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Reviews Written by
H. Mccallum "hamishhart" (UK)
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Rustication: A Novel
Rustication: A Novel
by Charles Palliser
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 26 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Rustication: A Novel (Paperback)
Terrific. Palliser is an author entirely unknown to me (I'm sorry to say) and this was a very welcome surprise. A bit of a random pick, this is a beautifully executed, evocative book. It is very atmospheric (and persuasive), the characterisation is first rate. Most of all, though, I applaud the plotting and wrap up/conclusion. So often books like this disappoint, the author either not knowing where they are going with their story or really unable to come up with a convincing resolution. As a result we are left often with tedious lazy literary ambiguity. Not so here.

Reviewers say his previous work The Quincunx is a masterpiece. A bit hefty at 800 pages but I will definitely have a go on the basis of this.


The Daughters of Gentlemen: A Frances Doughty Mystery (The Frances Doughty Mysteries)
The Daughters of Gentlemen: A Frances Doughty Mystery (The Frances Doughty Mysteries)
Price: 1.79

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On and up, 28 Aug 2012
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I thought this was a noticeable step up from The Poisonous Seed, which was itself an assured debut. Frances becomes more convincing with each page, the historical detail was rich and the plot was more coherent. In a strange way, for a crime thriller it's a loving and warm world to immerse yourself in.

I hope that there will be many more FD mysteries.


The Poisonous Seed: A Frances Doughty Mystery
The Poisonous Seed: A Frances Doughty Mystery
by Linda Stratmann
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.19

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Debut, 21 May 2012
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This book pulls off both charm and pace. The heroine is intriguing and sympathetic and her milieu very well evoked. Stratmann does succeed in transporting us back to what seems an entirely different era. It's tightly plotted and delivers a strong denouement. The Victorian murder story is alive and well.


The Time Traveler's Wife
The Time Traveler's Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.79

15 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hugely disappointing..., 22 Mar 2007
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...after all the hype. I thought it was very dull and the characters unsympathetic and uninvolving. Gave up half way through feeling guilty as I'd asked for it as a present. In spite of its pretensions it is ultimately pretty facile and the characters cold. The plot simply doesn't work either (read the summary on wikipedia).


Land of the Living
Land of the Living
by Nicci French
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Respectable, 11 Oct 2004
This review is from: Land of the Living (Paperback)
As others, this was my first French. The earlier ones have had excellent reviews, so I had fairly high expectations.
It delivers in the first 50 pages. They are tense and compelling. The internal terror is well conveyed. The sibilant voice in the dark and the switching dread/boredom/fight to live are well done.
The swift shift in register thereafter is strange but also works. The heroine's tracking down of her past is gripping. Most impressive is how even the reader starts to doubt the authorial voice. I also liked how the theme of living/dead worked...not too obvious.
However, I agree with one of the reviewers above that a) it seems wantonly sadistic in places and that one image in the end is simply disgusting/repellent b) the denouement is simply, straightly disappointing. Almost as though French just thought, I'll wrap things up now regardless. It not seem logical to me and ultimately very unsatisfying.
So many novels start brightly. It is very hard to carry through an excellent premise consistently.
On balance, it is worth a read. I'm going to try Secret Smile now.


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