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Hens Dancing [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Nafaella Barker
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Paperback 8.99  
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Book Description

Dec 2004
Venetia Summers appears to lead a fairy-tale rural existence with her husband and two sons in her tumbledown Norfolk cottage. But when her husband leaves her for his masseuse, not even the arrival of a splendid baby daughter can make up for the sense of loss she feels for her newly lopsided family. Hens Dancing follows Venetia's diaries over the course of a year. It tells of domestic battles - with an unruly garden, errant cockerels, Orcs and War Hammers and a traumatic bathroom conversion. But there are also consolations: a passion for fun fur, the severe beauty of the Norfolk landscape, the regal serenity of The Beauty (Venetia's baby daughter) and perhaps, amongst it all, the promise of new love.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 282 pages
  • Publisher: ISIS Publishing; large type edition edition (Dec 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753172070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753172070
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 16.2 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,223,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Barker is a talented comic writer - there is scarcely a word out of place, and the whole confection goes down a treat. All of which makes it your perfect holiday read' (Sunday Times)

'An uplifting and witty portrayal of family life in the Norfolk countryside. It celebrates a year of rich friendships and exuberant children, along with an eccentric mother and an infuriating ex... A delightfully wholesome novel with comic bite' (Times)

'Charming... Overflows with eccentric characters... A satisfying mix of entertaining domestic disasters and musings on kitten heels, hens and new love' (Daily Mail) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A truly funny, intelligently told story that takes you deep into someone else's life --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barker at her finest! 21 Oct 2002
Not intentionally meaning to, I read Summertime first, which is the second part of this lovely romp through the Norfolk countryside! I now intend to re-read Summertime to finish off the sentimental story! You'll love Hens Dancing if you love the countryside or gardening or simply love reading a story which allows you to get totally lost with it's hillarious characters and an all too familular settings for anyone who's been part of a family!! It had been laughing out loud and crying with pleasure as the "admired Venetia" experiences life to the extreme! A real fluffy feeling was left everytime I put the book down and couldn't wait until I was able to pick it back up again!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely laugh. 29 April 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I took Hens Dancing with me on a short trip to the UK and had finished it by the time I reached my hotel. Yes, I was the woman in the plane/ train/ bus who sat and giggled continuously! I was enchanted by the story but strongly recommend that it is read when alone, behind closed curtains and then you do not embarass yourself!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm ready to move to the country! 10 Oct 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Charming is the word that comes to mind. Hens Dancing chronicles a year in the country life of Venetia, keeper of hens (and pigs) and mother of three. There's not really a major plot line - no Big Event - but Barker manages to hook the reader and keep you interested. Venetia is self-absorbed and a shameless ditz. (I know that if I was one of the characters in the book, I'd be one of the other disapproving mothers!) Yet just as she teeters on the brink of becoming really annoying, she realizes she's annoying and does or says something endearing. She loves her children to pieces, and some of the best parts are when she's expressing that complex love, especially for her sons. The Beauty (is that really her name?) is a vamp in the making - I suspect that she's less charming in the sequel, when she hits childhood. There's a clever mix of characters - Venetia's ex is priceless, you can just picture his smirking countenance. A lovely read - I'll definitely buy Summertime!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure enchantment 4 Mar 2003
I'm new to the kaleidoscope colours of Raffaella Barker's prose and I am hooked. Hens Dancing is a blend of humour, life's little ironies, real people in a real life setting with a twist of the promise of better things to come.
Venetia makes it through the disaster of a divorce and keeps her family (Felix, Giles and The Beauty), sense of humour, assorted pets and wellington boots bonded together in the face of some trying times. The variety of characters and their oddball ways (Venetia's mother, The Gnome, David, Rose and Tristan to name but a few... there are loads of people in this story) keep your interest piqued throughout. If you like a fun, witty and transporting read, then Hens Dancing is the book for you.
I'm off now to buy everything else she has ever written!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely charming! 20 Feb 2002
By A Customer
I've read Hen's Dancing twice now and each time I've found the characters and the setting delightful. I warmed to Venetia immediately and the children are adorable, particularly The Beauty. As a worn out city dweller, this book makes me want to move to the countryside and make jam!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Made me laugh out loud 12 Jun 2001
By A Customer
A definate first for me, despite reading approx 6 paperbacks/week for the last 20 years, it was the first time I have been reduced to tears of laughter in public. The descriptions of stroppy children, bad wardrobe days, uncooperative livestock, disasterous family outings and dubious footwear rang very loud bells in this woman's household. However the book was diminished by the fairy tale builder in the amorous sub plot, since when did one look gorgeous, turn up on time and be available to start work this year?
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real Beauty! 22 Jun 2001
This is a lovely summer read. It's been pitched as a rural Bridget Jones but the only similarity I can see is that it's written in diary form. Okay - there's occasional angst too in the form of divorced mother of three berating her wardrobe/lack of men/lack of figure etc, but this is a far more gentle read. Don't expect any of this conflict and tension which is usually forcefed to readers by the truckload. The only tension here is created by golden moments such as whose teddy bear will be flung furthest from the church tower at the local fete's toy parachuting competition.
If you like your books beautiful and uncomplicated, then this is for you. The plethora of characters are captivating and the prose glitters with poetical gems like: 'birds swoop low as the darkening sky swallows the last pink drops of evening light.' I look forward to reading the sequel, Summertime.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hens Dancing 12 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found an excerpt of this in an anthology I was reading, I was so impressed with the short passage, I bought the book. I was not disappointed! Raffaella's writing is witty and full of pathos. I recommend this book to all ..
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous! And that doesn't do it justice.
This is pure comfort read, as my friend said who introduced me to it. You fall in with the characters and they are painted so vividly, it is as though they live just around the... Read more
Published 11 months ago by K. Palmer
4.0 out of 5 stars great fun!
Bears no relationship to the realities of rural life unless you're on a Cath Kidston budget (I mean, look at the cover; it is not misleading) -- frothy and ludicrous, but rural... Read more
Published on 17 Oct 2009 by Katy
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother
I have to add my voice to those who similarly disliked this book. For a start, it is simply tedious and boring - nothing happens, and the minutiae of life of which it consists are... Read more
Published on 19 July 2009 by K. Dixon
5.0 out of 5 stars Un-put-downable!
Hens Dancing is a beatifully written book about family life with all it's trials & tribulations. Venetia is on the verge of total meltdown due to the break-up of her marriage but... Read more
Published on 8 Jun 2009 by Mrs. Sally L. Wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars very enjoyable
I loved this book, it was a very light hearted easy read as a mum of 3 myself i could totally relate to the main character and the chaos that surrounds her and being written as a... Read more
Published on 7 Dec 2008 by cup cake
1.0 out of 5 stars A waste of time and money
I bought this book after reading the reviews, but my advice is - don't! I'm sorry, because I live in Norfolk and thought it would be a lovely read, but it's completely... Read more
Published on 16 Sep 2008 by Jane Dickens
1.0 out of 5 stars Really dull
I read all the brilliant Amazon reviews before buying this book and felt confident it would be a sure-fire hit, but I was really disappointed. Read more
Published on 29 Aug 2008 by C. M. Reader
1.0 out of 5 stars Literary equivalent of the Boden catalogue
Can't think what induced me to pick up this appalling, saccharine tosh but at least it was in the Oxfam shop. It was written by a Country Life columnist which says it all. Read more
Published on 17 Aug 2008 by booksetc
3.0 out of 5 stars good but not as good as summertime
i love barker's style of writing, its completely unique and individual and i lap up what she has written, however although this was a good, comic and painfully real tale, i still... Read more
Published on 21 April 2008 by Ms. F. I. Macdonald
4.0 out of 5 stars Perceptive!
Fantastically perceptive! I read this after the sequel, Summetime, and although in my opinion not quite as funny it was still a thoroughly enjoyable read. Read more
Published on 30 Sep 2003 by Jane White
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