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Precious Time Paperback – 1 May 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752883429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752883427
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.1 x 19.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,641 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 many bestselling novels, including GARDENS OF DELIGHT, which won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award, and her recent Sunday Times top ten bestsellers, SUMMER AT THE LAKE and THE DANDELION YEARS, Erica now divides her time between Suffolk and Lake Como in Italy, where she 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'James writes brilliant fairy stories for adults' GOOD BOOK GUIDE --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Clara Costello's friends were all of one opinion: that she was mad. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Nov. 2001
Format: Hardcover
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 By OllyOctopus on 21 Mar. 2003
Format: Paperback
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 By A Customer on 19 Jan. 2002
Format: Hardcover
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 By A Customer on 22 Jun. 2002
Format: Paperback
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 May 2003
Format: Paperback
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "original_bookworm" on 18 April 2005
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
How is it that Erica James always manages to get streight to my heart with her stories?

There is a sort of quiet introduction, like the silence after heavy rain when the sky is clearing up and suddenly as the sun explodes, we are in the middle of Erica's latest story where it seems as if absolutely everything can happen.

As it does to Clara and her son Ned when they are setting out on a five month adventure in their camper Winnie. Going where their fancy takes them, after one week they get to the small town of Deaconsbridge in the Peak District. And here unfolds this wonderful story in all its glory. Old grumpy Mr. Liberty at Mermaid House, his son Jonah, Shirley at the Mermaid Cafe, Archie at Second Best and his mother Bessie - all of Clara and Ned's new friends in this lovely story. Hertwarming and funny. Sadness and joy hand in hand as always when life happens.

Praise for Erica James and this wonderful read. Luckily there are more of her brilliant stories awaiting me.

Hugely recommended!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. J. Beanlands on 1 Oct. 2006
Format: Paperback
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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