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Never the Bride (Brenda 1) [Paperback]

Paul Magrs
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
Price: 8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

3 May 2007 Brenda 1

Brenda has had a long and eventful life, and she has come to Whitby to run a B&B and enjoy some peace and quiet. She and her best friend Effie like nothing better than going out for tea and keeping their eyes open for mysterious goings on in town.

And what with satanic beauty salons, roving psychic investigators and the frankly terrifying owner of the Christmas Hotel there's plenty to watch. But the oddest thing in Whitby may well be Brenda herself. With her terrible scars, her strange lack of a surname and the fact that she takes two different shoe sizes, Brenda should know that people as, well, unique as she is just aren't destined for a quiet life.

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Never the Bride (Brenda 1) + Hell's Belles (Brenda 4)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review (3 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755332881
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755332885
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 262,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Utterly original. I was totally charmed' (The Times)

'Without doubt, Never The Bride will be a Gothic smash' (Guardian)

It is wonderful, I love it and really hope there will be sequels starring Brenda, whom I love to bits (Jill Mansell)

'This is a quirky, whimsical, episodic novel that combines perversity, situation comedy and quietly lush moments of poetry' (Time Out)

Book Description

The first Brenda & Effie mystery from 'A great novelist' - Russell T. Davies

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In awe of Magrs 19 April 2009
By A. Bear
I've read` pretty much everything Paul Magrs has written and loved all of it but I am beginning to think that the Brenda and Effie series could end up being thebooks he is most fondly remembered for - though I hope to get to read much, much more of his work and am prepared to be proven wrong!

Magrs takes the seaside town of Whitby, installs Brenda the most mysterious landlady since Mrs Madrigal and sits back as we are taken on a Gothic romp via magic realism. It's a hoot! I sat and read the book in almost one sitting and then turned to the first page and read it, more slowly again. Each creepy character leaps out from the page and you are left wondering who Brenda is and of course wanting more.

More there is! Personally I'd buy books two and three now so you don't have to wait for the second one to arrive - you'll be kicking yourself if you don't.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Prospect of Happiness 22 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bride: "A woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her" - Ambrose Bierce

Part of what marked Paul Magrs' "Doctor Who" books out from the tie-in herd is the plethora of ideas which seemed to pour out from his head onto the page, with one insanely wonderful concept following the next like a series of bright marbles thudding down a wooden staircase. Glass men and cardboard UNIT captains tumble after mutating gila monsters and time splicing pinking shears; manipulative power-mad poodles bound alongside fantastically-endowed Robins, the Queen of Spring and Tom Baker-shaped sex robots; and a TARDIS in the shape of a double decker bus putters down behind the lot of them, a gin-soaked old harpy at the wheel.

On the other hand, in the non-Who world Magrs started off writing 'traditional' magic realist novels. Interesting and imaginative ones, as well written as you would expect, but in certain ways deliberately limited by their chosen form. It was only in Who that he appeared to really let rip and in doing so created work which you really can't imagine anyone else doing.

With his previous novel, "To the Devil - a Diva" Magrs began to bring more of the style of his Who novels into his mainstream work, but it's only in "Never the Bride" that a wholly successful mix has been achieved.

There are obvious similarities between the two novels and in some ways "To the Devil" can be seen as a rehearsal for "Never the Bride" - specifically in that both novels use the tropes and trappings of horror movies to weave a truly fantastic tale set in contemporary England.

It's an interesting point, actually - for Magrs to write this kind of book, he needs something to play with, something to roll between his fingers, mutate and subvert.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One word: fantastic!!! 31 May 2010
Set in Whitby (famous as the North Yorkshire seaside town where the ship carrying dracula's coffin was washed ashore in Bram Stoker's Dracula) 'Never the bride' has as its main characters two mature ladies: Brenda and her good friend Effie. Effie runs the ramshackle family junk store which has more than its fair share of disturbing items in the attic. To the untrained eye, Brenda is simply a lady of a certain age running a B&B just like any other. But Brenda had led a VERY colourful past, one that she hopes will leave her in peace now.

But the thick fog drifting in from the sea is hiding quite a few unsavoury goings-on in Whitby, and wherever the two women go, trouble is never far behind. As well as the two main characters, there is a cast of oddballs - each one camper and more sinister than the last. I LOVED it!

Paul Magrs has managed to combine elements that the reader is familiar with in a way that they haven't considered before. He's taken the theme of elderly curtain-twitching/sleuthing ladies and put a very funny gothic twist on it - think Miss Marple meets Horror Hammer meets The League of Gentlemen. Having said that this book isn't easy to compare to others. Just one of the things that makes it so fantastic.

I have to say I don't usually read horror fiction, but Brenda and Effie are so well drawn that you simply can't help but get pulled into their adventures. I thought they were wonderful and their antics so entertaining, you'll be rooting for them right from the beginning.

And do you know what the best thing about Brenda and Effis is? This is a series!!! Four novels have been published so far with the fifth coming out in October this year. I am so tempted to just devour the second one right away but I won't. No, I am going to try and show some restraint - for once in my life!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First up: I read this AFTER Something Borrowed because I didn't realise that it was a sequel. I thought it was unusual that the main characteors would make casual reference to incidents that had happened previously, as if the reader should know about them. Of coure I should, but I didn't. Never mind.

This book is imaginative, clever, witty and on occcasion, quite insightful. You can feel the charactor develope as the book progresses, and from my perspective of being one book ahead, I could see it all pulling towards the sequel. An odd but interesting way to go about reading.

There are a few short stories woven into this book in the form of the early adventures of these two women(?) but they are nicely interlaced with the book as a whole so you feel that you are getting several short books in one, but properly meshed.

I definietly recommend this book, but even more so the sequel, Something Borrowed, which to my tastes was even better.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Curious
The most curious, engaging and entertaining book I've ever read. As they say in Yorkshire, I can't get me breath...
Published 4 months ago by Mrs Lisa Johnson
3.0 out of 5 stars If you like this sort of thing....
...then perhaps you will enjoy it sufficiently to go on to the next one. I shall not, because while the writing is good, the story is not. Read more
Published 11 months ago by BarbaraM
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting idea but very crowded with potential storylines, not tight...
Well written with a likeable and unique narrator (loved Brenda's backstory), but it felt like too many smaller stories were competing within the one book (the Greens, Alucard,... Read more
Published 12 months ago by K. J. Noyes
2.0 out of 5 stars Not funny or clever, just silly
This book is set in the quiet seaside town of Whitby, which, although quiet, also has associations with Dracula, and witches, and other unusual goings on. Read more
Published 21 months ago by neverendings
4.0 out of 5 stars wonderful escapism
this book is a wonderful read well worth the effort,when you think this is boring is when it starts up, when you think i know whats happening, the most off the planet spanner is... Read more
Published 23 months ago by iany
3.0 out of 5 stars A great idea, but I was a bit disappointed overall (3.5 stars)
I have been really looking forward to reading this novel after hearing such good things about it in the past. Read more
Published on 13 Mar 2012 by Nicola F (Nic)
4.0 out of 5 stars I loved it!
Very quirky, very clever and very entertaining. One of those books that makes the reader happy to suspend disbelief. Read more
Published on 3 Jan 2012 by M. Steele
3.0 out of 5 stars Gothic fancy
My previous encounters with Paul Magrs have been limited to his Doctor Who fiction, none of which quite tickled my Doctor Who sensibilities, being for the most part too strange and... Read more
Published on 6 April 2011 by Michael Finn
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy, brilliant and very very funny
This book is a delicious mix, a blend of the Ladies Detective Agency and a gothic comedy. I flew through it in a few days because it was so easy to read also just a lot of really... Read more
Published on 17 Feb 2011 by SteveA (UK)
3.0 out of 5 stars Couture Delights: Coffee Corner
Confusing from beginning to end, yet simple all the way through. This book will keep you catured through tantilising your curiosity. Read more
Published on 3 Jan 2011 by Couture Delights
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