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4.1 out of 5 stars26
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 18 December 2014
I recently downloaded 'Asta's Book' on my Kindle, and have just finished re-reading it after a gap of many years. I think it may be my favourite BV/RR, and that's saying a lot. I agree with the opinion of some other reviewers that the pace is quite slow, but for me this is an advantage, allowing the atmosphere within the various houses, and the tensions and mysteries within the family, to develop properly. In addition, the author gives herself room and time to present a thorough and highly informative picture of both Britain and, to an extent, Denmark in the early decades of the twentieth century. I'm fascinated by family history, and, apart from being a first-rate story, there's much to interest those with a similar obsession. Incidentally, I'm not sure I agree with the shout line claiming it's a 'psychological thriller' since this really implies something more ruthlessly paced and with a lot more dramatic action.

Highly recommended to those with the time to relish the slow unfailing of a truly satisfying mystery set against a thoroughly and lovingly created background.
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I have read and re-read this book over the years, I love it and think it is one of the best Barbara Vine has ever written.

I love the style of writing the description of life at the turn of the last century. This book always strikes me as being a true story as it is so well written.

If you haven't read it you're missing a real treat.
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on 23 February 2013
When I discovered Asta's Book (actually, the first one was a birthday present), I immediatley fell in love with this intrigueing story that unrevels ever so slowly. I have re-read it a couple of times over the years and it lost nothing of it's charm. A wonderful mystery, beautifully drawn characters and an excellent read!
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on 4 December 2014
I am a huge fan of Barbara Vine, aka Ruth Rendell, so this book was a huge disappointment to me. In fact it is the first book of hers, that I have actually NOT finished! I tried, but it just did not grip me, as her usual books do, and I am sorry to say I did not enjoy the half that I did read.
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on 4 September 2009
Readers need to be aware that this excellent novel appears to have been published in the US as "Anna's Book"
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on 26 May 2016
The blurb sounded intriguing and I love mysteries/thrillers and I was looking forward to settling down and reading this. Oh dear I don't think I'll finish it. Imcan appreciate the main character's plight; 1905 London's east end, a Dutch lady struggling with being in a strange country, struggling with the language and with the locals' perception of her as a foreigner, two children, one about to drop and husband back in the Netherlands. But the story is so depressing. She hates her husband, the people (too pretentious) the country, the weather (the sun sets too early despite being summer), her house (it's too small), her furniture (too ugly). She has a servant despite having no money, she refers to her servant's friend as 'this' Christine. I had to stop reading.
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on 10 November 2012
Asta's Story is not a typical Barbara Vine thriller but is typically enthralling with many twists and turns. Nothing is clear until the end - is it then? I downloaded it onto my Kindle before going on a lazy, 'lie by the pool' autumnal holiday. Initially I found it a bit heavy going but extremely quickly was totally enthralled, trying to "sus" out what was happening, where the story would end, as it flicked between the beginning of the 20th century and the 1960's. If you like Barbara Vine you will surely enjoy this book
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on 27 April 2013
Overall a good read. The family complexities are intriguing and just about credible and the characters are well filled out.
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on 18 March 2015
I am really enjoying this book. I read it many years ago but I am still gripped by this seemingly slow paced story. I like all Barbara Vines books and think they can easily be read more than once. I keep wanting to know what happens next, although nothing much does happen! I shall soon get to the end and I am cheered by the fact that there are lots of other Barbara Vine books to re read.
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on 7 November 2015
I didn't enjoy this book as I thought the story line was weak.
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