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Riverside Reader (Devon UK)

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The Kellys of Kelvingrove
The Kellys of Kelvingrove
by Margaret Thomson Davis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 11.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It was one of the worst books I have ever read, 6 July 2014
I picked this up at the library and read it when I had run out of everything else. It was one of the worst books I have ever read. The style if you can call it that was simply a collection of other stories strung together with a few meaningless and contrived words and characters. There was a great deal of repetition how many times can you find "a muddy slope" interesting and the author suddenly decides that she wants to demonstrate she can write poetry as well, oh dear! Thank goodness I didn't pay good money for it!


Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household
Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household
by Kate Hubbard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 8.00

5.0 out of 5 stars More Than A Glimpse Behind Closed Doors!, 18 Jun 2014
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Excellent book would highly recommend to anyone researching the Victorian court. An insiders view of life with the Queen discover what really happened behind closed doors. I ended up feeling desperately sorry for all those ladies in waiting who were chained to serving an extremely difficult mistress.


How To Read A Country House
How To Read A Country House
by Jeremy Musson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 21.18

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Helpful To An Enthusiastic Amateur Researcher!, 18 Jun 2014
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Very helpful establishing what an enthusiastic amateur should be looking for in a country house. Easy and enjoyable reading which explains different styles over time and the evolution of fashion across distance. I would recommend to anyone doing research on an historic building in a general way rather than an in depth academic study.


Balancing Act
Balancing Act
by Joanna Trollope
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.00

2.0 out of 5 stars Hopefully just a bad day at the office!, 18 Jun 2014
This review is from: Balancing Act (Hardcover)
Gosh what a relief! I have read much of JT's work and found most of her books enjoyable but all the way through this I was thinking is it just me that thinks it is a poor offering? Then I read the reviews and discovered it had the same effect on other people, the plot if there was one, was thin. The characters very confusing, I had to keep going backwards to remind myself who was who and I never really saw who Susie was apart from a selfish and uncaring egotistical bore! As other reviewers have said the similarity to the career of Emma Bridgewater was glaringly obvious and distracting. Let's just hope this is a bit of a glitch and JT will be back on track with her next book.


A Half Forgotten Song
A Half Forgotten Song
by Katherine Webb
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Book Of Three Halves, 4 Sep 2013
This review is from: A Half Forgotten Song (Paperback)
As other reviewers have commented it was a slow starter and I wondered whether I would finish it. However, I gradually got drawn into the story and the characters started to become interesting. The middle section of the book moves swiftly along making you want to turn the pages but sadly the end is something like the beginning, it's rushed and just a touch unbelievable? Could Dimity really have kept her secret for so long? I don't think so, nor do I think Hannah could have got away with what she did especially in a small village! Too much law breaking to be entirely plausible.

However, it would be wrong to just dismiss as a superficial poolside book as it is well crafted and has some very thought provoking moments.


The Last Runaway
The Last Runaway
by Tracy Chevalier
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.49

4.0 out of 5 stars A Window Opens, 29 April 2013
This review is from: The Last Runaway (Hardcover)
It came as some surprise that I knew so little about the network surrounding runaway slaves in America. This book opened up a whole new subject for me to research and learn more about.
Other reviewers have commented on the detailed descriptions of quilting but these are not meant to be instructions to the reader but a mechanism for the main character to hold onto to one of the few things she has from her old life. Something she knows about and feels secure in the knowledge of. So they are a very important part of the plot and should be viewed in this way.
The Underground Railway that helped runaway slaves move into Canada is the main theme of the book and has clearly been well researched by Ms Chevalier my only reservation is that more background could have been included to provide a wider picture, the map promised much but in the end disappointingly delivered little.
This is however a great story well told and held my interest until the very last page.
I'm off to discover more about this part of Americas history not one that they can ever be proud of but fascinating nevertheless.


Love in the Afternoon and Other Delights
Love in the Afternoon and Other Delights
by Penny Vincenzi
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.39

3.0 out of 5 stars Short changed by this Penny, 18 April 2013
Like other reviewers I am a great fan of Penny Vincenzi and love the fact that her novels are big and absorbing. I ordered this in hardback from the library what a surprise when this teeny weeny book turned up. The stories were OK but for Penny they were almost single chapters of something much bigger, the odd bits at the back were a bit of a waste of time and space.

Not really value for money, so if you want to read it then go the library rather than spend cash on the hardback.

Stick to what we know and love Penny, I for one am quite happy to wait for a block buster!


Dominion
Dominion
by C. J. Sansom
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 7.60

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite 'Winter in Madrid', 6 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Dominion (Hardcover)
First of all the potential reader, who undoubtedly will be a Shardlake fan, must put these novels to one side before picking this book up. It is a totally different genre, and just as you cannot compare live music to video you cannot judge these two completely different styles side by side. Indeed, ladies of a certain age who might love settling down with Shardlake and his Tudor investigations might be a little shocked by the language of this book - be warned!

As for the content, it is well written, as might be expected from this excellent writer and the story is well crafted. Other reviewers have well described the plot, so I will not go over it again. However, it does give huge food for thought, and enables us to question about how different our own lives would be if we had just simply laid down and rolled over in the face of Hitler's threatened invasion of our shores.

As much as I enjoyed it and I did avidly read it until it was finished, it was still not so gripping and enjoyable as Sansom's other non Shardlake novel, 'Winter in Madrid' almost my most favourite of all time. Do not let this put you off however, and on a dark, cold winter night it will not let you down when you settle down for a 'good read'.


Catching the Tide
Catching the Tide
by Judith Lennox
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.39

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong women, dodgy men!, 16 Nov 2012
This review is from: Catching the Tide (Paperback)
Judith Lennox is one of my favourite authors and rarely disappoints.

This story of three women, Tessa, Rebecca and Freddie moves between Italy, London and a jumble of other locations towards the end of the story. Of the three Freddie's story is the most sketchy, without giving too much away do women really get kissed by complete strangers outside railway stations then coerced into a dangerous and arduous journey within moments of meeting. It certainly wouldn't happen today she would be screaming for help within moments let alone taking off with the stranger. Maybe things were different in 1930's Italy, but you just know that regardless of the bits in between Freddie is destined to find Jack eventually - more than a bit predictable!

The story does open up contemplation of how our actions and words can, like ripples in a pool, reach out to touch many other people and have catastrophic consequences if we do not think before we act.

I enjoyed this book very much, her best book ever, probably not but still worth reading - nice warm fire, cup of hot chocolate, curtains drawn aaahhhh, perfect!


The Shoemaker's Wife
The Shoemaker's Wife
by Adriana Trigiani
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A New Discovery, 16 Nov 2012
This review is from: The Shoemaker's Wife (Paperback)
I had not come across this author before and I only chanced upon this book whilst browsing the limited selection in a well known supermarket. Based on the front cover I was doubtful if it was my kind of book but I bought it anyway. How pleased I am that I did! Beautifully written the contrast between Italy and the USA was excellent particularly as I knew very little about this part of Italy during the early years of the 20th century.

The move to the USA felt as if the writer was more confident of her surroundings and having visited Ellis Island myself I was able to visualise perfectly the entry into this land of hope and dreams. The story was intriguing and at times a tad contrived but I thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns and felt the suspense and fears created by the uncertainties of the First World War.

Overall I would recommend this book and I am going to seek out further publications by this fine writer,I look forward to winter nights in her company.


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