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67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FIFTH AND FINAL BOOK IN A LANDMARK SERIES.
To gain full enjoyment out of this book you do need to have read the previous four
Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard.

This volume opens with the death of the Duchy. It is 1956 and with the passing of the
old lady the life of privelege found in the earlier chronicles comes to an end also.

The author does a brilliant job of...
Published 11 months ago by Mrs. C. Swarfield

versus
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointments and regrets
I start to write this having just learned of the death of the author, Elizabeth Jane Howard. One of her last interviews, with the Daily Telegraph, includes the telling sentence about the hiatus between Casting Off, the fourth Cazalet novel, and All Change - "absolute hell from a continuity point of view. You keep on having to remember what you called someone's chauffeur...
Published 8 months ago by Blue Baby


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67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FIFTH AND FINAL BOOK IN A LANDMARK SERIES., 6 Oct 2013
By 
Mrs. C. Swarfield - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: All Change (Cazalet Chronicles) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
To gain full enjoyment out of this book you do need to have read the previous four
Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard.

This volume opens with the death of the Duchy. It is 1956 and with the passing of the
old lady the life of privelege found in the earlier chronicles comes to an end also.

The author does a brilliant job of bringing the reader up to speed with past
histories without holding up the continuing story.

In this post-war world, the family finds itself facing the challenges of a changing
world and economic climate, and are dealing with an uncertain future. This is a
new world, where financial securities of the past are jeopardised. Prosperity of
the family buisness can longer be guaranteed, consequently bold decisions have to
be taken concerning the fate of the beautiful country house which was the setting
of so many idyllic summers and Christmases in the past.

E J Howard draws the reader in fully and convincingly, so you feel involved in these characters
lives and care deeply about them. Howard's strength is bringing alive historical
detail and brings into play social, cultural and economic changes and how they impact
on the day to day lives of individuals.

This is a book reflecting on change in all its forms and nostalgic though it is - the
harshness of modern times and events do reflect the life of the author herself who at
the age of ninety has written an engaging and powerful closing chapter of the Cazalet
chronicles - a gem of a book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hugely enjoyable as always, but badly edited, 9 Nov 2013
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The Cazalet novels are modern classics, and I was so looking forward to this slightly unexpected bonus.

In the really important ways I wasn't disappointed. Howard is masterly at representing real life through the prism of fiction, it's high points and dull realities, pleasures and pains.

However (as another reviewer has said) there is the glaring error that it was Hugh's son William's twin who died at birth, not Simon's. Yet more than that, facts presented in the four previous novels have been altered. Simon was not told that his mother Sybil died by his Headmaster; he was brought home from school in time to say goodbye, when she was still conscious, a fact that upset his sister Polly who was only taken in to see her when she wasn't. In CASTING OFF Simon was also a success at University and set to be a doctor, confident and sure of his place in the world. This is not reflected in this book at all.

It makes me wonder how well the current editor actually knew the quartet of previous books. That grouch over, I loved the novel.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointments and regrets, 3 Jan 2014
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I start to write this having just learned of the death of the author, Elizabeth Jane Howard. One of her last interviews, with the Daily Telegraph, includes the telling sentence about the hiatus between Casting Off, the fourth Cazalet novel, and All Change - "absolute hell from a continuity point of view. You keep on having to remember what you called someone's chauffeur 15 years ago. It's quite hard work, that."

And it shows. All Change is a dreary, depressing read. The children lack the charm of the previous generation, and the quasi-incestuous storyline beggars belief (yes, I'm well aware that Edward molested the teenage Louise, but she reacted with revulsion. This particular "relationship" is beyond any kind of credibility). Diana turns into a monster promised in Casting Off. Villy continues as the wronged heroine. Simon turns into another Christopher. One particular death is a real shock which the readers could have been spared. I genuinely wish that Miss Howard, may she rest in peace, had stopped at four volumes and left us devotees with our memories.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another enjoyable read, 8 Oct 2013
By 
M. V. Clarke (Durham, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: All Change (Cazalet Chronicles) (Hardcover)
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Nine years on from the end of Casting Off: Cazalet Chronicles Book 4, All Change describes family coping with the decline of the Cazalets' wealth in post-war Britain. The children from The Light Years now have children of their own, and the future of Home Place is uncertain after the death of the Duchy. If you haven't read any of the other Cazalet Chronicles, then don't start here: go and read The Light Years: Cazalet Chronicles Book 1 and the rest, or you'll be lost in this enormous family. There are précis of the back story as each character is reintroduced, which will be helpful if it's a while since you've read the previous books, but I still found myself struggling to keep up with the names of the new children (though having the notes on the Cazalets to refer to will help). There was even a moment when I started to wonder if the author herself had forgotten who was who, but that was resolved later on. If you've read the rest, then you'll want to read this final chronicle. It is as enjoyable and fascinating as the others, following the threads of the different characters' lives. There was a moment towards the end that I thought was a little forced, however, and didn't quite fit with the general style of the chronicles. I felt the ending was less satisfactory and left more loose ends than that of Casting Off, but perhaps that's the point: the family's lives will go on, some happily, some less so, and a neat happy ending would probably have felt too contrived.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing read, 4 Mar 2014
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Firstly, let me say that I loved the original four-book Cazalet saga. That's why I bought Book 5 and it's also why I've found it such a disappointment.

The first quarter seemed to re-tell the plot of the earlier novels unnecessarily - I can't imagine anyone who hasn't read the first four books would be interested in Book 5, so why bore the reader by going over the same ground? This links in with another problem I had with the fifth novel: Elizabeth Jane Howard seems to have lost her nerve. The earlier books were models of psychological insight, giving just enough information to convey the story, the characters' feelings, the era and the themes, without over-writing or explaining too much. She would move on from viewpoint to viewpoint with skill, verve and confidence, leaving it to the reader to fill in the gaps. In book 5, however, she seems to no longer do this - she fills in the gaps endlessly and in an often pedestrian manner. She has characters saying something and then feels the need to explain what they meant, as if the reader might not have got it. She loses the lightness of touch of the earlier novels and adds weight without depth.

I found the dialogue too, at times, rather inauthentic and dull, with some characters badly drawn (Teddy's Irish barmaid being a case in point). The children were unconvincing and twee, rather than delightfully comic as in the earlier novels, though I found Georgie more convincing than the others. The older characters generally retained their shape, though sometimes just became dull or else Howard seemed to forget them and they were barely mentioned.

In the earlier books, Howard used repetition of plot-lines in order to explore themes - for instance, the series of young women engaged in romantic liaisons of varying degrees of success with older men, from Edward's creepy molestation of his daughter to the touching romance between Archie and Clary. Many of these relationships revealed the exploitation of youth by unscrupulous older men, highlighting feminist issues perhaps - the number of exploitative men in the novels was extraordinary. However, the repetition by and large worked very well. However, in the fifth book, I felt the romantic plot-lines became repetitive in a boring way, in places almost Mills and Boonish, in others incredibly implausible (Neville and Juliet? Really?). I thought Louise was remarkably forgiving of her father!

There were several places where I almost decided to give up the fifth book but I stuck it out as a tribute to Elizabeth Jane Howard - the first four books are superb, and it is just sad really that she thought it wise to write a fifth so late in the day when her powers were waning. It isn't all bad however. I thought the description of the decline of the firm was masterful, and Rachel and Sid were well-drawn. But in the end it was lightweight, rather than light of touch, and heavy going.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars DISAPPOINTMENT, 4 May 2014
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I found this novel most unsatisfactory. It seemed as if the ending had be hurriedly finished, so much so, that it left a good many things up in the air. Considering it was suppose to be the very last book in the series one would suppose that the author would tie things up satisfactory but this wasn't done and I found it very disappointing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars fifth book detailing the lives of the Cazalet family..., 29 Jan 2014
By 
Petra "I love to read" "book addict!!!" (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: All Change (Cazalet Chronicles) (Hardcover)
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All Change by Elizabeth Jane Howard for me was a good read which brought me back to the lives of the Cazalet family which I first met in the first book of this wonderful series. If you are a fan of this series or just want an old fashioned look at a family who are there for each other in times of need. For me I felt I enjoyed this book so much more since I read the series a few years ago and when I received this book I enjoyed it so much I have now revisited the first four books in the series which brought back a lot of lost memories of a very unique but yet close family.
This book is a good read but one I felt just did not hit the excellence of the first four and for that reason I felt a slight disappointment, yes for me I did enjoy having another visit too the Cazalets and it was nice to see the younger generation growing up and somehow learning to live using their own strengths which they gained from being a member of this family.
Maybe the author left it too long before writing another chapter in the lives of the Cazalets but it was something she felt she had to do and I am glad she had it completed before her sad passing. Elizabeth Jane Howard will be missed as an author but her family and friends plus her many readers are blessed with a wonderful legacy she has left us with and that is one thing I am very thankful for.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite up to standard, 9 Jan 2014
By 
Mrs. S. Thorne (West Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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This was an enjoyable book for tying up any loose ends from the previous four volumes, but I felt some of the developments were out-of-character. Would Charlie really have had an affair, and could Neville have actually imagined he could marry his sister?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So good to see Villy come through her anger and realise ..., 26 Nov 2013
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Very satisfying- if you have read the first four! Period of mid fifties captured so well and I recognised so many people I knew in the feelings of kindness stoicism and bitterness displayed. The attitudes of the time felt so clear . So good to see Villy come through her anger and realise at the end that our secret feelings about Diana were mirrored in the collective view we are given!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 5 Aug 2014
Like others I was keen to read this having loved the other Cazalet novels as well as the late author's earlier books. This is readable and evocative in parts, but the writing is often pedestrian and there are too many glaring errors - by the final chapters describing the last Christmas at Home Place I was skipping whole paragraphs, and was particularly irritated by the scene in which Edward and Diana come for drinks: Louise talks to Juliet about Diana as though she hardly knows her, when in fact she spent a holiday with her stepmother in France earlier in the novel. Lazy editing to blame, rather than the author, whose great age when writing this book certainly excuses her.
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All Change (Cazalet Chronicles)
All Change (Cazalet Chronicles) by Elizabeth Jane Howard (Hardcover - 7 Nov 2013)
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