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Never the Bride (Brenda 1) Paperback – 3 May 2007


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Never the Bride (Brenda 1) + Something Borrowed (Brenda 2) + 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 x 1.8 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 160,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'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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3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Bear on 19 April 2009
Format: Paperback
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By P. K. Preston on 5 Feb 2009
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By SteveA (UK) on 17 Feb 2011
Format: Paperback
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 good fun. The book is split up into several smaller connected stories featuring the adventures of the mysterious Brenda and her friend Effie. Magrs has picked a wonderful location for such a weird and sometimes spooky story and he uses it to its full, with many a nod to its associations in literature.

My favourite character has to be Brenda. She is a fascinating woman and wonderfully written as a very lonely and tragic figure who has lived for a long time and accomplished so many wild things it would probably make Hugh Heffner jealous. But now she's much older and she wants a quiet life. And most of all she just wants to be left alone and not noticed by anyone because there is much that is unusual about her. I won't spoil the surprise, although you can probably guess from the synopsis above, but once her real identity is known you realise there is so much to play with and so many areas that could be explored. The story does dip into the past on occasion as Brenda reminisces on her birth and some of her more interesting encounters, but in the main, the narrative is very much set in the present. Even without her unique history Brenda reminds me of many women I've seen and met; mature women who have a no nonsense approach to life. They've seen it all and nothing shocks them anymore. She is tough and outspoken and takes no prisoners, making her the perfect person to tackle the supernatural and the unpleasant happenings in Whitby. She is Buffy as a tough old biddy, if you like.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Stuart A. Douglas on 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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