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The Secret Papers of Madame Olivetti (Nal Accent Novels)

3.01  ·  Rating Details ·  229 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
The Secret Papers of Madame Olivetti (Nal Accent Novels)
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 7th 2008 by NAL Trade (first published September 25th 2008)
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(showing 1-30)
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Dec 05, 2009 Kimm rated it liked it
I took The Secret Papers of Madame Olivetti with me as a vacation read. I was looking for a light read to help pass the time of a very long car ride. Wow, I really should have read the book description a little closer before choosing it as my companion for the journey! The brightly colored cover looked fun and whimsical…not so much the story. It was sad and a little depressing. Definitely, not a let’s party like it’s 1999, kinda book.

I felt for Lily, the centerpiece of the book. We see her life
Jul 27, 2009 Jennie rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
This is another book I bought at the clearance table and B&N or Borders because it sounded like a fun, quick and light read. I was surprised in this book, it sounded like it would be more of a memoir book set in Italy but instead it was a creative blend of memoir and narrative, bridging the gap between the past and the future. Through Lily, we follow her drama filled life around the globe, through the different loves and losses, all while ending up in a full circle connection to the past and ...more
Aug 22, 2012 Frances rated it it was ok
As I read this book, I went in and out of liking it. I think a lot of that had to do that the author went in and out of the story so often. She did a great deal of her story telling through flashback and often one paragraph was in the present,then a flashback, then a flashback to a different period in the character's life. It was hard to follow because she didn't make it clear when she was making a change. I rather liked the story, but the book had a disordered feel to it. If I found another boo ...more
Aug 03, 2010 Sara is currently reading it
You CAN put this book down.

It's a slow read with a slow moving plot. Lily Crisp is writing something like a memoir in Southern France, and her writing in the book is moving a lot quicker than the rest of the novel, which is annoying me as a reader. I want to know what is going on in her life NOW, rather than what has already happened. Granted, as a reader one may need this information to understand Lily's character and decisions later on in the novel, but it's taking too long to get interesting
Apr 23, 2011 Mandi rated it liked it
I got confused a little here and there in the beginning of this read. I don't know if it was just hard for me to start or what, but I thought the second half of the book was more together. Overall I enjoyed it, didn't get some aspects of it, but not a terrible read for me.
Jun 15, 2009 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club-picks
While I agree that the main character was not someone I could completely like, I enjoyed many aspects of the story. I loved the descriptions of the various places Lily lived and visited, and I enjoyed the back-story of her husband's relatives.
Patti Kowalski
Jul 20, 2010 Patti Kowalski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More of a 3 and a half to four star book. Well worth the bargain price I paid. Nice weekend read.
May 31, 2017 Cshifflett rated it it was ok
It was very hard to keep track of time in this book. Author jumped from one time period to another without any clear distinction.
It was not a "Pleasant" story to read, but one that probably matches many lives. I was hoping for something lighter. Some chapters I would, "OK, I think I will like this book now." Then I get to the next chapter and would be confused by the time frame and would not like what was going on and thought about giving up on it.
Jul 18, 2017 Alex rated it liked it
Perfect beach read
Dec 23, 2008 Kaye rated it really liked it

After her husband Paul dies very unexpectedly, Lily Crisp feels she needs a brief respite from everyday responsibilities to ponder the future, but mostly to savor the past. Her destination is France, to the house called La Pierre Rouge, an inheritance from her mother-in-law. When Lily hires Yves, local handyman, to fix the tiles on the roof, he listens to her past in musings spoken only in English. As Yves only speaks French, it makes it easier for her to unburden herself completely. As she expl
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
Nov 06, 2008 Kathy (Bermudaonion) rated it really liked it
Lily Crisp has always held her emotions inside, so when her husband dies, she doesn’t really know how to grieve. She decides to head to their home in France and takes her old Olivetti typewriter with her to write her life’s story. (She calls the typewriter Madame Olivetti.) Lily’s life has taken many twists and turns. As a young woman, she leaves her boyfriend for a little while to study in Italy. When she gets there, she discovers she’s pregnant. Before she can tell her boyfriend, she finds out ...more
Jul 08, 2012 Angela rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2012, fiction
I starting reading this book yesterday (Saturday) and finished it today (Sunday). It was very laborious. I had to pick it up and put it down all day long. This was a bargain book I found while wandering the aisles in one of the major bookstores. The cover seemed interesting. And being from a generation who used typewriters, I was somewhat intrigued that this old-fashioned device had a role in the book. However, I'm not sure what I was truly expecting with this book - but I definitely was not exp ...more
Mar 22, 2009 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Although it was clever to try and create a character out of an old typewriter, it didn't feel right to me as the reader. To me, this book is simply about a search for love and freedom in life, over the course of the narrator's whole life. It seems like wherever she goes, whether it's the welcoming family in Italy that shelter her or the peaceful lake in Idaho or the romantic shores of Mexico, the protagonist never stops looking for that certain "je ne sais quoi" that she seeks. She's really not ...more
Oct 27, 2011 Carla rated it did not like it
Two descriptions of this book: Chick Lit. Beach read.
This is the story of a fifty two year old woman who goes to her coastal home in France to recuperate from her husband's sudden death and to write her memoirs as a means of coming to terms with incidents and errors she has made in her life. The book started out with promise, but became more and more unrealistic with predictable situations. A love affair with the handyman, of all people, paired with Lily's romantic escapades during her life (and
Sep 23, 2009 Cathryn rated it really liked it
This book was a really great concept, and an excellent story. The author gives a brutally honest account of the raw pain a human being can experience and inflict. The main criticisms of the book seem to be that she has a lot of sex. But readers should keep in mine that the book represented her entire lifetime. My only criticism is the drawn out metaphors and the flashy descriptive prose. It just seemed unnecessary and somewhat painful to me; in places I actually had a hard time following the des ...more
Mar 08, 2016 Lisa rated it it was ok
The idea for this book was good but the writing weighed it down. I had to check to see if the author was foreign and if English was her second language because some of the phrases just didn't sound like an American wrote them. There were too many flashbacks and characters who added nothing to the story. I didn't really care about any of the characters which lead to skimming the last 30 pages or so. I just wanted to be finished with Lilly and her drama. I will not remember anything about this boo ...more
Jennilynn Hughes
Jul 29, 2016 Jennilynn Hughes rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. like a few other readers, I was expecting something a bit lighter and more frivolous. it checks all the boxes for books I love: foreign lands, French, travel, and love. the book weaves through time and tells exotic tales of Lily Crisp's life. I felt for her so much, and by the end, I knew and cared for her more than most other book characters I've encountered. not a lighthearted read, but one I'd recommend nonetheless.
Feb 17, 2016 Jayne rated it it was amazing
A delightful and sometimes terrifying reexamination of one woman's life after her sudden widowhood - her loves and losses and confusions and the secret fear she carries for so many years. The reader sees her with more compassion than she usually sees herself. A bit reminiscent of "Pippa Lee" but with sensory and sensual beauty surrounding and sometimes, like a tropical blossom, overpowering the bare facts of her story.
Dec 10, 2011 Lois rated it liked it
Usually coming of age books refer to those entering adulthood, this one is about a woman entering a much later stage of life. The title may throw you off. Madame Olivetti is the name of the women's typewriter and has little to do with the story. Lily Crisp is reflection back on her life after the death of her husband. It's a beautifully written and enjoyable story despite dragging a bit towards the end. It makes you want to take off for the doth of France to do your own reflecting
Sarah K
Mar 22, 2016 Sarah K rated it it was ok
Where are the woman's kids and how could she leave them for almost a whole summer after the loss of a husband to start a love affair??? Maybe if the kids were older, but a nine year old girl needs her mom at a time like this. If you can look beyond that and love the seaside or France you may enjoy this book more than me.
MB (What she read)
A little too much indiscriminate sex and an excess of sensibility for me. I must not be the target audience.

(I haven't read it, so can't say for sure but I think people who liked "Eat, Pray, Love" might enjoy this.)
Sep 19, 2012 Biddy rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I was quite worn out by all the sex! I got the feeling that the story was written to include places well known by the author. She did a good job of creating apt ambiance to each place. I didn't find the characters really believable.
Sep 02, 2009 Andrea rated it it was ok
About 1/3 of the way into this book, I thought maybe it was going to get interesting. I was wrong. I really just couldn't bring myself to care about this woman's sex life, and the whole idea of the typewriter as a character never took off or made any sense. Blech.
Oct 27, 2012 Bernye rated it liked it

Enjoyed the author's ability to let Lily tell her story so that she could heal and forgive herself enabling her to move on with her life and family. Enjoyed spending vacations and travels through Lily's eyes. Nice ending
Jan 04, 2009 Kim rated it it was amazing
When I first started reading it I was a bit confused..I went back and re-read the beginning and really enjoyed it. Another book about self-discovery, but more it is about coming to terms with the past and mistakes people make.It is well written and it made me want to visit the Cote d' Azur!
Gale Martin
Oct 29, 2012 Gale Martin rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up-on
I shouldn't have to work this hard to get into a novel...Can you spell pretentious? Not sure I can. But if I can, I'd use it to describe this book. Oy! Why do New York editors always go for the pretentious stuff!
Aug 11, 2009 Mum rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Not worth the effort. A very self-absorbed narrator, leads to a lack of comprehension of all sides of the many issues.
Oct 29, 2008 Erin rated it it was ok
I thought I would like this better but it was a bit choppy and not as interesting as I had hoped.
Connie Schneider
Jun 29, 2009 Connie Schneider rated it liked it
We can live our life believing things that turn out not to be true!
Mar 10, 2016 Eleanor rated it did not like it
I enjoyed this book. It is an interesting, romantic story that takes place in Wisconsin, Idaho, France and Mexico.
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Annie Vanderbilt is presently writing a second novel, spending time both in Florida and in Idaho, continuing her involvement with charitable projects for her family foundation, and taking up saltwater fly fishing to add a little catch and release to the creative ups and downs of a late-blooming writer.
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