Books by Elinor Lipman

ELINOR LIPMAN is the author of seven previous novels, including The Pursuit of Alice Thrift, The Inn at Lake Devine, Isabel"s Bed, and Then She Found Me. Four of her novels have been optioned for film, and this fall production begins on Then She Found Me,

GOOD RIDDANCE by Elinor Lipman
Released: Feb. 5, 2019

"Lipman's narrative brio keeps things moving at a good clip."
Daphne Maritch has no idea why her mother, a popular New Hampshire high school teacher, left her a heavily annotated yearbook for the class of 1968—but she's about to find out whether she wants to or not. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 14, 2017

"Warm, clever, a little silly, a lot of fun."
A professional thank-you-note writer buys a house with a past and gets more than she bargained for. Read full book review >
I CAN'T COMPLAIN by Elinor Lipman
Released: April 16, 2013

"A feast of bite-sized morsels of humor and wisdom."
Accomplished novelist Lipman (Tweet Land of Liberty: Irreverent Rhymes from the Political Circus, 2012, etc.) exposes her journalistic roots by collecting over 30 "(all too) personal" essays and columns that have appeared in a number of periodicals. Read full book review >
Released: April 16, 2013

"This book has more romance and less satiric bite than the author's best comic novels (The Family Man, 2009, etc.)."
Lipman's latest is a post-financial-crash comedy about a 50-ish widow and her divorced sister living together in a Greenwich Village apartment. Read full book review >
THE FAMILY MAN by Elinor Lipman
Released: May 5, 2009

"Another romantic comedy from the always clever Lipman."
Lipman (My Latest Grievance, 2006, etc.) returns with the story of a retired, gay New York lawyer who finds himself happily embroiled with his ex-wife's now adult daughter. Read full book review >
Released: April 10, 2006

"Not one of this popular author's best."
All hell breaks loose when a new dorm mother arrives at a second-rate New England girl's college in Lipman's eighth romantic comedy (The Pursuit of Alice Thrift, 2003, etc). Read full book review >
Released: June 24, 2003

"A clever sweet tart, more tart that sweet."
Popular for sprightly if predictable romantic comedies (The Dearly Departed, 2001, etc.), Lipman stretches her boundaries in her newest by letting readers know early on that her lovers will not end up happily every after—at least not together. Read full book review >
Released: June 19, 2001

"Austen would have approved: astringency with a happy ending."
Another sharply observed, if avowedly romantic, comedy of manners from Lipman (The Ladies' Man, 1999, etc.), an unreconstructed Janeite. Read full book review >
THE LADIES' MAN by Elinor Lipman
Released: June 1, 1999

A romantic comedy of errors by the novelist whose previous labors in this vineyard (Isabel's Bed, 1995, etc.) have established her as a master hand. Harvey Nash is the sort of fellow your mother warned you about. Genial, good-hearted, and sincere, he genuinely likes the company of women and is attentive to their moods and concerns. All the worse for the women who fall for him, then, since he's an incorrigible bachelor who can—t commit himself—almost literally—on pain of law. Harvey left his native Boston quite abruptly on the evening of March 11, 1967—and it's no coincidence that that was the night his engagement to Adele Dobbin was to have been announced at a big party at the Copley Plaza. When he stopped running, Harvey found himself in California, where he settled in Los Angeles (as "Nash Harvey—) and established a successful career in advertising. Almost 30 years later, he has a live- in girlfriend, Dina, who wants (very badly) to settle down and get pregnant. But, again, Harvey just can—t see his way clear. So now he reverses course and heads back to Boston to look up Adele—but not before hooking up with Cynthia John, a sharp-eyed investor who sits next to him on the plane. In Boston, Adele is still unmarried and lives in a kind of bitch-goddess convent with Lois and Kathleen, her equally unattached sisters. She's understandably less than thrilled to find Harvey on her doorstep, but Lois (who always had a thing for him) tries to welcome him back into the fold. Meanwhile, Dina is cruising beaches and coffee-bars in search of an (unwitting) semen donor, and Harvey and Cynthia are having some drama of their own. The course of true love is seldom a straight line, true enough. But can it be a series of overlapping circles? Funny, dumb, good-natured, predictable, and slick: Lipman knows what she wants to do and does it very well. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 1998

Lipman (Isabel's Bed, 1995, etc.) again celebrates romance grounded in the real world as she wittily details love's rout of prejudice by two young couples. Natalie Marx is the Jewish narrator of this good-humored tale of lovers of different faiths, who find happiness and even manage to be accepted by their initially not-so-happy parents. Natalie's family, who live in Massachusetts, summered each year in the 1960s either at the beach or on the lakes; one summer, in response to an inquiry her mother addressed to the Inn at Lake Devine in Vermont, a letter came from the proprietor, Ingrid Berry, saying that their guests were all Gentiles. Young Natalie was both angry and intrigued. She finessed a summer in her teens at the Inn by befriending WASP Robin Fife, whom she met at a summer camp, and then found both the Fife family and the Inn bland and boring. Now in 1970s Boston, Natalie, training to be a chef after college, runs into Robin, who asks her to come to her wedding at the Inn: She's marrying Nelson Berry, Ingrid's eldest son. Natalie goes, and cooks up a storm as the families grieve after Robin is killed on her way to Vermont, then falls for Kris, the younger Berry son. Neither the Marxes nor the Berrys are pleased. But their biases are nicely balanced when Linette Feldman, whose family owns a kosher hotel in the Catskills, falls for Nelson Berry, and her parents have also to be brought round. Love wins out, of course, thanks to perseverance and good sense. An upbeat and amusing romp through what is usually a minefield, by a writer who deftly makes her points but never preaches. (Author tour) Read full book review >
ISABEL'S BED by Elinor Lipman
Released: March 1, 1995

The unabashedly romantic Lipman (The Way Men Act, 1991, etc.) has a talent for turning talk-show fare and tabloid headlines into light yet meaningful fiction. When 41-year-old Harriet's longtime boyfriend falls in love with and quickly marries someone else (``There went twelve years: my youth''), the legal secretary and aspiring writer responds, on a whim, to an ad for a live-in ghostwriter. She soon finds herself on Cape Cod, sharing swank quarters there with Isabel. Isabel's autobiography is of interest because her married lover was shot by his wife when they were caught in flagrante delicto, and she is as glamorous and devil-may-care as Harriet is humdrum and quiet. It is inevitable, in a book with two opposites, that they will learn things from each other, but what they do learn turns out to be quite surprising. Also on the premises are Isabel's sometimes estranged husband, Costas, a former big name in the art world who fell into disgrace, and Pete, a down-to-earth former fisherman who now acts as Isabel's general handyman. The two women are particularly clear and well balanced. Isabel is a likable sort, who gives of herself freely. One of Lipman's great strengths has always been her ability to draw wholly sympathetic, completely unglamorous characters, and Harriet is no exception. Initially, she finds herself so caught up in Isabel's story, indeed in Isabel's daily life, that her own work (on a novel based on her parents' two marriages to each other) is slipping away. Slowly she evolves, however, learning to push for what she wants. Lipman's details are subtle and telling, adding texture to a novel that might have gone over the edge with Isabel's often outrageous behavior. There are a few gaps in the story—Costas's part is a little vague, for instance—but the prose is so natural that only in retrospect will readers notice them. So well paced that you could devour it in one sitting, but so much fun that you'll regret finishing so quickly if you do. (Author tour) Read full book review >
THE WAY MEN ACT by Elinor Lipman
Released: March 2, 1992

Lipman's second novel may not have all the bite of her first (Then She Found Me, 1990), but, still, it serves up a ripe slice of love and life, late-80's style, complete with relevant issues: town vs. gown, truth vs. deception, and (the biggie) man vs. woman. At age 30, still single, Melinda LeBlanc has heard all the standard letdown lines. She even sees them coming. ``Ian sighed a long, sensitive-male's sigh, the universal preamble to the speech about how he wasn't ready/interested/looking/worthy or any other lame excuse for not calling this a date.'' But forewarned is not necessarily forearmed, and Melinda takes more than a few hits in the war zone of relationships. Recently returned to her hometown of Harrow, Massachusetts, a newly gentrified college town, she works as a floral designer and spends a fair amount of time arranging elaborate wedding bouquets for her former high-school classmates. She also attempts to arrange a little matchmaking for two old friends—Libby Getchel, an artsy seamstress, and Dennis Vaughan, a handsome black man who has earned renown as the owner of Brookhoppers, a fancy fly-fishing boutique. Things go amiss, however, in both the matchmaking and floral-arranging departments. But after a certain amount of casual coupling (it's surprising that a book so brimming with up-to-date issues never tackles the problem of safe sex), Melinda finally sorts out which ones to throw back and which one to keep. When she reels him in, it's no big surprise to anybody—except to wry, wise Melinda herself. Compelling, darkly funny, defiantly romantic: a modern-day tale of manners. Read full book review >