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109 Reviews
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An engaging murder mystery if over contrived
Set in contemporary London, Amanda Craig first five chapters portrays the lives of five characters who seemingly do not have any connection and it therefore seems like information overload: Polly, a refugee lawyer and solo mother; Ian, a South African school teacher teaching in one of the poorest inner London schools where most of the pupils are from Bangladesh and...
Published on 1 Jan 2011 by Kiwifunlad

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I had such high hopes......but ultimately disappointing
This is a worthy book, dealing with important issues such as illegal immigration, sexual slavery and the decline of the state education system. It explores questions of identity, isolation and loneliness and challenges many preconceptions prevalent in this country about illegal immigrants and other vulnerable members of our society. As I said, it is a worthy book that I...
Published on 23 Sep 2011 by Bajan Girl


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HEARTS AND MINDS, 19 July 2009
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This review is from: Hearts And Minds (Paperback)
This is an excellent title for an engrossing book. The large cast of characters are emotionally linked to each other in a variety of ways - love, hate, envy, passion. By skilfull maneuvering the author weaves them in and out of each other's lives.
At the same time broader themes emerge - the role of the press, the legal system, the police , fundamentalism, the immigration service - all set against a background of contemporary London.
Though an ingenious spider web of plot and sub plot, the author holds all this together by a dark event which slowly and compellingly unfolds.
A real tour de force with much to say about the way we live now- a very good read.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like modern Dickens, 12 Feb 2011
This review is from: Hearts And Minds (Paperback)
Amanda Craig captures London so perfectly in the novel. The prose, the theme, the characters and the plotting are all spot on. It is rare to find a novel that scores so highly on all of these. A brilliant and humbling book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliantly plotted "Londoncentric" novel...., 20 Nov 2009
By 
Wynne Kelly "Kellydoll" (Coventry, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hearts And Minds (Paperback)
This is my third "Londoncentric" novel in as many months - the others being William Boyd's Ordinary Thunderstorms and Sebastian Faulks' A Week in December. Hearts and Minds actually has a similar structure to the Faulks book - a group of disparate characters from different social strata whose lives collide and overlap. The story begins with a murder when a girl's body is found in the water on Hampstead Heath and from the beginning the reader (well, this one) is hooked. We are soon deep into the contrasting worlds of human traffickers, illegal immigrants, struggling professionals, disappointed lovers and the chattering classes of North London.

The plotting is brilliant. I can imagine the writer beginning with a large wall-chart and lots of Post-It notes! As the story unfolds some very pertinent social comments are made - such as Polly suddenly realising how little she actually knew about the young woman who lived in her home and looked after her children. The lives of people living precariously in our society were dealt with poignantly and sympathetically.

I have one slight criticism inasmuch as I found some of the characters a bit unsubtle. Job was a bit too angelic and Anna a bit too innocent. But, hey, we can't have everything.

I have been recommending Hearts and Minds to all my friends - a really good read.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing, moving book, 25 July 2009
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C. Phillips (San Francisco Bay Area) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hearts And Minds (Paperback)
This book is not yet available in the US, so I ordered it from the UK, and am so glad I did. I loved this story with its well-drawn characters, engrossing mystery and ability to cause the reader to stop and think what it means to be a resident of the Western world. This is one of those books that you will continue to think about long after it is finished.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book, 7 Jun 2009
This review is from: Hearts And Minds (Paperback)
This is a wonderful book. Beautifully written, immensely readable, the characters stayed with me long after I finished it. The book depicts a thoroughly modern London with a Dickensian scope and depth. Its portrait of a divided society is unflinching, but warm and wise. Highly intelligent, enjoyable but also thought-provoking, I loved it.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best novel this year!, 28 Sep 2010
This review is from: Hearts And Minds (Paperback)
In 'Hearts and Minds' Amanda Craig sets out to show that the comfortable lifestyle enjoyed by many in affluent North London, where the novel is largely set, could not function without those who, for precious little pay, perform those menial tasks we can't manage ourselves. The under-paid au pair, of dubious immigration status, who cares for the children; the 'illegals' who drive the minicabs for the school run. We also meet the teacher in the sink-school, battling apathy and latent, often actual, violence. Finally, the East European girls imported for prostitution, whose vile pimps cater for a large, home-grown clientele.
The narrative skilfully links the five main characters, none of whom knows the others at the outset, gradually establishing their inter-dependence and proving once again that no man - or woman - is an island. Ms Craig lets us into the lives of her five principals and by the end, they have become close friends to whom we say good-bye with regret. There is comedy, high drama, suffering and sadness in this meticulously crafted and profoundly humane novel, along with a simmering anger at the English middle classes who profess liberal sympathies yet grossly exploit those too weak or vulnerable to defend themselves.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking read, 22 Feb 2011
By 
Kate Hopkins (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hearts And Minds (Paperback)
This has to be one of the best books I've read for several years. Craig creates a vivid picture of contemporary London life, and her characters are all interesting, believable, and in many cases highly likeable. Among my favourite characters were Job, a refugee from Mugabe's Zimbabwe with a deep love of English literature, Anna the Ukrainian teenager who leaves her country in search of a better life and is sold into prostitution, Katie, an American who comes to London and enters British journalism to try to heal her broken heart (and discovers the joys of classical music concerts, and an unexpected friendship or two), Ian, bravely teaching English in one of London's worst state schools and Polly the perpetually busy mother-of-two and human rights lawyer, who becomes a close friend to Job. The story is excellently structured too, with an intriguing mystery which ensures that it begins and remains a page turner. It's rare to find a page-turner which is also thought-provoking and where the author devotes a lot of thought to individual characters - but this novel is certainly it!

Read this if you're at all interested in the state of the world today and how it has affected individuals - you won't be disappointed.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hearts and Minds, 27 Sep 2010
This review is from: Hearts And Minds (Paperback)
A real page-turner: compelling, thought-provoking and poignant. Hearts and Minds is an important novel about attitudes to immigrants, please read it!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Deeply Affective Book, 10 May 2009
By 
Simon Clarke (Hackney, London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hearts And Minds (Paperback)
This is Amanda Craig's(who is also an Amazon Top 100
Reviewer)sixth novel,and her most accomplished and adventurous
to date .Set in London,it is part thriller ,part social commentary,
and begins with a female body being dumped into a pond on
Hampstead Heath.The dead woman is an illegal immigrant,and the
novel criss-crosses between the often harrowing experiences of
5 immigrants.London is portrayed as not coming to terms with
multi-culturalism,whilst many of its institutions are in a
state of decay.Meanwhile many of the 'chattering' class are
self-obsessed and selfish.
This is a deeply affective ,moral,compassionate book that makes
one ponder what we owe other people and the benefits of human
kindness.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Awareness Through A Good Story, 9 Sep 2010
By 
D. R. Armour (Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hearts And Minds (Paperback)
Without shoving it down your throat, or giving ready-made opinions, it garners awareness of immigrant dilemmas.

I believe it copies one of Matt Beaumont's interesting styles, which links different characters' stories, so that you can see them from different perspectives.

Very readable, though not fully new or creative.
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Hearts And Minds
Hearts And Minds by Amanda Craig (Paperback - 4 Feb 2010)
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