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Trilby "Trilby" (Suffolk, England)

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The Care and Management of Lies
The Care and Management of Lies
Price: £4.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good in parts, 12 May 2015
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With so many well written historical novels being published these days, I assumed (based on Amazon reviews) that this was another one. The plot seemed promising, and I thought I was in for a good read. Alas, as I continued I found it harder and harder to believe - as I have with several other authors of the genre - that the story was really taking place in WWI. The historical inaccuracies (to name but a few: helmets were not introduced in the British Army until mid-1915, sergeants were never addressed as Sir, soldiers were not buried in No Man's Land) clearly indicated the author had not done her homework, and I did not find her characters credible.

It was quite slow-moving, with much of he action resembling extracts from a diary as it was so full of detail/waffle. I believe rather less detail might have helped the story develop faster, unless of course it was deliberately used as padding? There was quite a dramatic conclusion, but one had to endure a lot of tedium along the way to get there.


Sleep in Peace Tonight
Sleep in Peace Tonight

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read about the battle to get America into WWII, 25 April 2015
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I enjoyed this novel: I found the plot unfolded with reasonable tension, and I thought it created an authentic atmosphere of London in the Blitz. Building the plot around Roosevelt's envoy Harry Hopkins, a little known, if important figure, means the reader is taken into territory which may be unfamiliar and perhaps educative.

I did have a few minor quibbles, however. The romance between the highly attractive Leonora and the unhealthy, overweight, middle aged Hopkins strains credulity. Just possibly, she would have seen in him a father figure, as she had never known her real father (not that the author remotely suggests this). The idea that London had frost fairs as recently as the 1840s smacks of ignorance (I assumed McManus must be American - which might have explained it - but I'm not sure he is), and where on earth did he get the idea that Pamela Churchill (nee Digby) was the daughter of a duke?


A Test of Wills (Inspector Ian Rutledge Book 1)
A Test of Wills (Inspector Ian Rutledge Book 1)
Price: £2.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Test of patience, 5 April 2015
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I thought his novel started well. I was impressed by how the American authors seemed to have captured the atmosphere of an English village in the post-WWI era. The scene appeared to be set for an exciting read. Unfortunately, as I proceeded my patience began to run out, as next to nothing happened! Inspector Rutledge just seemed to go round and round in circles speculating on various potential culprits, with no developments to draw the reader in to the story. There was a final twist - in the last few pages - but this came entirely out of the blue, bearing no relation to his previous investigations. It would surely have been far more dramatic had the story slowly unravelled. Alas, I was left thoroughly bored and disappointed.

I was not too bothered by the occasional American spelling, although it grated to encounter the word "sidewalk" in the context of an English village. And the authors are under the misconception that an accused person may be "not proved" [sic] as an alternative to acquittal or being found guilty. A pity that their (evidently considerable) homework should be let down by such howlers - although admittedly this would probably be beyond all but the most discerning American reader, for whom these books are apparently primarily directed.


Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town (Penguin Celebrations)
Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town (Penguin Celebrations)
by Paul Theroux
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars darkest star that of a gloomy, self-satisfied author, 28 Feb. 2011
There is much that makes this book readable: his descriptions of places and the journey are full of colour and interest. But it is unfortunately overshadowed by the author's own insufferable smugness. Not content with writing an entertaining book, he seems to have a further agenda, which seems to be to underline his own moral superiority. For instance, at one point he criticises a charity which seeks to wean women off prostitution, saying that they are merely taking what is an "economically logical" decision. Although of course (according to his narrative) he is himself too virtuous to be lured into vice by such women. Or nowadays at any rate, since he lets slip elsewhere to a place where he first "caught the clap". But of course the reader has no way of knowing what really takes place on the road, nor whether the arguments he has with people along the way really end with him winning every time. Lighten up, Paul, and don't take yourself so seriously.


Clear Waters Rising: A Mountain Walk Across Europe
Clear Waters Rising: A Mountain Walk Across Europe
by Nicholas Crane
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.39

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars panoramic view of Europe on foot, 28 Feb. 2011
Although this book starts off quite slowly, it gathers momentum as he encounters different places and people, and treats them with a mixture of skilful description and humour. This is about a really epic journey, parts of which I now feel inspired to follow, although I don't think I am mad (or dedicated) enough to want to do it all at once: the man must be barmy (especially so soon after his marriage)!The reader (this one at any rate) comes close to feeling the high and low points of the journey, from the superb views and objectives reached, to the terrible discomfort and inconvenience along the way. I suspect he downplays his knowledge of foreign languages, he mentions a Spanish dictionary and the occasional word in other languages, but seems to get by in some of the wildest parts of Europe, where - especially further East - I doubt English would have got him very far.


The World at Night
The World at Night
by Alan Furst
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars great on atmosphere, weak on plot, 3 Nov. 2009
This review is from: The World at Night (Paperback)
The atmosphere and description of this (as all the other Furst novels I have read so far) is very strong and authentic, so that the reader is catapulted right into the heart of the scene. Having said that, in my view the plot is weak, and there seems to be very little rhyme or reason behind what takes place. Even Casson's relationship with Citrine, which seems to provide his main motivation, is not clearly explained: it did not work in the past, yet now it somehow springs into life. Similarly, his decision to aid the resistance is not satisfactorily explained, and I was left confused as the story unfolded. The last scene gave me the distinct impression that the author had run out of things to say and wanted to pull the plug: so that the reader is left wondering. A disappointment.


Dark Star
Dark Star
by Alan Furst
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars thrilling but flawed, 20 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Dark Star (Paperback)
This is a very good read indeed, which brilliantly evokes the atmosphere, uncertainties, etc. of pre-war Europe. Furst is a master at transporting the reader right into the heart of the scene, describing minor details such as a man's wrist watch, or the smell of a woman's perfume. All this makes up for the fact that the plot, such as it is, does not always appear logical, and - as if to compensate for that - the hero, Szara, is kept on the move. One gets the impression that the author's energies have been sapped so much by the fine print that he has no time for greater imagination. I also found it disappointing that, while Furst seems to have spent so much time on detail yet his linguistic ineptitude should have let him down - there are grammatical or spelling errors not only in Russian and Polish (which he might hope no one would notice), but also in French and German. Surely a competent editor should have picked that up?


Relax In The Lakes [DVD]
Relax In The Lakes [DVD]
Price: £15.84

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not worth the bother, 27 Feb. 2007
This review is from: Relax In The Lakes [DVD] (DVD)
When I ordered this DVD to rent I had high hopes of being treated to some lovely shots of the Lake District, accompanied perhaps by some entertaining commentary and perhaps some decent music. Alas, the pictures are wooden and slow-moving, there is no commentary and the music is limited to some pedestrian and monotonous piano playing. After about 15 minutes it was clear it was not going to get any better so I turned off. A great disappointment.


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