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The Very Thought of You Paperback – 18 Jun 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Alma Books Ltd (18 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846880866
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846880865
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 21 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 946,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rosie Alison grew up in Yorkshire, and read English at Keble College, Oxford. She spent ten years directing television documentaries before becoming a film producer at Heyday Films. She is married with two daughters and lives in London.

Product Description

Review

"Rosie Alison's debut novel grips from start to finish. Beginning with the story of a young girl evacuated to a country house at the start of the war, it opens up to include doomed romances, thwarted love affairs, innocence corrupted, and a cast of characters that are as passionate as they are believable. Alison writes with a real understanding of the period and true compassion for her characters and the plot develops in unexpected and often shocking ways. Without question one of the best debuts I've read in recent years and an important addition to the growing body of literature which concerns itself with the effect of the Second World War on the people back home." --John Boyne

"A polished and striking debut." --Waterstone's Book Quarterly

From the Publisher

Longlisted for RNA Romantic Novel of the Year 2010

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

120 of 132 people found the following review helpful By Mr Gumby TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a coming-of-age novel, a story of war, love and loss, beautifully told, inspired by the author's visit to a country house and letters written by a cousin in 1939.

It is set in a country estate, Ashton Park in Yorkshire, the estate and its owners having been brought low by the First World War. Now, at the start of the Second World War in 1939, 8-year-old Anna Sands is evacuated here from London with 85 other children. Anna, intelligent and perceptive, is quickly drawn into the family by the Ashtons who have turned their estate into a school. Thomas and Elizabeth Ashton shape Anna's life.

The story is gripping from the start, with subtle observation and superb detailing, the writing highly visual. The author paints wonderful pictures of London and vividly communicates the feel of Ashton Park.

I count this among my favourite books and highly recommend it.
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57 of 63 people found the following review helpful By k. brooke on 28 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be totally enthralling and thought provoking. A book that stays with you for some time after reading it.
It takes place during the Second World War and is essentially based around an evacuee who along with others is sent to a large house in the country. It follows her story as well as her Parents and the couple who take her in.
I thought that all the characters were well developed and believable, they were not simply good or bad but people who found themselves in situations that they were unable control or cope with.
The description of the little girl and her Mother shopping together before her departure was particularly heart rending but in a most unsentimental way.
This book also tackles the effects of polio, a disease that we have all but forgotten about but which had devastating effects on both its victims and their families.
All in all an absorbing read and one which I found difficult to put down.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By L. Bretherton VINE VOICE on 20 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I agree so much with a couple of the other reviewers who refer to the writing as flat, or lacklustre. While the prose is very well crafted in places, the book as a whole is rather unsatisfying. None of the characters really engage you. The narrative keeps jumping from one person to another, then suddenly speeds up towards the end, so characters age from one page to the next. As commented on by another reviewer, there are some incidente which are drawn out to the edges of tedium (the build-up to the love affair between Ruth and Thomas, for example) while other major events are dealt with in a single abrupt paragraph. In her author's notes at the end, Rosie Alison refers to a visit to a house in Cornwall as the starting point for this book. Why then, was it set in Yorkshire, and in a Yorkshire which we never got to see or experience in any way? I just found the book very oddly put together, and felt frustrated with the author, because some of the passages were very well done, it just didn't work as a whole. Also, I was unconvinced by the relationship between Anna and Thomas - what was that about, it seemed a tad creepy?

Not one to keep, I'm afraid, or even pass onto a friend.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Tamara L on 8 April 2010
Format: Paperback
I wanted to like this book and enjoyed it enough to finish it. It's not badly written. The author tries to strike a wistful tone but her prose is a little flat and lifeless and I would have welcomed a change of tone to keep my interest. As other reviewers have commented it's a more tell than show. There wasn't a lot of plot development, some of the sub plots were dead ends and there was no point whatsoever in the inclusion of Sir Clifford Norton and his wife Peter who seem to have been thrown into the mix purely to show off the writer's illustrious relatives. They add nothing to the story and appear to belong in a different book altogether.

I do feel a bit guilty giving it three stars - the same rating I have just given to a much trashier book, but there was too much unfulfilled promise here. I wish she had sat on it for a year and then looked at it more dispassionately. It could have been a much better book than it is. I might look out for her next one but I hope it will have a little more fire.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Rassendyll on 13 May 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a moving book written with great clarity in a pleasantly straightforward style from the persective of a traditional omniscient narrator. The centre of the story, if not the central character, is Thomas Ashton, a wheelchair-bound former diplomat around whom spin several female characters and their lovers. All have slightly different views and experiences of love. Most of the action takes place during the Second World War, when Ashton's stately family home in Yorkshire is turned into a boarding school for London evacuees. The atmosphere of the era and the setting is evocative and believable.

If I had one criticism of the book it would be that the final section compresses too tightly the long period from the wartime events to the final denouement, and I would have enjoyed hearing more about the character on whom this part of the book focusses. That comment, though, is really praise for the book's intelligence and sensitivity because it is very rare indeed that I find a modern novel too short.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By G. Leary on 11 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
I've never written a review before, but our book club had chosen 'The Very Thought of You' by Rosie Alison as this month's read. There are always differences of opinion about the books we read - but not so tonight. We all agreed it was poorly written, and cannot understand how it came to be shortlisted for the Orange Prize.
I and two others had managed to finish it, (we are nothing if not persistent) but the remainder decided that life was just too short and gave up halfway through.
I was particularly disappointed as I had been looking forward to reading it - my mother having been evacuated at the same age as Anna was in the story, but I'm afraid it didn't do anything for me at all - the characters were unconvincing and the storylines predictable.
I learnt tonight that Rosie Alison works in television - maybe it was her ultimate aim to have it made into a television drama.
It might JUST be able to make it as a Sunday evening serialisation - I only hope that they get someone else to write the script.
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