Published: Lightning Books (March 2020)

ISBN: 9781785632006

On Turpentine Lane

Elinor Lipman


‘Light and tight… constructed with an almost scary mastery’ New York Times

At thirty-two, Faith Frankel has returned to her suburban hometown where she works in the fundraising department of her old school, writing thank-you notes to benefactors. Keen to get her life back on track, she buys a sweet but dilapidated bungalow on Turpentine Lane.

Never mind that her fiancé is currently ‘finding himself’ while walking across America and too busy to return her texts, that her witless boss has accused her of fraud, or that her father is going through a mid-life crisis that involves painting fake old masters and hooking up with a much younger woman – Faith is looking forward to a peaceful life in her new home.

But when a policeman knocks on her door asking to look in the basement, she discovers that the history of 10 Turpentine Lane is anything but peaceful.

On Turpentine Lane is a madcap comedy from one of America’s most acclaimed novelists.





‘Oh my God, I love her books. They’re so funny’

Marian Keyes

‘Such brilliant news that Elinor Lipman’s new books are going to be published in the UK. I’ve been a huge fan of her novels for so many years. Her writing is witty, astute and deliciously dry, and I’m delighted to be able to share my love her work with a wider audience

Jill Mansell

‘Delightful! I read it in one day—truly a peak reading experience. Every page was packed with wonders’

Maria Semple

‘It’s funny and light and sly and a bit wicked and heartwarming. I read it in a day’

Emma Southon


‘Elinor Lipman applies her singular brand of warm zaniness to Faith’s dilemma… She has taken lessons from our great chroniclers of the quotidian, from Geoffrey Chaucer to Jane Austen. The result provides a light but serious antidote to what ails us all these days’

Washington Post

‘Light and tight, On Turpentine Lane is constructed with an almost scary mastery. Not a single thread dangles, not a single character is left without a place. The story folds out and back in as neatly as an origami flower, and Faith recounts it all with a raised eyebrow and plenty of cheek’

New York Times

‘Elinor Lipman is the best writer you’ve never heard of – imagine if Elizabeth Strout wrote romantic comedies. On Turpentine Lane is whimsical but also gently savages the frailties of the human condition‘


‘A romantic comedy with just enough sly wit to keep it from turning sugary’

O (The Oprah Magazine)

‘Genuine, deft and witty, Lipman’s On Turpentine Lane, doesn’t skewer American contemporary life as much as roast it’

National Book Review

‘With a witty cast of characters and her usual delightful dialogue and insightful observations of human behavior, she captures the complications of modern love’

Publishers Weekly

‘If my life ever gets rewritten as a rom-com novel, I’d want Elinor Lipman to do it; she has a way of crafting books so utterly charming that you want to set up residence inside them. And yet, in a seemingly effortless balance, she’s never saccharine, but writes in a wry, warm, we’re-all-friends-here-so-let’s-have-a-drink tone’

Seattle Times

‘Warm, clever, a little silly, a lot of fun’

Kirkus Reviews

‘Delightful and amusing… reminiscent of madcap romantic comedies of 1940s Hollywood. A highly engaging, charming read’

New York Journal of Books


Elinor speaks to the Jewish Chronicle following the UK publication of Good Riddance and On Turpentine Lane.


Elinor Lipman

Elinor Lipman was born in Massachusetts and is the author of fourteen novels. Her first, Then She Found Me, was published in 1990 and adapted into the 2007 film of the same name starring Helen Hunt, Bette Midler and Colin Firth. She won the New England Book Award in 2001, and her novel My Latest Grievance won the Paterson Fiction Prize. Four of her novels are published in the UK by Lightning Books.

She lives in Manhattan.