially fond of Stella, a gracious, dignified woman dying of cancer - whose own secrets parallel Jenny's - with the difference that she may have been involved in murdering her lover's husband...
Paperback, 312 pages
Published July 25th 2006 by Penguin Canada (first published December 19th 1995)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Brimstone Wedding, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Brimstone Wedding

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónThe Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoThe Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg LarssonThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Best Literary Mysteries
108th out of 771 books — 1,713 voters
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha ChristieThe Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan DoyleAnd Then There Were None by Agatha ChristieDeath on the Nile by Agatha ChristieThe Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Best British Crime/Mystery Fiction
161st out of 787 books — 786 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,023)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Sue
There is something very addictive about this story of love affairs and bad marriages set in the past and the present. Vine certainly knows how to keep her reader interested even as she slowly feeds out more plot details and that reader begins to see the inevitable conclusion. Stella is a 70 year old woman who has come to a residence home to die, having late stage cancer. She forms a bond with Jenny who she calls Genevieve, who is her caregiver, or carer as they are called.

The two form a bond, bo
...more
Nick
What makes ordinary people do creepy, psychologically disturbing things, and then retreat to a life of the ordinary, covering up the events of their past?

Jenny works at a retirement home and becomes close to Stella, one of the patients. They both have their secrets, and this brings them closer as they reveal to the other. Jenny is just beginning her secret life, but dreams of being close to the unordinary, in touch with superstition and the macabre. In the unfolding events of the story she loses
...more
Kelly
Barbara Vine (and alter-ego Ruth Rendell) often starts her books at the end.* It's a brilliant device in her hands, making her novels whydunits rather then whodunits. The dark stories become darker as the narrative unfolds.

My favorite Rendell opening line, from A Judgement in Stone, is: "Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write." There's the ending, right there. But as you read on, not only do you have even more questions (Why is she going to kill them? Why
...more
Kat
I am loss for words at the moment as I try conclude this book for a review. Right now I just want to savor what I just read.
First of. all I love the title. Very fitting after learning the meaning of it.
Secondly, I love how the author took her time presenting the stories especially with two women whose lives seem somewhat similar.
Third of all, I'm very well pleased how well it was written in order to bring English county, characters. and etc come alive and vividly. I also love how the author was
...more
Maria
This is a new author for me and I'm torn between a 2 and 3 as a rating. It's a charming mystery that will appeal to anglophiles & I foresee an addiction to Rendell shortly despite the rating. I won't classify this as a "beach" read, as this author is so highly enjoyable & readable & perceptive it seems to be more than that. She knows human nature, all right. I see a few similarities with Iris Murdoch who was, I vaguely recall, darker.
Nina
Deeply revealing and personal. Totally absorbing.

Favourite quotes:

'Love is a frightening thing. I realise that I'm frightened so much of the time, afraid of losing him, afarid of discovery...infear of not being his equal, of not matching up to what he wants, of him changing because he is disillusioned'. p.185
Rick
Vine (Rendell)at her very best. Unputdownable.
Lina Simoni
Before I share my opinion about this book, I must confess that I did not read the actual writing at first. I listened instead to the audiobook. It is read by Juliet Stevenson, a fantastic British actress. In fact, I found The Brimstone Wedding on Audible as I was looking for recordings by Stevenson. Her rendition of the book is so fantastic that I bought the book afterwards and went through it again. This is the first story by Barbara Vine I took on, so I did not quite know what to expect. I was ...more
Philip
This is one of my very favorite Vines, one I seem drawn to re-read every two or three years - I just re-read it this past January - it "called" to me whilst I was in the midst of reading another book, and I couldn't resist!

As with many Vines, there are parallel stories - Jenny is in the thrall of her first extra-marital affair, when Stella Newland, one of the patients in the nursing home where Jenny works, reveals a secret to Jenny that not even her children know: she owns a house a few miles aw
...more
Toni
I find as I read more of Rendell’s “Vine” thrillers the more I like them. This one is one of my favorites. The only one I could not get into was The House of Stairs, which I will try again someday. I found this book a little slow in parts but did not mind because I knew there was something, that when revealed, would make it worthwhile. Probably because of the way I read, each word, I was able to figure out the mystery of Gilda’s disappearance but there was still one thing I had not anticipated - ...more
Margaret
This turned out to be a Vine that worked for me quite well (unlike The Birthday Present: A Novel, which I'd just read). Jenny Warner is a caregiver at a retirement home, where she comes to know Stella Newland, who is dying of lung cancer. Stella has long held on to secrets about her life, which she eventually reveals to Jenny, secrets which resonate with Jenny's own life. Vine intertwines her narrative threads masterfully, slowly uncovering the truth behind Stella's past and Jenny's present and ...more
Jayne Charles
I read on the back of Barbara Vine's books (Grasshopper I think it was) that she 'writes very well about young people'. I thought they had that the wrong way round - I'd say she writes very well about old people. Both in this and in Asta's Book she creates very credible, interesting elderly characters. This has two stories - Stella, the old lady in a nursing home and what happened to her in her youth, and the story of Jenny who works in the nursing home, unravels the mystery, and has an affair w ...more
Cheryl
I buy a lot of Kindle Daily Deals on Amazon. I check out the synopsis and reviews before I buy them....but I have over 50 books to read on my Kindle. I like it this way because when I choose a book to read on my Kindle, I almost never remember what it's about.

And that's how it was with this one. I went in blind and I enjoyed the ride. It's not an action driven read....no, it's definitely dialogue driven, but that was enough for me.

I wish it had been about 50 pages shorter....it started to drag
...more
Dark-Draco
I really enjoyed this book, even though I found it a bit predictable in places. The way Stella's and Jenny's stories weave together was great, and the descriptive writing really brought it all alive. Despite the ending not being all that happy - in that the characters didn't get all the wanted - I thought it was the best ending it could have. I'm sure it will stay with me for a while. My Mum read it too and she liked it just as much.
Lynn Kay Vogt
Ruth Rendell as the author Barbara Vine. One of the best books I have ever read, certainly my favorite by Ruth Rendell
Kirsty Darbyshire
This is probably the least mysterious and least psychological story I've read from Vine/Rendell. The action takes place in a small Norfolk village where Jenny Warner is caring for Stella Newlands who is dying of lung cancer in a residential home. It's the kind of gradually unfolding story that Vine is good at where you aren't quite sure what the real mystery is going to turn out to be. Only in this case I didn't think that there was really anything discovered that was worth the build up.

I enjoye
...more
Chana
I love reading Barbara Vine books but I knew there was a reason it has been awhile. That reason is that they are so ultimately grim!
The ending on this one was just awful, more awful than I could have predicted. Not badly written of course, just devastating as a story. It was enough to make me go off the idea of romantic love. This is a very sad and disturbing story!
An old woman in a nursing home and a young woman who cares for her become friends, sharing confidences as time goes on. The older w
...more
Maria João
Mais uma vez Barbara Vine não se desvia do dicotomia mulher/amor que lhe é tão característica. Tal como Nicolas Sparks, o enredo tem como personagens principais mulheres cujos dilemas giram em torno de amores e desamores, e que, ao longo do livro, analisam, dissertam e esmiuçam as suas problemáticas de todos os ângulos possíveis. Nada de original é então adicionado ao mundo de Barbara Vine que encaixa sempre no cliché feminino de sobreanalisar as relações amorosas, do "pensar de mais" e do "agir ...more
Amanda Lukacs


I never write reviews but this book sucked. I read it because I was out of books and it came up on an Amazon list for the week or month's lower priced books for my Kindle. The summary seemed interesting enough but the book was written in such a confusing way.

There are 2 points of view throughout the story- Stella and Jenny. Normally, that's not a problem in a book if its made clear when the POV is changing but with this book, I found myself rereading sections because I'd realize that I had bee
...more
Marie France Asselbergh
May contain spoilers if you intend to read, but I wouldn't recommend wasting the time.

After reading 2-3 books by Barbara Vine and thoroughly liking them, expectations were high but ultimately doomed.
After some fifty pages into the story the outline of the tale and unfortunately even its outcome were all to clear and no real surprises in store.

Two female protagonists, contemporary, drab Jenny and the more sophisticated... already her name escapes me?! share a certain naiveté towards life, love an
...more
Hilary
At first glance, Jenny, a care assistant, and Stella, her elderly charge, don't seem to have much in common. Jenny comes from working class stock, has little formal education, and is languishing in a loveless marriage. Stella is wealthy and widowed, nearing the end of her life, and takes pleasure in classical music and her grown children.

As The Brimstone Wedding unfolds, however, it becomes apparent that they share experiences and emotions that make them more alike than they would ever have expe
...more
Bea Alden
Barbara Vine is Ruth Rendell's nom de plume for her series of "psychological" suspense novels, differentiated from her crime mysteries. Every time I pick up a book written by Ruth Rendell, I am astounded all over again by her powers of imagination. Every book of hers is quite different, the plots are ingenious and brand new, and the characters finely drawn. Rendell skilfully plumbs the depths of the mental influences within her characters, leading them to enact both evil and good.

The Brimstone
...more
Lorrie
I found this book in the Kindle store for a couple of dollars, and it was a good buy. I like stories set in England or Ireland so it fit the bill. The character development was interesting enough that I got to know the people fairly well. I will admit that sometimes the parallel stories mixed me up so that I would have to stop and remember who's who. I don't know if it's just the nature of an e-book, but I thought that some of the story was confusing because she needed to use some device in her ...more
Kate
This book about the parallel life stories of caregiver and elder took some time to get into but sticking with it was worth it! Vine (really Ruth Rendell) crafts an amazing, slow-paced story about the line between love and obsession as she slowly invites the reader in to Genevieve's present and Stella's past. Each woman experiences the challenges of a consuming love affair as they struggle to keep their sense of self and right and wrong afloat. Getting into Genevieve's character was a bit difficu ...more
Genki
The Brimstone Wedding by Barbara Vine. A young woman works in a nursing home, and becomes very close to one of the residents who has a secret past. Although the mystery was a little easy to work out, thanks to all the foreshadowing, it was still a gripping read. I loved both the main female characters, Genevieve and Stella, and Glinda and her past was fascinating. Less a psychological thriller than some of Vine's other stories, but I loved the settings and characters.
Jo Marie
An absorbing, addictive psychological thriller by a great writer. A story of two women, one nearing the end of her life and a much younger woman whose lives intersect and almost parallel each other.
Janice
A caregiver in a nursing home becomes the confidante of a dying woman whose been keeping a secret.

Long a fan of Ruth Rendell, I recently started reading the books she's written as Barbara Vine. They're not mysteries, exactly, nor are they are psychological thrillers (like her non-Wexford books), but they deal with buried pasts that come to light slowly and in minutely revealing detail. They're rich, good reads that develop at a leisurely pace. This one, though, I found a little less absorbing th
...more
Missy
Let me start off by saying that I really wanted to like this book. The synopsis sounded intriguing, it is by an English author (love English authors), there is love, loss, mystery...but frankly I ultimately found it repetitive, predictable and disappointing. About half way through I found myself skimming through just wanting to be done with it so I could move on to something more interesting.
Bayneeta
First Barbara Vine I've read. Enjoyed this more than last month's Crocodile Bird, though I liked that well enough. Felt more connected to the characters in this one.
Laurie Lemson
Read to me by Juliet Stevenson, I loved it from the start. Intriguing book.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 67 68 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Tree of Hands
47687
A.K.A. Ruth Rendell.

Rendell created a third strand of writing with the publication of A Dark Adapted Eye under her pseudonym Barbara Vine in 1986. Books such as King Solomon's Carpet, A Fatal Inversion and Anna's Book (original UK title Asta's Book) inhabit the same territory as her psychological crime novels while they further develop themes of family misunderstandings and the side effects of sec
...more
More about Barbara Vine...
A Dark-Adapted Eye The Chimney Sweeper's Boy Fatal Inversion Anna's Book The Minotaur

Share This Book