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4.7 out of 5 stars
Precious Time
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 6 November 2001
This is an excellent read. I was unsure when reading the first chapter as I couldn't see how I could care much about the characters but they gradually grow on you! By the end of the book you feel like they are old friends and can almost envisage what happens next! It is carefully written with the authors usual wry sense of humour and descriptions that take you right into the heart of the story. There are poignant moments and I felt especially that the character of Gabriel was very well portrayed. The sympathy for him does not happen automatically but gaining insights into his past allows both Clara and the reader understand and warm to him more. There are the usual variety of characters and, as in all the other Erica James novels, you are drawn into their world and cares. I couldn't put this book down and spent a very enjoyable few hours in the company of the cast and the descriptions of the Peak District. Highly recommended to all fans of Erica James and if you've never read one of her books before then start with this one!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 21 March 2003
This is definitely one of my favourite Erica James's books. The story entices the reader into Clara and Ned's world from page one, and they feel like good friends setting out on their exciting adventure. The characters introduced in the Peak District include Gabriel Liberty and Bessie of an older generation, Archie, then younger adults like Caspar, Damson and Jonah. All the characters feel like real people who have a history which interests the reader...and also Clara. It is not often you read a book which interacts all the generations and they each add to the events. The character of Bessie, who has suffered a stroke, is particularly sensitive, and shows respect and understanding. Her relationship with her son Archie is thoughtful and sympathetic, but you can also feel his frustrations in the changes in his mum.
The descriptions of Mermaid House really draw you in to this part of the world, and as the house comes alive from clutter, I couldn't stop reading.
It is a story of compassion, learning from your actions, and for me, really shows motherhood at its best. It is a delight to read about a child who has a fully rounded character, and adds to the story. This is a lovely book. Do read it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 19 January 2002
This is definitley the best Erica James book, I've read so far! From the first word I was hooked, the characters are so real and you just want to know what is going to happen next! This book is definitley worth reading!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 22 June 2002
I have to say I absolutely adored this book - I couldn't put it down...It made me laugh and more than once made me cry. An utterly touching and heart-felt story of friendship, compassion & following your heart.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 4 May 2003
I enjoyed Erica James's earlier books, and was then rather disappointed in 'The Holiday'. So I nearly didn't bother with 'Precious Time'. How glad I am that I did read it after all! This is a *wonderful* book. A delightful mixture of characters: from the four-year-old inquisitive Ned, through to the crusty Mr Liberty, who is almost eighty, Erica James creates realistic and likeable people. Plots and sub-plots intertwine to make a sometimes moving, always enjoyable novel which - after the first few chapters - was almost impossible to put down.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 18 April 2005
Wow! That's all I could really say about this book. The contankerous Mr Liberty, though really horrible at first, is am absolute darling and little Ned is just so charming. It's the best book that has witty humour and a lovely motherly plot to it. Simply a MUST READ.
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How is it that Erica James always manages to get streight to my heart with her stories?

There is a sort of quiet introduction, like the silence after heavy rain when the sky is clearing up and suddenly as the sun explodes, we are in the middle of Erica's latest story where it seems as if absolutely everything can happen.

As it does to Clara and her son Ned when they are setting out on a five month adventure in their camper Winnie. Going where their fancy takes them, after one week they get to the small town of Deaconsbridge in the Peak District. And here unfolds this wonderful story in all its glory. Old grumpy Mr. Liberty at Mermaid House, his son Jonah, Shirley at the Mermaid Cafe, Archie at Second Best and his mother Bessie - all of Clara and Ned's new friends in this lovely story. Hertwarming and funny. Sadness and joy hand in hand as always when life happens.

Praise for Erica James and this wonderful read. Luckily there are more of her brilliant stories awaiting me.

Hugely recommended!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 October 2006
An outstanding read !! I am a crime / detective fan but chose to read this, my first, Erica James book. I absolutely adored it and couldn't put it down... I really felt part of the characters (as though I knew them!!) and I now want to buy a camper-van and travel the UK !! It made me laugh so much. I am now ordering all the rest of her books ..
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on 19 August 2013
I very much enjoyed reading this book. It really resonated with me and sadly it only took me 3 days to race through its 485 pages as I couldn't get enough of it.

The freedom of leaving a life of high pressure and spontaneously roaming the country has appealed to me ever since I read The History of Mr Poly at school, some 50 years ago, which had a profound effect on me.

Whilst the main character Clara initially intends to take a temporary break from her life, like Mr Poly, she learns about what truly matters and follows her passions to a far better place.

Wouldn't we all love to have the courage to do the same?
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on 21 July 2014
I really enjoyed this story, and although I'm a motor-homer so the campervan part appealed, I liked how the author explained the camping routines so well.
It was a shame, then, that towards the end that the author slipped up with the inaccuracy regarding the birth certificate, like Dorothy Koomson did in her best-seller. Author's are always told to check the facts, so I'm surprised that with both authors having 'big' publishers behind them, that this wasn't picked up on.
Overall, though, a great story.
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