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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars12
4.3 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 25 February 2004
This is a compelling, thoughtful and warm novel that makes for an eminently satisfying read. The action is set around the extended Walsh family which is gathering together to celebrate the 75th birthday of its matriarch, Leonora, at the family home, Willow Court, home also to the beautiful paintings of Leonora's artist father, Ethan Walsh. But all families have secrets, and the Walshes are no exception--and in the course of the visit, many hidden things will come to light, and darkness lifted from many hearts.
The characters are so real and well-drawn that you feel you absolutely know them; the style is limpid, engaging, flowing, the plot tightly-structured yet subtly revealed. Though there is much unhappiness revealed, this is a very life-affirming, and love-affirming book, full of hope and forgiveness and a great compassion. It makes you glow inside. And the description of art, of the paintings themselves, and the feeling in them, is so vivid that you are sure you can see them there in front of your eyes. A delight of a read. Highly recommended.
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on 13 March 2003
Adele Geras is a well-established and respected author who writes to a consistently high standard. This first adult novel, an adroit and delightful book, confirms the quality of her writing. All the best books have an enigma at their heart and this book has not just one but two revelations for the reader to anticipate and puzzle over. Willow Court,the country house in which the main events occur, permeates the book and has a personality in its' own right rather as Manderley does in 'Rebecca'. Adele Geras skillfully entices the reader, encouraging one to swiftly devour the book after the opening chapter, by suggesting and developing growing tensions, irregularities and questions.
The carefully drawn characters take it turns to share centre stage and their perspectives are gradually shifted and changed as Geras moves the spotlight from one to another and constantly refocuses on their characters. This helps to heighten the tensions and the tight time scale of present day events is moved on by timely flashbacks.
This is a book for a wide audience - those who love family sagas will have the pleasure of adding a new author to their reading list; readers who eagerly await new books from Adele Geras; those who read her outstanding novel for young adults, "Troy" and primarily those who like an absorbing, well written novel.
This is a cracking read. Buy it!
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on 25 November 2008
I loved this book, I think it is my favourite of the year so far! I love books set in country houses with eccentric families and mysteries and long-kept secrets; this book has all of that.

Facing the Light centres round the Walsh family with Leonora as the matriarch; the extended family are coming together for the weekend to celebrate the milestone of her 75th Birthday. Leonora is the daughter of Ethan Walsh the celebrated artist whose work hangs throughout Willow Court. She has two daughters, Gwen and Rilla; their children then make up the extended family circle.

Leonora's childhood was blighted by the death of her mother as Rilla's life has been overshadowed by the death of her young son at Willow Court. Throughout the book secrets and mysteries are unravelled and characters perceptions of their family members are greatly challenged. Adele Geras has created a family of very different and eccentric characters who are all entirely believeable but not all necessarily likeable.

It is difficult to review this book without giving too much away but I can say that I really enjoyed reading it; there are many twists and turns along the way and there were times when I really did not want to put it down.
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on 4 April 2004
What a wonderful book this is! Great characters, believable dialogue and a weaving of storylines and times that gently ease us along to the conclusions the author draws. It is almost a mystery book, with clues and tempting glimpses into what happened in the past to affect the future. Buy this book and dedicate some time to just relaxing into another world. I am very impressed and will certainly be hoping for more adult works from this author. I loved it and you will too - I guarantee it!
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on 31 August 2006
What an excellent read! I thoroughly agree with all the previous reviewers about the merits of this book. If you love family sagas and enjoy finding out about hidden skeletons in closets, then this book will suit you. As a previous reviewer has already suggested, there is a secret at the heart of the book. I had an idea about halfway through about what this secret might be, but I was nonetheless sufficiently intrigued to carry on reading to the very end, to find out whether I was right (I was!).

Some parts of the story were really quite heart-rending and you do find yourself drawn into this story almost from the beginning.

The only fault I could find was that, as another reviewer said,not all the loose ends are satisfyingly tied up - the reader is left dangling over what happened to Efe's wife and child, but this is only a very minor criticism. I loved this book and would recommend it to others without reservation!!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 14 November 2011
A relaxing family saga, focussed around a weekend celebration in which the troubled Walsh family make peace after various secrets from the past are revealed. This is a book which in certain ways shields us from the harsher realities of life. Everyone is comfortably rich, people seem to survive traumas and come out still sane (I think Leonora would in a much worse state in reality, bearing in mind her troubled childhood and widowhood), women can eat huge amounts and still be attractive and sexy and, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde's Miss Prism 'the good end well and the bad are punished' (well, apart from the suicidal mother in the past, but even she gains some posthumous recognition). Nevertheless, the book is an enjoyable read: Geras creates some very interesting characters along with the more melodramatic ones (I particularly liked quiet Alex the photographer, and Beth, Rilla's stepdaughter), describes the house and grounds of Willow Court beautifully, provides enough mysteries to keep you turning the pages fast, and - and for me this was the best bit of all - writes beautifully about cats! Not a particularly deep and thoughtful book, but certainly good entertainment. Best read in a warm bubble-bath or immediately afterwards with a cup of camomile tea!
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on 13 July 2012
I discovered this book in a hotel room in Ireland a couple of years ago, and was not bold enough to steal it when I could not finish it in time, so I bought it as soon as I arrived home. Not to be confused with Adele Parks. This is NOT chick lit. This is a beautifully written, yet totally accessible story of a woman who is part of a large family, who gather at the large country pile for the matriarch's party, where tensions rise and love is lost and found. It really isn't as corny as it sounds. I hate to describe someone's writing as "warm." It puts in mind gentle short stories found in Woman's Weekly. I just found the story very compelling, as the protagonist, Rilla, finds out the truth behind her mother's perfect marriage, and the tragic accident that she has always blamed herself for. A must for all romantics who read Maeve Binchy or Rosamund Pilcher.
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on 24 June 2016
An intriguing family story centred on a gathering to celebrate the oldest member of the family's birthday. All sorts of cracks in relationships are exposed and ujnknown truths are exposed as layers are peeled away to show how each member really feels deep down. There is a fitting and exciting conclusion to this absorbing tale.
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on 2 July 2011
Our group really struggled to come up with a positive slant to our review of this tome: it is a book that is interesting to criticise.
We felt that it was the writer's primary function to sustain the audience's attention, but through lack of engagement, some members never continued beyond the second chapter.
The plot was felt to be formulaic and therefore somewhat predictable. This is certainly not the happiest of stories. Events and revelations take place over a weekend, during a family reunion. The secrets uncovered are not that dark and are more of a coincidence than shocking.
From the beginning it was `a long slog' and ultimately very unsatisfying. The dates heading each chapter are misleading, because the time frame changes mid-chapter regardless of its best intentions.
The people in the story are predictable, their personalities unexplored and, therefore, they remain of little interest. There are many token characters (the strange names are an unnecessary distraction) and they are probably, in the main, irrelevant.
The twist in the tale at the end is not enough to save this book. It was agreed that even if the amount of pages had been halved and had the intrigue of the heirloom paintings been prolonged to the end, ultimately it would still have been a disappointing read.
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on 24 June 2014
I enjoyed this gentle meander through a thoroughly eccentric family. The evolving of the characters was satisfying, like a good wine, taste it thoughtfully and slowly.
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