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Piper (UK)

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The Lady of the Rivers (Cousins War 3)
The Lady of the Rivers (Cousins War 3)
by Philippa Gregory
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, 8 Jun 2012
I found this an absorbing novel containing lots of interesting historical context and detail. The story links in nicely with the other books in this series and in the absence of any real body of contemporary writings about some of the more historically obscure main characters I thought that the way they were developed in the context of the story was both appealing and feasible. Other characters developed in keeping with the other books in the series and also generally (give or take a bit of Anjou flavoured naivety not really living up to the "She Wolf" reputation) in line with the mainstream historical line. This is not always the case with this genre and can be a source of great irritation if you happen to disagree!
All in all very enjoyable.

The J. M. Barrie Ladies' Swimming Society
The J. M. Barrie Ladies' Swimming Society
by Barbara J. Zitwer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mills and Boon with Extra Lipstick....., 11 May 2012
I bought this book as the most promising of a limited selection with no prior knowledge. I have read it and it is a sweet little romantic story. Granted this bit of it is sweetly and fairly skilfully dealt with but the women who make up the swimming society are not developed at all. The bones of these characters we are given make them tantilisingly close but the reader is left with virtually no real insight and the whole thing seems to exist soley as a prop for the aforementioned (and granted very sweet) little romantic love story. Other major storyline props such as the development of the house and the riding (both the pony club rally and the ride the two main characters go on together) are so full of total howlers that I found myself fearing for the windows as I resisted the urge to throw the book accross the room.... Perhaps it is just unfortunate that my own unusual skill set means that I spotted each and every painful one.

So, I was astonished to find the book so generally well recieved, in particular I was horrified to find this compared by the Daily Wail to the brilliant Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, it just isn't even in the same ball park. A quick look at the back of the book and I find that Ms Zitwer is a literary agent and apparently quite a good one, marvellous, very pleased for her and for me this explains a great deal!

If you are looking for a contemporary, unchallenging, one dimensional romantic story to while away a few hours then look no further, but if you are hoping that the tantalising title and promise of the back cover might deliver more then think again.

Downgraded to one star as after several conversations about this book (people asking if it was worth reading) I realised how truly dreadful it was in almost every way and just how much I loathed it.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 23, 2012 7:36 PM BST

The Land of Painted Caves - Earth's Children Book 6 (Earths Children 6)
The Land of Painted Caves - Earth's Children Book 6 (Earths Children 6)
by Jean M. Auel
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still Good!, 2 April 2012
Having now read all of this book I am a little distressed on behalf of the author that it has had such a slating, so much work and love and care has clearly gone into it. The first books of the series utterly gripped me like few others have, a window into a world I had never been able to form more than vague images of in my mind and that world seems almost familiar now. I picked this last installment up with some trepidation after the many negative reviews.

I have been pleasantly suprised, yes, sometimes repetitions can be tedious but they do help paint the picture if you let them. No, I haven't read every single rendition of the mother song, partly because I don't think that Auel's main talent is verse, I skip it, I'm happy. But the detail, the knowledge of everything from building methods to hunting to herbs, to the fact that the reactions of people to the tame animals is so well and I think realistically dealt with I still find utterly absorbing. The story is also good, it just is not so full of suprises as the previous ones, partly because I think I am that bit more familiar with the territory, so to speak! The lack of Clan interaction has been critisised and much as some kind of meeting with her former Clan would make an obvious interesting storyline I just don't think it would be realistic. We know that the Clan are a years journey away and also that they are people of routine and structure - they would be highly unlikely to make such a huge journey and given her change of circumstances so would Ayla. The author continues to paint a vivid picture of everyday life, the tools, the clothing and how things we take for granted now, such as counting and recognising the solstice developed.

I feel that rather than it being a "non conclusion" that it is a realistic one and one that can't actually have been that easy to write after the build up over the preceeding five books. Ayla has developed through the books from an outsider child, beautiful, intelligent, but often rejected and reviled, through a lone human making huge leaps forward in her drive to survive with no clue of how special she is to be a member of the society of the "Others" as it is implied nature intended. She has done it via a string of amazing adventures and experiences using an incrediblle degree of intelligence. At the start of this book she is no longer an outsider, she is talented and beautiful and unusual but not a considered a freak or rejected, she as loved and respected as any member of a society could hope to be. I think it is because of this that her adventures lack their previous "edge", she is accepted, she is largely safe and secure her future is relatively certain. I even feel that although I have read that this is the "conclusion" that there was much left open for a future novel should the author decide to write more.

In short, not the gripping page turner of previous parts of the series and in places I was a little disappointed but still a very worthwhile novel.

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