5 Minutes for Books — Wife in the North

Judith O’Reilly agrees to move with her husband to northern sheep territory in England — away from her job, friends and beloved city of London. This is how she becomes Wife in the North.

The book is written journal style, and after reading several chapters, I thought that it seemed to be a lot like a blog — covering topics from food, to friendship, to nursing babies and disciplining preschoolers. And then I discovered that it had indeed started as a blog.

Judith O’Reilly began the blog to chronicle her move to the North of England, to help her husband live out his dream. When she gets there, she’s frustrated by her house, the neighbors, the bullying that her son endures at school, her husband’s absence while he’s working in London, the responsibilities of a new baby and a new home and a new life.

I find that when I read now, certain themes resonate with me — such as friendship, marriage, and the many roles that a woman serves as she navigates through her life, and in this memoir O’Reilly covers these. If you enjoy reading personal blogs, and specifically stories that illuminate a different lifestyle than you are living, I think you’d like this.

I found myself shaking my head at her, just as I would my sister or a friend who keeps complaining the same complaints over and over — “Instead of fussing at your husband for leaving the car empty, why don’t you fill the gas tank yourself?” But sometimes as a woman juggling all the balls that we do in the air, there are things that we rely on others to do for us — our friends, our husbands, even our children. O’Reilly captures the reality, frustration and incongruity of this perfectly.

You can read an excerpt of the book HERE.

You can enter to win your own copy by leaving a comment here. The FOUR winners will be announced next week.

We usually announce a winner in each column of the previous week’s book, but the contest from last week is still going on. You can enter to win all of the Harry Potter books in hardcover, plus the anniversary edition of the Sorcerer’s Stone HERE. The winner will be announced October 6.


  1. says

    That sounds like a great book. I will definitely be putting it on my wishlist. I also love the cover. I wouldn’t have expected to hear of a book about a wife living in sheep country inside a book with red high heels on the cover! Intriguing.

  2. karen says

    In theory, I would love to move to Northern England and live in sheep country. Maybe I’ll change my mind after I read the book.

  3. says

    It sounds great! Im always ready for a new book…esp. since I force myself to relax and read it- otherwise I stay too busy. Nothing like a good book to slow you down and steal away time for yourself!

  4. says

    HA! I would love to win! I am a CA girl that found myself trying to adjust on the East Coast two years after marriage. Then…when it was time to go to Hawaii I cried bitter tears. (Sick, I KNOW!) Tonight I cried because after 3.5 years we are moving…and this time to CA. I would love to read this!

  5. says

    Just coming back from putting it on my paperbackswap.com wish list (just in case I don’t win it here *wink*)

    Sounds like my marriage: a “cosmopolitan” Detroiter marrying a man from Michigan Upper Pennisula! LOL

    Count me in!

  6. says

    I must have that book :) you see .. I am also a woman of the ‘North’ – a metropolitan girl deposited in northern Maine because of her husbands job. I went from a metro area to a town of 1200 and three convenience stores :) I need to know there is someone else experiencing the same as me :) – and loving it now – but oy-vay, what a road to get there!! :)

  7. says

    This sounds like a very good read. I am in need of one as i just finished up with my most recent book and havne found another to read yet. I am sure i would enjoy this one.

  8. says

    Daily life and routines take on a whole new perspective when transplanted to a different environment. I love reading that kind of story. I’ve noted this for my “to read” list.
    Thanks for the review.

  9. says

    My husband’s considering moving us all back to England. Maybe if I read this first I’d have some ammunition. I wonder how many husbands read a page or two of a book left open at a strategic page?
    Best wishes

  10. Heather says

    As someone who has moved multiple times (they only pencil us in, our realtives, in their address books) I’m sure “Wife in the North” will resonate for me. :)

    Thanks for the drawing.
    Lalycairn (at) gmail.com

  11. Alicia Webster says

    The theme of this book represents the dream that keeps me going. I have a recurring fantasy of running away from it all by going “up north” to either Canada, Newfoundland, or Nova Scotia. At this point, I’d settle for Northern Maine. My husband is on board with the whole idea, but with three kids under the age of three, and no $$$, it might be a while until we can set the plan into motion. I would love to read this book, and if I don’t win it, then I will look for it in my local library.
    Alicia Webster

  12. says

    Just seen what you are doing here. Delighted to see this much interest – thankyou so much. In the UK, Wife in the North was in the top 10 non fiction reads for five weeks and was number 3 for a month, and it has been optioned for TV. It is the UK’s fastest blog to book (in fact, I only got the book deal because I was picked up by a copuple of UK political bloggers and then US political blogger Andrew Sullivan who took me from zero readers to 15,000 overnight. The book is fundamentally about what it is to be a wife and mother and daughter, it is about love and relationships and family. It’s funny but warning – it’s sad too, but then so is life. Anyway I am really hoping it works for US readers in the same way as it has worked in the UK. It is more than my diary – when I had the offer of a book deal, I decided I wanted to write a book which was about fundamental things which I wasn’t seeing elsewhere like how a mother feels when she loves a child, breastfeeding, postnatal depression, stillbirth, etc. I am hoping it is a book women connect with. Thanks again for the interest.
    Best wishes

  13. Angela says

    This sounds like a good book and I would love a copy to add to our library. My new husband and I were going to go to London on our honeymoon, but he could not get permission from his commander (in the military) to leave the country or stray far from base at all. Oh well. This book should be a good read. Thanks for offering it.

  14. says

    I moved from Queens to S Jersey when I was in high school, then further out when I went to college. I would love to see how it comes out.

  15. Linda Pinto says

    I read the excerpt and found myself wishing that I could have the book in hand and read it all. Thank you for the giveaway.

  16. Cindi says

    This is the kind of book that sounds wonderful to read when the evenings are getting cooler and I am sitting in front of my fireplace. Please enter me in your delightful book drawing. Many thanks, Cindi

  17. Kristie says

    Sounds like a very interesting book. My parents recently moved to Germany for my dad’s job. Luckily their kids are grown and on their own, but it has still been a struggle for them. I think this would be great for my mom to read.

  18. Hannah says

    I’m always on the lookout for a good book. I’m actually in library school right now, and I’m a little desperate for something besides a text book!

  19. Felicia L says

    It takes a really good writer to be able to allow the reader to be able to put ones self in the book, thank you for a contest with such an awesome read.

  20. Patricia Oates says

    I moved to the “north” of Australia many years ago (Arnhemland, Northern Territory) as an employee of tribal Aboriginals. It was both a cultural shock and an exciting adventure. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. So, this book would be a treat to read.

  21. Kerrie says

    I haven’t heard of this book, but it sounds really good! I’m always up for a new read, or a new suggestion. =) Count me in!


  22. Peggy Gorman says

    This is the first time I am seeing this book and I had a good laugh! The good old boys on the farm are always teasing me about being a city girl
    I would love to read
    Count me in to win!

  23. Amy W says

    I love to read and find new authors that I have never read before! Thanks for the contest!


  24. Bev says

    This book sounds really good. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to live in the North of England. Thanks for having the contest!


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