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Things I Want My Daughters to Know    by Elizabeth Noble order for
Things I Want My Daughters to Know
by Elizabeth Noble
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Lori Waddington

Barbara, who has just died of cancer, has left letters for her daughters in her diary. Thirty-eight year old Lisa, the eldest, has just accepted a marriage proposal from longtime boyfriend Andy, but is starting to wonder if she made the right decision. Jennifer, who is two years younger than Lisa, has a marriage that is becoming increasingly strained as she and her husband struggle to conceive a child. Twenty-two year old Amanda is the restless one, always traveling from place to place until she meets a man who makes her want to put down roots. And the youngest of the daughters, fifteen-year-old Hannah, struggles with teen angst and the loss of a mother when she needs her the most.

Mark is Barbara's husband, father of Hannah and stepfather of the rest. He is lost without his wife, and feels helpless when Barbara's daughters turn to him for guidance. But soon, the family discovers that Barbara's letters have left them with not only wonderful memories, but also the inner strength that they need to face their problems head-on.

Things I Want My Daughters To Know is an absolute gem of a book. It is so neat how the reader comes to know Barbara through her letters to her daughters, as Barbara was a wonderful woman with a zest for life. Barbara also had a delightful sense of humor, as is evident when she compares her cancer to the game show Deal Or No Deal, full of 'optimism and expectation' at the beginning of the game, thinking that she could 'win the million.' Eventually, though, she has 'a horrid feeling' that her case 'contains the penny,' causing her to wonder, does comparing her illness to a game show prove that her 'morphine dosage needs looking at?'

My only complaint, if you could call it that, is that this novel is set in England, and it would have been helpful to have a glossary at the end which explained some of the phrases with which I am unfamiliar. That being said, author Elizabeth Noble has written a wonderful novel that should be read by mothers and daughters everywhere.

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