The Divorce Diet

the divorce diet

The Divorce Diet is a novel dedicated to every woman who ever walked away from a relationship. Or a diet.

Abigail, an inspired cook and stay-at-home mother, decides to repair the problems in her marriage with a diet book for herself and an elaborate birthday dinner for her husband. But over dinner her husband announces that the whole marriage thing just doesn’t work for him. Reeling, she packs up her baby, her cookbooks, and her single estate extra virgin olive oil and moves in with her parents while she looks for work and child care.

Floundering in this life she didn’t choose, she turns for guidance and emotional support to the internalized voice of her diet book, and it becomes her invisible guru. While she struggles to reconcile the joy she takes in cooking with the book’s joyless and increasingly bizarre recipes and her native good sense with its advice, she works her way from one underpaid job to the next, eats everything but what her diet book recommends, and swears to get her life in order before her daughter’s old enough to create long-term memories.

Her diet book has promised to help her become the person she wants to be, but it’s only when she strikes out on her own that she figures out who that is.

Advance Praise for The Divorce Diet

A funny, touching, wry, sophisticated, appealing–oh, you know all those adjectives. But Ellen Hawley’s Divorce Diet actually deserves them. Food and love and loss and resilience  –and a terrific narrative playfulness–are Hawley’s recipe for a slyly entertaining and heartening novel. Daniel Menaker, author of The Treatment

I’m not dieting or divorcing and yet I found The Divorce Diet to be enchanting and engaging. Newly single mom Abigail finds revenge, redemption and reinvention in the kitchen, not to mention a second chance at life, love and self-esteem. Memo to readers: Don’t read this before bedtime. You’ll be up all night. Michele Morris, author of Paper Girls


Any reader who has ever experienced the loss of love will find much to identify with in The Divorce Diet. It was heartening to watch the narrator slowly come back to life after being abandoned with a small child and no job. Ellen Hawley writes wry and poignant prose that keeps you laughing and reading well after your bedtime. Lisa Alther, author of Blood Feud 

Broken-hearted? Need to drop a few pounds? Well, the recipes in The Divorce Diet won’t do a thing for your waistline, but the infectious good laughs in this wonderfully funny novel will leave you, if not thinner, a whole lot happier and in love with its beaten-down but determined heroine. With all the pluck of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones and sardonic good humor of Lorrie Moore, Ellen Hawley serves us a treat of a novel. Read it and you too will have a deliciously good time. David Haynes, author of A Star in the Face of the Sky

Revenge is sweet. Reinventing yourself after getting knocked down by a cheating husband and creating a whole new life filled with recipes, an imaginary guru, and a food column is even sweeter. Loved the whole book.  Cathy Lamb, Julia’s Chocolates

A sweet and realistic story about how the smallest of comforts can provide the greatest abundance and joy. Margaret Dilloway, author of Sisters of Heart and Snow


Chapter One of The Divorce Diet is at:

From the Desk Mind of Ellen Hawley

Order it from:



Barnes & Noble

56 thoughts on “The Divorce Diet

  1. Pingback: New Page Added | Notes from the U.K.

  2. OK…I’m sold! I’m reading your book. Maggie’s review was awesome. The unlikely pair divorce and diet, in the title, intriguing! Your humor has already helped me “go with the wry, silly, sardonic, over the top thoughts” in writing. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ellen, I mentioned your book on the post, Maggie’s 500th Blog Follower, but I wanted to say more about you and your book. That just wasn’t the place. I’d like to write up a blog post about you, as you, the first writer that “put humor” into writing that made sense. After reading some of your posts, I thought I can do that too! Is that OK? I could take some info from About and refer readers to your blog. I know you have your own marketing in place, so I’ll understand if this is a no thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Okay, I have to come clean on the double message. The left and right sides of the brain got into a tussle. As an aside, creative thinking uses the whole brain not just the right side! And they work in harmony most of the time. But, there can be glitches when it comes to basic communication. So, the detailed left brain was bent on checking to see if the message was still there, and it had disappeared. The right brain told the left brain, I feel we should wait, I saw the awaiting moderation message when you sent the first message. It should come back sometime. You know the rest of the story. Left brain in its analytical, detailed thought ignored that. As far as it saw, it disappeared forever, and fast as lightening it typed another message! Right brain is embarrassed about that and apologizes.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Book Review: The Divorce Diet | Mother Hen Diaries

  5. Pingback: World Book Day – 5 March | Not Another Tall Blog

  6. Pingback: An Interview: Writer Ellen Hawley On Women’s Fiction, Blogging and Her New Novel | Not Another Tall Blog

  7. Pingback: Link to an interview | Notes from the U.K.

  8. Pingback: The Divorce Diet | HarsH ReaLiTy

  9. Congrats on the book, I got walked out on does that count? My diet consisted of not eating and losing 25 pounds in one month. All better now though I look forward to reading this. Congrats once again!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I am intrigued as I have experienced both myself… the divorce being much worse than the diet however. Have to go out and eat a delicious over the top meal before I explore further… just in case the message is to always eat proper portion sizes! Cheryl

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Pingback: Divorce Diet ebook now on sale | Notes from the U.K.

  12. Pingback: Does my vocabulary look too British in this? | Notes from the U.K.

  13. I was reminded of a novel I read “P.S. , I Love You” which came into my life after my husband died. It was eerie to read about a widow going through the painful process of recovering from the loss of a loved one at a time when I was going through the same. Your work sounds like it would be equally moving and even humorous about a difficult subject matter.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Pingback: The Divorce Diet ebook is on sale–again | Notes from the U.K.

  15. Pingback: Notes from the U.K.

    • Thanks, EllenB. As you may well know, there’s a sort of tradition among writers: We all expect to hate our covers. So far I’ve been lucky–three books and I either like or don’t hate the covers on all of them. When my first one was working its way toward publication, the publisher called and invited me to drop by and look at the cover. (I lived in the same city.) I said yes, yes, and thought, the hell I will. If I’m going to hate it, I don’t want to first see it when I have to smile and say, That’s nice. (I’m usually more direct than that, but they caught me by surprise.) So they sent it to me and I loved it. And with the next publisher, I discovered that I could kick up a fuss if I truly hated the cover. I did hate the first version and, bless their small-publisher hearts, they changed it.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m a cheapo and have just joined the Audible for the sole reason to get your audiobook for free. I KNOWW!! I’m terrible. Listening now. The second free audiobook I got was Jeanette Winterson’s. Just so you know, the company you keep. :)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Great company–you included.

      The woman who recorded it got in touch to say she’d really enjoyed doing it, which was nice. Listeneing to it was a strange experience for me. I’ve always heard the words in my head, in my voice, and here was this very different voice. In spite of that, I thought she was good.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I must admit this is my first audiobook. I’m such a visual person. However, it’s highly practical. I needed some time to slide into it and her way but now it’s fine. I’ll continue and finish it during the week when I’m alone. Good to know she loved doing it.

        I’m not a fan of diets but still keep landing on them for some reason. Great to see those recipes included. Will keep away from that self-cleaning one though. :D

        Liked by 3 people

  17. Pingback: Let’s Get Inspired by – Ellen Hawley – Part 1 of 2 – ThoughtsnLifeBlog

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