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Isabel's Bed

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  1,491 ratings  ·  126 reviews
When Harriet Mahoney first saw it, Isabel Krug's bed was covered in sheared sheep and littered with celebrity biographies. The unpublished, fortyish, and recently jilted Harriet had fled wintry Manhattan in response to a mysterious ad in The New York Review of Books: "Book in progress? Why not share my Cape Cod retreat? Roomy and peaceful - your life will be your own." In ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published May 28th 1998 by Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group (first published 1995)
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A quote from Julia Glass (Chicago Tribune) from the back of the book: "If Jane Austen had been born about two centuries later, gone to Smith, then palled around with Fran Lebowitz, chances are she'd have written like Elinor Lipman. She is one of the last urbane romantics. As always, Lipman makes us laugh out loud."

well. . . . . she's no Jane Austen, I'll say that! This was mildly entertaining, but not quite the amazing book I expected after the back cover.

To start with, I found what the title *
I wasn't sure how I felt about the protagonist initially but she grew on me, and overall I really enjoyed the book. Lippman created very authentic characters and was particularly successful at delving into the heart and mind of a recently scorned lover.
Gale Martin
I picked up this book second-hand at The Book Mill in Massachusetts and thoroughly enjoyed it. Fresh premise, wonderful execution. Ms. Lipman is a really a stunning writer--first-rate. As a writer, I'm learning a great deal from her. The story was unpredictably funny and quirky. Nothing ends the way you think it will, and yet, it was all wrapped in a very affirming way.

Lipman creates real people who are funny and flawed. Did it change my life, no? Are there innumerable lessons in it for people w
Robin Wright Gunn
I love Elinor Lipman's novels. Her writing is light but always makes me laugh, makes me stay up way too late when I should have turned off the light, makes me "see" the characters by revealing one or two key traits or habits, and reveals their vulnerabilities.

If you are looking for War and Peace this aint it. If you are looking for smart fresh down to earth writing that is still mostly for entertainment, here you go.

Sort of a book version of the smarter date movies--e.g. Four Weddings and a Fu
I am in the early stages of reading those Elinor Lipman novels that I may have irresponsibly missed along the way. I wasn't sure how I was doing with this one in the early pages, but in the end, I was more than satisfied. Her characters maintain a sense of self,honesty and integrity that made me want to cheer for them as they figured out their lives and sorted through some complicated pieces. Her writing is crisp, as always; her insights into the human spirit, funny yet respectful.

Harriet Mahoney is an aspiring writer with a boyfriend of 12 years and is a member of a writing group where she feels like an outsider. Forty one and lacking self esteem Harriet’s life is in a rut. Harriet soon finds her boyfriend has met someone else and wants to get married ASAP, so Harriet needs to find a place to live and fast. Responding to an ad in New York review of books she takes a job as a ghost writer for Isabel Krug and moves to Cape Cod.

Isabel Krug is quite a character. She was in
When aspiring author Harriet Mahoney signs on to write the memoirs of Isabel Krug, whose lover was shot by his wife while they were in flagrante delicto, she's ready for a change, and that's exactly what she gets. Isabel has fled to Cape Cod to escape notoriety, and leads an unconventional life in an unconventional house, with her husband Kostas, a disgraced artist. After a few days, Isabel and Harriet warm to each other, becoming friends as well as collaborators.

What I liked:

A la the Seinfeld
Kandice Newren
Isabel's Bed is another great story by Elinor Lipman. It is still light, funny, and engrossing. The funny thing about this book is it's pretty much all about sex, not in the detailed sense, but how it's a part of everybody's life. The writers in the story talk about how they don't want to write about sex in detail, but it's what everybody wants. Then there is one of the main characters whose life is pretty much about sex, and a book she's having written about a scandal she was a part of (yes, de ...more
A fun read about a 40 something woman, recently dumped by her jerk of a boyfriend, who is hired to ghostwrite the story of an infamous love-triangle murder by the mistress of the murdered man, and becomes drawn into a world very different (and a lot more interesting) than her own. Sometimes predictable (will she get together with the hunky handyman?), sometimes twisty (the murdering wife gets released from the mental hospital and comes for a visit), but always enjoyable. Lipman does a good job c ...more
A light and breezy tale that takes place on the Cape, so naturally, I had to read it. Harriet has just been jilted by her live-in boyfriend, and after giving him almost 10 of the best years of her life, she has to move on. She has been in a writing group in NYC, but still has nothing to show for it. A new situation arises, and Harriet heads to Truro in winter, to ghost-write a scandalous story of Isabel, who was in her lover's bed when he was shot dead by his wife. This is funny and cute, a good ...more
What to say about this? Definately not what I expected. Although I can't pinpoint what I was expecting either. A story of loss and gain (even if that sounds cheesy) but still a novel that leaves you saying: that's it? Not that I want to read more, I just kind of feel like I finished a book that told me...well...nothing.
At least it was a quick read.
Diane C.
Not one of Lipman's more engrossing books, at least the last half, which goes off track a bit. A great story but not well edited.

Recently dumped 40 something New Yorker and aspiring writer Harriet moves to Cape Cod to be high spirited Isabel's ghost writer. The story..........the wife of the man Isabel was having an affair with, caught them in flagrante delicto and shot said husband. Now she's writing a book about it, with Harriett's help. Isabel is the total opposite of Harriett, resulting in
I read it on vacation, and it was a fun read. I love Elinor Lipman; I'm working my way through all her books. Not a dud yet.
Isabel's Bed is the first novel I've read by Lippman. The book is fairly light. Characters resemble people I've met, particularly in the art world, easily visualized through Lippman deftly crafting individual attitudes, behaviors and weaving in wisps of human flaws leaving the reader with a good frame of reference.

Isabel, former mistress of a murdered philanderer hires Harriet to write her story, culminating with an abrupt & public ending to the affair, caught in a sexual romp by the wife wh
Sally Wolf
In this book Isabel, was in the wrong place at the wrong time and has decided to write a book about it. Not knowing the first thing about writing she hires a ghost writer. The lives of all of the charterers intertwine in a weird set of events that lead everyone to find themselves a different place in their lives then where they started out. If you are the kind of person who reads the first ten pages of a book to see if they will like it or not then this book is defiantly not for you. The first c ...more
Lynn Pribus
This book just tickled me. Great narrator. Amusing plot. What I especially liked was the way she handled two scenes simultaneously. Hard to explain, but here's just one example

The son of Nan, the woman who has killed her husband (in a moment of temporary insanity, so she is now out of the mental hospital), is a star on a soap opera.

Nan; Isabel, the woman who was in bed with said husband at the time he was murdered; Isabel's sometimes estranged husband, Kostas; the handyman Peter; and Harriet, t
I love Elinor Lipman, a local author's, light, quirky, and swimmingly-written books. The perfect summer read with well-developed characters who one cannot help but love. I've got to meet this woman as I've read so many of her books. Almost done with another, thank you Meekins Library!
I so loved the first book of her's that I read. I admit to being disappointed in this one. I liked the characters and the writing, but the story fell flat for me.
Gail Kirkpatrick
Someone said, 'fresh and funny,'I agree. Also sharp dialogue, moving pace, great characters. Perfect for my summer reads.
Jul 31, 2014 Paulette marked it as stopped-reading  ·  review of another edition
I really liked And Then She Found Me so I checked out a couple other books by this author. No go. Too many dumb characters.
I'm not really sure why I finished reading this book. Curiosity?

The satirical ideas were there, but the execution was off. It was mildly entertaining and I think any synopsis/recap of the book and its storylines would make you think it was funnier than it actually was.

Except for the fictional and charming D-list celebrity, I never felt any attachment for the characters.

But apparently people love this author's work, so I'll caveat this review by saying that I read Isabel's Bed on the heels of
Most entertaining, loved the characters, the book flowed right along. A good read.
What a great book! This was so unexpected from what I was thinking about when I kept avoiding in on my TBR pile. I love that the setting was mostly Cape Cod, Mass, and NYC. I also love how the main characters came to the realization that you can get stuck because your not great at being what you think you want to be. I guess I feel into my career in a similar way so I could relate a lot to her near misses and finding her way after all. I really got a kick out of how the author wove in the soap o ...more
I would probably try another book by this author because the writing is satisfactory, but this one didn't do it for me. I think in general, I just wasn't that invested in the characters.

Synopsis: A forty-something aspiring author is dumped by her long-term boyfriend and takes on the job of ghost writer for a B-list celebrity whose claim to fame is essentially being in bed with her lover when his wife shoots him. This is the story of her getting over her boyfriend, coming to terms with her writin
I enjoy Elinor Lipman's stories. this one in particular could be for anyone who sometimes feels like a supporting character in their own story. Harriet finds herself alone at 42 & floundering with her life path. determined to write, she takes a position as a ghostwriter for a larger than life tabloid star & learns that you can't always get what you want, but sometimes, you might find, you get what you need. that is probably an imperfect song lyric quote :)
I would have liked this book a lot better if Harriet wasn't such a sad sack. Flawed protagonists are fine, but she was kind of pathetic. I know it took place in the mid-1990s, but stirrup pants? Come on, Harriet. I didn't mind the fact that the plot was predictable (except for the epilogue, which came a bit out of nowhere). It just made Harriet seem that much more dense. Still, it was a quick read on a hot day. I'll probably pass it on to my mom.
Karen Donkor
It was ok for a book that wasn't my type of book :)
A rather frivolous novel, interesting only because of it’s incite into the difficulty of becoming a writer just because you want to. I liked the twist at the end where Isabel wrote her own story and Harriet found she was better suited to making bagels. The hardest part to accept was Isabel’s openness to accepting Harriet, even though her writing turned out to be disappointing. I think what Isabel really wanted was a friend.

There are certain books I like to read when I'm sick, recuperating, or anxious. They have to be well written but they must have a basically optimistic outlook; conflict is fine if all ends well. Many of Elinor Lipman's books fill the bill perfectly.

This story of a ghostwriter who ends up in an ultra-modern palace near Truro is high calibre chick lit and it got me through two sessions of Mohs surgery for a basal cell on my forehead.
A great summer read!
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Elinor Lipman is the author of eight novels about contemporary American society and a collection of short stories. Born and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts, Lipman graduated from Simmons College where she studied journalism. She lives in Western Massachusetts and Manhattan, and received the New England Book award for fiction in 2001. Her novels Then She Found Me, The Ladies' Man, and The Pursuit o ...more
More about Elinor Lipman...
The Inn at Lake Devine The Family Man Then She Found Me The View from Penthouse B My Latest Grievance

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