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8 Reviews
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Betsy Tobin is a real find - can't wait for her next book!
Really compulsive reading. This is not a 'historical novel' yet it powerfully evokes village life in the seventeenth century - you can even smell it and taste it. The narrative draws us slowly under the skin of the characters and into an original and fascinating plot. I couldn't put this book down and really recommend it.
Published on 19 July 2001

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
After having read 'The Bounce' which had its moments but proved ultimately unsatisfactory, I thought I would give the author another chance with this, her first book.

The story begins with rather a long narrative introducing place and people, which I felt could have been better done through action of some sort. It is told by a serving girl at the big house to...
Published on 4 April 2010 by Hel S


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Betsy Tobin is a real find - can't wait for her next book!, 19 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Bone House (Paperback)
Really compulsive reading. This is not a 'historical novel' yet it powerfully evokes village life in the seventeenth century - you can even smell it and taste it. The narrative draws us slowly under the skin of the characters and into an original and fascinating plot. I couldn't put this book down and really recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A seventeenth century English romance and mystery., 2 Sept. 2003
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bone House (Hardcover)
Set in rural England sometime around the seventeenth century, this tightly controlled first novel is told by a young woman who works as a maid in the Great House and returns often to visit her mother, who is a mid-wife in the village. When Dora, a huge woman from the village, with apparently equally huge appetites, is found dead, the village is not long in deciding that this may be murder, rather than the accident it appears to be.
Skillfully incorporating a vast amount of period detail when establishing the setting and atmosphere, Tobin also incorporates medical treatments, dreams thought to be inspired by the devil, and graphic accounts of childbirth, burials, and bewitchment. Itinerant elixir-salesmen, domestic workers in the Great House, local pub patrons, and magistrates provide color and supplement the main characters--the cruel master of the Great House and his sadly deformed son, the sickly and deluded mistress of the house, the narrator's stern and private mother, Dora's simple 11-year-old son with the body of a man and a hidden cache of gold, and Dora herself, who arrived in the village suddenly from afar and whose past is mysterious. The narrative is very smooth and conversational in tone, flowing quickly and apparently effortlessly. The story is uncomplicated, with a grand finale of an ending. Lovers of romances will find it especially appealing. Mary Whipple
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elegant Debut, 6 Dec. 2002
By 
taking a rest - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bone House (Paperback)
Ms. Betsy Tobin has delivered a subtle, elegant, and sometimes startling view of 17th Century Elizabethan England. From the portrait by Godfried Schalken (1643-1706) that ornaments the book's jacket, the writer has crafted her tale with authenticity and historical detail that raises the book above just another historically set novel. Ms. Tobin does not give her readers headlines from History to quickly establish for all; the time period she sets her story in. Rather she brings the small details of daily life and language that establishes her as a writer who is meticulous with her research, and who respects her readers. She demonstrates that fiction need not be bereft of educational detail.

It would be interesting to know the story behind the painting on the cover. For any who enjoyed Ms. Tracy Chevalier's, "The Girl With The Pearl Earring", the woman on the cover gazing over her left shoulder with a tear shaped pearl earring will appear remarkably familiar. While not the same girl, or the same artist, the picture is appropriate once the story is engaged.

I want to qualify the use of the word startling. One of the primary characters is a mid-wife, who during the tale, delivers children and relates stories of other births. The birth of a child is many things, that anyone would find the descriptions in this book distasteful is absurd and infantile. To expect that a difficult delivery of a child in the 17th Century would be any more pleasant than today, is also an expression of ignorance. To be fair, if detailed descriptions of surgery bother you, there are passages in the book they may make you wince. There are not in any manner inappropriate, nor are they some slovenly device to shock, or appeal to the prurient.

The only reason for the lack of a fifth star is that I would imagine, that as a writer, this author will write even more engaging books. However, if she stopped at one, she has still made a worthy addition to good literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really amazing novel ... I couldn't put it down, 17 Oct. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Bone House (Hardcover)
Bone House is an amazing debut. It's so exciting to find a new writer who's novels you can cherish. This story brings to life the sixteenth century in England like few other books I've read. I really felt like I caught a glimmer of what life was like then. And I also was caught up in the thrill of the mystery and the playing out of the sophisticated romance in the book. All in all its a great read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended author., 3 April 2011
By 
Anne Latham (York U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bone House (Paperback)
I absolutley adore Betsy Tobin's work, the reader is hooked from the beginning.
As this book has been well reviewed by other readers, I will not reiterate what has been said before.
I've read four of her books, and have not been disappointed, you wont be either. May she go onto write many more.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring, 4 April 2010
This review is from: Bone House (Paperback)
After having read 'The Bounce' which had its moments but proved ultimately unsatisfactory, I thought I would give the author another chance with this, her first book.

The story begins with rather a long narrative introducing place and people, which I felt could have been better done through action of some sort. It is told by a serving girl at the big house to whom the lady takes a shine and so is elevated to working personally for the lady instead of as a kitchen maid. I smelt a stereotype at this point and there proved to be many more - young girl raped by the son of the master who had his bastard child, master's son crippled and hated by father, prostitute who provided succour to the men of the village and to whom the women brought gifts, innocent woman accused of witchcraft, alcoholic bully of a father.

I found it all a bit boring after a short while and skimmed much of the book. Not one for me, I'm afraid.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 14 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Bone House (Kindle Edition)
Interesting read
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Who edited this?, 18 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bone House (Hardcover)
In chapter one, protagonist is 5 years old and another child is still unborn.
In following chapter, the protagonist has been working as a servant for five years and says she started at the age of fourteen, so she must be nineteen.
However, the baby born in chapter one when protagonist was five years old should now be fourteen (nineteen years of protagonist now minus five years of protagonist in chapter one), but is only eleven!

A few other unconvincing details, for example: protagonist walks home late afternoon in winter and the sky is black (how does she see in 1603, no electric street lights?). And why are children playing in what must have been total darkness, except it can't be dark because: snow is falling heavily, flakes get caught in her eyelashes: a snow covered sky is not black, but white...
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Bone House
Bone House by Betsy Tobin (Hardcover - 5 Oct. 2000)
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