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The Ready Made Family Paperback – 30 Jun 2004

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Paperback, 30 Jun 2004
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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Girls Gone By (30 Jun. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904417361
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904417361
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 12.4 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,220,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By T. Bently VINE VOICE on 13 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Antonia Forest is often seen as an author who wrote girls' school stories, which is understandable but not strictly true. Although the titles which have been republished by Faber and Penguin have conformed to this type, in fact most of her novels are set at the Marlow's home during the holidays, with a variety of protagonists both male and female.

So perhaps 'The Ready-Made Family' is a typical Forest story, school is barely mentioned and there are plenty of males on the scene: Peter and Patrick (the latter only on the fringes) and Edwin and Chas.

I knew from the first sentence of this book that I was going to enjoy it,

No one remembered who had first said of Trennels conservatory that it looked as if the Great Palm House at Kew had pupped; and anyway it was no truer than a joke need be...

has an unmistakable Forest tang. However, 'The Ready-Made Family' also represented uncharted territory for me since it is Forest's school-set books which have always enthralled me in the past and R-MF is very much set away from the world of Kingscote college.

The ready-made family in question is that of Kay's new husband Edwin. His offspring Chas, Rose and the diminutive Fob embark on a series of adventures with Nicola and Peter. These involve the seaside, a railway (in scenes reminiscent of E. Nesbit) and a flight to Oxford by Nicola and Rose. The last of these sees Forest taking on the most sinister subject matter of her career, though it is deftly handled as ever.

I enjoyed the moments of high drama in the story and the descriptions of Oxford will delight anyone who has visited the city. But uncharacteristically, Forest at times picks up quite major story lines which are not resolved or returned to as the plot progresses.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Aug. 2005
Format: Paperback
One of the best of the Marlow 'holiday' books - I've read it many times. The action sections are slightly overdrawn compared to the very skilled depictions of personal relationships and predicaments in the rest of the book but it's intelligent and moving all round. Very necessary too for the background on Karen, Edwin and Rowan which comes up elsewhere in the series.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
family crisis 8 Feb. 2000
By Galatea Jones - Published on
Format: Paperback
Antonia Forest has written a long series of books about the Marlowe family (some of which are impossible to get your hands on. They're all out of print). This book is set during their holidays when the oldest girl in the family suddenly marries an older man and brings him home with his three children from a previous marriage. If you haven't read any of the other books, this one would probably be difficult to follow. If you have, however, you will love it. The tension between people is acute. You see them at their worst and best. It's magnificently written. You know, children probably wouldn't like it even though it's a children's story. That's the problem. Antonia Forest is one of the greatest writers of all time. I love this book. I wish they were all in print and I wish I had them to read and read again.
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