Monday 2 September 2013


Book review: The Widow's Guide to Sex and Dating by Carole Radziwill

My edition: Paperback, published on 29 August 2013 by Heron, 352 pages.

Description: Claire's husband is a philandering 'sexologist' who believes love and sex can't co-exist. But it breaks her heart when he dies and leaves her a young widow.

As she braces herself for her new life alone, Claire can't help but wonder if her late-lamented was right all along. After getting through the pain of his passing, she's returning to the battlefield of bad dates.

So when she's asked to write the biography of lothario movie star Jack Huxley, she's surprised when he doesn't live up to his sleazy reputation. Not only is he more than meets the eye, but he's got his eye on her. Claire's determined to banish her husband's ghosts and prove him wrong. But having found her first Mr Right, does she deserve a second?


After Claire's husband is abruptly killed by a priceless piece of art she not only has to readjust to life on her own, but she also has to cope with all the implications and stigmatisations of being classed as a widow. The married women in her social circle suddenly see her as a husband seducing vixen so they attempt to eliminate the competition by setting her up with all sorts of inappropriate but available men. And as the weeks pass by and Claire endures one disastrous date after another, she feels the increasing pressure of losing her widowed virginity.

The Widow's Guide to Sex and Dating started off very quirky and interesting but it quickly went downhill after that. My main issue with the novel, and particularly main character Claire, is that despite the tragic accident that sets up the story there is very little to be found within the pages that showed she is grieving for her late husband. As a sexologist in life he had a unique approach to their marriage, claiming that relationships are either sex or love but never the two together, yet despite his ideas on the matter she seemed to care deeply for him so it is peculiar that almost as soon as he passed away she felt the need to move on to someone else.

Her slew of therapists and gurus makes me believe she has a real issue making any decisions for herself, so perhaps the fruitless attempts at replacing her husband so swiftly had more to do with her own fears of being alone rather than a lack of compassion for the man she was married to. Nonetheless, the easy way with which she seemed to dismiss her late husband and her marriage made her come across egoistical rather than sympathetic and made it very hard to care for her and her struggles.

What also made it rather difficult to get stuck in to this book is that it was hard to classify. At times it read like a chick-lit, at others as erotica and there were even hints of an old-fashioned detective buried underneath. However, because it is all over the place it ended up being none of the above. The novel would've benefitted from author Carole Radziwill choosing one genre to focus on, as well as more of a plot than "a new widow goes through a series of dates". In all it certainly wasn't quite so terrible that I didn't finish it, but I did struggle with the increasingly bland storyline until I was relieved when I turned the last page.

While this was unfortunately not one for me, I hope other people will find this a more enjoyable read. You can purchase your copy from,, Waterstones or your own preferred retailer.

Would you like to know more about the author? You can connect with her online at

Many thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share Button