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Tamsin [Paperback]

Peter S. Beagle
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Roc; Reissue edition (Mar 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451458206
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451458209
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,977,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
When I was really young, if there was one thing I wanted in the world, it was to be invisible. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This peculiarly breathless book sweeps you up in spite of yourself. A thirteen-year-old American adolescent, drifting in her urban life, gets transplanted to Dorset when her mother remarries. Puberty (I suppose) enables her to perceive the supernatural source of the disturbances that plague her family; she befriends the stranded ghost of a young woman; she gets what amounts to firsthand knowledge of the Bloody Assizes; her cat forgives her for the necessary evil of quarantine. Doesn't sound like much to hang a plot on, but there is plenty, and I found plot and characters irresistable. Not only could I not set the book down, fearing for the outcome, but Beagle has managed to capture the painful honesty of a young woman trying to come to terms with herself. (Sorry if this sounds like psychobabble--it's not.) I must admire this feat from a male author, and I always admire how Beagle makes the supernatural convincing, genuinely frightening and alive. If you liked "Folk of the Air" this should work for you too.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Books this addictive should be illegal! 17 Oct 2001
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Man. This is the kind of book you don't pick up at 10:00 o'clock at night, because you're still reading it at 3:00 o'clock in the morning!
Overall, the book has great pacing, and keeps you hooked to the action. The characters are well fleshed, and it is definitely the interaction of the principals that makes the story work.
I also found the horror/fantasy angle kind of cute. But then I'm a sucker for all that!
It sum, well worth a week of sitting on the sofa, sipping tea, and flicking pages like mad
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Characteristic Beagle 29 Jan 2003
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have to be honest - 3 months on, and I can barely remember the plot for Tamsin. This is perhaps characteristic of a Peter S. Beagle novel, though.
What I can remember, rather vividly, are the characters in this book. There is the protagonist, an american girl whose mother moves to rural england. The adjustment process is abrupt and she reacts rather badly at first to being uprooted from NY. Her mother tries her best to bring her closer to her new husband, with only limited success. It is her newfound siblings, though, that eventually succeed in making her a part family.
Then there's Tamsin, a spirit from long ago, whose mysterious story intrigues the reader, even as the spirit itself befriends the lonely girl. Haunting their country farm, this rather shy spirit is barely aware of the fact that she lives no more. And when her troubled past starts manifesting itself, our heroine is compelled to find the root of the problem. Other creatures fantastic (a very funny leprechaun, for example) will come to aid her, but in the end she must unravel and resolve Tamsin's tragic past all on her own.
Beagle is a master of the character - his books are populated by people whom you come to know and love. I have yet to read a book of his which, upon completion, I did not say "I want to go back there!". If there is greater praise than this, I don't know how to give it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars good book! 14 Mar 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
i enjoyed this book and read it till the end, although i found it dragged at the end and some bits unbelievable? i am from Dorset just outside of Dorchester so know where this book is set and when, it isnt exactly factual, but the directions are true to the names of the streets! i didnt realize it was based in Dorchester so was pleasantly surprised when i read it!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  60 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peter Beagle does it again 6 Oct 1999
By Brian Reynolds - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I'm not exaggerating when I say that Peter Beagle is one of the best writers in the world. If you read fantasy, you've certainly read his novel "The Last Unicorn," voted one of the five best fantasy novels of all time. It's always a treat when he gifts us with a new story, which isn't often. In "Tamsin," he tries out a new style, very unlike anything he's written before. It's a twist on the classic ghost story, written from the viewpoint of a headstrong, 14-year old Bronx-raised girl who's trying to come to terms with her mother's remarriage, and with their new home: a run-down, 300-year old manor in the English countryside. If that wasn't bad enough, it turns out that the huge old house and farm that her family's trying to renovate are positively bustling with supernatural activity. Cold drafts, distant voices, boggarts in the kitchen, and things that go bump in the night. This supernatural world takes on an entirely new aspect for Jenny, however, when she discovers Tamsin, the ghost of a 19-year old girl who lived and "stopped," as she puts it, 300 years ago in the manor when it was first built. Tamsin is beautiful, mysterious and compelling, but as their friendship grows, Jenny is drawn deeper and deeper into the strange world of the "old country," and into deadly peril.
This is a great book for young and old alike. It's very compelling; you won't be able to put it down until the very end. Like most of Peter's books, the story runs the whole emotional range, from funny to sad to terrifying to joyous. And throughout, there's always the mystery and secret of Tamsin, unfolding piece by piece in Peter's Beagle's truly exhilarating, masterful, fairy-tale like style.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning More or Less Describes it 19 Oct 2004
By A Ravenhaired - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Wow. Wow. Just, wow.

This book is really a good one, I'd reccomend it to people definitely 12 or up (though it never would've stopped me). This book reads like it's fast paced, and it's only when you look at the size of the text, etc., that you notice how long it is. It's about the protagonist, Jenny, moving to England, and having to face many things, among them her decidedly sulky attitude (partly because of the 6-month loss of her dear, dear friend, Mister Cat, in quarantine). The other part of it is her house. It is HUGE, set on about a hundred (or, at least seventy) acres, with three floors, huge rooms... a real seventeenth-century 'manor'. But, it has not been cared for in a long time, and it seems to practically resist electricity. Soon Jenny meets Tamsin, a ghost who died when she was twenty and can't remember why she is still stuck on earth. It's really hard to put down.

Amazingly, the character descriptions and personalities are right on target. I could perfectly imagine the way every person would act in a real situation, probably because the atmosphere seems so much like real life.

Five stars and a round of applause for Peter S. Beagle!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes you believe... 1 May 2000
By A. Creech - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a highly enjoyable ghost story. Ninteen year old New Yorker Jenny is looking back on the events that took place after she and her mother move to a run-down farm in Dorset, England to live with her stepfather and stepbrothers. Along with the story of Jenny coming to terms with her new stepfamily and settling in to a new school where she feels like an outsider, we also have the story of Tamsin.
Tamsin is the daughter of the original owner of the farm, from the fifteenth century. For some reason, Tamsin does not leave the farmhouse after her tragic early death, but hangs around in ghost form, along with her ghost cat. When Jenny sees and speaks to Tamsin, this seems to stir up all of the characters of myth and legend that abound in Dorset--Pookahs, Billy Blinds, and the Black Dog, who appears as an omen of something terrible to come.
Yet as we find out more about Tamsin's past, and Jenny is drawn deeper and deeper into the place where past and present meet, we realize that not all of these characters are merely mischevious--some are downright evil.
This book builds to a whirlwind climax that will have you on the edge of your set. It manages to be a thrilling ghost story while also a satisfying story of family life and "coming-of-age".
Very enjoyable.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hauntingly good read 28 April 2002
By "debeagle" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I remember giving up "The Last Unicorn" after 3 chapters because of the somewhat ponderous prose. But I still picked up Beagle's "Tamsin" at a book sale because I was intrigued by the synopsis (I love all things English, and I love Dorset).
Still, it took me almost 4 months to open the pages of "Tamsin". And I couldn't put it down. (Neither could my wife, who swiped it off me soon after I'd started - we had quite a tussle over it!)
The amazing thing is what an immediate different experience "Tamsin" is to "Unicorn". Beagle writes thru a 19-year-old girl's eyes recounting her experiences at 13, and my wife swears "that's exactly how a teen girl thinks". He really gets the teen perspective spot-on. Amazing for a man whose teen years must be quite some decades behind him (sorry, Mr Beagle!).
It was a bit frustrating (just a bit) that the novel takes some time to get to the titular character - Tamsin - but in retrospect, it makes sense. Because the book is really just as much about the teen girl Jenny Gluckstein, who's uprooted from bustling New York to "dull" Dorset (so she had disgruntledly expected) by her mother's second marriage to an Englishman. This 'preamble' of quite a few chapters fleshes out Jenny's character really well - before the real fun starts!
That's when Tamsin is finally introduced, and the story's pace & drama move up a few notches. And so does the scare factor. Not any cheap, gimmicky kind, but one that really can send a chill down your spine, involving the unfolding a 300-year-old secret against a Dorset background rich in ghosts and myths.
I won't say anymore to spoil your enjoyment. This book is worth its full price - I'm just thrilled I got it at such a steal!
P.S. I'm now giving "The Last Unicorn" another chance - and hunting down more books by Peter S. Beagle!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beagle Just Keeps Getting Better 19 Jan 2000
By Maraich - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The very first fantasy book I ever read was "The Last Unicorn". I still have fond memories of that book, but compared to Beagle's writing style of today it was crude. Over the years he has refined his skills. "Tamsin" is wonderful. That he can write a story from the perspective of a young girl, in a completely believable fashion, shows in itself how skillful he is. The young heroine is a unique person, but full of many of the same insecurities that most of us have experienced during our teens.
The story grows slowly, drawing the reader in, allowing the absurd to seem perfectly reasonable. A truly memorable tale. This is worth getting in hardcover.
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