Elinor Lipman’s “Isabel’s Bed”

Isabel’s Bed. A fun, fun, fun book! When I wasn’t laughing out loud, I was happily grinning throughout this wonderful, intelligent novel, filled with humor and twists.

Harriet Mahoney, an aspiring writer, “forty-one, feeling eighty,” jilted by her selfish boyfriend of twelve years, is “looking for a job and a hiding place where she can live out her days.” She sees an ad in the newspaper, offering a writer free room and board at a villa with a magnificent view of the ocean–for a small favor. Excited, Harriet imagines living with a group of writers, sharing camaraderie, ideas, and meals. As it turns out, the hostess named Isabel, an eccentric bombshell with a scandalous past, wants to hire a ghostwriter for her memoir.

On a first glance, Harriet and Isabel are as poles apart as any two people can be, but they both crave warm and sincere female companionship, and that’s where they click.

Their day-to-day encounters are not only a pleasure to read; they make you want to join these two women at breakfast or lunch time, chatting and laughing with them through the meals.

Isabel’s beauty and eccentricity haven’t earned her female friends, and she feels this void acutely. When Harriet tells her that she hopes to know her in twenty years and suggests they make a date for lunch twenty years from now, Isabel is ecstatic. “Really? You’re not just saying that?…This is so great. I don’t think you know what it means to me to know that no matter what happens, I have a lunch date in my sixties. Maybe we could make it a weekly thing.” (294)

I thought it was so sweet, so lovely. Who wouldn’t like an idea like this one? I personally would! It’s like a beacon lighting up your life twenty years ahead.

I love Elinor Lipman’s writing, and I love this novel!

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2 thoughts on “Elinor Lipman’s “Isabel’s Bed”

  1. I read this book recently and just loved it. The understanding, camaraderie and friendship these two very different women build is wonderful to “witness” as the book progresses. It’s a truly enjoyable read from the very first page to the last.

    • Thanks, Vin, for your feedback. I’m glad you’ve read this novel. Yes, the friendship that Harriet and Isabel develop is enviously strong and, I’m sure, will last for twenty years and more, despite the disappointing (for Harriet) and unpredictably happy (for Isabel) outcome of their business deal.
      Thanks for visiting my blog. 🙂

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