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21 Reviews
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect memoir.
This beautifully written childhood memoir is set between the two world wars and I really cannot praise it highly enough. It is such a lovely book about a much simpler time when children really got to be just children. This is not to say that it's all picnics on the beach and midnight feasts, it certainly isn't. The author writes with real personal integrity about her...
Published on 10 Mar. 2010 by J. Cook

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Memories of childhood
I found this a really good and interesting read, it conjured up the era remarkable well. Nevertheless I did have some reservations as to the authors ability to remember so much of her childhood in such details. It could, of course, be that some people do have very much better recall than others. I do not feel that this in any way detracts from a very readable and...
Published 18 months ago by Mary hamblin


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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect memoir., 10 Mar. 2010
By 
J. Cook "Anna" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Great Western Beach (Paperback)
This beautifully written childhood memoir is set between the two world wars and I really cannot praise it highly enough. It is such a lovely book about a much simpler time when children really got to be just children. This is not to say that it's all picnics on the beach and midnight feasts, it certainly isn't. The author writes with real personal integrity about her parents and life in Newquay and it is never sickly or cloying. I really savoured every word and eked it out just to make it last that little bit longer. My only complaint is that it ended.....and I am now longing to know what happened to everyone. Perfect read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Memories of childhood, 30 Sept. 2013
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I found this a really good and interesting read, it conjured up the era remarkable well. Nevertheless I did have some reservations as to the authors ability to remember so much of her childhood in such details. It could, of course, be that some people do have very much better recall than others. I do not feel that this in any way detracts from a very readable and entertaining book
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Could I read all of it if I had to?, 4 July 2012
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This review is from: The Great Western Beach (Paperback)
I tried to read this book, again and again, because everyone else seemed to like it. At the time 'Craftlover' had not yet published their one-star review. I wish they had, it would have saved me time and irritation. So I can't say much about the content, I did not get very far. Maybe I've read too many good books (can you read too many good books?) but the writing is so .... pedestrian is the only word suitable to describe Emma Smith's writing.
Are they her friends, who praise her to the skies? On the cover I see Rosamunde Pilcher, Diana Athill, Jane Gardam, Susan Hill - don't they know any better? I can't remember what made me write this book on my wish list, was it a review by one of them? I've gone to quite some trouble recently looking for the latest Athill, maybe I shan't bother.
Never mind that nothing much happens here, excellent books have been written about the mundane. It is the lack of flow I cannot forgive. To answer my initial question: yes I could read it all: if I was very poor, for money, and grumbling all the time.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A "nice" read, 17 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: The Great Western Beach (Paperback)
I bought this book because I live in Newquay where Emma Smith was brought up, and I was interested in reading about how life was between the wars in this sea side resort. I am unsure whether it would be particularly interesting for anyone not knowing the area and relating to the places she talks about or not.
It was a nice read - not gripping or "unput-a-downable".
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2.0 out of 5 stars Gentle story, 19 Nov. 2013
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Although this is a good representation of Newquay in the fifties - I too lived by the beach in Cornwall ay this time - I found the book rather slow and if I am honest, a tad boring.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book, 26 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: The Great Western Beach (Paperback)
I think it is the very detail and everyday anecdotes that make this book so charming and enjoyable. I find the writer's descriptions of her family and the people around them very perceptive and indeed many of her accounts, especially of her difficult and unkind father, achieve a grim humour. She captures the way of life for the family and indeed the whole community vividly and wittily. I felt I knew them and I was there - which is quite an achievement as it was all many decades ago. In this way, the author has beautifully preserved a slice of social history. I feel the book also offers emotional insight into a marriage where two people are trapped not only by the circumstances of their time, but by their own expectations and mind-sets which could still be relevant today. Definitely a book I will treasure and re-read!
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3.0 out of 5 stars A great power of recall though I am beginning to find ..., 13 Mar. 2015
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A great power of recall though I am beginning to find the genre of childhood reminiscence rather tedious, publishers should perhaps note!!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating ending, 11 May 2012
This review is from: The Great Western Beach (Paperback)
A couple of chapters into this book I was tempted to abandon it, but I'm glad I decided to go on with it. It takes a while to become hooked on the characters, not least because the author writes like one of those irritating people who start out telling you one anecdote and then wander off on a tangent when they're reminded of another story. A bit more structure would have improved the flow. Having said that, she does draw the various characters with great insight and warmth so you feel you are living with them in Newquay in the nineteen thirties. Which made it all the more frustrating to get the end and find it only contained information on the author's subsequent life - for heaven's sake, what happened to Pam, Jim and baby Harvey? How did the rest of her parents' lives pan out? Did she keep in touch with Lily and the rest of regulars in Newquay? A more perceptive editor would have added this postcript; perhaps if they read this, they will on the next edition.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cornish childhood, 11 Jan. 2010
This review is from: The Great Western Beach (Paperback)
Charming and (I think) accurate picture of pre war childhood, and the various taboos by those unsure of their social position. Very perceptively written and a delightful read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating, 18 Sept. 2013
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A GREAT MEMOIR OF A cORNISH CHILDHOOD, ( VERY RELEVANT TO ME) tHE EMERGING PICTURE OF THE TORMENTED AFTHER VERY WELL OBSERVED ALL THROUGH THE EYES OF THE CHILD.
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The Great Western Beach
The Great Western Beach by Emma Smith (Paperback - 1 Jun. 2009)
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