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

On Turpentine Lane

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  6,510 ratings  ·  1,068 reviews
At thirty-two, Faith Frankel has returned to her claustro-suburban hometown, where she writes institutional thank-you notes for her alma mater. It's a peaceful life, really, and surely with her recent purchase of a sweet bungalow on Turpentine Lane her life is finally on track. Never mind that her fiancé is off on a crowdfunded cross-country walk, too busy to return her ...more
Hardcover, 305 pages
Published February 14th 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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 On Turpentine Lane, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Lorraine0528 Yeah, I don't blame you for not wanting to finish it. It turned out they weren't dead babies, they were live babies that the woman gave to some…moreYeah, I don't blame you for not wanting to finish it. It turned out they weren't dead babies, they were live babies that the woman gave to some relative to raise because they were biracial. The dead baby thing was a turnoff to me, too. But they were sleeping, I guess and later they were in the book briefly as adults (2 girls). Not the greatest book, for sure.(less)
Kathy Fish Why no discussion questions for this book at any of the normal sites?
Wasn't it up to par for discussion questions...?
Very strange indeed!

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,510 ratings  ·  1,068 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of On Turpentine Lane
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I like Eleanor Lipman. She always delivers with novels that are warm and perceptive, a tad bit kooky, and often whimsical. Best of all, she makes it all seem easy, although I know that writing is anything BUT effortless.

Her latest book is a great pick-me-upper for a cold, gray winter day. Faith Frankel, her 30-something protagonist, is…well, kind of at odds with life. Her fiancée Stuart, a loser if there ever was one, has taken off on a new-age walking journey. Her father has just reinvented
Apr 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this novel. There was just so much to like: mystery, humor and romance! Great cover and the ending was satisfying too. 4stars! ...more
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I loved this fun and witty rom-com book and it's probably more of a 4.25 stars .

The plot involves a light mystery, some romance, and a somewhat dysfunctional family. There are a few twists and turns to keep things interesting, but let’s be honest, an intricate plot was not what I was looking for. The characters are quirky and lovable (well, most of them anyway) and it’s written in a funny, humorous way with snappy dialogue that never crossed over into sappy eye-rolling scenes. There were a few
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: net-galley, chick-lit
What a fun little book! Loved Elinor Lipman's writing. Pure enjoyment with a dash of quirkiness!

The story is all about Faith Frankel who buys a house on Turpentine Lane with some unexplained history. Enter her well meaning but meddling family and her level-headed workmate/friend Nick. It's a great story told in a very different and amusing way.

Thank-you to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for allowing me the opportunity to read this Advanced Reader's Copy.

So this is being described as romance/chick lit, which is not my favorite genre, but in this case was a real delight to listen to. The mystery kept me interested, and the dialogue was smart and witty. I enjoyed getting to know all of the characters, from the young woman who bought 10 Turpentine Lane as her first house, to the whacky family from whom she bought it, to her two love interests, and everyone in between.

A very enjoyable book! I haven't read this author before but am taking suggestions
L.P. Logan

Some stuff happened in this book, but, I don't know, I felt as though it were completely irrelevant to the book. How is that possible?! A book about stuff that has nothing to do with the way the book was going? Basically, I've come to the assumption a "serious" plotline was thrown in to try and add some luster to a pretty boring main character and love story. It was just -- blah.

Would I recommend this book to anyone I know? Naw. Can I say that if you are a reader without a desire to really
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a fun book. It is a romantic comedy where the heroine, Faith, has everything go wrong in her life. Her fiance gives her a red string as an engagement ring and then goes off on a walk across America where he blogs about his experiences. Unfortunately, he seems to have too many female fans which makes his fiance wonder about many things but especially about his level of commitment.

Faith buys a fixer upper house without knowing the house's history. The price was right so she bought it and
Carolyn F.
What a sweet, funny book! There were several times I would read a phrase and think, "I need to write that down and pretend I just made it up." I just loved this book. There's a murder mystery that's only a slight mystery. The love story was great. Even the fights with the ex's were written with humor and kindness. Fantastic book! I'd recommend it to anyone who loves contemporary romance written with humor. I'm planning on reading more by this author.
Suanne Laqueur
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2018
Delightful. Absolutely delightful and delicious. If you're looking for a smart, feel-good read, give Elinor Lipman a try. This was terrific and I also highly recommend The Inn at Lake Devine.
Liz Willard
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
I felt like the author tried really hard to be "quirky," and it shows. The result is quite silly. Occasionally entertaining, but very little of it felt realistic.
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-re-read, 2017, 2018
4.5 stars

I became so attached to the characters of On Turpentine Lane, and the sometimes wild ride we were all on, that I felt a real sense of loss when the book ended. It’s usually that way when I’m reading novels by Elinor Lipman, which combine playful wit with non-sappy but heart-warming story lines.

While her fiancé is off finding himself in a cross-country walk he’s hyping on social media, main character Faith Frankel works for her alma mater hand writing thank you notes to donors, but
Kasa Cotugno
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the perfect book to curl up with on a stormy day. It's got an appealing heroine, an enviable hero, features a cozy bungalow with a tainted history. Romcoms aren't usually this beguiling to me, but this was the escape I needed, a low intensity joyride without shifting gears. Here's a modern family with foibles but no bitterness, and at times hilarious, the plot unfolds with a few surprises, but nothing jarring.
♥ Sandi ❣
I am not a romance or chic lit reader normally. And this book did not change my mind. I had both the book and the audio. The narrator of the audio - Mia Barron - did a great job. She has a smooth voice and was easy to listen to. Her character definition was really good and you had no problem figuring out exactly who was speaking.
The story itself was only fair. It was about a woman buying her first home - a place where an earlier murder had occurred. She was involved with a real crud who only
Meh. I thought that this was literary fiction but it turned into chick-lit with unlikable characters and a plot that was all over the place. The characters are obsessed with the history of the house but I couldn't understand why. The decisions the characters made were very questionable. To be fair, I did read the whole book but I have nothing else to say.
William Koon
Feb 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
Elinor Lipman’s On Turpentine Lane is the worst novel I have ever encountered in a life time of reading. Imagine a slightly slow Lena Dunham in an episode of “Murder She Wrote.” Imagine the nastiest episode of My Craziest Ex-Girl Friend in dense prose. Writing does not get any poorer than this. Run away. Run away now! One star because there is no 0 star.
3-1/2 stars, rounded up
Faith Frankel has just bought a house for which a suspiciously eager seller accepted well below the asking price. A house in the same town where she grew up and her parents and brother still reside, and where she is now working for the private school she attended as a day student. A house which she bought without any help from her penniless fiancé, who is walking across the US to find himself. Faith’s excursion into homeownership opens new and unpredictable doors,
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
The premise, hook, and title of this book were great--probably the best parts about it, unfortunately. Even the set up was good, for all the talk of Stuart and the small-town claustrophobia, and some of the small-rolled characters were quite well defined (specifically, Brook and the school lawyer), but the book so quickly nose-dived the more Faith was developed. She's whiny, has almost no common sense, goes on field trips to harass senior citizens about the conclusions she has jumped to and ...more
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
An entertaining romantic comedy that made a 5 hour plane trip fly by. Predictable in a good way.
Mary Lins
Dec 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: complete
Oh, what a lovely romantic and witty story! "On Turpentine Lane", by Elinor Lipman, is the perfect "escapist" novel for this time of the year! Curl up by the fire with a hot mug of something and enjoy this fast-paced, laugh-out-loud romp narrated by 30-something Faith Frankle! Faith has moved "home" to small-town Massachusetts and purchased an old bungalow with a mysterious and possibly murderous past. We follow Faith's romantic ups and downs as she navigates her work, home, and family life (her ...more
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Is there any one writing funnier than Elinor Lipman? Whenever I need a little boost she's my go-to writer. Quirky yet believable characters and outrageously funny situations, set in Massachusetts, people with the absolutely wrong partner, brewing romances... a neat little package of life wrapped with a ribbon. The perfect rom-com! Yet her writing has substance as well as humor and this novel even has a little mystery tucked in. Loved it.
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a funny, lighthearted book with some quirky and fun characters. If you are looking for a fast, light read, this is a great choice!
RoseMary Achey
Jan 01, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a fun, light novel-perfect for a girls weekend, beach read or an extended airline flight. An office romance, lightly dysfunctional parents, a mini mystery make up the book's 300 pages.
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Good, but not great. I always enjoy Elinor Lipman (and I love her first name as well) because she seems like the sassy girl next door that you would love to hang out with and exchange witticisms with. I had high hopes after the first chapter because the main character buys an old house on the oddly-named Turpentine Lane, and I am a sucker for reading about old houses and everything found therein. However, the house was barely mentioned again.
This novel was filled with the author's usual clever
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More lighthearted fun from Elinor Lipman. This one includes wrong fiances, crazy old ladies, fathers with midlife crises, a murder house and the boss from heck (not quite the boss from hell).
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this whip-smart novel by Elinor Lipman. It’s a great blend of comedy, mystery, and a really beautiful love story. The most surprising part was how laugh out loud funny Lipman is. She will often add in short, quipped sentences that are pitch perfect, and make it hard to put the book down.

The story follows Faith Frankel as she returns to her hometown from Brooklyn while her fiance attempts to walk across the country to “find himself.” In his absence, she purchases a house that
Sep 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Meet Faith Frankel, thank you letter writer for her alma mater country day school; somewhat engaged to a guy who had some sort of revelation after surgery that he should walk across the country with a ‘free hugs’ sign around his neck to ‘find himself’; and new buyer of a small cottage with a dark history.

Enter, Nick Franconi, office mate, Faith’s defender, and coconspirator with Faith messing with their clueless, idiot boss, and soon housemate as well.

Add a well meaning mom; a moved out dad to
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loved-it
Loved it.
I've bought about five of her other books, and cannot wait to read them too. I'd love for the characters in THIS book to return someday in another book ( in this quirky house) as maybe detectives this time? I loved this book
May 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
It was just OK, I just expected to laugh more. Perhaps I just wasn't in the mood.
Sep 01, 2018 rated it liked it
This little “rom-com”, with a little mystery thrown in, fell a little short for me. Faith the main character was funny but annoyingly so. Nick was so perfect, (wouldn’t we all like that in a boyfriend.?), but he did have a calming affect on everyone who came in contact with him. Throw in a few unpredictable relatives and some crazy exes makes it hilarious and witty at times, you end up with a quirky story and fast read. I did want to finish to see how they solved the “mystery” of the house. 2.7 ...more
The Blonde Bookworm
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Quirky, Witty, Effortless. Those are the three words I would use to describe Elinor Lipman's hilarious new novel, On Turpentine Lane. It's quirky because Lipman intertwines romance, murder, high school admissions, and family drama all into one book. It's witty, because the main character and her family had me in stitches from the first page to the last, and it's effortless because Lipman's writing flows so well and makes it seem like writing is the easiest thing in the world!

I loved Faith and
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: On Turpentine Lane - 3.5 stars, by Elinor Lipman 1 13 Aug 14, 2017 04:52AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Evvie Drake Starts Over
  • The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
  • Clock Dance
  • The Library of Lost and Found
  • The Lager Queen of Minnesota
  • Mrs. Everything
  • The Dutch House
  • Night of Miracles (Mason, #2)
  • The Story of Arthur Truluv (Mason, #1)
  • Never Have I Ever
  • The Last Romantics
  • Harry's Trees
  • I'll Be Your Blue Sky
  • Ask Again, Yes
  • The Bookshop on the Shore
  • The Mother-in-Law
  • Things You Save in a Fire
  • Alternate Side
See similar books…
Elinor Lipman is the author of 11 humorous novels about contemporary American society; essay and short story collections, and a book of rhyming political tweets.. Born and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts, she graduated from Simmons College where she studied journalism. She lives in Manhattan, and received the New England Book award for fiction in 2001. Her first novel, "Then She Found Me," was ...more
“for those who notice, his face wears his goodness quite handsomely.” 0 likes
More quotes…