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The Proof of Love Paperback – 1 Mar 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Portobello Books Ltd (1 Mar 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1846273005
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846273001
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 506,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

CATHERINE HALL was born in the Lake District in 1973. She worked in documentary film production before becoming a freelance writer and editor for a range of charities specialising in human rights and development. Her first novel was Days of Grace (Portobello, 2008).

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By David Baker on 8 May 2011
Format: Paperback
Set over the astonshing British heatwave of 1976 (if you're not old enough to remember it, lawns were parched, the sun felt like it would never set and the light blinded you with its intensity), Catherine Hall's second novel follows a Cambridge mathematics postgrad as he swaps college life for a summer on a coarse Cumbrian sheep farm. Hoping to keep himself to himself, he instead becomes entangled in the dark secrets of rural life, with riveting and unexpected consequences.

Hall's elegant and spare style - she is not one for overblown metaphors or tricky literary devices - lets the story tell itself. And what a story, it is.

A fast read and an engaging one that surprises, delights and disturbs in equal measure.

Very much recommended.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Sally Fielding on 8 May 2011
Format: Paperback
This is the best book I've read this year (so far) and since reading it a couple of weeks ago I still catch myself thinking about it even now (and for a while to come I suspect) - always the sign of a good book in my opinion. The language and action of the book is understated yet it gets under your skin right from the start. I had a fair few late nights where I just couldn't put it down. A sad but beautiful book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By C. Smits on 10 May 2011
Format: Paperback
The Proof of Love is a fantastic read that I would recommend whole heartedly. The story builds from the moment it starts, the pace is deceptive and the story climaxes with an inevitable, but truly tragic ending. I had to put it down for a couple of nights for fear of the ending and of finishing it too quickly. Catherine Hall has captured the smells, sounds, texture and total essence of the Lake District valley, bringing vivid childhood memories of mine flooding back. Her knowledge and descriptions are vivid and the characters so real. The Proof of Love is totally different to her 1st novel, Days of Grace, but written with the same incredible descriptions, I can't wait for more!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By MsJay on 9 May 2011
Format: Paperback
Catherine Hall is my favourite author of 2011 (so far). Proof of Love is a novel that I couldn't put down. Once finished I had to go back to re read the ending, I wasn't happy with the ending but neither would I have been happy with the alternative that was buliding; so for me and the characters involved it was lose, lose.
Great writing, a wonderful setting, characters that stay with you and crop up in your head at random moments on the tube. To understand what I mean you'll need to read it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Simon Savidge Reads TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 Jun 2011
Format: Paperback
There are some books that catch your unawares when you least expect it. They take you away to a world you aren't sure will be your `cup of tea' and captivate you, they make you want to read the whole book in a sitting or two whilst also wanting to make every single page count. You are bereft when the book finishes is and you can't stop talking about it at any opportunity you get. `The Proof of Love' by Catherine Hall is a book that did just that. I admit that if someone had said `read a book about a Cambridge mathematician who escapes the academic world by voluntarily farming in the lake district in the 1970's' I probably would have said, very politely, `I'm not sure that's my thing'. However I couldn't have been more wrong by this exceptional novel which will be flying into my top five books of the year so far no questions.

Spencer Little arrives in a rural village in the Lake District by bicycle on the hottest day of the sweltering summer of 1976 looking for nothing more than work in exchange for lodging and board. He decides to try the first farm he comes across, Mirethwaite, and the home of the Dodd's family. Here he becomes a kind of addition to a rather interesting family consisting of the young and loveably precocious ten year old Alice, her subdued mother Mary and the head of the household, and rather frightening, Hartley, a man fuelled by alcohol and anger. It's an interesting dynamic to a tale about rural life and `incomers' as well as one of just why Spencer is escaping from the very start and one that becomes more compelling as it goes.

As well as there being the family dynamic in `The Proof of Love' Catherine Hall also introduces the villagers and village life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kate Hopkins TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 6 Dec 2012
Format: Paperback
Catherine Hall's second novel, like her first, examines the nature of love. However, the setting is very different. 'Days of Grace' was set in Kent and London in World War II and the present day; 'The Proof of Love' is set in Cumbria (where Hall grew up) in the hot summer of 1976. Spencer Little, a star Cambridge doctoral student and one of the leading mathematicians of his generation, arrives in Cumbria after an unspecified 'shameful' experience during May Week in Cambridge. He takes a job as a casual labourer with Hartley Dodds, a sheep farmer, in exchange for lodging in a primitive shepherd's hut, and his meals. Soon, Spencer finds himself greatly enjoying his work on the farm, so different to anything he's done before. He gains the respect of the taciturn, hard-drinking Hartley and Hartley's gentle brother Thomas, he gains the trust and friendship of Hartley's shy and frustrated wife Mary, and he forms a very close bond with the couple's precocious 11-year-old daughter Alice, a girl who is just beginning to become aware of the possibilities of life outside the farm. Spencer's time with Alice, taking her to ballet classes, walking with her or explaining to her about mathematics out on the fells, helps him to feel a purer, stronger affection than he's ever felt before. And for a while, he can believe that he's put his past behind him. But a new friendship opens up avenues of passion for Spencer that he'd never imagined, forcing him to confront why he left Cambridge, and leading to him neglecting Alice. Soon, without his realizing it, Spencer's new passion is leading him into danger. But when tragedy strikes, the outcome is unexpected....

I enjoyed this book rather more that 'Days of Grace' (see earlier review), which I admired but ended with very mixed feelings.
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