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The Doctor's Wife

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  371 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
Awaiting her husband's arrival on holiday in France, Sheila Redden,quiet, middle-aged doctor's wife, suddenly finds herself caught up in a passionate affair with a young American, ten years her junior, this extraordinary powerful portrayal of a woman transformed by love was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
Hardcover, 277 pages
Published December 31st 1976 by Farrar Straus Giroux (first published 1976)
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Sep 29, 2007 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this after remembering having read "The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne." I decided I wanted to read more Moore, and this one looked intriguing. And how! There was explicit sex, which was amusing, as ever, but I also looked at the novel through a couple of critical lenses. This book is a coming of age story, can be looked at through the lens of feminism, and can be looked at from a post-colonial perspective, too. Tensions between the main characters reflect tensions between Ireland and En ...more
Jul 02, 2014 Allan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third of Moore's novels that I've read, having decided to catch up on the back catalogue of critically acclaimed NI authors who published their work 'before my time'.

The novel, which was shortlisted for the Booker on its release in 1976, tells the story of Shiela Redden, a 37 year old who is married to a surgeon from the Royal Hospital and lives a seemingly comfortable life in a large house on the Somerton Road in Belfast, but has many regrets as to the way her life has turned out. S
May 02, 2016 Dennis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting book to read, 40 years after it was written, because it reminded me that that was an epoch of feminist novels, rightfully questioning the role into which women had been cast, as dutiful wife and mother, then passing 30, looking back on all they'd given up and wondering what they'd gotten in return. ("Is this it? Is this all there is to my life?") Erica Jong, Marilyn French, Alix Kates Schulman, Lisa Alther, to name a few, which launched a huge debate. The debate hasnt bee ...more
Sheila Redden, 37 years old, goes to Paris on her way to a vacation in Nice. Her husband, Kevin, is a surgeon, and is planning to join her in Nice. It is the early 1970's and they live in Belfast with their 16 year old son. Kevin is reluctant to ever holiday outside of Ireland, but agrees to Nice, where they honeymooned 16 years before. In Paris, Sheila visits an old friend, and while there meets a man. We are unsure what she'll do and how far she will go with this flirtation. The contrast betwe ...more
Heike Schütz
Feb 02, 2010 Heike Schütz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful story! I was amazed that the author is a man. The character of Sheila Redden is so believable and your sympathy is with her even though she is about to leave her son. Ordinarily that would lose me as far as any compassion is concerned.
Beth Shields-Szostak
r.m. - orange line bottom pages; Booker Prize Shortlist
Sep 05, 2013 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Library Book Sale
Sheila Redden is a quiet, middle-aged doctor's wife. She is also on her way from war-torn Belfast to the south of France where her husband Kevin will join her in a few days, so that they can relive their honeymoon of fifteen years ago together. But Sheila had not reckoned on meeting Tom Lowry and finding her life totally transformed.

Ten years her junior, Tom Lowry is an American initially introduced to Sheila by an acquaintance of hers. What follows for both Sheila and Tom, is a brief but incred
Jan 20, 2013 Cath rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, but am not entirely sure why it was shortlisted for an award. Although I read it with a 2013 perspective, neglecting the fact that it was published in 1976 for a fair few chapters, which might be part of the problem...

The tension and terror of living in the Belfast of the '70s is particularly apparent throughout; along with a backdrop of religious uncertainty, which helps the reader to understand a little of how Sheila must be feeling.

There is a conflict of narrative voice a
A. Mary
Dec 31, 2012 A. Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish-novels
Sheila Deane is the doctor's wife, living in Belfast, mother of a teenaged son, and she has gone ahead to France, where she and her husband will meet for their holiday. She has a degree, she loves books and music and conversation and travel. Her husband has no interest in those things. Sheila meets another man, ten years younger, and has a graphically described affair. At first, her husband resists the holiday, but then Sheila encourages him not to come at all. Moore writes a very sound story of ...more
Tamsin Burford
Apr 29, 2013 Tamsin Burford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whilst keeping you at arms length from the main character by always referring to her as Mrs...., the author makes a decision for the reader. Distance is expected. I am not sure why. So that we do or do not approve?

I enjoyed this book and thought it would make an excellent film. The scenery and the sex, Ireland in the time of the Troubles, the South of France, Paris - all add up to make an interesting backdrop to a story which is most importantly a delayed coming of age novel. Mrs.... finally ma
Lloyd Scott
Oct 30, 2009 Lloyd Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was dating a married woman at the time when this book came out (hey I was young then), so I could easily relate to this book; the title speaks for itself. Dating someone who is married, and sleeping with someone who is married is dangerous and wrong but when you read about it in a story, as Brian Moore puts it so eloquently it makes for a good read. I loved being in that secret society where you're with a married person and you're living on the edge, as you wonder if his/her spouse knows about ...more
Mar 27, 2013 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was okay but didn't seem to have the depth of character of some of his other books. I never quite found the protagonist very believable and it bugged me the way she was usually referred to as Mrs .... I got the point really early on that being a wife and mother was her identity - crikey, the title of the book told me that. She never evolved though - I expected part way through for her to become FIRST NAME - I don't even remember what her first name was. If in fact this did happen and I miss ...more
Jun 09, 2016 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Moore writes really well. He has the knack of getting under the skin of his characters and being able to put the reader inside their heads. Understands and portrays female leads superbly. He is from Northern Ireland, as am I, and most of his work is set there in the period of 'The Troubles' which he pins down very well.
This novel essentially is the story of an affair between an older Irish woman and a younger American man. He describes the tangled feelings of the protagonists superbly and weaves
Dec 03, 2012 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
I read this not having read a Brian Moore book for a while, and I found it immediately engaging. He sketches the characters sympathetically, skillfully uses his knowledge of middle class life in Belfast at the time of The Troubles, and then just as skillfully transfers the main characters to France where the romance of a different city, language and culture work their magic on the doctor's wife. Her personality and mental twists and turns as she starts the affair with a young man are well depict ...more
Nov 11, 2012 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very well written but there was somehow a sadness interwoven between the words that is hard to explain. Sheila and her husband have planned a holiday in the South of France but she is not surprised when her husband's job once more trumps their plans and she decides to go alone to spend some time with a friend in Paris, expecting her husband to join her when he can. However, something happens in Paris which will change the course of her life. Thoroughly enjoyed the story but I was a ...more
Iris AE
Well written, but it takes a while to realize that this story happens in a near past, maybe in the early 80's. The story is about yet another case of people who are unable to express the truth, are not able to convey what they think, rather don't speak instead of saying things and never name things, even when they could. The end is not really foreseeable - the characterization of Sheila is not clear enough to discover what she really wants, and this turns the end into sort of a disappointment, d ...more
Jul 10, 2011 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm trying to read as much of Brian Moore as I can, and when this one presented itself in the free bin at my local library a few weeks after I finished his first novel, "The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne", I took it but only read it now. This is on the face of it a novel of adultery, but really Moore is exploring the tension between the compromises people make to avoid risk and the risks we take to find our true selves.
May 30, 2013 Jax rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Irritating switches between calling the wife Sheila or Mrs Redden. Very good descriptions of her fears of living in Ireland in the troubled 1970's. Also great story of a holiday romance despite age and cultural backgrounds. Seems amazing that women were so dependent upon their husbands legally and effectively then. An interesting slant on the emergence of feminine independencethrough the main character's struggles with what to do in her dilemma.
Mar 20, 2013 Carola rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
¡Dios guarde por muchos años a las pequeñas editoriales que nos permiten descubrir obras magistrales!
La mujer del médico
Contraseña Editorial
Brian Moore

Un canto a la libertad, escrito en tono crítico hacia la Irlanda del Norte natal del autor, inmersa por los años 70 en la dictadura del IRA (con atentados cada dos por tres en Belfast) y la lucha entre católicos y protestantes.
Jan 08, 2013 Tricia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were elements of this book that were irritating and infuriating - the wife was both Sheila and Mrs Redden but without logic as to when was most appropriate. I didn't find it as real or wonderful as other reviewers.
Dec 05, 2012 Lee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Not my kind of book. I kept on thinking something suspenseful would actually happen... but no
Dec 07, 2012 Bren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easy read,with a rather disappointing, flat ending.
Kaye Taylor-ryall
Interesting...and a bloke that understands women. Unusual!
Silvia Valls
May 30, 2014 Silvia Valls rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Previsible pero recomendable!!
Apr 03, 2013 Elisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok enjoyed but a woman would have given it a different ending!
Nov 10, 2012 Jack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Moving and rather sad tale of a woman who discovers that she wants a different life from the one she's been tolersting.
Ruth Santana Valencia
Jun 28, 2016 Ruth Santana Valencia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Una forma diferente de vivir la crisis de la edad media desde los ojos de una mujer...con un final inesperado
Se recomienda al leerlo tener abierto el traductor porque usa MUCHAS frases en francés
Derek Bridge
Dec 23, 2016 Derek Bridge rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elegantly written, totally absorbing. Another of Moore's many masterpieces.
Apr 28, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 rounded to a 4. A surprisingly good book considering I got it from our neighborhood book exchange box.
Cathie Mullen
Cathie Mullen rated it really liked it
Jun 13, 2009
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Brian Moore (1921–1999) was born into a large, devoutly Catholic family in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His father was a surgeon and lecturer, and his mother had been a nurse. Moore left Ireland during World War II and in 1948 moved to Canada, where he worked for the Montreal Gazette, married his first wife, and began to write potboilers under various pen names, as he would continue to do throughout ...more
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