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The Young Widow's Book of Home Improvement

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  121 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Virginia Lloyd was single at 32, married at 32, and widowed at 34.

A young professional woman finally meets the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with, only to discover that he is terminally ill. After her beloved John's death from cancer, Virginia was faced with addressing the chronic rising damp problem in the house they had shared and, over her first year as a
Hardcover, 266 pages
Published April 7th 2008 by University of Queensland Press
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  121 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Lizzy Chandler
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The only reason I didn't originally give this memoir five stars is because I wanted more. A year later, the book still lives vividly in my mind and I know that's the work of a talented author, so I've re-rated it.

The Young Widow's Guide to Home Improvement is both a love story and a memoir of loss. There are no surprises: it's all laid out in the title. The author Virginia Lloyd falls in love and discovers too soon that the illness which her beloved is being treated for is terminal. The memoir a
Jan 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Such a moving book. The author conveys such a feeling of intense devotion between her and her husband as they battle through the final stages of her husband's secondary cancer.

It's amazing what love does to a person. It can fill you with such hope that even terminal cancer doesn't faze you and you dive head-on into cohabitation and marriage.

This is a book about cancer, death, grief and describes a fleeting yet beautiful love story.

Nov 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A moving but not maudlin meditation on love and death, beautifully structured and written with grace and understatement. It's astonishing to realise that John and Virginia lived a whole life in just two years, and heartbreaking to know how much life and love they could and should have had together. ...more
Aug 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
I was glued to this book for probably the first three quarters, but then found myself reading the rest "just to get it finished". I'm stuck between "it was ok" and "i liked it". ...more
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the type of book I love to read.
I like the metaphor of her life and renovating her house.
It's a sad story in many ways, but uplifting at others.
The author has not shied away from writing about the emotions that we hard and painful.
But the joy in her words, as she describes John are so lovely.
Anna Loder
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am still thinking about John and Virginia. I want to know more about them. I think it's a real testimony to her; they are friends that I am interested in. I finished it through an Australian Day concert because I couldn't put it down. Really well done ...more
Sergiu Pobereznic
Once in a while I search for a book by an author that is not yet mainstream (or thrust in your face by Amazon, a Nobel Prize Winner) and I stumbled – happily I might add – across this non-fiction memoir.

A brief description: Virginia Lloyd imparts the story of her courtship and marriage to John (the love of her life) and his all-too-soon death at 47 years of age at the hands of cancer. The story shifts between their romance, which is tainted by John's encroaching, imminent demise, and her life as
Alison Blake
Dec 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Good read nothing special
Jul 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Cried my eyes out reading this one
Katische Haberfield
Review: The Young Widow’s Book of Home Improvement- A true story of love and renovation by Virginia Lloyd

Can you imagine waiting your whole life to meet the man of your dreams, to find that he had terminal cancer? The irony is not lost on Virginia Lloyd, who has written a powerful memoir about her journey from being single, to married and widowed all in a 2 year period. It is first and foremost a love story which takes the reader on a journey of the love between two people, who are aware that th
Yvette Adams
This title caught my eye in an op shop just after my baby sister tragically lost her husband. I thought I might get something out of it, but set it aside less than half way through as I was getting nothing out of it and I wasn’t liking the author.

I’m doing the Pop Sugar reading challenge and one category is “a book you started and never finished” so I came back to this after about 9 months (it’s the only book I had never finished). I didn’t dislike it as much once I got going again. As it turne
Feb 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoy reading biographies but usually try to stay away from "sad" ones. I read a review of this book in Good Reading magazine so reserved it thinking that perhaps it would be good to step out of my comfort zone and try a tear jerker for a change. However, Young Widow's Book.. is not a tear jerker as such but a young woman's journey through her grief at loosing her new husband to cancer (she did know he had cancer when they married). Using the rising damp in her house and it's repair as symboli ...more
Heather Browning
There was a nice idea behind this, in running the parallels between working to repair yourself through grieving, and in working to repair an old damaged home. Sometimes I did feel a bit like it was trying too hard to focus on this, rather than to just tell the story, but overall this was quite a touching memoir, moving back and forth between the relationship, marriage and illness; and her life as it moved forward afterwards. This is one of the things that scares me most in the world, and there i ...more
Dec 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a lovely book about a modern romance that is tragically cut short, though the bride knew she was marrying a man with terminal cancer, and her subsequent renovation of their home due to excessive moisture. It was probably not the best for me to read this so close to the first anniversary of my brother's death. At one point she brought back the pain of his last moments so vividly I almost dropped the book (at the community pool!). But I am glad I read it and glad she shared her story. It h ...more
Mar 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
I found this book making me want to read on to find out how the author's difficult life was progressing. Well written and I felt like I was listening to a friend I had a very deep friendship with. No holds barred story.

Good to see an Australian author produce such a great book.

I read the hardback version of the book and was immediately drawn to the cover which was simple but effective but raised paper (not sure of what the right name is for this type of artwork to paper) which made the Jasmine a
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the most moving books I've read about a love affair, a couple grappling with an old house in need of love and care and then a partner in desperate need of love and care, as a terrible illness robbed the couple of a life together. And yet in the two short years they had together Llloyd, in her compelling memoir has managed to cram a lifetime of experiences and portray their journey as something positive ...more
Jul 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is the most amazing story (true!) about a young Sydney woman who was single at 32, married at 33 and a widow at 34. Her husband died of cancer and her house was falling down round their's the story of her journey during and after his illness and death.

This is the most beautiful book I have ever read and despite it being sad, it is a fantastic love story.
Nov 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, 2009, australia
Virginia Lloyd was single at 32, married at 33 and widowed at 34. This book is her true story. I whizzed through this book in one day and I just could not put it down. Although it centres around Virgina's husband John's death from cancer, the book wasn't sad and morbid. In fact, quite the opposite. I found the story really uplifting and sweet. ...more
Aug 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in 2008 after a bad break up, it was cathartic and I cried and cried with Virginia for lost dreams and lost lives, heartbreak and the agony of losing the love of your life.
May not be everyone's cup of tea but I loved this book and the poem at the beginning is wonderful and full of meaning and sentiment for me.
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
Not a dry eye present after reading this. This book tells an honest account of not only the psychological effects, but also the lifestyle changes of grief and palliative care. However I did find the home improvement narrative a bit drawn out.
Worth a read.
Sep 27, 2009 added it
This is a beautifully written book, i really loved it. Great to read a Sydney book, but it was sad!
Dec 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Sad but ultimately hopeful memoir. Inspires me to fully live each day.
Feb 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
loved this - so moving.
Jul 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book...
Jul 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Not bad - as always, I wanted to know what happened next but a warm, funny and heartbreaking memoir. I would recommend this book.
Jan 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoirs
A good book. Virginia Lloyd is wonderfully open about dealing with grief.
Aug 06, 2011 rated it liked it
I seem to be drawn to books about grief and loss, even when they are the worst thing in the world for me to read.

This was a good book, but I shouldn't have read it.
Jan 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
Tells the story of Virginia's short relationship with her husband, who suffers bone cancer, and her efforts to renovate their run-down house after his death. ...more
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A heart wrenching biography of a newly wed young woman nursing her husband through the end stages of cancer. Warning: Have plenty of tissues ready.
Jennie Andrews
May 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
Sorry but this just didn't appeal to me - repetitious and drawn out - and I couldn't quite get the connection between home improvement and widowhood. ...more
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Home Improvement 1 3 Sep 19, 2013 03:25AM  

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