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Table For Eight by Tricia Stringer Preview reviews

October 17, 2018

Our third Better Reading Preview title was Table For Eight– a heart-warming story about troubled relationships, second chances and love old and new. Interested in what people had to say about this stunning novel? Take a look at our Preview reviews:

I really enjoyed the voyage that ‘Table For Eight’ took me on, it was very easy to read and the chapters flowed well. It is a gentle story that deals with difficult subjects like infidelity and grief in a sensitive way. There was humour, drama and mystery within its pages and the descriptions of the ship, passengers and scenery were colourful and evocative. I loved meeting the passengers that were thrown together for dinner and discovering their secrets. The relationships and characters were interesting and some like Josie had much nicer personalities than others like Christine. As the story built I had trouble putting it down as I couldn’t wait to know what would result. By the end of the book, ten days cruising on the ‘Diamond Duchess’ worked its magic on the cruisers as well as on the readers and I was left wanting to follow the passengers back to every day lives to find out more. – Janelle, NSW

An easy to read summer romance set on a cruise ship in the South Pacific. The book starts slowly and initially reads like a cruise travel brochure, but once the author delves into the lives of the eight central characters, you are hooked. – Pamela, VIC

Dressmaker Ketty Clift is embarking on a cruise her ( 21st ). Seated at her dining room table are an assortment of characters from different walks of life. Ketty is a wonderful character who interacts well with her fellow diners, she has a special friendship with Carlos the maître d’. This is a very easy to read book about friendships finding love again and letting go of the past. – Deborah, NSW

I really enjoyed this contemporary novel about a group of people who meet as dining companions on a cruise. Ketty Clift is embarking on her 21st cruise, and the maitre’d has assigned her to a table of eight – seven strangers for her to get to know and perhaps help. Despite the relatively large cast of characters, Stringer makes them all vivid and realistic. Between them they cover off a pretty realistic set of problems, too; romance, money, family, grief, friendship, and to a lesser extent health… These people have a lot to deal with. Most readers will empathise with multiple characters, and probably understand them all, whether they like them or not. It’s a condensed time frame – the length of the cruise – and the characters are forced to deal with each other since there aren’t many places to go on a cruise boat. This adds reality to the quite rapid emotional changes that characters experience, and the changed relationships. This was enjoyable to read; well paced, well written, and engagingly interesting. I found this one of Stringer’s most enjoyable books to date. It should have wide appeal. – Lorraine, ACT

Table for Eight by Tricia Stringer is a very engaging read. It follows the experiences of eight people placed on the same table aboard the Diamond Duchess on its final cruise. Ketty has cruised many times while the other seven have less or no cruising experience. Josie, Celia, Jim, Bernard and Leo are older while Christine and Frank have left their high school with relatives while they take a much needed break. Some are recovering from grief in their lives while others are attempting to enjoy life. Each one has something from their past they are hiding. As the cruise progresses we learn of their earlier lives as they interact with each other. The other significant character is Carlos, the maitre d’ of the dining room. The book explores the South Pacific ports while we learn about each of them. Ketty watches over the group while her secret is slowly divulged. Stringer has written very believable characters who each tug at the heartstrings of the reader. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and look forward to reading more from this author. – Annette, ACT

This book is very easy reading and deals with the different passengers on a cruise ship who are seated together for dinner on a table for eight. Ketty Clift is a seasoned cruiser and tries to deal with other passengers, trying to bring them together. The outcomes of Ketty’s mission (some would call it meddling) are fairly predictable. The ports of call in the Pacific Islands are a very welcome relief from the dramas of on board cruising. It seems that Ketty Clift has a knack of fixing everyone’s lives. – Vivein, ACT

I was really looking forward to reading this new novel by Tricia Stringer as I’ve been on a few cruises and thought it likely I would identify with some of the situations and people. I wasn’t disappointed. The novel quickly drew me in and I wanted to follow the stories of the characters. I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptions of the ship and the rituals of cruise life. The portrayals of the various excursions around the Pacific Islands that the cruise visited were well executed. While the many of the characters stories developed in a way I expected there were a few surprises. I particularly liked the main character, Ketty Clift, she was a woman at a crossroads and facing issues many of us have to deal with (although hopefully not all at once). Her caring character shone through her actions. This was a very enjoyable novel, what fun it would have been to have read it on a cruise! But maybe for my next cruise I will take along another novel by Tricia Stringer. – Jacky, QLD

I am sorry to say I didn’t really enjoy this book. I found it a bit ‘far fetched’ that all that personal interaction between strangers went on in just 9 days??? The amount of drinking that occurred was also exaggerated or maybe I am just living in a bubble. Not enough substance but I guess if you like some lightness, this might be the book for you. – Jenny, VIC

This book was a joy to read and one of the best books I have read. The novel centres around Ketty (or Kathy as she is known to Leo, an unexpected passenger she knew in her younger years) as well as the arrival of Christine, Frank, Bernie, Maude, Celia, Jim etc. It is an easy to read novel and always kept me intrigued from beginning to end. It is full of never ending drama (which I loved) and really touches on the complexities which can form in relationships even with our nearest and dearest. When being introduced to Kerry, she did come across as someone perhaps a bit mosey yet private herself, however she grows on you with her wisdom, kindness and generosity as opposed to the villain of the novel you might say, Christine, who is only out for what she can get but, we discover has underlying issues as do most of the characters. Jim and Celia were my favourite and I was most intrigued by as individuals and friends, both warm and kind and was lovely watching them evolve. One thing I took away from this novel is an important message – don’t be too judgemental as you don’t know what underlying grief or problems someone is going through. This is a book I strongly recommend, I would love to see it made into a movie. – Danielle, VIC

Table for eight is set on a cruise ship, sailing the beautiful Pacific Islands. Ketty Clift has a mission, to transform the lives of those at her dining table. There is a great cast of characters, some likeable, others not so much but as Ketty helps them through their problems your opinion of them will change. This is a light easy to read story that would make a great holiday read, particularly if you are cruising. The characters are well developed and the imagery of the cruise and the islands makes you think you are there. – Jo, QLD

Tricia Stringer takes you on a cruise full of vivid characters. She handles the characters and their domestic lives with heartwarming care. You cannot help but care for them as well. Their limitations and struggles are so relatable. The simple prose used by Stringer when dealing with such difficult issues like grief, makes the story fluid. I could not put the book down. A beautiful book about people and their lives. – Aida, NSW

Table for Eight is a lovely easy read. A bit slow to begin with and slow in parts but it got there in the end. Beautiful characters! – Amy, VIC

 I really loved reading this book, the main characters were older which was brilliant. Going along with Ketty and learning about her past and present and how she is just extraordinary as a person. Going along for the ride and really wanting to be a cheer leader for Ketty and the others to have a happy ending. Cant wait to read more from Tricia Stringer. – Elizabeth, NSW

I loved this book! I enjoyed being able to read this as if I was apart of every scene. Ms Stringer writes with so much detail, I could visually seen the fabric, the ripples on the water & wanted to taste the food on the table. Table for Eight was light to read but fully engaging from the first chapter. I enjoyed the compassion, of the characters & will certainly recommend this book to family and friends. – Lorreen, WA

An indicator of a good book for me is if it makes me late to bed, and while Table for Eight wasn’t a thriller or an intense book it found me looking at the clock wondering where the time had gone and if I could squeeze in another chapter. The way the book is written keeps you wanting to know what the characters do next. Although it deals with grief and harder issues, it has a lighter touch than some novels. But it gets the balance pretty right, avoiding obvious happy endings while still leaving you feeling positive and uplifted. I liked the mix of ages, genders and for the most part the characters were flawed and believable. I also enjoy books with an Australian perspective. It did, however, feel a bit like a promotion for cruise ship holidays with the ship, weather and staff all faultless. If you enjoy cruise ships you should definitely read this book, I’m not a big fan myself but still enjoyed it. I’d recommend Table for Eight for those wanting a good, page-turning drama that explores a range of issues and characters without the need for a really heavy hand. – Jen, TAS

If you’ve indulged in a Pacific cruise Table for Eight could bring back memories. If you haven’t, it will give you an idea what to expect. Eight passengers are assigned to the same dinner table. Ketty Clift expects this to be her final cruse, her friend Maître d Carlos has organised who will share her table. Throughout the book the stories and secrets of the group are revealed. Bernard a long-term widower with a twinkle in his eye is bent on enjoying himself. His daughter Christine has other ideas, she’s keeping a close eye on her dad and falling out with her husband. Quiet Celia is sharing a cabin with the far more gregarious Maude. Jim, is reluctantly alone, grieving a loss. Josie a cruise regular is set to enjoy herself in spite of her brother tagging along. Their actions and interactions make up the story. Towards the end of the book there are hints that Ketty’s next journey might be on the legendary Ghan and that at least one of the people on board may accompany her. At 482 page this is quite a long book. Thanks for an ARC in response to a review. – Sonia, WA

I absolutely loved this book. I felt like I was the ninth person on the cruise ship as the way the books chapters were broken down into the itinerary was fantastic. I remember reading the book feeling like I was watching an episode of the Love Boat with all the different twists and turns. The character that I loved most was Ceclia. To me she almost was the main character as I could relate to her on my levels emotionally. She was portrayed as such a kind and caring person. I felt that Ketty (Kathy) who was portrayed as the main pertagonist, didn’t really have much a of plot line and felt her almost boring. The character that I had a strong negative response too was Christine. She was so fixated on fixing her relationship with her father, however was more focused on obtaining financial gain from him. At moments I wondered whether she truly did want to mend her relationship. I must admit that I have never read any of Tricia Stringer’s novels before, but after reading this book, I have gone out and purchased a few more. Her writting is clear and conscise yet beautifully crafted. I am recommending this book to all my family and friends. The way that I explain the book, is a summer read that you read in winter. Nothing but joy! – Katarzyna, VIC

Having been on a cruise before, reading ‘Table for Eight’ brought back many pleasant memories. This is an easy to read, delightful novel which follows the lives of its main eight characters who dine together on a pacific islands cruise. It flows easily from character to character while still including a few unexpected twists to keep the reader engaged. – Daneka, QLD

Table for Eight is the tenth novel by Australian author Tricia Stringer and certainly different from her other books. Ketty Clift, hard working dressmaker and owner of Ketty Clift Couture, is about to set sail on her twenty-first cruise, the last cruise of the Diamond Duchess. Ketty’s dining companions were Josie and Josie’s brother Leo; Bernie, his indulged daughter Christine and son-in-law Frank; grieving widower Jim; and Celia, a divorcee, bitter at her ex-husband. Bernie flirted with most of the women much to his daughter’s distress. Christine wanted money from her father for renovations but Frank didn’t as he was planning to apply for a job in another town and move to a new house. What was the outcome of Ketty and Leo’s meeting? Did Christine get the money for the renovations? Did Frank get the new job? Did Celia encounter her ex-husband who was on the cruise and if so, what happened? Did Jim get over his grieving and move on with life? Did Bernie find true love after flirting with many women over the years? What happened to Josie? This book was an enjoyable read. Thanks to Better Reading for the opportunity to read and review this book. – Aileen, QLD

Table for Eight would suit anyone wanting an easy enjoyable read, that requires no thinking. Set around a group of various strangers on a cruise ship. I could not relate to any of the characters and found that although potential each individual story line lacked depth and interest. A long book however I did not feel for any of the characters and certain story lines that could have developed never did. We started with an interesting insight into Ketty’s business and obvious issues however did not re visit on any interesting level. There were far too many situations of nothing, I was very disappointed with this book and would not have finished other than I had committed to review. – Debra, VIC

I have enjoyed Tricia Stringer’s rural romances and historical novels, but here is something different. Table For Eight is set on a cruise ship with people of varied ages and pasts. But as usual she enchants the reader with very believable characters. We weave our way through the whole cruise with them and on the way learn their histories, their strengths and their failings. Each brings past scars from their lives, and how these are resolved is the essence of the story. Ketty Clift is the puppet master who leads the eight at the dining table and whose wisdom and kindness are evident although sometimes misunderstood. A long lost lover threatens to sabotage her life and she is torn between wanting to go back and needing to go forward. With a grieving widower, an unhappy divorcee, a younger couple trying to manipulate her father, a spirited lady out for fun, and the maître d of the dining room, there is plenty to entertain. Each stop in port adds another dimension to the tale. It seems there may be no satisfying conclusion but of course the ends are left open for the reader to continue the story. – Robin, WA

They say everyone has a story and this book is about a group of strangers onboard a cruise ship who share theirs. The main character , Ketty Clift, is a strong older woman trying to deal with financial concerns relating to her dressmaking business and heartache from years ago. She is a seasoned cruiser who takes the other travellers under her wing. This is a heartwarming read with a blend of fun, fashion and romance. It also provides a glimpse into life at sea for those who have wondered what that might be like , and nostalgia for those who have cruised before. The characters come to life as the story unfolds and their stories draw you in until the very last page. If you enjoyed Tricia’s previous books then you are sure to enjoy her latest. – Sheree, NSW

I was fortunate to read this pre-release copy of Table for Eight by Tricia Stringer- I loved the central character Ketty- she was very real in all senses of the word- I could 8mgine somebody like her being on the cruise and doing what she did- she was a genuine professional who did her best to help those that needed it-although her character hadn’t and continued to not have an easy life she helped all the other characters of the book find their way- for those who enjoy a story with an unexpected ending and ups and downs throughout the book and who love Australian romance fiction you will love it- unputdownable. – Stacey, NSW

Thanks to Better Reading and Harlequin, I was lucky to preview and review Tricia Stringer’s book “Table for Eight”. A story of Ketty Clift who is a dress designer and has a love for cruising. When she finds outs one of her favourite ships is about to sail for the final time she must be on it. The maitre d’ Carlos always sets Kitty a challenge while placing her on a table with some interesting people on her cruises. On this particular cruise she has a woman set out to make her ex jealous, a widower and a family in trouble. It tells the story of each character well and brings in more characters along the way, as well as Leo a long lost love of Kitty’s, but is it really love anymore for Kitty and Leo? I found Table of Eight to be an enjoyable and happy read with a really nice ending. Although I did find it was a little too long and thought there were some story lines that dragged out a little too long. It is fairly predictable, and I think the book could be made slightly shorter. But overall a happy, easy and enjoyable read. – Kristy, VIC

This book will make you want to book a cruise immediately! I loved everything about it so much that once I started reading I could not put it down. It was so wonderfully written with the fabulous Ketty as the lead character, and it has parts that will make you laugh, smile and even possibly shed a tear but ultimately make you feel warm inside. All of the characters are so relatable and you definitely find yourself absorbed into each of their stories with each turn of the page that you just don’t want it to end. This is definitely a must for your summer reading list! – Amanda, VIC

I like family oriented stories and this one has a group of travellers embarking on a South Pacific Cruise. The travellers largely unknown to one another are brought together on the first night of the cruise at the assigned dinner table. Friendships are formed and as the ship sails onward to exotic locations unexpected emaotions and fellings come to the surface. From Ketty a fashion designer and boutique owner wo has been on many cruises, has an unexpected reunion with someone from her past. A couple of female friends trying to get away from their country lives on an adventure on the high seas. A Christine and Frank and Christines widowed father with hidden agendas, to Jim also a widower still in mourning, seeking happiness and comfort in a most unexpected way. The author has cleverly put together an array of characters on a cruise ship, each one facing some sort of dilemma. Will they find the answers they are seeking? I thoroughly enjoyed this story which was similar to Monica McInerney set on a luxurious cruise ship wilth everyday characters and enough twists and turns to keep you turning the pages. – Marilyn, SA

You just never know where the ebbs and flows of life can take you … even on a cruise. Just ask Ketty Clift. After enjoying the pleasures of cruising for much of her life, Ketty takes what could be her final cruise, as the Diamond Duchess sets sail one last time, before returning to face the realities of her seemingly declining couture dressmaking business. On this special cruise, Ketty is joined at her dining table by a group of 7 diverse and challenging personalities, and with Carlos the Maître D’s help, she gently guides them to see the silver linings within the darkest clouds. From encountering ghosts from her past, giving hope to a grieving widower and showing a bickering couple how great life can be when they tread a different path, Ketty subtly immerses herself into their lives to gently turn them towards a more positive direction. And karma in return shines on Ketty and her business which is so dear to her heart. After having read several Tricia Stringer books with her previous historical leanings, this modern seaboard adventure was a delightfully refreshing page turner – you just have to know where the twists in the next chapter leads. – Jane, NSW

Loved the book, very descriptive, great holiday read, but be careful. Whilst reading I was inspired to book a cruise! – Robyn, VIC

Dreaming of going on a cruise? Buy this book. Dreaming of the luxury of having a special dress made to measure? Buy this book! Oh – so you’ve already booked your Pacific cruise? Buy two of these books! One for you and one to send to a friend! 🙂 Cruising is becoming so popular for Australians, so I could see why this was a book just waiting to be written. Relax and be prepared to lilt in luxury, but look deeper beneath the waves and know this may be rocky. The emotional life of the characters createss the suspense on this trip. It’s for realists, in the sense that the Aussie characters ring true with down-to-earth occupations and concerns. These are universal ones, true – money and love, and the need to feel valued – but all presented in an authentically non-pretentious Aussie way. Ketty owns Ketty Clift Couture and believes in making people feel exquisite both inside and out. On a Pacific cruise out of Sydney, her fellow cruisers make for some people in need of her loving care – a bitter divorcee, a grieving widower….. But what of Ketty herself, this time! She has her own financial and emotional needs – where will profound happiness come from for her? I always wondered what happened on cruises. It always seemed there was a lot of sea between Noumea and Vanuatu. With realistic people with realistic dreams, I now I have a new perspective on what “all out at sea” really means. A cruisy holiday read – and much more fun than a sea-sick tablet and ginger ale! – Andrea, QLD

Take a trip across the high seas from Sydney and sail to the Pacific region with Tricia Stringer, a much valued Australian storyteller. Table for Eight is Stringer’s latest read and it is pleasing to see Stringer, an author I have followed closely since her first release, branch further afield. Table for Eight is set on a cruise liner, the ‘Diamond Duchess’, which is a complete change from Stringer’s usual rural based settings. Time spent with the delightful passenger and crew based cast, led by Ketty Clift on her farewell voyage, is the closest a reader can get to cruising on board a luxury liner. Stringer’s inviting new novel is sprinkled with moments of self refection, relationship building, friendships and love. Stringer’s carefully placed setting illumination ensures that we get an insider’s view of life on board a cruise ship. Life on board is gently combined with Ketty’s personal journey, which comes with plenty of secrets, resurfaced memories, family dynamics, broken hearts, regret and loss. The stunning backdrop of the Pacific region, lovingly portrayed by Stringer, ignites new memories, friendships, sparks relationships and induces life changes. Table for Eight is a solid addition to the Tricia Stringer collection. – Amanda, WA

 All aboard for a read that weaves its way into your mind through eight people who are seated together for meals on a beautiful tropical cruise. Led by Ketty, a woman of style and grace and a regular cruise taker, the characters are built with flaws and histories; the story joyfully focusses on the relationships which are new and reconnected. A book which sits like a best friend relaxing with you. You can get lost in the lush destinations, and the intertwining of stories and lives. With heartwarming love, and the untangling of pasts we read how these eight passengers boarded a ship for a holiday, and find much more. – Michelle, VIC

Grief comes in many forms, but for many of us, we learn so live with it as it never goes away. Tricia Stringers’s 10th novel brings together eight personalities brought together on a 10 day cruise, learning about themselves, about grief and loss and making new memories. Women are the main characters in Table for Eight, from different walks of life, all looking for an escape from their own realities. New friendships are made, some reacquainted and some come to an end. Central to the story is Ketty Clift, searching for answers on where her life leads now and where it has been, Table of Eight refers to her table and the 8 friends seated at her table,and makes an impact on her life, and them others. Her only love Leo, unexpectedly is aboard and she must face her past and the demons that come with it. If you enjoy Liz Byrski and Monica McInerney, or a love of cruising, Table of Eight is for you. A thoroughly enjoyable read. – Jo, WA

If you’ve ever been on a South Pacific cruise and availed yourself of the opportunity to meet new people at dinner, this book is sure to bring back lots of familiar memories. Table for eight is the setting presided over by veteran cruiser Ketty. With a kind heart and a crumbling couture business troubling her, Ketty embarks on her final cruise on a ship she has made her own. With the help of old friend and maitre d’ Carlos; Ketty’s dinner companions are introduced; and soon enough its apparent that each has come on board carrying much more baggage than their suitcases. Ketty’s keen eye is not just reserved for fashion. Through dinner table conversation she quickly discerns a marriage at the crossroads; a bitter divorcee; a grieving widower; and mature singles looking for companionship or love. As the cruise progresses, Ketty also faces up to a painful past as a long lost love resurfaces and old feelings are rekindled. And despite their delightful destinations; each passenger comes to realise that there’s no escaping home truths. Indeed facing them is the only way forward. This read is reminiscent of TV’s The Love Boat and will appeal if you enjoy romance and fractured relationships at sea. – Heather, QLD

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