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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 13 July 2014
I have always enjoyed Elizabeth Edmondson's books so was pleased when this came up as a recommendation on my Kindle. As it was only recently released I thought I had not read this book so downloaded it and started to read. However, I soon realised this was a very familiar story and when I look up the book on amazon found was previously released as The Art of Love and was not new at all. Although it is an very good book I am annoyed that I paid for a book I already had! I am not sure why publishers do this but wish they wouldn't.
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on 16 July 2014
I too was extremely disappointed to learn that this book has already been published under a different name. Why are publishers doing this so frequently now? The cover and title are different and they even claim it was published in 2014.

I am a fan of Elizaveth Edmondson and have read all her books I find it extremely offensive to be almost 'conned' into believing this to be a new book.
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Elizabeth Edmondson writes light, entertaining novels, usually with a slight mystery and a romantic element, using appealing locations. She devises a mix of characters and the interplay between characters, dialogue and description, are drawn with a deft touch. However, I found this particular novel less riveting and more predictable than 'The Villa in Italy'. The characters were rather more stereotyped than the Italian villa story. The art world theme worked well as a framework for the central character, Polly, to find herself and her true background. By the middle of the book you can tell how it's going to turn out, whereas 'The Villa in Italy' keeps you guessing.

I liked this novel enough to finish it, but it is not her best. For fans of interesting romantic novels, I recommend 'The Villa in Italy' rather than this one.
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on 16 August 2015
Disappointing, and three stars is perhaps a generous rating. The story starts off well enough, and really draws the reader in, so I settled down in anticipation of a good, gripping read. However, the interesting and absorbing introductory chapters were soon superseded by largely irrelevant, lengthy prose which did nothing to move the story forward. I can only conclude this was used to pad out a very thin and improbable story, full of even more improbable coincidences. I feel it could have been written in half the number of pages, and lost nothing in the transition. I did enjoy the lovely, descriptive sections, the author has researched the art world well, and it is mainly for this that I didn't want to leave a lower rating. She writes well, and with colour, so it's unfortunate the plot is so weak and unbelievable.
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on 30 October 2014
I initially felt this story was disjointed and not really going anywhere. But reader, do stick with it! It transpires that all the pieces of my supposed disjointed jigsaw were there for a purpose and the further I went into the storyline, the more I loved it. Well done to the author. A great read!
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This book was originally published under the title 'The Art of Love'. Polly Smith is struggling to make her living as an artist. She paints book jackets and does some picture restoration for a small company and lives at home with her mother, Dora. Polly is invited to spend some time on the Riviera by her friend, Oliver and it seems like a good idea to get away for a time but when Polly looks out her birth certificate in order to apply for a passport she finds she isn't who she thought she was - even her name is different.

I enjoyed this gentle story with its low key style and interesting characters. I liked Polly especially as she comes out of her shell and becomes more self-confident. She seems to flower in the Riviera sunshine as she battles to come to terms with who she is and to decide what exactly she wants to do with her life.

I listened to the audio book version of this story and it is ideal bed time listening, I recommend it - whether as a book to read or listen to - if you want something relaxing and reasonably easy to read but with humour and interesting characters.
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on 20 June 2015
I have discovered this author and am whacking through her oeuvre!

Vintage, full of customs, morals and values of the times, but well written. This plot may be a bit fanciful, but I found myself caring about the main characters. She does seem to have a bit of a thing about Yorkshire Ladies Coll, but I'll forgive her bring that up in more than one of her books as it was not so far away from my experiences!
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on 28 February 2015
I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I had read it in paper format, not on a Kindle. This is simply because it took me a few chapters to work out who was who, and it is not so quick to flip back and check on a Kindle.
Once I had worked out the relationships, the next 40 or so chapters were really well crafted. However, the final 2 chapters were swift, almost as if the author had tired of the task. Maybe I need to re-read this book and see if I enjoy it the second time around.
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on 30 December 2014
Having read one of Elizabeth Edmondson's books before I knew that I was going to enjoy this one. Set between the wars in London and the South of France, the plot revolves around Polly,the art world and intrigue. Polly is a delightful character who discovers a lot about herself as the story develops. The characters are well drawn and the pace of the story is good. A relaxing and entertaining read.
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on 15 November 2014
This is the story of a struggling but talented artist, Polly Smith. who needing a birth certificate for a passport asks her widowed mother (a music teacher) for the details of her birth. She learns that her mother is not her birth mother but her aunt and that she is the illegitimate daughter of 'mother's sister, Thomasina in Paris (in Montmartre) as a result of a liaison with some unknown artist. Thomasina's present whereabouts were not known. Her birth was however registered with the British Consulate in Paris, so eventually she gets her passport in the name of Thomasina Tomkins (her maternal grandparent's name).

Polly and her boyfriend Roger (an ambitious young doctor) are expecting to get married in the coming February but meanwhile he is attending a medical course in Boston, USA. Polly has just been sacked from an art gallery (for reasons unknown to her) where she had been touching up old paintings before they were sold on by an unscrupulous owner. Thus she has time on her hands.

Her friend and mentor, Oliver, suggests she spends Xmas at his father's grand house in the South of France, the Villa on the Riviera. Oliver is no rival to Roger: he is gay.

There are other protagonists, Max Lytton (who works for MI5?) , his sister Cynthia Harkness (amiably divorced) and her 16 year old daughter Harriet, and Sir Walter Malregard (whose name perhaps says it all !) is a discreet womaniser who currently wants to marry Cynthia. Max advises Cynthia otherwise; and finally there is Archie, Harriet's Godfather

It so happens that Cynthia also has a house on the Riviera, close to the aforementioned Villa; and surprise, surprise, so has Sir Walter. It is here that the drama is played out.

The story could be described as a romantic thriller. A jolly good read.
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