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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a brilliant book!
I totally disagree with the previous review. This book is Clare Chambers best. It is a wonderful multi-layered novel with such twists, turns and intrigue you are left breathless. The intelligent reader will marvel at the sheer quality of the writing, the tightness of plot and the totally believable characters. It does not have the innocent charm of Learning to Swim and is...
Published on 21 Jun 2001

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Below par
Having read and loved both In a Good Light and Learning to Swim by Clare Chambers, I picked up this book with a great sense of anticipation. In the end though I was hugely disappointed by this novel, which had too many very similar rather bland protagonists, was not particularly funny and was a pale echo of the other material which I have read by this author. Only in the...
Published on 24 Sep 2006 by R. P. Sedgwick


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Below par, 24 Sep 2006
By 
R. P. Sedgwick "Grim Rob" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Dry Spell (Hardcover)
Having read and loved both In a Good Light and Learning to Swim by Clare Chambers, I picked up this book with a great sense of anticipation. In the end though I was hugely disappointed by this novel, which had too many very similar rather bland protagonists, was not particularly funny and was a pale echo of the other material which I have read by this author. Only in the final few chapters when the plot all comes together does the novel finally get going, but even then it really limps to the line with a cheesy and unsatisfactory ending.

Clare Chambers's other books that I have read largely had teenage characters. I don't know whether that's the problem with A Dry Spell, but it seems to me that her adult characters are just not believable, they just do not come to light in the same way that she portrays adolescents, at which she excels. The only teenagers in A Dry Spell are relatively minor characters.

I'd hate people to read this book without first dipping into her other work, as A Dry Spell is not a fair reflection of Clare Chambers's undoubted talent.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a brilliant book!, 21 Jun 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: A Dry Spell (Paperback)
I totally disagree with the previous review. This book is Clare Chambers best. It is a wonderful multi-layered novel with such twists, turns and intrigue you are left breathless. The intelligent reader will marvel at the sheer quality of the writing, the tightness of plot and the totally believable characters. It does not have the innocent charm of Learning to Swim and is a much darker but definitely more sophisticated novel. The characters have depth and you get to feel for all of them. Clare Chambers humour is so distinctive and anybody who has read her previous novels will love this one. Why it has not received loads of rave reviews is beyond me. I can't wait for further novels from this under-rated highly intelligent and original author.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to Clare Chambers' usual high standard, 23 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: A Dry Spell (Paperback)
As a dedicated Clare Chambers fan, it really pains me to say this, but I was at a complete loss as to what the point of this book was. If the premiss of the story was that an acquaintance from the past can really upset the apple cart then perhaps one of the reasons I found the book to be so hollow was that Nina's reaction to Hugo's phone call was perplexingly irrational and over the top.
Many of the characters were flat and difficult to empathise with. I could not at all understand, for instance, what was supposed to be so fascinating and beguiling about Erica Crowe, or why Jane becomes so infatuated with her. In the author's previous books I was charmed by the characters and recognised somebody I knew in every single one.
A Dry Spell lacked the originality and attention to detail of her previous three novels. I really loved Learning To Swim, so perhaps it would have been impossible for any novel to live up to it in my eyes, but it just seemed to me, sadly, that this one was written in a hurry and was not up to the usual standard.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding novel about family life today., 10 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: A Dry Spell (Hardcover)
Another excellent book from Clare Chambers.She is a great observer of people and uses her great knowledge of ordinary families to construct a book with great depth of characterisation.We will all recognise ourselves and our families in this novel.I particularly liked Jane,very tense about bringing up her children,and burdened with difficult in-laws.Her confusion when she thinks she fancies her new best friend is very funny, as it is obvious that that she envies her friends easy going approach to life.There are some lovely touches in this book that will ring true for many of us.The smell of sweet sherry that reminds us of "after funeral do`s and all things dreary." Children behaving badly at sunday lunch at the grandparents.Guy`s irrational fear of gratings on graves,as he thought when he was a child that it was in case someone was buried alive.I could identify with Nina who had never run for a bus in her life in case she suffered the indignity of missing it.All our own and our families insecurities and peculiar habits are here.Is it possible that Miss Chambers has all our houses bugged? My only disappointment is that she cannot write books as fast as I can read them.I so look forward to the next one in October.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very clever interwoven plot, 18 Mar 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: A Dry Spell (Paperback)
I had not read any Clare Chambers' novels before. A friend recommended Learning to Swim.. I bought A Dry Spell instead. What a stunningly clever novel. All the characters seem to be unrelated and gradually you begin to see the tenuous connections. I could not put the book down. I agree that the character of Jane is rather unattractive - but that makes it all the more intriguing and clever. This is a book for both the male and female reader. Chambers' style of writing is excellent - her observation of detail and development of character is quite enthralling. I will definitely be reading more books by this author. Do get this book and see for yourself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book, but not really in the same league as learning to swim, 23 Aug 2006
By 
SilentSinger (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Dry Spell (Paperback)
Although slow in places (especially the somewhat prolonged description of the trip) this, compared with other books aimed at the female market, was very good indeed. It's a book filled of believable characters and situations that will make you smile rather than laugh out loud. I'd recommend it to anyone who's looking for a well-crafted story written by a talented writer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not her best but still brilliant, 16 July 2008
This review is from: A Dry Spell (Paperback)
Learning To Swim would earn 5-plus stars with an extra sprinkling of trophies, and this isn't quite as good - but it's still an excellent read. The characterisation is very subtle - you'll never have met these people before, but you have a good idea as to who they are. Jane is slightly despicable, but you're never fully invited to hate her. Hugo is horrendous, yet fascinating. Guy's mother is a monster, and his preferred younger brother is easy to hate, even though the author takes pains to seem to be steering the reader away from hating him. The only problem is Nina, whose adult self seems so wildly different from her younger self. Granted, she suffered a huge trauma, but it's not clear how she transformed into a slightly ridiculous middle-aged frump. As with all Claire Chambers' work, the real beauty is in the writing. Frankly, I'd enjoy reading a shopping list if it was written by her. Every word has its weight, nothing is wasted, and all of it is thought-provoking
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A marvelous novel, 5 April 2004
By 
Patricia Harrad (Bristol United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Dry Spell (Paperback)
I couldn't put this book down and felt sorry when I finished it, because the characters were so real and alive.I cared very much about what happened to them. Particularly Erica. I have now read all Clare Chambers' books and look forward to the new one in July
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read, 1 May 2007
This review is from: A Dry Spell (Paperback)
I enjoyed Learning To Swim, but found A Dry Spell to be even better. I thought the plot was very cleverly put together, and the characterisation and dialogue were both very good. The parts in the desert were particularly engrossing. The only thing I dislike about Clare Chambers' novels are the packaging - the covers make them look like far less intelligent reads than they really are. Am looking forward to reading the remainder of Clare Chambers' books in the near future, and am glad I found such a good author.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars After Learning to Swim - So disappointing!, 11 April 2002
This review is from: A Dry Spell (Paperback)
The thing that struck me most about this story was that although the characters had lived through a horrific and potentially life-changing experience they came out of it almost completely unscathed (apart from causing just a little domestic confusion in suburbia). The period of the story set in the desert while they were students was a clever and gripping bit of writing stuck between a lot of fluffy drivel. The dull, boring, unlikeable middle aged middle class parents, free-from-psychological-scars, that these students had become was so disappointing. Even more disappointing was the direction the looming threat of the re-arrival of dangerous Hugo went ie nowhere!
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A Dry Spell
A Dry Spell by Clare Chambers (Paperback - 1 Mar 2001)
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