Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “What She Wants” as Want to Read:
What She Wants
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

What She Wants

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  2,157 ratings  ·  96 reviews
Hope, Sam, Virginia, and Nicole are four women trying to cope with the vicissitudes of life. Struggling to fit her family in with the hectic demands of her career has made Hope feel like a stranger to her husband, Matt, and their two small children. Her unconventional sister Sam has big plans to be the first female music mogul, running her own record label exactly the way ...more
Hardcover, 528 pages
Published June 30th 2003 by Dutton Books (first published 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about What She Wants, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about What She Wants

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,157 ratings  ·  96 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Christine Young
Nov 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I almost didn't make it through this book. The characters are almost insultingly stereotypical. Hope is a depressed housewife. Her sister Sam is a lonely workaholic. And if I just stopped my review right there I bet you could guess the happy ending. Yes, it's that predictable.

I kind of hated most of the characters (especially Hope) for the first 250-300 pages of the book. That's a lot of pages to be hating on the main character. I was bored to tears reading about Hope having no backbone when it
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tbr-2017
I needed a Halloween bingo break. This book was just the ticket. I finished this yesterday afternoon and went back to Halloween reads so I had maybe a 13 hour break if that.

Cathy Kelly has become my newest favorite Irish author. I do miss Maeve Binchy's works, but Kelly's books have filled a spot with me.

"What She Wants" takes a look at a pair of sisters (Sam and Hope) and a widowed woman (Virginia) who are connected to a town in Ireland. The main reason why I didn't give this book 5 stars was
Aug 16, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Its hard for me to not love a book. This one was just kind of long & drawn out and the story wasn't even deep enough to keep me going. It took me almost a month to read this book. When I'm used to reading books this length in 3 or 4 days, that says a lot. Plus the ending (on both sisters parts) were kind of predictable and anti-climatic. In my opinion anyway.
Rhonda Rae Baker
Oct 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful read! I was pleasantly surprised at how real-life the characters were and what happens to them is believable like the story of many lives yet it wasn't boring at all, infact it was relaxing and encouraging.

Sometimes I don't pick up the 'thicker' novels because they tend to ramble on and on but this one was the perfect length. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and was happy that there was more to tell. Many characters to relate to and beautiful prose to carry you off into their w
Michelle Sallay
Mar 01, 2010 rated it it was ok
This was the second Cathy Kelly book I read, and I am not sure I am interested in another. I found myself enjoying this book ok when I managed to sit down and read it, but I had a hard time finishing it.

Kelly was constantly introducing new characters that were going to be around long enough for them to be described and then they were never heard of again. Usually by page 300 I don't want to hear anymore two page long character descriptions.

I did gain a fondness for the little town that was descr
The whole I was reading this book, I was disturbed by this niggling thought that I had read about these characters and storylines before. Either I had read this book before and forgotten all of it or Cathy Kelly tends to recycle protagonists and story arcs. I think it's highly unlikely that I'd forget a 600-page novel, so I'm guessing it's the second option.

This book is completely harmless. It's a good way to occupy a few hours with becoming overly engaged with the characters or, really, caring
May 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
What can I say..this book is so long winded ..
You just know there will be (A happy ever after} at the end..

Hope her sister and all the people in Redlions..a village in Ireland.. gossip through the book from start to last page. Jobs, Boyfriends. moods. babies. husbands.affairs,family.

that's it..then happy ending.

Not my sort of book.

Aug 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
1st of Cathy's books that I read and WOW - in a million years I would not have thought this was "my type of book" and yet it is now one of my favorites!
Dianne Selwood
Jun 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Really wanted to love this book, but it took a long while to get into and to relate to the characters, once I did it was a good read, though not a "page turner" for me
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book couldn't put it down it gets better and better as it goes on.
Chitra P
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
What she wants by Cathy Kelly - Review

The story is about 4 women Hope, Sam, Nicole and Virginia. Each of them has different views about life. Gone through different circumstances, finally end up in Delphine - Eugene's wedding in Kilanagoshell in Redlion. This story circles around Redlion in Ireland.

Out of four this character is my favourite. In my view she was an insecured woman initially. Afraid of losing her beloved husband Matt by having inferior complex of not wanting by anybody. By acc
Sarah Romain
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book and sympathized with the character Sam. The way all the women had some sort of connection made sense and was well written.

I have read this book more than once, it is my go to when I am feeling poorly, or a bit stressed at work, maybe it's because she is going through the same thing, in a male dominated business world.

When I do re-read, I often skip chapters (mainly Nicole's) and focus on Sams story, it some how makes me feel better. The reason I have given it 5 stars
Adeline Kam
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finally finished reading this book. Only 35 chapters but it is a very thick book. I enjoyed the story from beginning to the end. The lives of the 4 women are so real.....the experiences they go through is what many women faced in life today. I have personally learned many things from this book, especially from Sam. She finally left her high flying job to pursue a career that suit her most. Cathy Kelly's books are the best! Amazing characters and storyline.
Nov 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My choice of author if I don’t want anything difficult to read. Based in Ireland too but there stops the similarity with Maeve Binchy. I couldn’t hear the Irish tone in the writing like I did with MB’s. Sometimes the reason we fell in love with a person is not enough to keep us happy in a relationship. We grow in our relationships. The key is to grow in the same direction.
Allison  Junkans
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I did not expect to enjoy this book. I got it at a used book fair years ago. This is a nice story of friendship in a small town. I enjoyed the characters and the story. This would be a good vacation read. My only negative - why was this book 570 pages??
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
It's a good book but the author has prolonged it which makes it quite boring. She has described unnecessary events in detail making it even more boring. Also the idea is somewhat too basic like characters journey starts with misery and then suddenly boom - there is a happy ending. I
Lois Keller
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
I think she should have dumped the guy. Period.
Ulla Saar
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
my bad mood / comfort go to book.
iris fuller
Abrupt ending

I've always loved Cathy Kelly's books and this was no exception however the ending seemed rather abrupt.

Not sure all the loose tales were complete.
Carol Manhire-Heatley
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Predictable but still a good easy read. The sort of book that you can read over xmas holiday break as it can be easily picked up.
aaliyah Rafeeq
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
It wasnt my cup of tea as they say but that was just plot but writing really good
Carolyn Hill
Every so often I like to indulge in Brit chick lit (or Irish as the case may be). Cathy Kelly objects to the term 'chick lit' as too limiting - generally focusing on a young twenty-something in search of love. By that definition this isn't chick lit. Should it be termed women's fiction or romance? I'm more comfortable with women's fiction rather than romance, for I find this different from American genre romances, which typically I don't care for. Cathy Kelly is often compared to the late Maeve ...more
A really fun romantic novel. I knew 300 pages before the end who was going to end up with whom, but it was fun getting there. Although it bothered me that huge portions of the plot hinged on the protagonists being really horrible communicators - if you don't freakin' tell somebody about the problem, or listen to why things happened the way they did, then you deserve what you get (which according to this book is a really hunky man, so hopefully no one's getting their relationship tips from novels ...more
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book - a little long and some characters were not nearly as engaging/endearing as others. For example I really enjoyed reading about Hope and her issues in Redlion but when it switched to Sam, her workaholic sister...hmm, not so much - a little too predictable. Overall a good read and because I was cheering for Hope I was able to finish in two days - if she would not have been such a realistic, likeable character I'd probably still be struggling to get through it.

My issue is with the cover
Feb 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Started off nicely but draged a bit at the end. Speaking of the end, it was too ' Happily ever after' and a bit unrealistic. Would have altered the story lines slightly. Hope's story was pretty good and interesting. Liked Sam's too, but it would have been an altogether better story line if her diagnosis was delayed till the very end of the book.
Virginia's storyline went really bad towards the end. One moment you're Reading of her extreme grief and the next she's dating and all in a matter of mo
For some reason, I decided to go and pick up some chick lit for a bit of lighter reading over the holidays. This book was slightly better than I anticipated and I found myself quite liking Hope and her story. However, I will admit to nearly skipping the parts about her sister Sam and her woes. It was just too damn predictable and a far too overused stereotype for me to handle. Virginia was ok when there were other characters involved and Nicole, well I pretty much forgot about her. She wasn't ne ...more
May 24, 2007 rated it liked it
So I read Someone Like You by Cathy Kelly, which I thought was her debut novel, but apparently is her fourth. I really liked it, but not, perhaps, as much as Best of Friends.

Then I read What She Wants, and amazingly enough, I noticed the trend...all her stories have women (mostly three, but this had more) who're friends, who're finding themselves, careers, and love. Thankfully she's got enough characters and ideas for plot, storyline, etc., to make the pattern new and interesting with each novel
Dec 04, 2009 rated it liked it
A bit of a departure for me, but I wanted something light. Hopefully I am not reminded why I am so picky when it comes to books...

UPDATE: I finished this over the weekend. It was pretty good. At first the characters were a bit stereotypical, but then they became believable and likeable. By the end, I didn't want it to end and wanted to continue following their lives. This book didn't have amazing life lessons or profound to add to the world but it did underscore the importance of female friends
Lara Maskell
Jul 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book looked daunting as it was handed over to me from a dear friend from Kerry, Ireland. She said read this you will find it be thoroughly enjoying. I looked at it as if i would take me a year. I started it on vacation in key west and finsihed sitting at the beach in Beverly. I honestly got so wrapped up in these women's lives and was inspired by them. I was actually sad when it ended. One book I would recommend to every woman i know to read!
Jann Wabick
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jann by: Maggie
A solid 3 and 12, maybe a 4. This book takes a long time to tell its story. The main characters are all a little flawed, but well meaning. One character in particular really needs a good shake early on, as she is so obsessed with the opinions of other people, instead of focusing on her own needs. Fortunately, they all reveal themselves, and sort themselves out to varying degrees. Not a bad read, but not the best either.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Book with incorrect title/co-author 5 24 Jan 16, 2013 05:37AM  
REAL LIFE 1 6 Nov 01, 2012 11:56PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Anyone but Him
  • Double Wedding
  • Single en Sexy
  • Secrets
  • Miss Communicatie (Miss, #1)
  • Out of the Blue
  • Airs and Graces
  • Upside Down, Inside Out
  • Kiss
  • Ready or Not?
See similar books…
Born in Belfast but raised in Dublin, Cathy initially worked for thirteen years as a newspaper journalist with a national Irish Sunday newspaper, where she worked in news, features, along with spending time as an agony aunt and the paper’s film critic. However, her overwhelming love was always fiction and she published her first international bestseller, Woman To Woman, in 1997. She did not become ...more
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »