Customer Reviews


5 Reviews
5 star:
 (1)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars European Odyssey
I have to say, having read this book twice, that I don't feel the other two reviews quite do it justice. Yes, there are some irritating moments, but on the whole this is a moving, unconventional account of a rather lonely single woman travelling with her daughter across Europe in the hope of finding the man who was perhaps the 'love of her life'.

Harriet...
Published on 13 May 2011 by Kate Hopkins

versus
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doomed from the very first page
They say that the first page makes or breaks a novel; and I found that the first page of this novel included something written in Czech-with mistakes!!!

Okay, so the average reader can't be expected to have a clue about the Czech language, and I suppose the author doesn't either, but it got the novel off to a bad start for me and I was then inclined to...
Published on 3 Sept. 2006 by Magpie


Most Helpful First | Newest First

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars European Odyssey, 13 May 2011
By 
Kate Hopkins (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Letters from Prague (Paperback)
I have to say, having read this book twice, that I don't feel the other two reviews quite do it justice. Yes, there are some irritating moments, but on the whole this is a moving, unconventional account of a rather lonely single woman travelling with her daughter across Europe in the hope of finding the man who was perhaps the 'love of her life'.

Harriet Pickering is a 40-year-old history teacher, successful, with a busy, purposeful life, and heavily (perhaps rather narrow-mindedly) involved in left-wing politics. (Like so many very militant Leftists, Harriet in fact comes from a very comfortable upper-middle class home herself!). She has loved two men in her life - her husband, who abandoned her when their daughter Marsha was a baby - and Karel, a Czech student who she met when she was 17, and who she lost touch with after the 1968 Russian invasion of Prague, when Karel had to return to his homeland, and the Soviet grip on the Czech Republic deepened. When the Soviet Bloc collapses in the early 1990s, Harriet, who has been a single mum for ten years, decides to go and seek her former sweetheart out in Prague, travelling with her daughter first to stay with her wealthy brother Hugh and his wife Susanna in Brussels, then going on to Berlin, and finally to Prague. Harriet doesn't know what to expect - what she is certainly not prepared for is to be attracted to a former broker called Christopher Pritchard, who she meets at her brother's house in Brussels, and who, with his right-wing politics, career in money-making and seemingly over-confident manner, would seem initially to be the sort of man she would hate. But, as Harriet travels across Europe, strangely meeting Christopher first in Berlin and then in Prague, the two become close. When Harriet is reunited with her old sweetheart in Prague, she finds herself unexpectedly torn between the two men. But Christopher has several guilty secrets...

There was a lot to enjoy in this book. The relationships between Harriet and Karel, and Harriet and Christopher, were well drawn, and, as often in her work,Gee avoided the temptation to write a sentimental romantic novel. The descriptions of each of the cities that Harriet and Marsha visit, rich in literary and historical associations, were excellent, and each section atmospheric. There were some marvellously created characters (such as Hugh's tormented wife Susanna, or the secretly suffering Christopher).

For me, as for the second reviewer here, the main problem was Harriet's role as a mother, and her daughter Marsha, who seemed a particularly unpleasant, sullen and rude child. Harriet's attitude as a mother seemed rather strange too for such an assured woman: one moment she was praising her child extravagantly for 'grown-up' thoughts when Marsha said something reasonably mature instead of whining, and the next apologizing cravenly after a fit of particular brattishness on Marsha's part. I don't know if Gee intended to create an impression of a very disfunctional relationship, but this is how it came across.

An interesting and thought-provoking novel but not a great advert for single parenthood!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doomed from the very first page, 3 Sept. 2006
By 
Magpie (Czech Republic) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Letters from Prague (Paperback)
They say that the first page makes or breaks a novel; and I found that the first page of this novel included something written in Czech-with mistakes!!!

Okay, so the average reader can't be expected to have a clue about the Czech language, and I suppose the author doesn't either, but it got the novel off to a bad start for me and I was then inclined to mistrust everything else about it.

The whole effort seems a bit amateurish in terms of plot and character development. There were several elements of the author's writing style that I eventually found irritating, in particular the habit of repeating key phrases ("Everyone smokes in Prague" being a favourite). There were two mildly interesting plot twists, but in all the story creaked along as sluggishly as a Soviet-era "express" train.

On top of that, the reader must share 300-odd pages with a cast of somewhat dull and/or unattractive (and not even in an interesting way) main characters.

This book tries to be a romance with a political conscience, but I felt that it would have been better if the author had forgotten about the politics and just concentrated on it being a romance, because in the form it is now it fails to fulfil either as a romance or as a literary novel concerned with contemporary political issues.

On the up side, I found the description of Prague from a tourist's perspective to be fairly realistic- it is obvious that the author either knows someone from or has at least visited someone, in Prague. It is also clear that she likes the city very much and I found the description of the tourist centre of Prague quite pretty.

Let's just conclude that, while reading the book, I repeatedly found reasons to confirm the conclusion that I had come to on the very first page- that I would not be left with the feeling that my life had been enriched in the reading of it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Another very enjoyable novel by Sue Gee, 7 Mar. 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Plenty to keep you reading and to like (or intensely dislike!) and empathise with the characters. A specially good read for professional mums like me!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A very good love story., 27 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Another very good read from Sue Gee. She creates a real feeling for the characters and also informs the reader about historical events and the country she sets her stories in.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Can you like a book if you hate all the characters?, 30 April 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Letters from Prague (Paperback)
This is a book that could have been so much better. I hoped for a novel that would tell me something of Prague, give me some kid of flavour of the events of the 60s and the present day Prague. This gave me neither. (If you want a flavour of Prague, you would be better reading Milan Kundera.
This was a mushy, slushy read. The only thing that distinguishes it from the average Mills & Boon is the fact that the writer does not allow the two main characters from melting into each others arms.
The main problem is the central character. It seems almost impossible to find any sympathy for her at all. She is wet, she is ignorant, full of cliches about Mother-love, single parenthood, "radical" (supposedly!) politics. If I had met her I am certain that I would wish to forget her asap. I read the book willing both male characters to escape from her, and her awful child. Feminism is not a condition that should as a rule render a woman helpless, boring and unattractive. (this is what seems to have happened to this one)
The only worse character in the novel was the child Marsha, who seemed to have no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
I have read many novels and found the characters unlikeable. This is an interesting experience if the characters are interesting. None of the characters in this book are! Their suffering, their dreams are made banal by cliche.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Letters from Prague
Letters from Prague by Sue Gee (Paperback - 6 April 1995)
Used & New from: £0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews