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M. R. Cheung (England)
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Mrs. Shakespeare: The Complete Works (Independent Voices)
Mrs. Shakespeare: The Complete Works (Independent Voices)
by Robert Nye
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Read the Afterword, 21 Nov. 2013
I enjoyed this very much. I enjoyed the skill in which an apparently haphazard narration builds into a vivid portrayal of the characters and their lives. Mrs Shakespeare is wonderful - and believable. I enjoyed the references to Shakespeare's work and what is known about his life; and the poetic rhythm of the book made it very easy to read - oddly enough easier to read than a great deal of poetry. Mrs Shakespeare with her scathing opinions on 'poesy' would probably have something very wise to say about that.

But anyone reading this book should take care to look atthe 'afterword'. In it the author explains 'the central imaginative thesis' of the book. I, for one, would not have realised what this was from simply reading the novel.


A Necessary Fiction
A Necessary Fiction
Price: £3.49

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and just a little disturbing, 16 Oct. 2013
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The great strength of A Necessary Fiction is it characters. We meet the central character Laura just as she loses her father and soon learn that she has a very bad relationship with her mother. She has been kept in ignorance about her father's true history and has lived a life dominated by her parents. She stumbles into independence during the early chapters of the book and the reader is drawn in, wanting to know how she will use her new-found freedom. The answer which Jane Emerssen delivers is satisfyingly complex. This is not a book of easy answers. The discoveries Laura makes about her family are disturbing and the decisions she takes about her own life are probably not always ones the reader will approve, but the great thing is the way the author makes us believe in those decisions. She creates a very believable world that I found myself wanting to return to more and more as the story progressed.

The other characters that inhabit that world are all well drawn. Laura's mother is wonderful: part of that long tradition of believably awful fictional women - think Austen's Mrs Norris, or Dickens' Miss Murdstone - who can turn simple domestic situations into sheer misery. Then there are the aunts who turn out not to be quite what they seem, and the men between whom Laura must choose. They all make for an entertaining - but slightly disturbing - read.


Amy
Amy
by Peggy Savage
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of suffering and human survival, 19 Oct. 2011
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This review is from: Amy (Hardcover)
When Amy is barred from practising medicine it seems as if her life is falling apart. But her misfortune comes at a time when the whole world is descending into chaos and brutality. Peggy Savage brings together these two narratives very skilfully and as we follow Amy to Paris and then into the battlefield hospitals, we are forced to face the horror with her. There are no easy answers offered here. Like everyone else Amy must somehow find the strength to endure and as she does so she grows as a character. The futility and wretchedness of the Great War are captured, but also the human spirit which somehow survives. Ms Savage has brought a doctor's knowledge of medicine together with meticulous research to create a world which is utterly believable.


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
by Mark Haddon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not just about Asperger's Syndrome, 29 July 2011
There have been so many reviews praising this book that it seems unnecessary to add another - but I would just like to say that while I enjoyed the book enormously, I am rather surprised by some of the positive reviews here. Most people seem to think the book is about a certain 'kind of person'. But for me the subject of the book was much wider. At times Christopher reminded me of myself and just about everybody I know. Many of his preoccupations and fears are those of a human being, not simply someone who has been diagnosed as having a 'syndrome'. Mark Haddon made me look afresh at the world and I think that is one of the greatest things a writer of fiction can do. For example when Christopher remarks that his likes and dislikes are no more irrational than the general tendency to feel happy when the sun shines - I found myself thinking, 'yes he has a point there'.


The Behaviour Of Moths
The Behaviour Of Moths
by Poppy Adams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars wonderful central character, 22 July 2011
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This review is from: The Behaviour Of Moths (Paperback)
A very enjoyable read with a fascinating and highly unusual central character. The comparison with Mark Haddon is very apt.


Why Don't You Come for Me?
Why Don't You Come for Me?
by Diane Janes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A book that takes a quiet hold on your imagination, 22 July 2011
Like Diane Janes' first book, Pull of the Moon, this story draws the reader in gradually. The world portrayed becomes more and more solid. I found myself constantly struggling to understand what was paranoia and what was real. The book explores the boundaries between the 'real' and the perceived world, reminding the reader that everyone has their own story to tell. The occasional shifts in point of view help to create a sense of uncertainty. It was a rather uneasy feeling, but it kept me reading to the end, and when I finally put the book down I was still running over in my mind what had happened - as if the events had actually taken place.


A Voice of Discontent: A Woman's Journey Through the Long Eighteenth Century
A Voice of Discontent: A Woman's Journey Through the Long Eighteenth Century
by Jennifer C. Kelsey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars meticulous research and a great read, 18 Nov. 2010
Jennifer Kelsey demonstrates an exceptionally broad knowledge of Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Century literature in this delightful study. Using the work of female fiction writers, she explores a wealth of responses to the repressive conditions under which women lived - proving that, though the term 'feminism' might not yet have been coined, women of 'the long eighteenth century' were by no means indifferent to the injustices they suffered.

Arguing that many women found fiction the safest vehicle through which to voice their discontent, Ms Kelsey introduces us to some delightful extracts. There is this alternative description of those balls which always appear so elegant and refined in TV adaptations of Jane Austen's novels: 'Dragged to a scene, where she considered herself exposed as an animal in a market to the remarks and purchase of the best bidder, it was with extreme reluctance that Rosalie entered the ballroom.' That comes from Charlotte Smith's 1795 novel 'Montalbert'. And then there is this lovely reply to a marriage proposal which Sarah Fielding put into the mouth of one of her characters in 'The Adventures of David Simple' (1744) 'I made him a low bow and thanked him for the honour he intended me; but told him I had no ambition to be his upper servant.'

The book is thoughtful and balanced, taking into account the views of conservative as well as radical women, exploring issues of marriage, money and the dreaded 'fall from virtue', and not shrinking from the unpleasant fact that women could, at times, be unkind and condemnatory towards members of their own sex.

Ms Kelsey writes in an easy, relaxed style which is a pleasure to read and I look forward to reading more of her work.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 8, 2014 10:48 AM GMT


The Pull of The Moon
The Pull of The Moon
by Diane Janes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unexpected twists, 18 Nov. 2010
This review is from: The Pull of The Moon (Paperback)
The Pull of the Moon is written in an elegant understated style which drew me in from the from very beginning. The hot summer of 1972 unfolds with a feeling of inevitable doom. The period is powerfully evoked through lots of small details from song lyrics, to clothes and even the names of ice-creams. The sense of adolescent boredom gradually begins to feel more and more dangerous and yet I misunderstood the nature of the danger. I was surprised at the end by the direction the story took - but when I looked back I found that the author had been perfectly fair - all the clues were there.


The Lady's Slipper (Macmillan New Writing)
The Lady's Slipper (Macmillan New Writing)
by Deborah Swift
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars history that feels real, 18 Nov. 2010
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From the first page, the world of The Lady's Slipper came to life for me. The meticulous recreation of seventeenth century England is a constant delight, but there is never a feeling of research being included for its own sake. Narrative, characters and descriptions fit seamlessly together, giving the reader a real sense of 'being there'. So I could not help but care deeply about what happened and I found myself reading quickly and late into the night. I turned the last page, came back into the real world and immediately decided that I'd have to reread to catch any details I'd missed.


The House at Midnight
The House at Midnight
by Lucie Whitehouse
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars very easy to keep reading, 18 Nov. 2010
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This review is from: The House at Midnight (Paperback)
I love books in which houses become characters in the narrative and I really enjoyed the way in which the author brings Stoneborough Manor to life. For me the house remained the most appealing character in the story. I couldn't quite take to any of the others, but that was perhaps just the kind of people they were rather than any weakness in their portrayal. The writing style was easy and I wanted to know what happened next. The ending wasn't surprising - but perhaps that wasn't a fault. It had some of the inevitability of tragedy. I'd certainly try reading another book by the same author.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 18, 2011 11:59 AM GMT


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