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A Desirable Residence

2.95  ·  Rating details ·  5,916 ratings  ·  577 reviews
Liz and Jonathan Chambers were in trouble. Mortgage trouble. They'd stretched themselves to busting with their new exciting project - well, Liz thought it exciting - buying and managing the Silchester Tutorial College, and now couldn't sell their old house. Here they were, stuck with two mortgages, mounting debts and a miserable adolescent daughter who hadn't wanted to mov ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by Black Swan (first published June 1st 1996)
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Average rating 2.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,916 ratings  ·  577 reviews


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Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
What an utter waste of time. The consolidated three hours it took for me to complete this tome of one-dimensional, unlikeable characters is 180 minutes I'd like back.

There are seven characters; none of which seemed remotely convincing or valid. Most were vapid and so distasteful I wanted them to be caught out on their nefarious deeds. One character, Liz, was especially heinous and off-putting. I loathed that character. Any time the narrative was about Liz was a nadir for the book; just unrepenta
...more
Ciara
Mar 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2011
another terrible madeleine wickham book. i don't know if i even have the energy to go into it. but i'll try.

so, liz is married to jonathan. they own a home in silchester. liz convinces jonathan to put the home on the market in the hopes of using the proceeds to pay down the mortgage on the "tutorial college" they just purchased. it took me forever to figure out what a tutorial college is. i guess it's like an american SAT prep company, sort of. liz & jonathan have a disaffected teenage daughter
...more
Diana
Jun 28, 2009 rated it did not like it
I feel like this book was so abruptly ended with no real tying up of loose ends. The characters were very one-dimensional.
Meg
As much as I became initially engaged in Madeleine Wickham's A Desirable Residence, all the attraction here is centered on unlikeable, misanthropic people finally getting their just desserts in the end. From scheming, bored Marcus to ungrateful, uncharitable Liz, I struggled to find one character with whom connect in this British novel.

Bratty Alice couldn't have been more unjust to Jonathan, her bumbling but sweet father, and more than once in the book I found myself wanting to reach in and slap
...more
Melita
Mar 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Through this book I learnt that Sophie Kinsella's real name is Madeleine Wickham. All is well, I thought. This one looks good.
I read the book by borrowing it from my friend when we're on a class trip. We were on a bus, and I am dead bored. I dont want to sleep, so I asked her whether I can read her book. She said yes and I am so grateful for that! Finished half of the book by the time we ended the bus trip. Finished the rest of it during the week end. Found this to be a page turner. All of the
...more
Meagan
Feb 28, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't a fan of this book. None of the characters really engaged me, and I really didn't like how it ended. It was very abrupt.
J.Elle
Oct 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
I really enjoy reading most of what Sophie Kinsella writes. It's just really great, entertaining chick-lit. This did not fall into that category. This story just dragged on. Liz and Jonathan are financially over-extended (aren't we all). Liz ends up having an affair with the man who starts solving some of their money problems, but things quickly go south when everyone involved starts running in the same circles. Frankly, I read this over a month ago and any significant details escape me. I'm jus ...more
Sandie
Apr 15, 2010 rated it liked it
What we have here is a failure to communicate". That line from the old Paul Newman movie Cool Hand Luke could just as easily apply to the characters in Madeline Wickham's A DESIRABLE RESIDENCE. Although this book was published in the UK several years ago, it is just now making its way into the US marketplace.

Ms. Wickham's book addresses several issues. We have overbearing, social climbing mothers, hen-pecked, wimpy fathers, underemployed actors, children seeking acceptance and friendship from t
...more
Kathy
Jul 18, 2012 rated it did not like it
So, this is actually Sophie Kinsella however since Sophie Kinsella is her writer name, it really is Madeleine Wickham. Confused? No worries, this whole book is confusing. This book was written way before the popularity of the Confession of a Shopoholic Series. Elements of the Shopoholic series are evident everywhere throughout the book and all I can say is that she definitely pulled the best of this book and tightened up her writing in order to create a mass sensation with that series.

The plot:
...more
Cathy
Oct 20, 2010 rated it it was ok
Why do I love Sophie Kinsella, but hate Madeleine Wickham? They're the same person, but their characterizations are apples and oranges. Wickham's main characters have such horrible moral judgment, and are so generally unlikable. The secondary characters are so put upon by the main characters that you want to say, "Pay attention. She's getting away with murder!" Figuratively, of course. While Wickham's characters are more sophisticated, I prefer the charming naivete that causes Kinsella's main gi ...more
Patti
Jan 28, 2008 added it
Boring, but I plowed trough it, hoping the end would be worth it- NOT SO!
Colleen
Jan 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book, though not what I expected, was quite a good read. Despite the fluffy description on the flap, this book is actually a very frank and serious look at relationships, love, and betrayal. Wickham does a marvelous job with these characters, though it is upsetting how very irresponsible almost all of the adults are throughout the novel. Fourteen year-old Alice was particularly well-drawn; the pain of her adolescent experience reached off the page to grab me. Her conflicted feelings about t ...more
Carrie Morrison
Jan 01, 2011 rated it did not like it
I have NEVER returned a book to the library without finishing it... this was the first. Before this book, I have enjoyed many of Madeline Wickham's novels - including the ones she wrote under her pseudonym, Sophie Kinsella. I simply could not get into this book - I could tell where it was going within the first 20 pages. I enjoy quick-read Chicklit, but this one simply stunk. I am guessing she cranked this one out to meet her contract requirements.
penelopewanders
This story never really got off the ground, as far as I am concerned. The characters were fairly interesting although almost all rather unpleasant in some way, and I never greatly enjoy spending time with people I don't particularly like - in real life or in books. It wasn't particularly funny, not very sad or tragic, just a bit dreary, really.
Kristy
didn't like the characters, didn't like the language, didn't finish the book. Trashy book, so disappointing since she also wrote the most hilarious book I've ever read, and one of my favorites, "Can you Keep a Secret." Read that one instead.
Rhiannon
Mar 08, 2010 rated it did not like it
This book was a huge disappointment for me. I just found it lacked a good story-line and so it was kind of a time waster.
Renee
Jul 26, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Too many characters with no one really likeable character. The story really doesn't take you anywhere. I didn't really get the book at all. Waste of time.
Bookread2day
May 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading A Desirable Residence. I totally just love reading her books either as Madelenine Wickham or Sophie Kinsella
Kristi Connell
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
The only dud I’ve read this year. I was looking for a light, fun read - the kind Madeleine Wickham/Sophie Kinsella is known for - but this fell completely flat. My biggest issue was that I couldn’t find a single character to root for. Everyone was kind of awful, except for Liz’s husband Jonathan, and he was presented as a total milquetoast. And it really irked me that it seemed to be no big deal that Alice was essentially stalking Ginny and Piers - I mean, really? It was creepy, not endearing.

I
...more
Lisa
Aug 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
Yawn! Characters were pretty awful! What 14 year old is encouraged by adults around her including her mother to drink wine and spirits? No real story here. Took so long to get into it and then I was half way through so I may as well finish it. A disappointing read.
Becky
This was just ok. Some parts were funny. Some were boring.
Christy ImperfectlyWorthy
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up-on
Made it to pg 50, and that was more than enough. Next!
Sharlyn Zimmerman-Tollefson
I usually really enjoy books written by Sophie Kinsella, AKA Madeleine Wickham, I had to push myself to finish reading this one. I found it quite boring actually and I will be giving it away.
Sarah
Sep 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
A Desirable Residence was originally published in 1996, the second novel by Wickham (AKA Sophie Kinsella). It's easy to see why Wickham's novels have bloomed over the years into the successful Shopaholic series under the Kinsella moniker; as this particular novel really reads more like a debut or starter. Although A Desirable Residence is a quick read, it just isn't as satisfying as I had originally hoped it would be.

The book centers around three main families: the Chambers', the Witherstones, a
...more
Gail Cooke
Jul 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Those who enjoyed the over-the-top popular Shopaholic series will be delighted to find that Madeline Wickham (who wrote the Shopaholics as Sophie Kinsella) has returned with her trademark tart wit, unerring eye, and imagination to introduce us to Liz and Jonathan Chambers who find themselves thigh-high in debt thanks to two mortgages, sky rocketing bills and an unknowable, impossible young daughter, Alice.

Set in suburban London Liz and Jonathan see no way out of their financial troubles until M
...more
Victoria
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was actually compelled to stay up and finish this book last night. I have never read this author and though it was very different I was surprised to have read it so quickly. Most of the characters do appear to be dreaming of better things; Liz, married to Jonathon, has an affair with Marcus, dreams of not having money problems, Marcus, who is married to Anthea dreams of more success. Marcus rents out Liz and Jonathon's house to his friends, Ginny and Piers, who actually seem to be dreaming of ...more
Kat A
Jul 12, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Yuck. Unlikable characters, unsatisfying ending and a wasted few hours of my life. Set in the fictional town of Silchester, which just sounds hilarious, it stumbles along, each two dimensional character worse than the next. Liz was the most egregious and it was frustrating that there was no confrontation between her and her husband about the affair. I only picked this book up because it had been republished with a printed cover reading:

SOPHIE KINSELLA
writing as
Madelene Wickham

Obviously, a cle
...more
Tonya
Jun 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010-reads
Things come full circle in A Desirable Residence by Madeleine Wickham. A family of three purchases a tutorial college and moves into the flat above it, hoping to sell their house -- What ends up happening is the married woman falls in love with the real estate agent, has an affair and falls deeply in love with the idea of having money and no worries that he does. However, the real estate agent is married as well. Their lives end up entertwining and coming to a climax in the end.

Meanwhile, the r
...more
Clare
Oct 17, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As a huge Sophie Kinsella fan, I was curious to read something by her alter ego, Madeleine Wickham. (Incidentally, I'm having a hard time getting over the fact that Sophie Kinsella is a pseudonym. Did everyone know this but me? It feels like the time I discovered that Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley was the same girl who played Hannah Neffler in Troop Beverly Hills, and everyone was like, "How did you not know this already?!") Anyway. I'm not sure why Wickham felt she had to adopt a pseudonym, but her ...more
Chicken Little
This book wasn't bad but not quite as good as other early works by Wickham. I didn't like Liz at all: what a miserable woman! Great characters are indeed Jonathan, Marcus and Daniel. Alice remains a paper-thin character throughout the entire story. While I felt that the book dragged itself along at times, the ending was pretty good overall. However, do not aspect the wittiness and humor so typical of Wickham's other stories because it is completely missing here. One cannot help but feel a sense ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #17 A Desirable Residence 1 3 Apr 08, 2017 01:57PM  

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Madeleine Wickham (born 12 December 1969) is a bestselling British author under her pseudonym, Sophie Kinsella. Educated at New College, Oxford, she worked as a financial journalist before turning to fiction. She is best known for writing a popular series of chick-lit novels. The Shopaholic novels series focuses on the misadventures of Becky Bloomwood, a financial journalist who cannot manage her ...more

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