Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Empty Nesters: A Review

Nina Bell - The Empty Nesters

When Was It Released?: 1st September 2011
Where Did I Get It From?: Hannah Hargrave was kind enough to send me a copy in exchange for an honest review
Who Published It?:  Sphere 
Number Of Pages? 373 pages

Family dramas are some of my favourite novels to read and when I first heard about Nina Bell’s latest novel The Empty Nesters, I just knew this would be the novel for me. I have to admit that I have not read any of Nina’s previous novels, although I have heard great things about them all, however I was hooked from the first page and could not put this novel down.

Clover and Laura have been best friends for years, and along with Alice, they share holiday’s, sleepovers, school runs, child care and lots of gossip. They are more like a family than just friends. All families, however, have their secrets, and for these ladies it is no different. Once their children leave home and head to university, they all find that their lives and marriages change forever and the old rules on friendship and love no longer seem to apply. When Alice decides that she wants the lives that Clover and Laura have, all the ladies have to find out who they really are and exactly what they want from their lives. Without the children, can they marriages and friendships survive?

Before reading The Empty Nesters, I was a little worried that I would be unable to relate to the characters, as they are all in their forties and fifties with children leaving for university. Once I started reading, however, all my worries were put aside as the characters are actually very relatable. Even though I have very little in common with Clover and Laura I found that they were really likable characters. I felt that I was drawn into their lives, and the lives of their children without any hesitation. Nina Bell is really able to capture the emotions of these women as they try to figure out their lives once their children are leaving for college. I was especially able to feel Laura’s pain throughout everything that she goes through within the novel. I really felt for all these characters and was routing for their happy ending. The storyline line itself flows well, with little twists and turns thrown in, making the plot exciting. Many times throughout the novel I was sure I had figured out why certain characters were keeping secrets and what those secrets were, only to be surprised in the next chapter when it turned out to be something entirely different. I loved how the reader is kept in suspense, which made me want to keep reading to find out exactly what happens. I was able to really delve straight into the novel from the beginning and I really enjoy reading about the holiday the families take to France. This resonated well with me, as when I was younger, myself and my extended family took very similar vacations together. I also enjoyed reading about the male characters, George and Tim within the novel. I may not have liked them as people very much but they were entertaining characters who really contributed to the development of the story.

I only wish that Nina Bell had added some narrative from Alice’s point of view. I really enjoyed that she wrote from Laura and Clover’s point of view, therefore showing exactly how they felt and what they were thinking but I did not get to know Alice very well throughout the novel. Perhaps if there had been some narrative from Alice I would have got to know her character better and understood why she acts the way that she does.

Nina Bell has a real talent for penning intriguing, real and emotional family dramas that really engage the reader. With The Empty Nesters, she has succeeded with this style of writing yet again. I will be finding all Nina Bell’s previous novels and devouring them in the same way that I did The Empty Nesters. I cannot wait to read more from this talented and engaging writer. I really enjoyed this novel and would not hesitate to recommend The Empty Nesters to anyone looking for family drama infused with chick lit.


  1. Great review.

    I loved this book.
    After reading your review, I wonder if Nina left out Alice's narrative to show how distant she was from the group.

    I too will be reading more from this author


  2. Carol thats a great point about Alice that I had not thought of.


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