Sussex Drive

Sussex Drive

A Novel

Book - 2012
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A startingly funny and deeply satisfying satirical novel that makes the Canadian political scene accessible from the female perspective, behind the scenes at the top of the hill.
Torn from the headlines, Sussex Drive is a rollicking, cheeky, alternate history of big-ticket political items in Canada told from the perspectives of Becky Leggatt (the sublimely capable and manipulative wife of a hard-right Conservative prime minister) and just a wink away at Rideau Hall, Lise Lavoie (the wildly exotic and unlikely immigrant Governor General)--two wives and mothers living their private lives in public.
Set in recent history, when the biggest House on their turf is shuttered not once, not twice, but three times, Becky and Lise engage in a fight to the death in a battle that involves Canada's relationship to the United States, Afghanistan and Africa. The rest of the time, the women are driving their kids.
From Linda Svendsen's sharp and wicked imagination comes a distaff Ottawa like no other ever created by a Canadian writer, of women manoeuvring in a political world gone more than a little mad, hosting world leaders, dealing with the challenges of minority government, and worrying about teen pregnancies and their own marriages. As they juggle these competing interests, Becky and Lise are forced to question what they thought were their politics, and make difficult choices about their families and their futures--federal and otherwise.

Publisher: Toronto : Random House Canada, c2012.
ISBN: 9780307362216
Branch Call Number: SVEND
Characteristics: 353 p. : map ; 21 cm.


From Library Staff

This satirical novel follows the lives of Becky Leggatt, the wife of a hard-right Conservative prime minister and Lise Lavoie, the wildly exotic and unlikely Governor General who lives down the street.

List - GCTC 2013-14: Proud
OttawaReads Aug 13, 2013

A Canadian political satire told from the female point of view. The two protagonists are the wife of a Conservative Prime Minister and a female Governor General who have to juggle politics with family problems.

From the critics

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Mar 10, 2017

As satire this book was lacking, well, except for the exaggeration part. But there was no humour or irony, it was just a Canadian political thriller. And if that seems like an oxymoron to you? It is.

The author lacks literary constraint, she thinks she is writing for “West Wing” or the Canadian version of Da Vinci Code. How much can go wrong in a year and how much danger and intrigue can be squeezed into the lives of the life of the GG? Despite the media reviews, there is not a great deal of humour unless hyperbolic Conservative policy is funny. The Prime Minister in the novel is a wife abusing demagogue. The plot continually touches on some real events,[prorogation; disaster in the GG’s home country; involvement in Afghanistan] and controversial legislation passed recently in parliament which, in my mind, makes the book a political horror story. I was scared, but I was not laughing.

Feb 16, 2013

I was looking forward to a Terry Fallis-like satire, especially focusing on powerful women in Ottawa. Sorry to say I couldn't stick with it past page 30 or so.

branch_reviews Feb 02, 2013

This book did not live up to the hype. It was disjointed and not very believable, and I was so looking forward to its release. The main theme of the book is about two powerful women - one of them the wife of the Prime Minister of Canada and the other is the Governor General. One is very pushy and the other is a great believer in democracy and doing things in the interest of all Canadians. Considering the Governor General has good advisers around her none of them seem to help, so the PM’s wife can run around creating all kinds of problems. The book could have been so much better if it hadn’t been written for a soap opera audience. The theme was an excellent one, but it just didn’t come together, I finished it but it took me a week and it’s not that long. Reviewed by CN

Jan 22, 2013

Quick, go borrow or buy this book and share with friends! This is a consummate and delicious satire on Ottawa shenanigans, especially the type we have seen the last few years from a government that is redefining Canada as a military power that is soft on banks and hard on health care, education and ordinary citizens. Linda Svendsen is brilliant as are her characters, especially the women who live with or have to pay court to the PM. If you love this country, read it and discuss with your friends. Five stars.

bookwormabc Jan 20, 2013

This novel is only of interest to people who think of Stephen Harper as the devil incarnate. The novelist is only interested in doing a hatchet job on Harper, American style. For the record, i don't vote Conservative and oppose a number of his government's initiatives. However, I oppose extremists of any type who believe that the ends justify the means. For good Canadian political satire, read the novels of Terry Fallis.

Jan 11, 2013

Very funny, a quick read with twists and turns in the plot that keep you guessing. Especially recommend for us 'inside the Queensway' types - the parallels to actual events hit the spot.

Jan 03, 2013

Political shenanigans at their worst/best, all set in a realistic, recent Canadian political climate, sometimes it was hard to keep separate fact from fiction. Fast paced.

Oct 14, 2012

One imagines Stephen Harper would be outraged by this book, if he actually read books, instead of merely burning them.

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