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159 of 165 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable!
This is an excellent novel by Barbara Erskine, who seems to improve with every book she writes. Zoe and Ken move to a quiet barn conversion in Suffolk, much against Zoe's wishes, so that he can indulge his competitive streak through his love of sailing. Left to her own devices, Zoe finds that she is best by strange dreams and visions, and it seems as if the barn's past is...
Published on 24 Jun 2012 by J. Turner

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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a good holiday read
The quote on the front cover of this book says "Barbara Erskine's storytelling talent is undeniable", and having read the book, I can whole-heartedly agree.

This is a compelling time-slice story set in:
- 865 - where we meet Eric, blacksmith and maker of a beautifully crafted sword which he calls "Destiny Maker"; Eric lives in an Anglo-Saxon village at a...
Published on 8 July 2012 by H. Ashford


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159 of 165 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable!, 24 Jun 2012
By 
J. Turner (Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: River of Destiny (Hardcover)
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This is an excellent novel by Barbara Erskine, who seems to improve with every book she writes. Zoe and Ken move to a quiet barn conversion in Suffolk, much against Zoe's wishes, so that he can indulge his competitive streak through his love of sailing. Left to her own devices, Zoe finds that she is best by strange dreams and visions, and it seems as if the barn's past is coming back to haunt her. Meanwhile, she falls for scarred, solitary Leo... and they find their love and their lives running parallel to the lives of those who loved and lived before, in particular the stolid Victorian smith, Daniel, unwilling lover to the Lady of the Big House... and the Saxon smith, Eric, who has created a mystical sword for his Lord. With consummate skill, Ms Erskine weaves a fantastic tale of loves thwarted and loves lost, of malice and magic and ancient curses, and shows why she is still Mistress of the timeslip novel, leaving others in the shade! I couldn't turn the pages fast enough! Superb summer reading, with plots and characters that stay with you long after the story has ended. Recommended!
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a good holiday read, 8 July 2012
By 
H. Ashford "hashford" (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: River of Destiny (Hardcover)
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The quote on the front cover of this book says "Barbara Erskine's storytelling talent is undeniable", and having read the book, I can whole-heartedly agree.

This is a compelling time-slice story set in:
- 865 - where we meet Eric, blacksmith and maker of a beautifully crafted sword which he calls "Destiny Maker"; Eric lives in an Anglo-Saxon village at a time when small villages on the East Anglian coast lived in constant risk from Viking invaders
- 1865 - where we meet Dan, blacksmith and farrier who works for the Crosby family, whose Hall is built on the site of the original Anglo Saxon hall from Eric's time
- present day - where we meet Zoe and Ken, who have opted out of the rat race and relocated from London to Suffolk; their home is the barn conversion where Dan worked; their immediate neighbour, Leo, lives in what was originally the forge and Dan's cottage.
The three stories are linked together by sightings of a ghostly Viking warship.

There are a host of interesting characters, including footpath diva Rosemary (who gets the whole village at loggerheads over her insistence on a footpath going across a farmer's field rather than round it), and Sharon and Jeff, the neighbours from hell and their tearaway children.

I found that the book flowed well and it is an easy and enjoyable read. If you like a book that isn't too demanding and has a compelling story line, then you will enjoy this book.

So why only 3*s. Well for me, character is all; I really want to identify with the main characters and see that their attitudes shape their actions, and that in turn drives the story line. However, I found Zoe weak as a character, and the burgeoning relationship with Leo seemed trite and predictable. The other characters, even major ones like Ken & Rosemary, seemed very one-dimensional - just there to hang the story off really. The most interesting character in the book was Jade (the 12 year old feral child)! I also thought the ending wrapped up all the relationships just too neatly and easily - real life is far more messy and painful!

All in all, not (in my opinion) one of Erskine's best. But still an enjoyable read.
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72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As expected., 27 Jun 2012
By 
Hiraethus o Gymru (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: River of Destiny (Hardcover)
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I have yet to read a Barbara Erskine book I have not loved, even if at times her tendency to stretch historical fact jars a little where my love of accuracy is concerned. For the sake of her sheer storytelling prowess I read them purely for the pleasure of escaping to a world of the paranormal presented in such a captivating manner. There are, to my knowledge, no "real" historical figures in this tale, and as a totally fictional novel I found it an excellent read. From page one, any of Barbara's books become virtually unputdownable, if such a word exists, and this is no exception. It will take its deserved place in my complete collection of Barbara's works, which have been read and reread numerous times over more years than I, and probably Barbara herself, care to remember. I look forward to the next work by this talented and fascinating author.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars River of Destiny, 30 Jun 2012
By 
Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: River of Destiny (Hardcover)
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Zoe and Ken have moved from London to a converted barn in Suffolk so that Ken can do more sailing. Zoe is less than happy with the move as she is not keen on sailing - except in calm weather - and the move has meant her giving up a job she loved.

Their immediate neighbours seem a mixed bunch; loner Leo with his badly scarred face and Rosemary with her obsession with public rights of way and her quiet husband Steve. Then there's the family from hell who use the third barn as a holiday home. Zoe feels uncomfortable in her barn and senses other presences though Ken is not aware of them. After he's seen a ghostly Viking ship he starts to take her fears more seriously.

Fans of Barbara Erskine will recognise some of her trademark ingredients - especially when you add in the two stories from the past intertwined with Zoe's in the present day. From the time of the Viking ship there is Eric who forges the sword known as Destiny Maker. In the nineteenth century there is Lady Emily Crosby and her lust for Daniel Smith the blacksmith. Evil haunts both stories from the past and spills over into Zoe's life in the twenty first century.

I thought the story was well constructed and compulsive reading. I particularly liked the way the same themes are woven into all three stories. I liked Zoe as a character and I thought the Watts - the family from hell - were well drawn especially the children, Jackson and Jade. I thought the differences of opinion between the locals and the crusading Rosemary were well done and believable. This is a tense page turner which may attract new readers to Barbara Erskine's work and is sure to please her many fans.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from Barbara Erskine, 11 July 2012
By 
bookworm "Sue K" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: River of Destiny (Hardcover)
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I have read nearly all of Ms Erskine's books and her latest offering, River of Destiny certainly doesn't disappoint - if anything, her books get better. This particular novel unusually with three timelines - Anglo Saxon, Victorian and present day - are interwoven seamlessly as you would expect. Without repeating the plot details here, suffice to say, with the vivid descriptions of the River Deben estuary and surrounds shrouded in history and - in this book - mostly in a creepy mist with the various sightings of the ghostly Viking ship, I think that Barbara Erskine has captured the magic of this very historic area of Suffolk that boasts the Sutton Hoo burial grounds and I was very pleased that she chose to set her story there.

There are a colourful array of characters in this book: the young Anglo Saxon swordsmith who makes the sword known as the Destiny Maker for his Lord but it's never used for the purpose for which it was made; the haughty, scheming Victorian Lady Emily who causes such pain to everyone on her husband's estate; the young couple, Ken and Zoe, who move from London to buy one of the barns now standing on the same piece of land and get caught up in the area's history; and their neighbours - the enigmatic Leo who lives in the Old Forge; Rosemary and Steve who are the pensioners on a mission to upset the local landowner, and the 12 year old daughter of the family from hell in the Summer barn who is quite precocious and has a rather nasty agenda. The main focus though is on the nearby land known as Dead Man's Field which has been a burial ground since the Anglo Saxon times -and which has an affect on each of the present day characters.

Needless to say the story builds up to a cracking finale and of course leaves you quite exhausted! I loved it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Normally a huge fan, but this is poor, 1 May 2013
By 
L Clark (Stanstead Abbotts) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: River of Destiny (Paperback)
I am a huge fan of Barbara's work, and her books are usually well rounded with characters that spring to life from the page. Tis book was poor, I didn't think the stories were very well linked, the protagonists were frankly poorly drawn and unsympathetic..... i was left thinking so what at the end of the book! I would even go as far to say that if this was a first book by a new author it would not have been published in it's current form, but would have needed extensive re-writing, but because it's a Barbara Erskine book it was. So disapointed
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barbara Erskine gets better, 16 July 2012
By 
Mrs. T. SALMON "upstreamers" (streatham london) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: River of Destiny (Hardcover)
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Over 25 years ago I bought a book called "The Lady of Hay" ,this was my first Barbar Erskine book and I loved it and I have read it several times and it still sits on the bookshelf with every other one of her books, some are a bit tatty from over use, I have hardbacks and paperbacks. Some have been fantastic and some not so fantastic. But they are a collection I am pleased and proud to have. So what is the point of this ramble, well I think it qualifies me to say this is one of her best, the story or should I say stories are fast moving and engrossing. The plot envoles the far past, when the Vikings were invading, the middle past of the 19th centuary and the present. These three stories entwine around each other, and each is a story within itself but enhances the others. The heroine, Zoe, of present time is a very likeable person,and is one amongst many of the very convincing characters. I found it hard to put down and couldn't wait to get back to it. I will put on the shelf with the others and wait eagerly for the next one to join it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Big Barbara Erskine Fan, 13 Sep 2012
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This review is from: River of Destiny (Kindle Edition)
I have read all of Barbara Erskine's books and I love them all. Disappointingly, I found this one a bit weak? It is still good read, but not one of her better ones. Barbara, would love to read another haunting story like Midnight is a Lonely Place. I hate leaving negative reviews and those who read Barbara will know how fascinating and informative she is and this is not lost in this book at all. Don't let me put you off reading it, but want to be honest (even though it feels disloyal).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Always slightly spooky, 5 Jun 2013
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This review is from: River of Destiny (Hardcover)
I believe I have read all of her books and have enjoyed them all, normally I would give 5 stars but somhow this one just missed the mark. Sadly the main female character I just didn't really engage with, but it was still a good story, with 3 different plots, from 3 different eras running through it, which all come together in the end.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So formulaic, 25 Oct 2012
This review is from: River of Destiny (Hardcover)
Unfortunately, since the heady days of Lady of Hay and Child of the Phoenix, Ms Erskine's novels have become sadly formulaic. It has become quite a game to try and tick of the various characters who will appear: wife/girlfriend who is living with/married to a man that she will split up with in the course of the story, old clergyman who will inevitably 'bite the dust', new man who will claim our 'heroine's' affections, busy body woman of the village, fey or 'sensitive' woman.....it is inevitable that they will be here, only in a different setting. Lo and behold! Most of the characters made an appearance (along with a very badly written and researched story from another age), and so in that respect I was not disappointed. However, along with the badly composed sentences, incomplete characterisation it has to be said that this novel is a very great disappointment (although one has to admit, not as bad as Whispers in the Sand, which is so bad, it is comedic). Having given Ms Erskine one last try, I am sad to say that I will no longer be wasting any more money on her books. If you are looking for good, well written stories with a supernatural twist, do not go for Barbara Erskine, who has sadly now become the Mills & Boon of the masses who would like to think that they are dabbling in the world of spooks. For depth of characters, good, well researched and well written stories, I would recommend Phil Rickman (who I believe Ms Erskine acknowledges in this book!)
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River of Destiny
River of Destiny by Barbara Erskine (Paperback - 14 Feb 2013)
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