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Lydia's Party

2.91  ·  Rating details ·  902 ratings  ·  197 reviews
For fans of Anne Tyler and Anna Quindlen, a mesmerizing portrait of friendship that explores seven women's lives with a generous embrace and wondrous wisdom

Lydia is having a party — it's a party she hosts every year for six women friends who treasure the midwinter bash. Over a table laden with a feast of food and wine, the women revel in sharing newsy updates, simmering se
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 23rd 2014 by Viking
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2.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  902 ratings  ·  197 reviews

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May 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ghosts
Well written prose does not necessarily mean you have a good book on your hands.

It's not enough to be able to write well. You then have to write about something interesting. Or at least make whatever you choose to write about seem interesting. At least that's what you have to do if you want to squeeze more than 2 stars out of me.

So ya, this was a well written snooze fest. The last part, part 4, had a little more life to it, (view spoiler), but we're talking like a 2.5
Diane S ☔
Feb 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-exploration
I absolutely love this cover, it just makes one want to pick up this book to read. A group of friends who had met each other over twenty years before are getting ready to attend their yearly party at Lydia's. The story takes place over the course of one day and by days end Lydia will have made a serious announcement. These are middle aged women, going over their lives, relationships and friendship. Some parts were interesting but really nothing that has not been done before and I actually enjoye ...more
Bonnie Brody
Feb 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Lydia's Party is the first book I've read by Margaret Hawkins. I was intrigued by the reviews I'd read about it but ultimately, was disappointed by the book itself. It just didn't live up to its hype.

Lydia is 54 years old when the book opens. She is a tenured professor at a suburban community college in the Chicago area currently on medical leave for an unrevealed reason. She is planning a party, one that has been an annual event for the past 13 years. This party is only for women, and only for
Jan 27, 2014 added it
Shelves: edelweiss
A slow-grower of a story, the full impact and impression doesn’t seem to arrive until after the book is closed and you have had time to let the threads of the tale tangle with your own experience to create a tapestry of impressions, guaranteed to be different for all who encounter this novel.

I will say that this is a novel that is not geared toward the twenty-somethings of this world, the women are all middle aged, having established their lives both professionally and personally, and many of t
Mar 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A Bleak Midwinter Bash might make for rather bleak reading, but Margaret Hawkins delivers something simultaneously deeper and lighter in her novel, Lydia’s Party. Surface details entertain as the perfect casserole is prepared in a brand new post, but mystery lies behind why careful Lydia is suddenly investing in something so expensive. Perfect clothes are laid out. A perfect table is laid. Meanwhile the (not quite) perfect guests, who always turn up, every year for the last 13 years, make their ...more
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
I was very intrigued by the cover of this book, and it was recommended to me by a publisher rep, so I was very excited to read it. However, I found it kind of fell flat compared to my expectations.

I had been imagining that the reader would be filled in on Lydia's "surprise" at the same time her friends were, and once I realized how obvious it was, I wasn't as intrigued to find out how it ended. I also found that there was not enough character development for me A) to be able to remember which gi
Nov 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. This book had all the makings for the type of novel I usually love, but somehow didn't come together. Weighty topics that just felt too passive? Semi-flat characters who I never warmed up to?
Rebecca McNutt
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: friendship, fiction
Lydia's Party was okay, but not really original and not a book I'd ever really want to read again because it really didn't go anywhere.
Jan 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Lydia's Party by Margaret Hawkins is a bittersweet and melancholy novel about the intricate bonds of longtime friendship. A yearly gathering of former co-workers turned friends, this year's Bleak Winter Bash will forever change their lives and ultimately, their friendship.

As Lydia prepares to host this year's gathering, she is very contemplative about the friendships that have endured for close to twenty years. She is also very reflective as she thinks back on her various relationships and her c
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Lydia's Party is a book that tells the story of Lydia, who invites her friends over for a big dinner every year. At these dinner parties, her friends bring lots of food, wine, and share what is going on in their lives. This year, Lydia has a difficult announcement to make to her friends, and so she prepares for what will be her last party with them.

One thing that I immediately liked was the cover of the book. It seemed really warm and a bunch of great friends were coming for dinn
Kyetra Belton
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This book was different from anything that I ever read.  The cover is beautiful and was what caught my attention and the description seemed like something I would enjoy. 

It took me until I had read half the story to really start to understand the purpose and I don't think that you can completely understand until you finish the book. 

What I loved is that the story is about seven women.  You get a good idea of what their lives are like not only now, but also around the time that Lydia met them. 
Mar 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
It's been quite some time since I've read a women's friendship novel. I used to love this type of book, but after a while they all tend to follow a similar pattern: one divorcee, one single involved with an unattainable man, one with a cancer diagnosis, yada-yada-yada. The cover art for Lydia's Party caught my eye when the book was first published, but I held off, not really needing to buy another book, only to have it sit on one of my shelves for years. I came across the book while perusing the ...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life

(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).

It is late January and Lydia is throwing her annual winter party with the usual suspects - at one time or another were also her colleagues. As she preps for the evening she thinks about her friends, family, lovers and career over two decades. In between Lydia's thoughts we get each friend's story.

I found this story on the dull side. It was not the "middle age women thinking back on their lives" that bothered me. I have
Jan 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: good-reads
I won this book on Good Reads. It hasn't been released yet. I am a 60 year old woman, and this book is about a group of women in the their 50's/60's so I certainly related. This book is all about reflection, pondering life past, present and future. Considering I have been quite nostalgic lately about my own life (perhaps a normal thing at this age), I found myself possibly relating very much with Lydia....are my friends like Lydia's...not so sure, but you can certainly know people like all of th ...more
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received this book through the First Reads program. The plot revolves around one day and a group of friends coming for their annual evening together on the coldest night of the year, but we gradually learn how they came together and their individual stories. One of the beginning chapters gives a good outline of each woman and is helpful for future reference. There are many books written about circles of women who stay connected through the years, supporting each other through the joys and cris ...more
Dec 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received this book from goodreads. It was a bit slow moving at first; however the feelings expressed by the characters concerning how one envisions ones life when young to the reality of how ones life turns out was spot on. I found the characters very relatable as I am in the same age bracket and have looked back and wished I had done certain things differently. To avoid putting a spoiler out there; we see these women who have sometimes gotten caught up in the drudgery of day to day issues; as ...more
Lydia's Party, by Margaret Hawkins
I loved this book and devoured it in one sitting. Lydia throws an annual Bleak Midwinter Bash for her 6 closest friends. Sometimes the party has a theme, but this year, is different. Lydia has news that she must finally share with her friends. Time is short and friendship precious. I was shocked to see that this book received so many low ratings , because I found it a thoroughly engrossing and humorous read. Recommended for fans of Anna Quindlen and Anne Tyler.
Feb 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
I had this on my to-read list for quite a long time and I finally got around to reading it, thinking it would be nice for this time of year (November). Not so. It was depressing. The only reason I kept reading was because the writing was good. I wish I had removed it from my list when I re-evaluated my choices.
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
A perceptive look at friendship, aging, and death. A little depressing, to be honest, but nicely written.
May 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018

"Lydia's Party" tells the story of six friends, who meet each year at the end of January for an ever evolving party. An event which first hosted couples, children and more, the party has now developed in to six women and their dogs, sharing bottles of wine and good food. This year, the host, Lydia, has an unfortunate, surprise health announcement and spends her time getting ready for the party and reminiscing.

While this book is well-written, the plot and characters are lacking. Lydia's big
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cindy Hatok
Jun 02, 2017 rated it liked it
I really liked a lot of the book, I liked the ideas that Lydia had about life and really living your life. I think it resonated with me because of my own circumstances. I think as we get older or complacent about our life, we may not appreciate the shortness of life. I've adopted a word for this year, fearless because I feel like I need get out of my own way and really enjoy life. And appreciate all the blessings I have received.
Kelly McCloskey-Romero
Parts of this book resonated so much with me... the way that it portrayed a certain time in a woman’s life, middle age, and the joys and disappointments that. One with it, depending on one’s choices... and the multiple characters in the book represented those so well. However, the plot itself and the party itself fell flat for me after all the lead up.
I absolutely love the cover of this book and the inside blurb drew me completely in. However, the book itself did very little for me. There were very serious topics covered superficially for my taste and I just didn't care for any of the characters. Maybe it was just the wrong book at the wrong time for me.

Go Cards! L1C4!!

Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Barely 2 stars for this one. I couldn't connect with any of the 3 main characters, Lydia, Norris and Celia. The others, both male and female, felt like extras in a really boring play. Even the (apparently meant to seem) "redemptive" ending did nothing for me. The really pretty cover collage was the star of the book.
Kim Schiller
Jun 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Read this for my book club. Definitely what I call "chick lit." It seems like a lot of this literary style always has some dying of cancer. It was certainly real life, but I have enough of that in real life. Sci fi/fantasy, mystery, romance, spy thrillers are much more thing.
Ann Green
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved it!
Dec 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Disappointed by the book.
Beth Kurtz-Costes
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book starts out slow, and I almost ditched it. But I was glad I didn't because of its many nuggets of wisdom and humor. However, it's most likely to be appreciated by those who are past 50!
Laura Starkey Freedman
This is a story about a group of friends who meet every year at Lydia's Party. It was sad but worth the read.
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“Maybe memory is where everyone really lived, Lydia thought, not the present, or not only the present. Never only the present, or at least it was where she lived. She didn't even know what she felt until after it was over.” 0 likes
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