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Hens Dancing Paperback – 8 May 2014


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Hens Dancing + Summertime + A Perfect Life
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks (8 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408851628
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408851623
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 211,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Should be read for Barker's glittering prose ... Venetia is a disarmingly wry and engaging narrator with a keen eye for nature and the follies of urban chic (Financial Times)

A positive hymn to provincial living, it is an entertaining celebration of family life with all its highs, lows and eccentricities (The Times)

Charming ... Engrossing (Sunday Times)

A fine, spiky sense of humour (Daily Telegraph)

The countryside is described in lush and affectionate terms ... Raffaella Barker is a writer of talent (Times Literary Supplement)

Book Description

A truly funny, intelligently told story that takes you deep into someone else's life

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Eleanor Digby on 21 Oct 2002
Format: Paperback
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 By Jill Besterman on 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 By A Customer on 10 Oct 2003
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 By Mrs. Kerry King on 4 Mar 2003
Format: Paperback
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 By A Customer on 12 Jun 2001
Format: Paperback
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Feb 2002
Format: Hardcover
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By country-girl on 22 Jun 2001
Format: Paperback
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Jun 1999
Format: Hardcover
In Hens Dancing the reader is taken to the Norfolk countryside, where pigs run free and a single mother battles with her garden, her ex-husband, and her desire to spend all her maintenance money on clothes more suited to a London life. Written as a diary, the book charts a year in the life of Venetia and her three children, two sons and The Beauty, a baby with a fine flair for fashion (her outfits include a leopard skin mini skirt and a mirrored green silk indian ceremonial coat). Venetia's social life is limited to being competitive with her New Age friend Lila, and attending village show committee meetings,or to gpoing on picnics with her mother, a chain smoking, Teletubby fan with a terrible effect on cars. This is a book which celebrates life in the country and its texture. The close observation of everyday existence is satisfying and absorbing and often very funny. The possibility of new love for Venetia is nicely balanced by the increasingly dislikeable aspects of her ex-husband whose pet cemetry chain is reminiscent of black moments in Jessica Mitford's "The American Way of Death".. The humour in this books goes from the sublime to the ridiculous, and anyone who likes a black tale will relish the swimming pool scene where a labrador and a Baywatch-style hunk have an argument over the ownership of a crucial piece of flesh. Otherwise, read it for its vivid portrayal of the countryside, the seasons and idiosyncratic family life.
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