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Precious Time [Hardcover]

Erica James
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 Oct 2001

In order to spend more time with her four-year-old son Ned, Clara Costello trades in her secure, well-paid job and two-seater sports car for a camper van called Winnie, and the three of them set off on a mystery tour of England. Of course, her friends and family think she¿s gone mad.

But when they arrive in Deaconsbridge, a small market town in the Peak District, Clara and Ned become drawn into the lives of the locals. Two in particular seem destined to get under Clara¿s skin: Gabriel Liberty, a cranky widower who terrifies his family; and Archie Merryman, a local dealer in second hand furniture, who possesses a heart of gold.

Then Clara finds herself having to confront a problem much closer to home, and one she had hoped she would never have to face ¿

Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; First Edition edition (18 Oct 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075284136X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752841366
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 15.6 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,110,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

With an insatiable appetite for other people's business, Erica James will readily strike up conversation with strangers in the hope of unearthing a useful gem for her writing. She finds it the best way to write authentic characters for her novels, although her two grown-up sons claim they will never recover from a childhood spent in a perpetual state of embarrassment at their mother's compulsion.

The author of thirteen bestselling novels, including Gardens of Delight which won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award, and her recent Sunday Times top ten bestseller, It's the Little Things, Erica now divides her time between Cheshire and Lake Como in Italy, where she now strikes up conversation with unsuspecting Italians.

Product Description

Amazon Review

The heroine of Erica James' seventh novel, Precious Time, is determined to make some changes in her life. Single mum Clara Costello has a secure job, a nifty sports car, a lovely house and a beguiling four-year-old son, called Ned. Ned is due to start school, but before he does Clara is determined to spend some "precious time" with him. So, feeling like an "intrepid explorer" she resigns from her job, buys a camper van and heads off on a tour of England to "show Ned what an exciting world he lived in, so that he would grow up knowing that there were endless possibilities out there for him." Clara's wonderful tour doesn't go quite to plan. A mere 250 miles from their starting point they arrive in Beaconsfield in the Peak District and get "caught up in the lives of a handful of folk".

Erica James' novel really comes into its own here. The characters are engaging, infuriating, their individual stories involving. There's Gabriel Liberty a 79-year-old cantankerous tyrant who's walled up with grief in the huge decaying Mermaid house. There's his son, schoolteacher Jonah, with his "fine boned face and disarming smile" and his difficult twin brother and sister Casper and Damson. Archie Merryman also lives in the village, a gentle soul who's caring for his mother and trying to come to terms with the failure of his marriage to stroppy Stella. Erica James deftly weaves these disparate characters together, revealing the secrets and regrets of their emotional lives, while keeping the plot moving at a sprightly pace. This is a deft and entertaining read from this popular author.--Eithne Farry


'James writes brilliant fairy stories for adults' GOOD BOOK GUIDE --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of her best so far! 6 Nov 2001
By A Customer
This is an excellent read. I was unsure when reading the first chapter as I couldn't see how I could care much about the characters but they gradually grow on you! By the end of the book you feel like they are old friends and can almost envisage what happens next! It is carefully written with the authors usual wry sense of humour and descriptions that take you right into the heart of the story. There are poignant moments and I felt especially that the character of Gabriel was very well portrayed. The sympathy for him does not happen automatically but gaining insights into his past allows both Clara and the reader understand and warm to him more. There are the usual variety of characters and, as in all the other Erica James novels, you are drawn into their world and cares. I couldn't put this book down and spent a very enjoyable few hours in the company of the cast and the descriptions of the Peak District. Highly recommended to all fans of Erica James and if you've never read one of her books before then start with this one!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect book to curl up with! 21 Mar 2003
This is definitely one of my favourite Erica James's books. The story entices the reader into Clara and Ned's world from page one, and they feel like good friends setting out on their exciting adventure. The characters introduced in the Peak District include Gabriel Liberty and Bessie of an older generation, Archie, then younger adults like Caspar, Damson and Jonah. All the characters feel like real people who have a history which interests the reader...and also Clara. It is not often you read a book which interacts all the generations and they each add to the events. The character of Bessie, who has suffered a stroke, is particularly sensitive, and shows respect and understanding. Her relationship with her son Archie is thoughtful and sympathetic, but you can also feel his frustrations in the changes in his mum.
The descriptions of Mermaid House really draw you in to this part of the world, and as the house comes alive from clutter, I couldn't stop reading.
It is a story of compassion, learning from your actions, and for me, really shows motherhood at its best. It is a delight to read about a child who has a fully rounded character, and adds to the story. This is a lovely book. Do read it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing book! 19 Jan 2002
By A Customer
This is definitley the best Erica James book, I've read so far! From the first word I was hooked, the characters are so real and you just want to know what is going to happen next! This book is definitley worth reading!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Erica James' Best Yet! 22 Jun 2002
By A Customer
I have to say I absolutely adored this book - I couldn't put it down...It made me laugh and more than once made me cry. An utterly touching and heart-felt story of friendship, compassion & following your heart.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply a MUST READ! 18 April 2005
Wow! That's all I could really say about this book. The contankerous Mr Liberty, though really horrible at first, is am absolute darling and little Ned is just so charming. It's the best book that has witty humour and a lovely motherly plot to it. Simply a MUST READ.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a delightful and moving novel 4 May 2003
By A Customer
I enjoyed Erica James's earlier books, and was then rather disappointed in 'The Holiday'. So I nearly didn't bother with 'Precious Time'. How glad I am that I did read it after all! This is a *wonderful* book. A delightful mixture of characters: from the four-year-old inquisitive Ned, through to the crusty Mr Liberty, who is almost eighty, Erica James creates realistic and likeable people. Plots and sub-plots intertwine to make a sometimes moving, always enjoyable novel which - after the first few chapters - was almost impossible to put down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Precious Time 1 Oct 2006
An outstanding read !! I am a crime / detective fan but chose to read this, my first, Erica James book. I absolutely adored it and couldn't put it down... I really felt part of the characters (as though I knew them!!) and I now want to buy a camper-van and travel the UK !! It made me laugh so much. I am now ordering all the rest of her books ..
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 29 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Absolutely fantastic
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
her usual style
Published 10 days ago by Mrs B V Doherty
4.0 out of 5 stars Precious Time
Another book that was choosen by my wife and again she states that she was happy in with the book
Published 17 days ago by Mr. Alan Tinnuche
5.0 out of 5 stars Very touching read heartwarming story.
The writer kept you interested from the start it blossomed to be a truly lovely read a feel good book very heartening
Published 1 month ago by trish sheed
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
Really good read - especially for a holiday! Highly recommend this book to anyone needing a relaxing book. Hope you enjoy!
Published 2 months ago by Sarah Handy
4.0 out of 5 stars precious time
Good holiday escapism read especially for those with a csmper van. Completely predictable hence the 4 stars but sometimes thats just whats required.
Published 2 months ago by jg
5.0 out of 5 stars Precious time
Sentimental, but why not? Really liked the characters and was drawn into the story exactly what I want in a good read.
Published 3 months ago by Karen Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read
Such an interesting story, I couldn't put this book down, it's one of those where you read into the early hours of the morning and as soon as you put the book down you start to... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Kirsty
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Interesting characters. Good storyline. You end up caring about the characters. An easy read that leaves you wanting more. Enjoy
Published 5 months ago by Mrs Y Kemp
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
all ericas books are good to read romance and believable characters lovers of kattie fordde will love this author great
Published 5 months ago by cleopatra
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
Well written and a light easy read. Again Erica James has hit on a subject that could affect anyone and made it into a very enjoyable book. Highly recommendations.
Published 6 months ago by mrs christine young
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