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A Special Relationship

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  2,540 ratings  ·  230 reviews
Sally Goodchild is everything you'd expect of a thirty-seven year old American journalist - independent, strong-willed and ambitious. That is until she meets Tony Hobbs, an English foreign correspondent, on assignment in Cairo. After a passionate but uneasy romance, Sally's life is turned upside down when she unexpectedly finds herself married, pregnant and living in ...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published August 5th 2004 by Arrow (first published 2003)
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Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,540 ratings  ·  230 reviews

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Ceri Chamberlain
Jul 29, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: non Brits
A really gripping tale well told, but what a hatchet job on us Brits! Made me feel seriously nauseous in its relentless condemnation of anything from this side of the pond. Nothing escaped the somewhat single-minded assassination: The NHS, the legal system, the weather, London, the very nature of the entire English population (apparently), corner shop owners, transport, cost of living, pre-natal care, post-natal care, English b@stard journalist men, posh English bitchy lawyers, drivers, old ...more
May 09, 2010 rated it did not like it
gave up around page 180, then skim-read a chapter further along and then skipped to the very last chapter alltogether because I couldn't stand it anymore to read about the post-natal depression and the stupid British/American comparisons. But I needed to know that the baby was ok that'S why I read the last chapter
Jan 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Douglas Kennedy is one of my favorite authors - I will read anything he writes. Sometimes when you have a favorite author, you run the risk they will write subject matter that is a little too close to home. This was one of those books for me. Loved it, devoured it, but had to put it down occasionally to catch my breath.

Sally is a journalist based in Cairo, meets and falls in love with and English foreign correspondent. They get pregnant, get married, then things start to go wrong.

Kennedy has a
Amber Myott
May 24, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't realise this book would focus so much on child birth and post natal depression (Yet another read where the blurb did not indicate this ) . Also the whole Brits versus the Americans in terms of emotions got boring. I'm really surprised Douglas Kennedy chose to right about post natal depression from a female perspective ..... While some descriptions where accurate his voice as a first time mum recovery from an emergency Caesarian and severe post natal depression was not authentic ( having ...more
Eileen Horgan
Jul 22, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sun-holiday-read
This novel is so stupid in places I would have laughed except for the tremendously blatant racism towards anyone who wasn't American. I definitely will never read another book penned by this Author. This fabricated tale is interspersed with an appallingly huge number of medical inaccuracies which I'll touch on.
American reporter meets male English reporter in Cairo, threatened at gun point by a teenage rebel, male 'overpowers' him, girl falls in love, gets pregnant, they marry in haste, move to
Jul 19, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Susan by: Book Club
Not only is this book not a good one to read while pregnant (or even with a new baby), but it doesn't offer anything to discuss. Except, perhaps, why Kennedy thinks he does such a good job at writing from a woman's perspective... A woman in my Book Club commented that it makes her think of what Jack Nicholson says in "As Good As it Gets" in response to Helen Hunt's question about writing from a woman's perspective. He replies: I think of a man and take away reason and accountability.

There is no
Dec 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Douglas Kennedy is one of my new favorite authors. I read two of his books in less than a week (this novel and LEAVING THE WORLD). His novels appear to deal with very serious subject matter (suicide, guilt, post-partum depression...) while still managing to be very intelligent page-turners. The novels I've read thus far were written in a female voice; Kennedy is superb at this.

This novel is about Sally Goodchild, an American foreign journalist, and Tony Hobbs, a British journalist, who meet
Paul Servini
Oct 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
This novel drew me in. It took a while to do so but once we got to the major turning point I was hooked. I particularly loved the narrating voice. For a man to get into the voice of a woman like this is a remarkable fit. It truly convinced me. True, you could always see the ending coming, but that didn't deteriorate, for me at least, the path there. And I must put in a special mention for that wonderfully drawn solicitor. Solicitous and determined, yet socially inept, he's marvellously drawn. A ...more
Jun 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing

Heart-breaking. Heart-wrenching. At some point, I can't help but feel the pain of anger. This book without noticing can completely wrap your feelings to understanding and pain. Two things that are hard to handle both at the same time. A page-turner. It made me feel victorious in the end though the journey beforehand is excruciating. I love this book. I love Douglas Kennedy. I love his brilliant mind.
Nino Meladze
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I liked this book due to it's unpredictability. While the start was extremely plain, course of matters started to shake in a while. I also enjoyed cultural snapshots and how environment was shown being impacted by surrounding traditions. Also, common problems were shown in an absolutely unique light... Not easy to read at times but definitely hard to put the book down.
Linda (un)Conventional Bookworms
3.5 stars

A Special Relationship started out as a romance, but then it became much more about difficult relationship, betrayal, loneliness and despair... Full review to come soon - for this one, I'll do a guest review at Between Dreams and Reality
Kashmira Gohil
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
A quintessential American women journalist Sally who covers the news in foreign lands such as Somalia on her job meets the fellow English journalist, a foreign correspondent Tony. They both fall in love & she gets pregnant. They get married & Sally leaves her home town Boston to start her new life of domesticity in London. A child is born & her nightmare begins. As she's not used to total domesticity & still getting used to English country & customs, tries to adjust to the ...more
Brianna Rabe
Jun 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
I just finished Douglas Kennedy’s A Special Relationship, the second book of my dedication to summer reading. The cover is deceptive, and with no description on the back flap, I went into this intense and desperately unhappy novel blind. Thinking I was in for a quick beach read about love, the story instead followed the inner workings of a postpartum depression-haunted woman and a traumatizing divorce. This book was a combination of Jodi Picoult’s Keeping Faith and Tatiana de Rosnay’s Sarah’s ...more
Judith Phillips
Jul 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
It's like reading a living nightmare. American journalist meets British journalist and have whirlwind relatioinship. She becomes pregnant, they get married and things deteriorate very quickly from there. He is a rotten scumbag, she does nit understand his Englishness and can't communicate with him or anyone English for that matter. She gets pre eclampsia and has the baby prematurely, and is then hospitalised with post natal depression and just when you think the story can't get any worse, it ...more
Jan 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a really good book.....I just wish he would have come up with a better title. You would think this is going to be a romance....IT"S is a riveting book about trust, betrayal, post partum depression, fighting for what belongs to you and fighting for what is right.

It may start a little slow (that happens with so many books I've read lately) but WOW just hang on and keep reading and you will get a shock in short order!

A really good author, I have read him before and knew I
Sarah Leech
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
just finished this book and was amazed with the detail and character built by a male author dealing with such female issues, very frank and very well written. The mix of British and American view points related well to the atmosphere of the book, shows there are other options to using the weather as a frame, I thought this worked well within the context of the novel and was well constructed as a theme. A satisfying read throughout and as a courtroom drama fan I enjoyed this book immensely in its ...more
Jan 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I was very scared for the character and what she was going through. As a mother I hated to see her treated the way she was. I couldn't wait to find out what happens. As with Douglas Kennedy's books I wasn't disappointed in it. I love them and I get so involved with them. This was a nail biter at the end and I couldn't wait to find out what happens. The thread in his books is depression, Bad men who leave their women, journalists and women who overcome terribe odds and come out ...more
Jul 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who isn't pregnant
I borrowed this book from my sister-in-law. I am glad I didn't read it when I was in the throes of post-partum depression! It's amazing to me that a man wrote this book, he nailed so many of the feelings of a woman going through post-partum. I don't want to ruin this book for anyone, but I would absolutely recommend it!
Aug 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Another great book. And again, another not happy topic. The character spirals downward after having a baby, but it is so neat to read how she recovers and picks up the pieces and fights for what she wants in life. So well written
Alain Pirlot
Oct 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
I do actually read it in French, so surely missing something.
It is well written, and as usual with Douglas Kennedy so close to reality.
The story is hard, what is happening to the newly Mother is a tragedy...
At the middle of the book.
Jul 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Douglas Kennedy is quite credible writing as a woman... the story offers nice little insights into Brit-American socio-cultural differences and some neat psychological twists and turns.
Aug 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I took it on holiday to Spain and couldn't put it down. A special insight into post-natal depression but it is still a book of hope.
Tracey Tester
Feb 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A very good - if slightly uncomfortable in places - read. Whirlwind relationship, pregnancy, post-natal depression and betrayal all in one book. Another book I found very hard to put down.
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it
The concept of post partnum depression I was very interested in, and the fact that the author was a man and I could totally relate as a woman even though I have never had a child myself was amazing! However I did have a problem with the rest of the story line - how the fact that she didn't know the guy at all and all of his skeletons in his closet etc. I would have rather had a story that this was a a couple in a relationship for a number of years and then this took place instead - I didn't like ...more
Christine Irvin
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sally Goodchild and Tony Hobbs, both fiercely independent journalists (she is American, he is British), meeting in Cairo. The first line of the story reads: "About an hour after I met Tony Hobbs, he saved my life." Thus began a whirlwind romance between these two that resulted in a pregnancy. Tony offers marriage and Sally accepts. They move to London because Tony has accepted a job with the London bureau of his paper.

Sally has few contacts in London, but she is able to remain employed until she
Sep 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, africa, uk, 2018
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Zoe Smyth
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Was very fast paced throughout with some really intriguing descriptions of the main characters mental state as she encounters a turning point in her life. Once I was about 2/3’s through it even kicked it a notch and I was reading until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I wouldn’t say the book had woven a rich tapestry of setting or other storylines as it simply doesn’t have time to but I thoroughly believed the main character and it opened my eyes to her experience. Definitely worth a read but you’ ...more
Lucy Condon
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Mixed feelings about this story of Sally & Tony, two macho style journalists who hook up in Cairo. Tony hugest posted to London and she follows, gets pregnant and has a bad pregnancy resulting in PND. Things don’t get much better for Sally....
Very easy to read but too simplistic. Grating descriptions of Londoners in Putney ‘nappy valley’. Also repetitive. Would not rush to read another one of his.
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After the first two or three chapters of this book, I was hating it. I had even contemplated, literally throwing it. But I decided to give it one more chapter to turn things around. I’m pleased I did: it soon had me hooked. I didn’t always like the writing style but the story was actually very good. In the version I read, there were also some typos and one glaring mistake in the story. Worth a read though.
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My first Douglas Kennedy read and it got me hooked. Loved the war correspondent theme and the dynamic between the two characters and their initial passion and chemistry, an intense plot. The book covers of Kennedy's always annoy me as they tend to convey chick lit but these are not - well written book about the realities of relationships.
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Douglas Kennedy was born in Manhattan in 1955. He studied at Bowdoin College, Maine and Trinity College, Dublin, returning to Dublin in 1977 with just a trenchcoat, backpack and $300. He co-founded a theatre company and sold his first play, Shakespeare on Five Dollars a Day, to Radio 4 in 1980. In 1988 he moved to London and published a travel book, Beyond the Pyramids. His debut novel The Dead ...more
“... we seemed to possess a similar worldview: slightly jaded, fiercely independent ... ” 6 likes
“... the perennial outsider with his nose to the window, looking in on a world from which he felt excluded.” 4 likes
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