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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complete delight
This is a marvellous book. After reading many books which celebrate an 'escape' from England to sunny climes, here is the perfect antidote. Susan Hill describes life in a country village in England in the most marvellousr, warm prose - she occasionally veers a little towards sentimentality, but whatever sweetness the book contains is nicely countered by a true eye for...
Published on 29 July 2001

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Magic apple tree
Sorry, love Susan Hill's writing, but really didn't get this story at all.
Liked all other books though. Thank you
Published 12 months ago by ms deborah hampshire


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complete delight, 29 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Magic Apple Tree: A Country Year (Paperback)
This is a marvellous book. After reading many books which celebrate an 'escape' from England to sunny climes, here is the perfect antidote. Susan Hill describes life in a country village in England in the most marvellousr, warm prose - she occasionally veers a little towards sentimentality, but whatever sweetness the book contains is nicely countered by a true eye for detail. This is a comforting, reassuring read which nevertheless has the overall effect of challenging the reader to think about his own life, what he is doing with it, and whether that is how he wants it to be. Highly recommended.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that changed my life., 13 April 2009
By 
Ms. E. Shaw "emmerleen" (Yorkshire Dales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I first read this book twenty five years ago, I got it from the local library and was inspired from the first page I was going through a very unhappy part of my life my husbsnd was suffering from agaraphobia and drinking heavily which was affecting the wole family. When I say it changed my life it did just that. I was so affected by Susan Hill`s description of "Moon Cottage" and a wonderful fulfilling life she lead, subconciously I must have decided that was what I wanted. Within twlve months I had found a house in the country with all the wild life Susan had written about Two acres of undeveloped land a barn with room for ponies for my girls and even an old apple tree at the back of the house with branches tapping on the window. My very own "Moon Cottage" with a peppercorn rent to go with it. Thankyou Susan for planting the seeds of "the good life" in your tuly inspirational book of the country. A | "must" read for all lovers of the countryside.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sense, sensibility, but no sentimentality, 16 Sept. 2002
Susan Hill's The Magic Apple Tree marks a period of change for the author. It follows a time of intense creativity when she wrote half a dozen critically acclaimed novels - Strange Meeting, a novel set during World War I, being in my view particularly haunting and accomplished. After marrying the eminent Shakespeare scholar Stanley Wells, and with the arrival of their daughter Jessica, Susan and her family left town life to take up residence in the fen country, at 'Moon Cottage'. The Magic Apple Tree is a record of one year in the life of the family and the rural scene they became absorbed by.
Susan Hill is fond of the writing of Hardy, and has the same ability to express atmosphere and natural beauty. Also an unflinching acceptance of life's cruelties and terrors. She enjoys keeping hens but can't help admiring the machismo of the hunting fox. She reveres living creatures but 'sits on the fence' concerning the fox-hunting debate. She agonises over eating delicate spring lamb but frankly admits that she'll relish lamb chops later on. She has a quick eye for the beautiful but honestly appraises the problems of rural life under the punishing yearly ordeal of a seven-month winter.
Susan Hill is a sensitive and spiritual writer but never a sentimental one. She gives the reader her subtle response to the country scene and its inhabitants, and also allows us to inspect her vegetable patch and her larder.She gets tremendous satisfaction out of raising her own veg - she's positively lyrical about celeriac - but is half-hearted about growing flowers unless they 'earn their living'. She's fond of making chutney, pickled plums, damson cheese and eldflower ice-cream, but draws the line at wine-making. For me, these details, gardening tips and old-fashioned country recipes are fascinating.
Susan Hill has gone on to write other novels, notably the genuinely spine-chilling ghost story, The Woman In Black. I'd also recommend A Bit of Singing And Dancing, a collection of short stories, and the extremely moving, candid account she wrote of her efforts to conceive and carry to term a second child, Family.
Her style is plain but poetic, simple but subtle. She can evoke the sounds, smells, lights and shadows of the country without rhapsodizing. try The Magic Apple Tree as an introduction to her writing, then explore the fine novels that preceded it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is my default reading - marvelous!, 22 Aug. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Magic Apple Tree: A Country Year (Paperback)
This book (and one by Mary Taylor Simetti) is my default reading, when more sophisticated pleasures can't entice me. Beautifully written, this book is almost an elegy to English country living. It provides me - a Californian - with the vicarious feeling that I too am living in Moon Cottage in Barley. Hill provides recipes, observations, descriptions of people, surroundings, and customs of her village, perhaps as bulwark against the encroaching tide of modern life. She finds much to value in living in the "country" and there is much to value in this beautiful book.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully evocative study of the british countryside., 2 Dec. 2001
By A Customer
Susan Hill's study of the British countryside and the seasons of the year is wonderful. Reading it for the first time in the middle of a long winter a few years ago made me feel lucky to live here - despite the dark nights and the cold. Autumn has always been my favourite time of the year but the authors description of her life in the countryside made me look afresh at all seasons and gave me the urge to get out and about to enjoy.
Susan Hill's descriptions of the countryside and country people are strongly reminiscent of Hardy and this book was an introduction to a wonderful author. If you like this you must try her other work - which is generally deeper and darker but just as beautiful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars favorite book, 14 Oct. 2013
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I love this book i have read it several times. The author is brilliant at desciption you can almost smell the weather.It is like an old friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful book, 9 Nov. 2013
By 
F. Jaques (Inverness) - See all my reviews
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I loved the book - beautifully written, lots of atmosphere. At first I thought it was a novel - even more impressed it was a diary of a year in the country. Susan Hill's books always have an underlay of strangeness, almost magic and this was no exception
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4.0 out of 5 stars An escape to the countryside, 12 Oct. 2014
Oh to live in the Moon Cottage, Barley, which Hill describes, along with all the simple pleasures which she so vividly details as they appeal to the senses. Despite the rawness of country life through the English winter and the smells, some delightful, some not, Susan Hill's departure from fiction to fact in this book is a welcome breath of fresh air; for it frees from the encroachment of rapidly moving and hard-edged urban life just when one may have had enough of the latter.

'Escape to the country' might be an expression upon the lips of more and more of us as we come under the strain of the city, despite the obvious advantages of city or suburbia, but in The Magic Apple Tree I thought that the 'escape' clause was so much more than a platitude, it was an escape from modernity; an immersion in the simple but universal beauty of the four seasons in the countryside.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Book For All Seasons., 7 Nov. 2014
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What a joy to read. Susan Hill's book about her life and how she adapts to the seasons is a firm favourite to read over and over or just to dip into. Her prose is lyrical and the picture she paints of adapting to a simple country life is both practical and also the stuff of daydreams about getting away from it all. The occasional recipe is an unexpected bonus. I thoroughly recommend this beautiful book
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5.0 out of 5 stars My all-time favourite 'comfort book', 5 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: The Magic Apple Tree: A Country Year (Paperback)
My all-time favourite 'comfort book'. I cannot remember how many times I've read it but I've had to buy at least one new copy because the book dropped to pieces with being read so much! Susan Hill's reflections on a year in her life at Moon Cottage is not sentimental but is a delight for anyone who enjoys the countryside and takes pleasure from the simple life. Perfect book.
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The Magic Apple Tree: A Country Year
The Magic Apple Tree: A Country Year by Susan Hill (Paperback - 27 Oct. 1983)
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