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Valentine Grey [Hardcover]

Sandi Toksvig
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
Price: 16.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

6 Sep 2012

London 1897 and a young girl, Valentine Grey, arrives in England. She's been brought up in the remote and sunny climes of India and finds being forced into corsets and skirts in damp and cold country insufferable. The only bright spot: her exciting cousin, Reggie. Reggie, and his lover Frank seek out the adventure the clandestine bars and streets of London offer and are happy to include Valentine in their secret, showing her theatre, gardens - even teaching her how to ride a bicycle.

And then comes the Boer War and Reggie's father volunteers him; the empire must be defended. But it won't be Reggie who dons the Volunteer Regiment's garb. Valentine takes her chance, puts on her cousin's uniform, leaving Reggie behind and heads off to war. And for a long while it's glorious and liberating for both of the cousins, but war is not glorious and in Victorian London homosexuality is not liberating . . .


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Valentine Grey + Heroines and Harridans: A Fanfare of Fabulous Females + The Chain Of Curiosity
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Virago (6 Sep 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1844088316
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844088317
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 18.6 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 206,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Teasing out untold stories of the battlefield and of gay history, Toksvig's historical revisionism follows in the footsteps of the likes of Sarah Waters and Pat Barker . . . Toksvig's seemingly effortless ability to entertain shines through (Lucy Scholes Independent)

Toksvig's warm characterisation drives the narrative, especially when set against her droll yet richly details evocation of an unedifying period of modern history . . . It's a novel not just about the Boer War, but about a more subtle war against people who used to think it acceptableto treat women and blacks and gays abysmally. Fighting on both fronts is Toksvig's shining creation, Valentine Grey, a courageous and captivating character just begging for a sequel (Lucy Beresford Sunday Telegraph)

Book Description

From one of the nation's best-loved writers and performers comes a wonderful novel about gender, liberty, empire and injustice.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful! 10 Sep 2012
By HAH
Format:Kindle Edition
Sandi has combined her deep love of history and the English language to develop the most wonderful characters in a story that is both heart-breaking and uplifting. Unsurprisingly, she has perfectly captured the resilient female spirit as Valentine journeys to South Africa and into adulthood. Thank you Sandi, as always, a true inspiration!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read 13 Sep 2012
By Jonesy
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I heard about the book on Radio 4 and knew I had to read it. The book is a superb read and gathers pace quite quickly, at some stages I thought the plot was to easy to anticipate but rarely did it work out that way.
The historical aspects are so detailed but merge in with the story so well, you are never bored by masses of irrelevance only put there to prove the author researched the subject.
Sandi does such a good job it is difficult to not complete the book an wonder if it was actually Valentine's hand that had written her autobiography.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
My first Sandi Toksvig book and certainly not my last. What a brilliant writer she is! And the bibliography is huge - she has done so much research into the Boer War and society in that era that you really feel transported into that time in history. I love novels that educate at the same time as entertain, and there is just so much to learn in these pages. For both sexes, this is a book I would recommend to any age of reader. Just sorry I bought it on Kindle as now I can't pass it round my whole family!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Valentine Grey 14 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Couldn't put it down - a fascinating work covering the unheroic aspect of the Boer war and also attitudes to homosexuality at the time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insight 10 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An interesting read. Really made me think about the lives of women at that time and the horrific attitude towards homosexuality. Sad, shocking and funny in places.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boer War come to life 14 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really loved this story. It might seem improbable in parts but it brings to life the times in which it is set and you really begin to understand what it was like in the Boer War.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 20 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I love Sandi, she never ceases to entertain. This is well researched and detailed without the detail being boring. It is a light read that has a gentle comedic flow. Highly recommended and diverting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cant put down. 11 Jan 2013
By lynn
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Easy style and easy to read, good page turner. Sandi really sets the scene and paints a good picture on a period of history that is not always pushed to the fore.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
I loved it! It was funny, moving, informative, everything you could ask for in a great read. Would definitely recommend this book
Published 1 month ago by naps
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerfully descriptive
Valentine Grey is the eponymous hero/heroine of Sandi Toksvig's informative and moving novel set during the second Boer War (1898-1902) in both London and South Africa. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Max Fincher
5.0 out of 5 stars RIVERTING READ
Well worth reading. Well written, imaginative without being fanciful, factual without being baffling. I stayed up well past my bedtime as this was a real page turner. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Georgie H
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
Well written with great twists and wonderful description throughout. Interesting subject matter spanning many subjects and controversial history. Highly recommend
Published 2 months ago by Lucy York
5.0 out of 5 stars Holiday read
My father told me to read this book. I couldn't put it down from start to finish. One of the best books I've read in a long time.
Published 3 months ago by Jacqui Beattie
5.0 out of 5 stars Valentine Grey - Brilliant - must read!
I absolutely loved reading this book Sandi definitely knows a lot about the Boer War history.
I think Sandy is brilliant she has made me laugh ever since I first saw her on... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Lady
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugely Recommended
Really interesting. Its about time someone related the horrors of the Boer war - it had so many hideous firsts including the first use of concentration camps. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jo Brookes
5.0 out of 5 stars Diamonds and Gold
Pretty much sums up all that is wrong about going to war. The lies the greed and inhumane treatment dished out under the flag of serving Queen and Country. Will they ever learn? Read more
Published 4 months ago by hazeyfantasey
4.0 out of 5 stars Valentine Grey by Sandi Toksvig
I really enjoyed this book about Valentine Grey who went to fight in the Boer war instead of her cousin. Read more
Published 4 months ago by P. A. Cunningham
5.0 out of 5 stars Great characters in a plot that could be true
Oh I do love a book written in the first person and most of this is has Valentine herself narrating the story as she sees it with a few other chapters giving the progress of her... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Janie U
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