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8 Reviews
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sue Gee equals her achievement of"The Hours of the Night"
In this generous, leisurely novel, Sue Gee shows her ability to create character and place - London after the First World War, the hop-fields of Kent. As with "The Hours of the Night", she deals with loss - for Walter, who has lost his brother in the First World War; for his friend Euan, who is grieving for his comrades killed at Passchendaele... Sue Gee...
Published on 6 Aug 2000 by idlewriter

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A novel full of sadness and loss.
This story spans the era between the 1st and 2nd world wars.
We join the characters reeling from losses sustained during WWI, trying to pull their lives together and start again.
This is followed by an interesting period set amongst students of art at a London college.
The main characters then move down to rural Kent, an idylic existence marred by the...
Published on 8 July 2005 by DubaiReader


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sue Gee equals her achievement of"The Hours of the Night", 6 Aug 2000
This review is from: Earth and Heaven (Hardcover)
In this generous, leisurely novel, Sue Gee shows her ability to create character and place - London after the First World War, the hop-fields of Kent. As with "The Hours of the Night", she deals with loss - for Walter, who has lost his brother in the First World War; for his friend Euan, who is grieving for his comrades killed at Passchendaele... Sue Gee excels at the tensions of relationships, and at evoking the textures and pleasures of daily life. Also, this carefully-researched novel gives insights into various art movements of the period between the wars and up to the rise of Nazism - showing how some artists responded to the conflicts while others ignored them. A long and absorbing read, confirming Sue Gee's status as one of the best novelists writing today.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice read if a little 'affected', 4 Sep 2000
By 
This review is from: Earth and Heaven (Hardcover)
Very enjoyable book, but I found the language at times a bit 'cute' eg Euan asks the young 4 year old 'What are you making?' the boy replies'A mess' and there was a lot of 'Of course' - it sounded like one voice coming out of the same head and the children don't sound like children at all. However for all that it was very absorbing and illuminating about art and WW1 - though the eventual relationship between Euan and Meredith lay a bit uncomfortably - what sort of love was it between an old man and very young girl? Hmmmm....well worth the read
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and Deeply Affecting., 12 Dec 2011
By 
Susie B - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Earth and Heaven (Paperback)
Sue Gee's 'Earth and Heaven' is a marvellous and deeply affecting novel spanning the years from the First World War to the end of the Second. Our main protagonist is Walter Cox, whom we meet when he is a very young man, just too young to be sent to the Front, living with his parents and sisters among the hop fields and cornfields of Kent. Walter's father is a farm worker and his older brother, John William, is in the trenches. In 1916, when news arrives that John William has been killed in action, Walter is devastated and feels as if he has lost half of his body - and this is a feeling that sadly never entirely leaves him.

Throughout his childhood and teenage years, Walter has enjoyed drawing as a hobby, but like many young men of his background, it is expected that he will follow his father and work on the land. However, when his headmaster suggests that Walter has a real talent and he should study art seriously, Walter jumps at the chance to become a 'real' artist. After studying at a nearby art college, Walter is accepted by the Slade, whose past pupils include: Augustus John, William Orpen, Dora Carrington, Paul Nash and Stanley Spencer. Walter is taught by the renowned Henry Tonks and Philip Wilson Steer and he makes a good impression on his teachers, but his studies are waylaid by his infatuation with the attractive, but feckless Nina. After his relationship with Nina flounders, William renews his acquaintance with another student, Sarah Lewis, a wood engraver, and they fall in love, marry and leave London to live in rural Kent where Walter grew up. This novel is the story of their life together, of their family, their art, their happy times, and of their deep sorrow and despair when tragedy enters their lives and alters it forever.

This is a thoughtful, delicate and unhurried story following the slow turn of the seasons, yet one that is also totally absorbing and compelling. Sue Gee's prose is lyrical and beguiling; her descriptions of the landscape are truly evocative and are carefully painted for the reader with a delicate touch. If you are interested in art and nature, there is much to entertain here; but this book is not just about art and of its power to rejuvenate and renew us, it is about life with all its attendant joys and sorrows. This is a wonderfully affecting novel and not one to be hurried; you must travel along with it at its own pace, and in doing so you will derive much from the journey. Highly recommended.

5 Stars.

Also recommended by the same author: The Hours of the Night.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Exquisite, Painterly Novel, 8 July 2011
By 
Kate Hopkins (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Earth and Heaven (Paperback)
A wonderful account of the British art world between World Wars I and II, seen through the eyes of three talented but (for a long time) little-known artists. Walter Cox is a labourer's son, who discovers his talent for painting as an adolescent and manages to get a scholarship to the Slade to study with the great Henry Tonks and Philip Wilson Steer (these are real people, though Gee's artists Walter, Sarah and Euan are fictional). After a misadventure in love, Walter finds happiness with Sarah Lewis, a wood engraver, and they settle together in Walter's native Kent. When Walter's best friend, the sculptor Euan Harrison comes to live near them, Walter and Sarah (now with a daughter, Meredith) feel truly blessed. However, some years later, Walter and Sarah's second child, a boy, is killed in an accident. The final third of the book shows how the family come to terms with this loss, both in their art and their lives.

This is a wonderful treat of a book, full of amazing painterly descriptions of landscape, and people, and vivid characters. Unlike one of the other reviewers, I enjoyed the developing relationship between Euan and Meredith, finding it very moving - and it was brave of Gee to avoid a traditional 'boy meets girl' romance here. The descriptions of Sarah and Walter's art, and how they are saved from their tragedy by their work, were also superb. The historical research was excellent, with only a couple of tiny slips (Dora Carrington was Mark Gertler's lover but never his wife) and Gee brought both London and Kent in the 1920s and 30s very brilliantly to life. I was glad of the happy (though by no means sentimental) ending, set after World War II, as well. An excellent book and one that should be much better known, as indeed should this very fine writer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars ENTHRALLING..., 26 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Earth and Heaven (Paperback)
Sue Gee writes with the beguiling combination of richness of ideas and story told with great simplicity. This is an enthralling read and I was bereft when I finished it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 26 July 2012
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This review is from: Earth and Heaven (Paperback)
Earth and Heaven is a book to treasure and I am sure I will read it periodically through my life. It is a beautifully observed account of life, love, loss, and longing set in a time of change within two contrasting backdrops, London and the Kent countryside. The author has a real feel for both environments and, as always, her descriptions almost physically transport you to them. The 3 main characters are achingly human and recognisable I suspect to us all. The pace and structure are perfect taking us back to a more human pace of life and though very sad at times it gave me a much needed feeling of peace. The book also appealed to my interest in art and I sought out the paintings and artists referred to which were previously almost unknown to me, in my own books only so far I admit but trips to see some of them will follow. Take time to enjoy this story of people, I hope you do.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A novel full of sadness and loss., 8 July 2005
By 
DubaiReader "MaryAnne" (Rowlands Castle, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Earth and Heaven (Paperback)
This story spans the era between the 1st and 2nd world wars.
We join the characters reeling from losses sustained during WWI, trying to pull their lives together and start again.
This is followed by an interesting period set amongst students of art at a London college.
The main characters then move down to rural Kent, an idylic existence marred by the struggle to make ends meet and then by another tragic loss.
The remainder of the novel deals with the effects of this loss and the struggle of the characters to drag themselves back from the brink caused by the trauma.
The subject is dealt with compassionately and with feeling, but it is definately not a feel-good book.
The end I predicted half way through, soon after 'the lover' was introduced, and the language I found overly descriptive and flowery.
I regret I was not as enthusiastic about this book as other readers. However, if you enjoyed this book, I would recommend The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard : set after the end of WWII and written in similar descriptive style, and also Isobel Allende's Paula : A touching story of loss based on Ms Allende's real life in Chile, told to her dying daughter.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Earth & Heaven, 10 Jan 2010
By 
S. Grogan - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Earth and Heaven (Paperback)
Really enjoyed this and it arrived very
quickly. This author isn't easy to find so was delighted to get this book!
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Earth and Heaven
Earth and Heaven by Sue Gee (Paperback - 3 May 2001)
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