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3.6 out of 5 stars19
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 3 October 2006
This is a story of three sisters, the youngest strange sad little Maisie, the unusually named Finn, and beautiful, selfish Julia. I found the opening section, told from Maisie's viewpoint, confusing for the first few chapters as I was unsure who the characters were. Indeed, at this stage I thought the book would disappoint. The writing seemed to lack the compelling mystery of `Rebecca's Tale' (a book I long resisted, convinced that nothing could live up to the original, but it was every bit as mysterious as Daphne du Maurier's story and, I thought, beautifully written). But as the story developed I became quite fond of Maisie and her voices from the past. Then suddenly the viewpoint changed. I found this disconcerting until I got used to a different voice. It was not long though before I became intrigued, moved, and hooked.

Overall, it was an absorbing tale, improving as it progressed, building momentum towards the final dénouement. I wouldn't rate it the best book this year, but certainly worth a read.
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on 29 May 2006
Sally Beauman's new novel, her first since the clever and intriguing 'Rebecca's Tale' is a magnificent novel that works on so many different levels.

Some might be put off by the title in thinking that this is a slight book or in some ways wishy washy.... Don't be!

This book captivates the reader within a haunting story about the lives of three sisters in 1960's Suffolk. The story moves to 1991 and we see the consequences of the events that have taken place. As the story unravels you find yourself reading a book that transends genre.

Sally Beauman has an intellegent and clever writting style that grips the reader in the mystery reminding me of early Robert Goddard and a narrative as rich and as personal as John Le Carre.

This may well be the best novel I read this year.
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on 26 December 2007
Witty, literate, sophisticated, compelling, haunting, and multi-layered - so evocative you could muse for hours upon the significance of characters' names alone. Rigorously unsentimental yet intensely nostalgic -- in places it's an elegy to a lost world as heartbreaking as Verlyn Klinkenborg's Timothy: Notes of an Abject Reptile. The first section gave me the sense of having slipped back between the pages of I Capture the Castle and Cold Comfort Farm. In the next section, Beauman creates one of the most compelling males I've ever met in fiction....such a voice. Difficult to put down -- I sped through it, and now I shall have to go back and read it again, much more carefully, because it really is a plum pudding of a book, stuffed with subtle gems, most of which I'm sure I missed on the first go-round. How many books demand such careful, thoughtful attention -- while perversely driving you to rocket through them so fast you risk a speeding ticket? I can't think of many....
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on 20 November 2012
The Landscape Of Love

I loved this book from start to finish. 2 years after reading it I still remember is clearly, it is beautifully written, interesting in its differing viewpoints and shockingly sad. Despite having studied the book over and over again, I was and am still left with the same burning question - which perhaps only the author will be able to reveal - why did Maisie do it?
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on 17 August 2013
I've just read this book for the second time and enjoyed it just as much. It was the first book by Sally Beauman that I read, some years ago, and it prompted me to read her others. Having given away my original copy I felt sufficiently keen about reading it again to buy another copy (although this is getting quite tricky as its clearly out of print (and no e-book) in the UK.) The story is intricately woven and the characters well portrayed. It's the kind of book which leaves you thinking about it long after you've finished reading.
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on 3 September 2012
Another fantasic read from Sally Beauman. My first was Rebecca's Tale and from then on I have been hooked. I don't like to give details of a story in a review, its your adventure now enjoy it with each turn of the page. All I will say is, that it's a beautifully written mystery. Believable and emotional.
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One of the best books I've read this year, 'Landscape' has everything the modern novel could possess. A marvellously intricate plotline, some gorgeous writing, realistic and, in some cases, haunting characterisation. It is replete. It tells the story of the three Mortland sisters, whose father died just after the war. The initial chapters and much the most revealing and moving writing, come from the point of view of Maisie, the youngest child, now around eleven. They live with their grandfather and mother, Stella, in an old Abbey, a large, unwieldy home with a number of secrets. Other important characters are Lucas, a painter, who lives in an outbuilding and paints the three sisters obsessively, and Dan, a child from the village with a Romany background, who grows up with the sisters. Also in the nearby village lives Nick, a doctor's son, who will later become a doctor himself. Maisie is a special child - she sees the nuns who used to live in the Abbey, she talks to them. She also makes huge obsessive lists - Gods and myths, the names of plants and flowers, the names of birds, etc., and she seems able to remember everything she writes down.

Maisie is much the most fascinating of the children, but they do not stay children very long. Her two elder sisters, Julia and Finn are both beautiful in different ways. Dan goes on to work in advertising and dreams of making it as a movie director. Lucas's paintings become iconic after a major exhibition. The book uses letters and diaries in short bursts, to cover some of the eventful experiences, but then the narrative switches to Dan. It is nervelessly done after tragedy strikes. The only point at which I felt it was less than stunningly well-written, was during some of the messy relationships connected to Nick, which adhere in a single thick clot to the otherwise gorgeous stream of confident, penetrative and beautiful prose. This is such a brilliant book, it's a book I lived in for two days, and one I didn't want to end.
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on 12 September 2006
If you've enjoyed other Sally Beauman books you should like this one; the characters are sufficiently well-developed to tell the tale, without being so detailed that they spoil the twists and turns in the plot. It's an interesting story, and well written. A really enjoyable read.
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on 14 November 2009
The Landscape of Love

This book contains throughout a sad, haunting air of mystery (as do many of Beauman's books). The descriptions of the beauty of the Suffolk landscape in the 1960's and the spoilage thereof since is truly great and leaves one with a great feeling of sadness for what is gone and cannot be retrieved. How one perceives the past and how it is seen by others is sharply portrayed.

This, of course, is really the main theme of the book and it IS a riveting read, but nevertheless I have only given it four stars as I do not believe that it is as good as for example, Dark Angel and Destiny, both of which are superb.

However, I recommend this book as an excellent novel and one well worth reading.
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on 27 November 2014
Nothing like as good as expected having read some of her others. I didn't warm to the characters, found the story dragged and there was no real conclusion. Some cheap sentiment in the sheer hopelessness of Dan's life did get to me but overall I had to struggle to get to the end and then wondered what had actually happened. Needs a much stronger editor.
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