Customer Reviews


18 Reviews
5 star:
 (13)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two titles
Careful, because this book has also been published under the rather better title A Proper Education for Girls. Same book, so don't buy it twice!
In 1857, two feisty sisters have been separated. Lilian has been married off to a missionary and sent to India, having disgraced herself at home. Alice has remained as her father's amanuensis and curator of his collection...
Published on 10 Jun 2010 by booksetc

versus
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Heavy-handed satire
I suppose people who submit reviews to Amazon are mainly from people who enjoyed it. I didn't. It's not bad; the basic idea is clever, the characterisations are deftly drawn, and there are flashes of rather sardonic humour. But it's slow and heavy-handed; satire needs to be sharp and here it's a very blunt instrument. Ms do Rollo needs to read Jane Austen, Susan Ferrier,...
Published on 23 July 2010 by Robert Ward


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two titles, 10 Jun 2010
By 
Careful, because this book has also been published under the rather better title A Proper Education for Girls. Same book, so don't buy it twice!
In 1857, two feisty sisters have been separated. Lilian has been married off to a missionary and sent to India, having disgraced herself at home. Alice has remained as her father's amanuensis and curator of his collection of scientific curiosities.
Out in India, Lilian thrives and 'goes native,' scandalising her fellow mem-sahibs. When she encounters the man who was the cause of her downfall back home ... well, I won't spoil it for you!
Meanwhile, their father is beginning to regret that his remaining daughter isn't more feminine and accommodating ... has Alice's education had a masculinising effect?
Elaine di Rollo has a doctorate in medical history and, with a light touch, weaves in a lot about Victorian sexual hypocrisy and the appalling treatment of women by the medical profession.
It's highly-amusing and, as other reviewers have pointed out, makes a jolly good holiday read. But it did take me a while to get into it, though ... I was half-way through before I really started enjoying it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A massive and original talent, 3 April 2014
By 
R Rumble (Gloucestershire) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Proper Education for Girls (Paperback)
The only writer you can really compare di Rollo to is J.G.Farrell - there are more than a few echoes here of "The Siege of Krishnapur" - but do Rollo is very much a voice in her own right, and it is a distinctive and original voice, with elegant writing, joyful leaps of imagination, and an astonishing confidence in storytelling. Farrell won the Booker Prize with "The Siege of Krishnapur", and di Rollo ought to have done the same with this book. She is a major new writer, as her second novel "Bleakly Hall" (which I read first) confirms.
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb debut- chortle-fest!, 23 Nov 2009
Seldom do we encounter a new novelist being so inventive, daring and creative. This is witty, intelligent stuff, packed full of historical interest, literary hommage, sensual description, swashbuckling action and bloody good fun. The twists and turns don't detract from the frantic pace. I can't wait for di Rollo's next offering.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very powerful and exciting story, 30 Nov 2009
This review is from: A Proper Education for Girls (Paperback)
What a powerful and exciting story! At first I thought this story was a gentle tale of two sisters living in their difficult victorian times, but then the story grabs you and you find yourself almost out of breath as the sisters literally fight for their lives. Where did the author even begin to create these brilliant, funny, tragic, yet totally believable characters? I enjoyed this story and couldn't put it down. I had to finish the story and find out the fate of these brave and determined women. Highly recommended!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Not Jane Austen, 15 Sep 2012
By 
S. Caughie "scaughie" (USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
I'm surprised at the nay-sayers on here - if nothing else, this book is exceptionally well-written, and worth reading for its dark wit alone. But it's also has more to offer. Yes, it's Victoriana, but it's not Victorian. The era it's set in is the lens through which DiRollo chooses to show us the foibles of human nature, how we love and how we choose to show it. Not like Jane Austen? Of course not. It's a modern novel. But that doesn't make its points any less poignant. I hope Elaine DiRollo keeps writing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars an astonishing debut, 10 Nov 2010
This review is from: A Proper Education for Girls (Paperback)
Elaine di Rollo - The Peachgrowers' Almanac

Is this really a "sober" scientist's writing?

Set in Victorian England and British occupied India, Elaine di Rollo unfolds the story of two odd, but deeply attached sisters struggling against the patriarchal world view of father and husband.

In her first novel, di Rollo, a lecturer of marketing at the Napier University in Edinburgh and holder of a PhD in Medical History, develops an extremely lively and minutely researched picture of the mid 19th century. She allows an insight into ordinary life (by means of the father's expansive collection of everyday-items) and into the emotional restrictions of most of the male characters (who cut quite sorry figures in this book).
The two sisters are the unquestioned heroines, who, each by her own means, try to fight off the moral corset of their times. One tries to maintain her hard won independence by marrying a missionary on his way to India. The other, supported by eccentric old aunts at home, has to fend off her father and a rather clumsy admirer in the family's estate-turned-museum. It's mainly in these scenes that the author makes use of her considerable humoristic abilities.
British society and colonial politics - namely the Indian Mutiny of 1857 (most likely to be seen as a parallel to women's fight for liberation)- offer a dramatic, and highly realistic background for the two main characters' struggle to establish their sense of self-esteem. Di Rollo succeeds in creating a dense atmosphere as well as a coherent plot by comprehensively juggling the numerous changes of places, times and points of view.

Despite the serious topics, which are clearly a matter of heart to the author, di Rollo succeeds in writing amazingly funny passages. The battle of words between the narrow-minded father or the inapt lover and the cosmopolitan daughters are a delight. Di Rollo shows a crafty grasp of words and additionally resists all temptation for unnecessary embellishment. The same goes for the occasional slapstick-like scenes: here again the comical effect is never strained and you have to imagine the impact of the -metaphorical- cream tart rather than actually reading about it (which, by the way, is much more fun).

All in all "The Peachgrowers' Almanac" is a highly recommendable book, not only for those interested in novels with historical settings or the British 19th cent. in particular. One can merely read and relax, identify oneself with the development of clearly likable characters (yes, also the males, at least one of them) and enjoy this book which seems especially written for long winter evenings.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Heavy-handed satire, 23 July 2010
By 
Robert Ward (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Proper Education for Girls (Paperback)
I suppose people who submit reviews to Amazon are mainly from people who enjoyed it. I didn't. It's not bad; the basic idea is clever, the characterisations are deftly drawn, and there are flashes of rather sardonic humour. But it's slow and heavy-handed; satire needs to be sharp and here it's a very blunt instrument. Ms do Rollo needs to read Jane Austen, Susan Ferrier, Margaret Oliphant to see how it's done with wit and grace, and the precision of a surgeon's scalpel. And we really need a fresher insight into 19th century patriarchal society then we get here. George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, and the Brontes covered the ground pretty thoroghly - and they had first-hand experience. So only 2/5 from me and a 'shows promise'
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book, 7 Aug 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I loved this book, the characters, the setting, the story. A real gem. Miss this one at your pearl you won't be disappointed, its fantastic. I hope there is to be sequal.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something completely different., 2 Aug 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Proper Education for Girls (Paperback)
I absolutely loved this book. It was not at all what I expected and I found myself still turning pages at 4am. Wonderful heroines, well researched, brilliantly executed and a rollicking good story written with great humanity. Stick with it and you won't be disappointed.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cracking adventure tale for girls, 19 April 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Proper Education for Girls (Paperback)
I was blown away by this book - it wasn't at all what I expected. The humour, adventure and derring-do was all there as promised but it was also incredibly dark, with lashings of Victorian grotesquery ladled on too. Some of this was pretty shocking stuff. It reminded me a lot of Fingersmith by Sarah Waters in that it highlighted to horrifying effect how Victorians viewed female sexuality and mental health. Dr Cattermole is a pantomime baddie who certainly gave me nightmares!

My favourite sections were those set with Lilian in India, amongst the snobby and racist Colonials. I found these parts the richest in terms of description, humour and character.

My only criticism would be that it was a shame that when we met the sisters, they were already living on different continents to each other. It made it hard to really think of them as sisters, as we got to know them so separately.

I would recommed this book - to adult readers! - with no hesitation. It takes you away to another time and place and really gets the pulses racing. An astonishing debut.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

A Proper Education for Girls
A Proper Education for Girls by Elaine di Rollo (Paperback - 2 July 2009)
£6.62
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews