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Illyrian Spring [Paperback]

Ann Bridge
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
Price: 8.57 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Daunt Books (17 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190797007X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907970078
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.4 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect holiday novel? 7 Jun 2012
By Rough Diamond TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
It astonishes me that Ann Bridge is so unread these days. For anyone new to her work, Illyrian Spring is a wonderful place to start. It's one of those novels where the plot is almost an incidental pleasure. The real joy here is the freshness and acuity of Bridge's prose. Just like the two artists who are her romantic protagonists, Bridge can evoke the arid landscapes and peaceful villages of 1930s Dalmatia with just a few deft strokes. The plot itself revolves around the aristocratic Grace Kilmichael, who in her early 40s suddenly loses patience with her three demanding children and her distant, possibly unfaithful husband. She escapes by means of the Orient Express to the sunlit Adriatic, to resume her long-abandoned career as a painter. There she meets Nicholas Humphries, half her age, but who like her is on the run from an uninspiring destiny. Unhappy with the prospect of becoming an architect, he has come to Dalmatia to follow his true vocation - painting. As their relationship shifts and deepens, Bridge handles its evolving complexities with tact, sensitivity and real emotional insight. There's a narrative tautness here too, which never slackens despite the many delightful detours on which Bridge leads us through the flower-strewn hills of Dalmatia in springtime.

Hats off to Daunt Books for putting a huge amount of love and devotion into this excellent re-issue. This is a real bibliophile's paperback. The typesetting is deft and crisp, the paper is smooth, fine and creamy to the touch, the endpapers are tastefully patterned. Books as good as this are the Luddite's reward for refusing to own a Kindle!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Illyrian Idyll 26 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback
I loved this book. I picked it up straight from the horse's mouth - published by Daunt's and in their fabulous Marylebone High Street shop. But I digress.

I'm a great fan of the 1930s novel to start off with - having waltzed my way through my grandparents' library, built up in that era. Many of these books have dated badly in language and mores, though they remain entertaining reads written in a distinctive style: others are beautifully crafted, combining both literary writing and clarity of expression (the two don't always go together).

This one belongs to the latter category. The quality of the writing is superb. The lead character takes a holiday from her life with her husband and adult children, and a chance encounter with a young man changes them both: she is an established painter, he is an aspiring one, whose parents disapprove of his choice of career. For a book about painters and painting, the writing is appropriately visual: the local colour is established so vividly it unfolds before your eyes. Unlike many landscape artists, the author can also paint figures - we care about the characters and their interior lives, and want to keep reading to the very last page.

Although ultimately an escapist novel, it treats large themes with the care and attention they deserve and it's sometimes a bit Jane Austen-esque with a great deal of sly, understated humour.

Though "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day" is a more obviously humorous novel, if you loved Miss Pettigrew, you'll love meeting Lady Kilmichael.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Charming tale... 26 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I found this by chance. An unheard of writer today but a best seller in her time. It is charming. From another age, of course, but a delight.

Lady K leaves her husband and child - she's a successful painter in her own right but middle-age has set in and she feels unloved and unwanted and always wrong. Of course she's privileged, but its of its day this book, so go with it. Off to the Dalmatian coast and the descriptions are lush and vivid and just eatable. Buy it just for that.

Then she meets a young man. Same class, of course, and he's grumpy and you can guess the rest., He falls for her and she tries to escape. There's no sex...in case you were hoping...and you'll get to a gentle end as our heroine learn to be liked for herself and not worrying about husband and child.

So its back to Society and the servant problem...

It is another age but still a charming, wonderful book. Read it just for pleasure.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual story 16 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wasn't sure that I was going to like this when I first started but I persevered
and I really enjoyed it. Ann Bridge certainly wrote beautifully and I do hope more
of her books are reprinted.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful and perceptive 16 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A novel about a female painter who feels trapped in an unsatisfactory marriage and takes time out from it in Illyria. On the way she meets a much younger man and most of the novel is about their evolving relationship and how it leads the painter to discover a lot about herself. This is a delightful book, full of emotional insight. I have given it four rather than five stars because, particularly in the first half, there is rather too much loving description of places for my taste - a few pages read more like a travel book than a novel. But this did not seriously detract from my enjoyment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The meaning of love. 6 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As someone who lives in modern Dalmatia I was attracted to this title, when I read it I got a glimpse of places I know well as they were in the latter 1930s but the best thing about this book is its treatment of degrees of love without the modern obsession sex, i re-read the book in an analytic way and found great help from it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars S ummary
Liked the descriptions of the country.I found the plot unconvincing. Why would a wife need to leave home? Why did she not just get on with her life and her painting? Read more
Published 8 months ago by patriciam mcdonald
5.0 out of 5 stars evocative
I read this book whilst on holiday in Dubrovnik so was able to see the locations which added to my enjoyment.
Published 9 months ago by Denise Beckett
4.0 out of 5 stars Gentle
Slow but well developed. I read this on holiday and became entranced by its beauty. Ending was a little disappointing.
Published 10 months ago by Yvette Eagle
4.0 out of 5 stars Terri jones
I enjoyed the book,with its simple,sweet past fashion of writing. Beautiful descriptive passages, with wonderful insights into the way things were, and so nostalgic. Read more
Published 10 months ago by T.Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely gentle well written book with believable characters and...
I loved this book because it was very well written with believable characters you could relate to. The story was quiet an evolved in a believable way and the book was full of... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Gillian O'Bryen
4.0 out of 5 stars a good old fashioned read
Interesting archaic use of English and romantic though predictable story Good descriptive passages, especially of flora and fauna. Read more
Published 10 months ago by P. A. Pearson
5.0 out of 5 stars ILLYRIAN SPRING
This arrived in double quick time and I have read my book with increasing pleasure.
Ann Bridges power of description is glorious and I felt myself immersed in the atmosphere... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Ferry Maid
5.0 out of 5 stars A very cleaver story
This was my favorite book by this author. Reflects personal family relationships between the various generations. Recommended for any woman over 35.
Published 14 months ago by Gillian Newman
5.0 out of 5 stars Anne Stewart
I loved the story,the way it was written and the wonderful descriptions. We read it as a Book Group selection and it averaged 9 out of ten from a group of differing ages and... Read more
Published 14 months ago by anne stewart
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