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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Once I'd started this novel, I found it very difficult to put down. Written in two voices, and inter-weaving past and present, it is written in an accomplished style, with an engaging storyline. The characters, whilst not altogether pleasant seemed believable, although I don't feel that in the parts of the novel set in the late 1980s the sense of time and place is quite right. The novel raises questions about the repercussions the past can have in our present day lives, and our inability to let things go. Louise, a young woman, goes to Oxford, to find the man who she believes killed her mother, has an affair with the man's son and is drawn into his family circle. Like other reviewers, the plot did feel slightly predictable and in some ways similar to other novels. However, what lifts this beyond the mediocre is the rather haunting mood and good turn of expression that Rebecca Connell uses. I found the ending slightly disappointing, and the 'twist' if that is what it was intended to be rather obvious, but I nevertheless enjoyed reading this and I will definitely be seeking out futher works by this author. Well worth reading.
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VINE VOICEon 23 August 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I read this book in 3 sittings, which is quite quick for me, as I usually like to take my time and savour a book (and get some sleep, as I generally read before bed!) I was drawn in pretty quickly and couldn't put it down at times, and while the alternating chapters and flashback sequences idea is hardly original (Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees do this particularly well), it works very effectively here.

We are introduced to Laura; a troubled, naive and lonely young woman who's on a mission, but what she's ultimately after is unclear, (most upsettingly) even to herself. Her integration into Nicholas' life and the lengths she goes to show her desperation for understaning of her mother's death and Nicholas' involvement. The fact she takes on her mother's name illustrates this rather well.

I won't go into the story itself at length, the product description above tells you all you need to know; it is how effectively the characters are drawn and how quickly you feel for them that makes this book. The flashback sections, detailing the affair of Nicholas and Lydia, is particularly poignant and bittersweet and makes it all seem both very real and inevitable.

These feel like real people and the tone of the book is not judgmental of their actions, just portraying the events for what they are and how the repercussions can affect so many lives. Even with this, the lesser characters in the novel do not suffer, Naomi's character, for example, is well developed and complex, Martin is rather tragic and these details add greatly to the story as a whole.

To sum up then, a gripping read and I would recommend this most highly, just put aside a few hours before you start reading!
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
'The Art of Losing' is an incredible debut novel, one that plunders the depths of the aftermath of adultery, for all concerned. It tells of Louise, whose mother, Lydia had an ultimately destructive affair with Nicholas. Nicholas was, at the time, a teacher at the same school as Martin, Lydia's husband, and he meets Lydia one day at the library. From that first meeting, they are drawn to each other like moths to a flame. Nicholas befriends Martin, in an attempt to get closer to Lydia. The affair continues for some time, until Lydia and Martin move away. Nicholas moves on, meets and marries Naomi, and has a son, Adam. A chance meeting in the street with Martin brings Nicholas and Lydia back into each others lives, and the affair picks up where it left off, only now, Lydia and Martin have a daughter, Louise. Ultimately, it all ends in a disastrous fashion, leaving a terrible aftermath, and Louise decides to seek retribution from Nicholas for her mother, father, and herself.
I have to say that Nicholas does not come across as a particularly nice person. He is selfish, self-centred, a terrible liar, and is determined to have what he wants, which is Lydia, and is totally not bothered by the consequences that may befall. Lydia herself comes across as a bit of a weak woman, who wants to have her cake and eat it, but also is not prepared to give up her comforts, and the lifestyle she has with Martin. Between the two of them, I can't help but feel that they get what they deserve. This book is a damning look at adultery, and the way that one selfish act can transform the lives and futures of so many people. I loved it!! Totally recommended.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 April 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Art of Losing as a book was a good read with a story that held my attention. The characters you both felt sympathy with and equally wanted to shake. The story, whilst good, has been done before. Girl has issues because of the father she never knew and who broke mother's heart and sets out to find out more about him. This story has been done before both on TV and in books so not terribly original. The more shocking angles may have had more impact if they had been exposed in a story twist at the end, rather than at the start. The book was very easy to read and held my attention throughout but I wanted more from both the story and the people. This book is good for an uncomplicated read without straining your brain, perhaps a holiday read; but to the more demanding reader it doesn't quite cut it.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This debut novel from London-based Rebecca Connell is a confident psychological drama overflowing with entertaining thrills. Key character Louise has always felt that the death of her mother was caused by a failed love affair.

Louise is determined to find the man she feels is responsible for her parents' tragedy, and her stalking begins in Oxford where she follows a middle-aged tutor called Nicholas. In a story as threatening as many a crime fiction novel, the author weaves a complex tale of domestic betrayal, allowing the reader to see both the stalker's and the seducer's point of view of the same events. And despite the traditional English background there are ruthless and cold-blooded schemes behind the scenes.

There are no cardboard characters - all the major players are well-drawn and there for a reason. Nor is there a twee, happy-ever-after ending. It's left to the reader's imagination to decide how much damage has been done - or repaired - by Louise's obsessive pursuit of Nicholas.

From the outset I was drawn into the narrative and into the lives and histories of the protagonists. I came to care about them, and to want to know what happened, and why and how it will all end.
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on 13 March 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I really enjoyed this book and finished it within a couple of days. The story flips back and forth from past to present telling the story of an adulterous relationship and aftermath is causes.
The characters are all well written and easy to image with enough depth that I was intrigued from the start as to what they were capable of. I would definitely recommend this to anyone and look forward to reading more books by this author.
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VINE VOICEon 15 February 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
After a few pages, I was completely engrossed and couldn't put this book down. Chapters alternate between telling the story from Louise's and Nicholas' point of view. Nicholas had an affair with Louise's mother years ago and now Louise is out to settle the score.

I was completely hooked on reading about how Louise was getting close to Nicholas in order to get him back for the pain he caused. But Nicholas' sections were still good, his focusing on the progress of the affair.

Generally, the author is a bit wordy and at times her descriptive style was quite heavy going. Luckily, this didn't drag the book down. Connell kept up the pace all the way through so you will race to the end. You won't regret reading this book!
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on 12 May 2009
The Art of Losing had me gripped from the start and was a real page turner from then on in. The characters had been carefully developed and were highly engaging as a result - I really cared what happened to them. The story was told beautifully and captured the sensational highs and crashing lows of an illicit affair and its far reaching consequences. Buy this book!
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on 14 February 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
For a first novel this is impressive. Rebecca Connell handles the tangled emotions of her characters with aplomb and the voices of 50 year old Nicholas and 23 year old Louise are equally believable, although I did feel a little distanced from them and uninterested in their plights. The story however did grip me and I wanted to read WHY what happened happened, rather than simply "what happened next".

At times it is quite painful to read as Connell captures the bitterness of love, rejection and betrayal so well. The tale may be rather well-trodden but the author has given it a striking and original twist.
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on 14 May 2009
This page-turning, claustrophobic psycho-drama is about infidelity, and its far reaching negative effects upon innocent and guilty alike. Brilliantly perceptive, brilliant perspectives. (Wendy Bliss)
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