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3.79  ·  Rating details ·  723 ratings  ·  109 reviews
Grandmothers is the story of three very different women and their relationship with the younger generation: fiercely independent Nan, who leads a secret life as an award-winning poet when she is not teaching her grandson Billy how to lie; glamorous Blanche, deprived of the company of her beloved granddaughter Kitty by her hostile daughter-in-law, who finds solace in rebell ...more
Paperback, 297 pages
Published November 7th 2019 by Viking
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  723 ratings  ·  109 reviews

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Fiona MacDonald
Oct 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charming, poignant and deeply moving. Salley Vicker's new story about 3 grandmothers who are navigating their lives having being pushed to one side and become the underappreciated members of their families will really tug at your heartstrings. Nan is a secret poet, whilst living her best life teaching her grandson to lie to his parents and teachers, Blanche has become an alcoholic with a serious shoplifting problem that is going to get her into trouble, and Minna; well, Minna isn't a grandmother ...more
Charles Edwards-Freshwater
The concept of Grandmothers is fabulous - a split narrative which explores three different women in the golden years of their life and their relationships with the younger generation. This is something that Salley Vickers does best - writing character studies and stories which, though not much may happen, still have a lot of heart.

However, despite there being the keen perceptions which I have come to expect from Vickers in these pages, Grandmothers somehow falls flat. There are outstanding momen
Lydia Bailey
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
A really gentle & sweet read based on three sixty something Grandmothers and their relationship with their grandchildren or surrogate grandchildren. I say gentle but Salley Vickers skilfully weaves many thorny life issues in and around the seemingly benign plot. I particularly enjoyed the subtle cold wars going on between the three main characters and their daughter in laws. This is a slightly pacier read then The Librarian & it’s lovely to see older women taking the limelight in a novel for a c ...more
Mike Finn
"Grandmothers" is one of those books that makes me want to shout, "THIS! THIS is what makes reading such a gift." Salley Vickers' writing lit up my imagination, making me feel insightful and connected and sad and refreshed and better equipped to deal with my life as I flew on the borrowed wings of her words.

The book shares moments from the lightly interconnected lives of three grandmothers, initially strangers to each other, as they spend time with their grandchildren and with each other.

Sid Nuncius
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed Grandmothers, but I did have reservations.

Salley Vickers tells the story of three quite different characters who are grandmothers (strictly, two are grandmothers and one is a good friend who fulfils the role) who don’t know each other at the beginning of the book. They each have a close relationship with and often take care of one grandchild, and their stories develop over one year, during which they overlap and interact. Vickers uses this structure to explore those relationships, to e
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bettie, Wanda
From BBC Radio 4:
Three very different women’s lives collide in Salley Vickers’ tender new novel about grandparents and the children they help to raise.

Reader: Eleanor Bron
Abridger: Salley Vickers
Producer: Kirsty Williams
Vicki Antipodean Bookclub
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
“to draw or paint or write words or music of any quality you must preserve a child’s vision, even through that valley of death which is the incremental death of innocence. For wasn’t the progress into adulthood, her mind ran on, itself a kind of death, if a death was necessary for the birth of new life and new possibilities? But a death that at another level must be resisted so that....a kind of sacred space could be preserved.”
Having just finished a book about three women in their twenties t
Suyashi Smridhi
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Such a heartwarming book to read ufff
Aug 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have enjoyed some of Salley Vickers’ novels and I very much wanted to enjoy this one. A great idea to write about grandmothers in an age when the old are often seen as little more than a nuisance, not that the three women featured are particularly ancient.
Salley Vickers is always very good at portraying the thoughts and feelings of the marginalised. Three grandmother figures are at the centre of this story. Eccentric Nan looks after Billy; he is privy to her quest to find the perfect coffin bu
Caroline Kerdouci
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always look forward to a new novel by Sally Vickers and ‘Grandmothers’ doesn’t disappoint.
In my opinion, this novel is a celebration of love and how we often underestimate the strength and value of grandmotherly love. The author conveys this message so beautifully in the guise of Nan, Minna and Blanche. All three are delightful characters in their own way. Nan is quirky, organised,astute and acerbic, enlisting grandson Billy in her quest to find the perfect coffin, for when her time comes. Min
Clair Sharpe
Grandmothers is the story of three very different women and their relationships with the younger generation.
Nan is a well respected poet but writes under a pen name so no one knows her true identity. She has a brilliant relationship with her cheeky grandson Billy. They like to visit Kew Gardens together and she gives him great advice. Nan is quite keen to get things in order, he even helps her choose her coffin!
Glamorous Blanche is the grandmother of Kitty and Harry and as the story opens her so
Ellie (bookmadbarlow)
May 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well this wouldn't be my usual read, character driven and quiet, but the author writes this in such a way that it had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion. Once so loudly my husband actually checked to see if I was ok.
We follow 2 grandmothers and a kind of surrogate grandmother through their day to day lives, how they interact with their grandchildren/children and at certain points how they interact with each other.
Each of the main characters was so different and listening to the audio
Nov 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is the story of three women who are grandmothers or look after children and how the relationship with them and their children affects their life. The three women are very different and had led different lives, however they meet and create a bond.

I find the story interesting, because it explores an age that it is rarely found in books, but it is such a big part of our life. The three women have had (or not) a career, a family, a partner, and now need to find themselves again, to feel t
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Salley Vickers is one of my ' must read' authors so I was very pleased to be able to read an ARC of this novel. As with past books, she did not disappoint with this heart-warming tale. Essentially this is a tale of three older women, two of whom are grandmothers and a woman who is a grandmother in all but name to a neighbour's daughter.

These women are all involved in nurturing their young relatives/friends and in navigating tricky relationships with their families; they are also coping with bitt
Zoe Radley
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a moving, thoughtful gem of a book. It says a lot about grandmothers and parents and upbringing as a whole and how love is important. Brilliant.
Mar 23, 2020 rated it liked it
A very gentle read. I liked the literary references and also the settings in various places.
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This story charts the coming together of three older women and their relationships with their grandchildren. All three are very different with differing challenges in their current lives and different pasts to contemplate but their meetings bring changes for them all.

Beautifully written, sensitive without being mawkish or over indulgent, this is another novel by Salley Vickers in which her ability to articulate the inner workings of the minds of a range of characters shines out. Just as I wante
Pamela Scott
Review to follow when I take part in the Blog Tour on 11 November
Charles Remington
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another great book from the pen of an author who continues to delight her readers. I first came across Salley when we ordered her first novel, Miss Garnet’s Angel, for our Norfolk book shop. We could tell then that she was destined for great things, and have not been disappointed with her output since. My particular favourite is Instances of the Number Three, a beautiful novel on so many levels that it is difficult to describe in a few words. Grandmothers, however, narrates the lives of three wo ...more
Teresa Cornelius
Grandmothers by Salley Vickers
I read this book having just become a Grandmother for the first time and was fascinated by the way in which these very different grandmothers were portrayed. I thought that it was a very interesting study of intergenerational relationships and the way in which they are forged. There are three “grandmothers” in this story. Nan who is an award winning poet hiding her writing from everyone. She has formed a close bond with the grandson Billy even though she has become
Oh dear - what has happened to Salley Vickers? She has written some really good fiction but this one is so lacking in terms of plot and characterisation. I couldn’t get along with the three grandmother figures at all. And being a shoplifter/closet poet/traveller doesn’t make them any more interesting. Too many lives to deal with in such a short book and then, of course, she has to shoehorn in the art history and trips to cultural Europe. The ending was terrible, I had to read through the last tw ...more
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was invited by Viking Books UK to read and review a new book by Salley Vickers, I was thrilled to bits because her writing has never failed to enthrall me: I hope one day to return to Venice to search for Miss Garnet's Angel.

I was told that the new book was entitled "Grandmothers" and I thought how apt this was, in the year when I became one. It seemed extraordinary that my first-born baby was carrying a little one of her own and the prospect of grand-parenthood was happily anticipated by
Meggy Chocolate'n'Waffles
When I heard about Salley Vickers’ novel Grandmothers, my heart ached. Since I was a little girl, I have always been close to my grandmother. I remember eating at my grandparents every day. I remember Wednesday trips to the mall. She used to go shopping for my meat and she made me believe foie gras was a simple pâté. I ate it for years without knowing it was not a habit for everyone!

I also remember my grandmother was not a fan of cuddles. She had a temper at times. She loved her grandchildren bu
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We're not used to reading about older women; especially not grandmothers,. Certainly not as the protagonists in thoughtful dramas about family, ageing, regret, grief, and self-discovery. For that alone, this is an unusual novel. We have three grandmothers (though strictly speaking Minna is in loco grandparentis) trying to manouevre a world which largely ignores them unless they have money to spend on school fees, or can help out with childcare. For once, the parental figures are largely absent, ...more
Dawn Woods
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title describes the book. In particular three grandmothers, each unique and loved by their grandchildren and children, although all very different. Nan looks after Billy and both have a healthy respect for death, with Nan choosing her own coffin and having it delivered to her home to try it out before she needs it. Blanche is at the opposite end of the economic scale, having the means to live well, which includes the ability to afford alcohol, which her grandchildren report back to their par ...more
Jenny Cooper
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
Grandmothers follows a year in the lives of three women whose personalities and approaches to being a grandparent are poles apart from each other. Nan is fiercely independent and tries to teach Billy, her grandson, to think for himself. Minna is shy and retiring, a surrogate grandmother to Rose who she adores. Glamorous Blanche is at loggerheads with her daughter-in-law and, as a result, sees very little of her granddaughter Kitty but is nonetheless expected to pay for her upbringing. Inevitably ...more
Nov 15, 2019 rated it liked it
This book started so well and I had great hopes for it, having enjoyed Salley Vickers’s other books. As a woman of a certain age (certainly could be a grandmother!), I was looking for an exploration of age and family relationships. While it did deal with these issues there was a veneer of unreality that was never quite breached.
Nan, Minna and Blanche are the eponymous grandmothers and their three stories develop and eventually overlap. I wanted to read on and see how the book developed and there
Dot Scribbles
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am a big fan of Salley Vickers writing and Miss Garnett’s Angel is one of my favourite books. Grandmothers is Vickers' latest book and it is so beautifully done. It is the story of three grandmothers, Blanche, Nan and Minna and how they navigate their relationships with the younger people in their life. They are three very different characters but I found them all endearing and likeable. Nan is extremely close to her grandson Billy but has a strained relationship with her own son, she is very ...more

3 ☆
Finished reading … Grandmothers / Sally Vickers ... 28 June 2020
ISBN: 9780241371428 … pp. 297

I finished this and wondered, “What was that all about?” For me, it boiled down to a series of character studies, of grandmothers and their grandchildren, as per the blurbs, and also a grandmother figure to a young child, plus the generation of children/in-laws/parents in the middle.

The book has its moments. It's OK. But there are too many problems with it which can be summarised as "too little flesh
Gwyneth Law
I always eagerly anticipate a new Salley Vickers novel, having enjoyed all her previous ones with the exception of "The Librarian" which was so disappointing it almost seemed to have been written by a different author! As usual, I waited for the paperback edition (awful cover!), prepared to give one of my favourite authors another chance, assuming "The Librarian" was just a "blip".
Unfortunately, I was wrong. As a grandmother myself, the idea of exploring the relationship between 3 different mode
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Salley Vickers was born in Liverpool, the home of her mother, and grew up as the child of parents in the British Communist Party. She won a state scholarship to St Paul’s Girl’s School and went on to read English at Newnham College Cambridge.

She has worked, variously, as a cleaner, a dancer, an artist’s model, a teacher of children with special needs, a university teacher of literature, and a psy

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