Skip to Main Content (Press Enter) Toggle side nav
The Nesting Dolls by Gail Bowen
Add to bookshelf
Add to Bookshelf

The Nesting Dolls

Best Seller
The Nesting Dolls by Gail Bowen
Paperback $16.00
Jul 12, 2011 | ISBN 9780771012761

Buy from Other Retailers:

See All Formats (1) +
  • Jul 12, 2011 | ISBN 9780771012761

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Jul 12, 2011 | ISBN 9780771012778

    Buy from Other Retailers:

Product Details


“Stellar. . . . One of Bowen’s best.”
— Margaret Cannon, in The Globe and Mail

“Surprises, and truths, lie beneath the surface. It is ever thus with Gail Bowen and her heroine, Joanne Kilbourn – making her 12th appearance in print and still smart and sexy.”
— Saskatoon StarPhoenix

“As always, Bowen’s fine eye for detail makes for a rich and entertaining read. . . . The Nesting Dolls is a fine book.” 
Winnipeg Free Press

“One of [Bowen’s] best . . . The underlying human drama of love and good intentions gone very, very bad make the novel a compelling read.” 
Vancouver Sun

“Enjoyable. . . .[The] realistic depictions of Joanne’s extended caring family should please fans.” 
Publishers Weekly

Praise for The Brutal Heart:
“Definitely one of her best Joanne Kilbourn novels.”
— Margaret Cannon, Globe and Mail

“The politics are particularly gripping.” 
Edmonton Journal

“The book’s sense of place is spot-on. As is the character development. “ 
National Post

Author Q&A

20 Writerly Questions for Gail Bowen

1. How would you summarize your book in one sentence?

The Nesting Dolls is about the potency of secrets and the redemptive power of love.
2. How long did it take you to write this book?
Two years, but during that time I also wrote a children’s play about the last of the Galapagos tortoises and a short novel for adult readers with literacy challenges. I also attended 186 recitals/badminton games/track meets and Christmas concerts in which our grandchildren played roles of varying significance and success.
3. Where is your favorite place to write?
Truthfully, Anglin Lake in Northern Saskatchewan. The lake is pristine with a large population of loons that still feel at home around non-invasive humans, and every day birds drop by the feeder outside the window where I write.   
4. How do you choose your characters’ names?
For close to twenty years I’ve had people bid at charity events for cameo roles in my books. I think by now I might have raised about $50,000 for organizations like Oxfam, many cancer societies; literacy groups — in general just groups that I believe in. This year’s crop will include characters whose names were purchased by donors from Grandmothers 4 Grandmothers and Camp fYrefly a place where gay/lesbian/trans/ and other teens can feel comfortable being themselves.
5. How many drafts do you go through?
I’m a Virgo. Don’t ask, because even though the books in question, are already published, I’ll feel compelled to do a final polish.  
6. If there was one book you wish you had written what would it be?
Charlotte’s Web
7. If your book were to become a movie, who would you like to see star in it?
Six of my books have become made for tv movies starring Wendy Crewson. I thought they were great. I ask everyone reading this to write to CTV requesting more – Ted and I have modest plans for our old age. We would like to make them less modest.
8. What’s your favourite city in the world? 
9. If you could talk to any writer living or dead who would it be, and what would you ask? 
W.B. Yeats. I would ask him how he could have written a poem as brilliant as “Among School Children” with the lines that always stop my heart by their beauty. “O body swayed to music. O brightening glance/How can we know the dancer from the dance?”
10. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what kind?
When I’m having a difficult writing day, Glenn Gould with the “Goldberg Variations”. The rest of the time, whatever strikes my fancy — from Green Day to Renee Fleming. I listen to Glenn Gould a lot.
11. Who is the first person who gets to you read your manuscript?
My husband, but only after it’s been sent to my editor. Ted and I’ve been together for 42 years and I have plans for the next 42 that don’t include me being sullen because of an ill-chosen metaphor.
12. Do you have a guilty pleasure read?
I’m an Anglican. We’re not massively into guilt.

13. What’s on your nightstand right now?
The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud (a re-read because I just finished her earlier novels and was dazzled), Solar by Ian McEwan, The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett and Innocent by Scott Turow.
14. What is the first book you remember reading?
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. When our daughter named our first grand-child, Madeleine, and I read our grand-daughter the Madeline books, I felt as if I’d come full circle.
15. Did you always want to be a writer? 
Probably, but I’m a Virgo, so I became a university professor first.
16. What do you drink or eat while you write? 
I start writing at 5:30 a.m. At that point I drink herbal tea. I have one cup of good coffee in the morning and one in the afternoon. Both are rewards. When I stop writing I have a glass of vermouth before dinner. That’s my ticket to perdition — no more writing till the next morning at 5:30 a.m.
17. Typewriter, laptop, or pen & paper?
Laptop and pen and paper. As a Virgo, I seize every moment and that means hard copies to work on.
18. What did you do immediately after hearing that you were being published for the very first time. 
Nothing. I’ve often been saved by ignorance. My first publication in An Easterner’s Guide to Western Canada/A Westerner’s Guide to Eastern Canada was a fluke. I wrote my submission at the request of my first two children’s godfather. It was fun. It was published, and I figured that was it. After that, it became more complex.
19. How do you decide which narrative point of view to write from?
As a feminist, wife, mother, grandmother, academic and political person, my POV was a no-brainer. I wanted to write from the POV of a Canadian woman in mid-life who realized she lived a privileged life and wanted that life for others.
20. What is the best gift someone could give a writer?
A cleaning person and a copy of The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.

Looking for More Great Reads?
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
Get the latest updates from Gail Bowen
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
By clicking SIGN UP, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
Something awesome is on its way.
Back to Top