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The Secret Life of Luke Livingstone

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,402 ratings  ·  175 reviews
Girl meets boy. They fall in love, and they marry.

For thirty years they share one another's lives.

That should have been the end of the story.

Luke Livingstone is a lucky man. He's a father and grandfather, a respected solicitor, a pillar of the community. He has a loving wife in Eilish, children who adore him and an idyllic home in the Oxfordshire countryside.

But Luke is st
Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 1st 2015 by Allen & Unwin Australia
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Chloe Great point, I have combined the two so it is clear now. Hope that's good for you!…moreGreat point, I have combined the two so it is clear now. Hope that's good for you!(less)
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 ·  1,402 ratings  ·  175 reviews

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Luke Livingstone had it all – a father and grandfather, he had been married to the woman of his dreams for three decades. The love he had for Eilish was reciprocated deeply; his two children Simon and Kate adored him. The home they all loved was in the Oxfordshire countryside and set amongst an idyllic landscape; he was well respected in the community and in his job as a solicitor. Why then was Luke travelling the train into London with dark thoughts? Thoughts that had consumed him for so long – ...more
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-star-books
Luke Livingstone seemingly has every reason to be happy with his life. Married for the last 30 years to Eilish, a father to Kate and Simon, with a grandson and another on the way and being highly respected solicitor, things couldn't be better. But little does his family know that ever since he was a little boy, Luke has struggled with who he is and know in his 50's, he can no longer ignore the desire to be himself. The day has come to where he can no longer hide the fact that he can either end h ...more
Dale Harcombe
Dec 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Supposing after thirty years the man you married comes out with an admission of a secret that makes you wonder if you ever knew him at all? This is the situation facing Luke Livingstone’s wife, Eilish. The admission and decision from Luke has repercussions within the family that affect not only his relationship with his son Simon and his, daughter Kate but also Simon’s children. Initially I found this quite an interesting read as the reactions of how Eilish, Kate and Simon handle Luke’s admissio ...more
Liz Barnsley
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The New Woman is perhaps Charity Norman’s best book to date for sheer emotional impact and a beautifully written life story – some really wonderful characters and set in my part of the world which made it even better from my point of view.

Luke has been living a lie for all of his adult life. When we meet him at the beginning of the novel, he is seriously considering ending it all – then a chance encounter on a train makes him rethink that choice but in order to carry on living he must necessaril
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

The Secret Life of Luke Livingstone is an emotionally powerful story of a family in crisis from Charity Norman.

A respected solicitor and beloved husband, father and grandfather, Luke Livingston seems to have it all, but he has a secret with the potential to destroy it all.

With thought provoking insight and sensitivity, Norman tells the story from four different points of view - Luke's, his wife's Eilish's, and their children's Simon's and Kate's.

I couldn't help but admire Luke for his courage i
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2015, lgbt
Read it all in one sitting, right through the night.
I think what I loved most about this novel was the utmost respect and compassion with which the author treats Lucia's story. It's clear that she has done a huge amount of research on the subject of trans issues and how it is for a person to come out as trans and begin the transition to the gender they know themselves to be.
As a cis queer woman I don't know what it's like to be trans but I am immersed in the LGBT+ community and am friends with
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
Eilish Livingstone is excited to be planning a big bash for her and Luke's 30th wedding anniversary, followed by a long awaited idyll in Italy.
They are a loving couple with three children - Simon who is married and and awaiting the birth of his second child; Charlotte who died at birth and is remembered by a tree in the garden; and Kate who has just returned from an archeological dig.
But Luke is struggling with an unbearable secret; one that is going to destroy his life one way or another.
And L
Tracy Fenton
Aug 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
A beautifully written book which compassionately deals with gender identity and the ripple effect on all the family. Not an easy read in places, but obviously thoroughly researched when taking into account everyone's emotional reaction to their father/son/grandfather huge life changing decision. Also rather topical at the moment with Bruce Jenner's real life announcement. 4 stars. ...more
Bree T
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: issues, nz-author, arc
Luke and Eilish have been happily married for thirty years. Luke is a lawyer and Eilish a teacher. They have two children – Simon who is a vet and is now embarking on a family of his own and Kate, an archeologist who is a free spirit and feminist. Eilish thought she knew everything there was to know about her husband and never for a second did she think he was keeping a secret from her.

A huge secret.

Luke Livingstone has gone on for long enough and knows that he cannot keep going as he has been a
55 year old Luke is a loving father and grandfather as well as a highly respected solicitor, but his outer successes hide a life of turmoil - he has always known he should have been born female, and as his thirtieth wedding anniversary approaches, he knows he has to tell his family before the inner pain literally kills him.

This story should have been hard-hitting and emotional as his wife, mother and children try to comes to terms with his shocking revelation whilst he begins the complex transg
Chanel Lindsay
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A truly gripping read that had me completely engrossed from start to finish. A very thought-provoking story was a joy to read. I loved that the book didn't just focus on Luke's story but the people around him too. The story was told from Luke's wife and two children's point of view as well as his own. Such a brilliant read. Looking forward to reading more from this author. ...more
Aug 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Time taken to read - 2.5 days

Pages - 374

Publisher - Allen & Unwin

Blurb from Goodreads

Luke Livingstone is a lucky man. He's a respected solicitor, a father and grandfather, a pillar of the community. He has a loving wife and an idyllic home in the Oxfordshire countryside. Yet Luke is struggling with an unbearable secret, and it's threatening to destroy him.

All his life, Luke has hidden the truth about himself and his identity. It's a truth so fundamental that it will shatter his family, rock his
MS White
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Realistic, Thoughtful, Balanced…
I bought this book after a recommendation through The Book Club on Facebook and have no connection with the author apart from being a fellow member.
I’ll nail my colours to the mast before we start – I’m a transgendered writer, and I bought this book out of interest to see how other, non-trans writers tackled what can be a subject for ridicule, misplaced comedy or complete misunderstanding of the issues and problems involved with the condition. I’m happy to report
Jill's Book Cafe
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: real-readers
As the blurb pretty much describes Luke's dilemma it is not a spoiler to state that this is a book about gender dysphoria. I had seen the book advertised but can't say I was particularly drawn to it, however I received a copy from Real Readers to review so the decision was taken out of my hands. All I can say is, I was so glad it was. This is one of the best books I've read this year. Despite my initial misgivings I was drawn in straight away and couldn't put it down.

After 55 years Luke decides
Adele Broadbent
Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
Being a HUGE fan of Charity Norman I definitely give her new novel 4.5 stars. It would get a 5 but I absolutely LOVE her second novel Second Chances a teensy bit more.

Charity Norman is a masterful storyteller, drawing you into her character's lives so wholly and completely they are alive in your consciousness long after you have finished reading.

I felt so much for every character and what they were being faced with - Luke Livingstone most of all. I could tell that the research into this novel wo
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reading-room
The Secret Life of Luke Livingstone is a wonderful and endearing book about the struggles of a family who find out the secret hidden by their father Luke. Luke has struggled with his identity his entire life and the book follows his path to become the person who he was destined to be. The book deals with the feelings and emotions of the family and their struggle for acceptance of their father and his changing life. This book struck me unaware as I have never read anything regarding the life of t ...more
Dec 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received this book free through Goodreads First Reads. (first time so was very exciting!) And being a HUGE fan of Charity Norman I was stoked!!! I have read all of Charity Norman’s other novels and have loved them, maybe a little more than this book, but I still really liked it.

Charity Norman is a masterful storyteller, drawing you into her character's lives so wholly and completely they are alive in your consciousness long after you have finished reading.

The big secret of Luke’s life is revea
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel opens the gateway to understanding a phenomenon most of us heteros find hard to understand - gender dysphoria and transition. I wish I had read it sooner, because it really helped me see how difficult and complicated the life of a person suffering from gender disorder is, how hard it is to be accepted, even by their own family, how hard it is to keep a job and lead a normal and safe life, etc. Charity Norman did amazing research here and came up with a novel that makes you identify wi ...more
LaVerne Clark
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher through the FirstReads giveaways*

This will be one of those books that will stay with me for a long time and maybe even make me a better, more understanding person.

I'd never really thought much about the transgender community and all the hardships they must face on a daily basis. The courage they have to be true to themselves truly humbles me. Ms Norman's portrayal of each character and their individual journeys as they were confronted by such a
Sep 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a "light" read despite the hard-hitting themes but it really hit the right tone for raising awareness of transgender issues, showing the effects on all concerned and showing that glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel ...more
Nov 18, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Some mawkish language from this author as she attempts to out-Trollope Joanna in her descriptions of middle class life. Most irritating was her attribution of human characteristics to inanimate objects: the house, the garden, even the kitchen table, which "knew the family very well's face bears the honourable scars of hot saucepans....". Ugh.
However, the novel is not a bad read. I found myself quite moved by the author's handling of the subject of gender identity. The anguish o
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How do you react when your husband, father, son tells you that for the 50 years of his life he has identified as female. Welcome to the Livingstone family. This is the first book I've read on gender identity disorder and it was an eye opener which really made me think. Like Kate, I always think of myself as open minded, able to accept anything, but when your father drop a bombshell, can you accept anything? A really interesting insightful book which really opens the mind and leaves you with a lo ...more
Mags Schofield
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Charity Norman is a witch!
She takes what is, on the surface, a black and white situation and sets the scene. You think you know what is right and wrong. I would do this. They should do this.
Then you read on.
She draws you in and you begin to doubt what you feel. Often situations she has created seem hopeless and you can't see a way out.
Then slowly but surely, she begins to tease out a conclusion. Your thoughts and feelings are turned upside down and you find yourself wondering why you ever felt
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 thought provoking, not sure how I'd react and hopefully I never have to find out. I really enjoyed the author's writing and will be looking to read more of her work. ...more
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The New Woman by Charity Norman was published in the UK by Atlantic on 23 July 2015, and is the author's fourth novel. Her previous books are: Freeing Grace (March 2012), After The Fall (January 2013) and The Son in Law (March 2014).

I'm not sure why or how I've missed Charity Norman's books in the past, but after reading The New Woman, I have now bought all three of her back catalogue and if The New Woman is anything to go by, then I'm in for a real treat.

Luke Livingstone and his wife Eilish are
Gail Owen
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Phenomenal! One of the very best books I’ve ever read
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels-set-in-uk
Novel set in Oxfordshire and London PLUS author QA (“… in this book she has captured a quintessential British feel”)

Chosen to feature on BBC Radio 2′s Book Club, Summer 2015.

I became a fan of Charity Norman when I read After the Fall, set in New Zealand. Charity has never been shy of tackling difficult subjects and The New Woman is no exception. She is gently but firmly taking on the mantle from Jodi Picoult for tackling controversial subject matter, setting moral dilemmas at the heart of a nove
Natalie  S
Feb 15, 2015 rated it liked it
For thirty years Luke Livingstone was a “lucky” man. He worked as a well-respected solicitor and had a loving wife, son, daughter and grandchild. But life in Oxfordshire wasn’t as perfect as it originally seemed. That was because Luke was harbouring a secret- he desperately wanted to be a woman.

Eventually Luke is forced to make a tough decision, he will either kill himself or become the woman he always felt he should be. The Secret Life of Luke Livingstone is a fictional, family drama that looks
Jul 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: nbhs, read-2015
Charity Norman has managed to perfectly time the publication of this book - I was reading it as "the world" was waiting for Caitlyn Jenner's big reveal.

This is a great character study of a family under extraordinary circumstances. I was particularly convinced by and drawn to Luke, who has decided he can no longer live his life as a lie, and his wife of 30 years, Eilish, who suddenly has to face the reality that her happy marriage was based on that lie. I was less convinced by Luke's son and wou
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Apr 27, 2015 03:28PM  

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Charity was born in Uganda, brought up in draughty vicarages in Yorkshire and Birmingham, met her future husband under a lorry in the Sahara and was a barrister in York Chambers, until - realising that her three children had barely met her - she moved with her family to New Zealand and began to write.

After the Fall/Second Chances was a Richard & Judy and World Book Night title. The New Woman/ The

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