3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good one...
I have very much enjoyed all of Paul Torday's previous novels and this was another good one.
Torday's style of writing is very intersting and I always enjoy the characters he builds. This is another book based around upper class folk in situations fairly detatched from reality!
Unlike other reviewers, I enjoy Torday's exageration and interesting take on the...
Published on 13 Jan 2012 by Be Lucki
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Light, easy reading but insubstantial
Paul Today has a light easy-to-read writing style which is peppered through with light humourous touches.
Here the story of Ed Hartlepool, who appears in 'The Irresistable Inheritance of Wilberforce', is told following his return to England from his villa in the South of France as he realises his finances are in a parlous state and Hartlepool Hall, his family seat,...
Published on 19 Jan 2012 by John M
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eccentric and Quirky,
The Legacy of Hartlepool Hall introduces us to a eclectic bunch of characters, headed up by Ed Hartlepool and ably assisted by Annabel Gazebee and Lady Alice Birtley. Ed has just returned to his ancestral home after a five year spell of living in exile in France. During those five years Ed has left his correspondence unread and ignored telephone calls so returning to find that the Hartlepool Hall estate is £7 million in the red comes as something as a shock to him. Another shock is Lady Alice, recently taken up residence at Hartlepool Hall, but something of a mysterious character. Annabel is one of the country 'set', an old friend who would like to be more than friends with him, who lives with her elderly, miserly father in the same village.
Paul Torday's writing and style is unique to him, he creates unusual characters and entertaining if sometimes almost farcical plots, but does it with great ease and the readability factor in his novel is very high.
At first the characters appear one-dimensional; poor little rich kids who've never worked and led a life of shooting, fishing, servants and gentry, and can appear foolish and mildly irritating. As the story progresses and Ed realises that he is about to lose the Hall, and his lifestyle and Annabel's life gets darker and darker, the more serious subject of mental illness is touched upon. The story becomes tragic and darker and poignant towards the end. Beautifully written, this story and the characters will remain with me for some time.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Everything in this book is a downer,even the house.,
I am a fan of Paul Torday's books, and I was eager to read the Legacy of Hartlepool. It was a total disappointment.
Everything, from the characters (all unplausible or bearly sketched) to the House ( few interesting descriptions) to the story( the main charactere cannot be THAT naive, his friend cannot be THAT negligent, another cannot be THAT clueless ,a fourth THAT passive...) which never grips your attention and which you never believe. Even Humor is in short supply.
Paul Torday's, has pull a fast one with this book. A big disappointment.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Legacy of Hartlepool Hall,
Ed Hartlepool has been living an aimless life in the South of France for five years when his accountant writes to say that his exile has ended - there has been a settlement between the trustees of Hartlepool Estate and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. For Ed is the son of the 4th Marquess of Hartlepool and now he must return to his family estate in England to take up his responsibilities. Ed has been adept at avoiding anything but a life of leisure before now - however he can no longer avoid making decisions.
When he returns to England, Hartlepool Hall seems much as it always has. Horace, the elderly butler, is still in place, as is the housekeeper. There are fresh flowers provided in the near empty house and a full larder, in case of guests. In fact, Ed does have a guest - an elderly visitor named Lady Alice, who Ed does not know has installed herself in his absence. At first, Ed thinks his first concern is to rid himself of this unwanted visitor, but then finds he has more pressing problems; namely that he can no longer afford to live in his family home. Old friend Annabel Gazebee, still living with her elderly father, remembers Hartlepool Hall as the place she loved best when she was young, but her brash new boyfriend, Geoff, sees it as a property development.
All Ed wants is to live the life of his forefathers. Instead he finds himself under pressure from all sides to stop himself from becoming bankrupt and homeless. This is a very moving novel as Ed discovers who he really is and what his family and the family home actually mean to him. There is also a very tragic element to this novel, as well as some laugh out loud moments which are horrible and yet hilarious. All in all, a wonderful book from the fantastic Mr Torday. If you like this then try his recent novella, Breakfast at the Hotel Déjà vu: A Novella, which is every bit as good as his novels.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plenty of Style, but Little Substance,
There's no getting away from the fact that this is an elegantly written book. I've never read any Torday before and his prose is a delight; easy but not banal, gently evocative and succinct. As such this book is pleasurable to digest- rather like a like a toasted marshmallow- and I am sure once anybody starts reading this book, they will effortlessly make it to the end.
But here's the rub: at the end of it, I felt strangely empty. Although it had hardly been an un-enjoyable experience, I still couldn't shake off a nagging feeling of, well okay so that was it, but... so what? In fact to be honest, I began to realise early in the book the only real kick I was getting out of it was its location [and trying to work out exactly where Hartlepool Hall was]; I was born and bred in Darlington and lived in Shildon for a while, and so was amused to find in this book, it had an Earl!
Ed [Simmonds] Hartlepool is the last in a line of a North-Eastern aristocratic family, whose earlier generations had made a fortune from the industrial revolution. In fact they'd made so much from coal, iron and steel, that the next few generations effectively didn't have to let a single thought of a day's work trouble their pampered brows.
Times have however changed and Ed, exiled in France for five years for tax reasons after his father's death, returns to find the estate effectively bankrupt. His father had basically spent all the money over the years, and Ed- although continually warned during his time in France by the estate manager of its perilous situation- had remained resolutely ignorant of it all by a lifelong commitment to never opening letters and, if he did, generally losing interest in their contents after the first few lines. Admirable as this louche attitude to correspondence may be, it had left him in a bit of a fix so far as his inheritance was concerned.
What follows on his return however is an encounter with a rather banal, stereotypical cast of characters. There's Annabel, a contemporaneous, batty thirty-something woman friend with the equally stereotypical, crazed retired Army colonel father she has to look after, and who has of course romantic designs on Ed which he has no inclination to return. Then there is the brusque estate manager who is in cahoots with the brash, `new money' property developer who is also Annabel's boyfriend and, who- in true post-Thatcher neoliberal fashion- turns over his business on a knife edge by juggling huge levels of debt and, as such, actually hasn't any real assets at all, and who sees the now bankrupt Hartlepool Hall as a veritable conversion cash cow full of potential executive apartments. Bringing up the rear there is also the predictable cast of support actors- the doddery, eighty-something butler, the honest-to-goodness cook, the salt-of-the-earth estate tenants- they fill the book so completely and with such predictable shape and actions that you soon feel as if you are firmly amongst old familiar literary friends.
It has to be said that it is to Torday's credit that these characters are well written enough for you not to throw the book away in boredom at the predictability of it all, but it does add inexorably to the overall feeling that it is a story that we've all read [and seen on the screen] many times before.
Anyway the `wildcard' in the cast is Alice; an enigmatic older woman who Ed, on his return from France, finds shacked up in the Hall. As he gets to know her better, she does add an interesting dimension to the tale that if again not exactly original in its nature, remains central to it all and provides some much needed substance to the proceedings.
Strangely enough though to my mind it is Ed, the dreamy old fashioned aristocrat now well and truly out of time and place at the beginning of the 21st century, who is the most likable and interesting personality of the lot, and I for one would have liked to find out more about his inner workings. But this is not a book to go into such depths of character study; that's not a direct criticism, because not all successful books have to have a searching, literary depth of enquiry, it's just that Torday airbrushes over some interesting ideas just a bit too much, a bit too often. Which leads one to ask too many times, what is the novel trying to be? Is it trying to be easy-read, `disposable' contemporary fiction, or a more middle brow attempt to say something about the socio-economic state of the nation in 2012? If it is trying to be the latter- and at various points in the book the clear indications are that it is- then it doesn't do so with any real depth or flair. And so as such, it falls between too many stools, and instead of ticking too many boxes, ends up ticking none.
Which is all a bit of a shame really, considering how fine a writer Torday is- technically at least. The book though just failed to give an extra-dimension to the story it was telling and the ending- wrapped up in who Alice really is- can be seen a mile off.
I really, honestly wanted to get more out of this novel than at the end of the day it was, to be honest, capable of giving. In fact it is only in the last page and a half that an indication of how good this book could really have been is offered to us; a truly affecting sequence of passages that sounds like Torday actually writing from his heart, rather than satisfying the criteria of a wordcraft module in a writer's course. It merely in the end though, shows how lacklustre the vast bulk of the preceding work really is.
So, sadly, I put the book down after finishing it feeling neither intellectually stimulated, nor alternatively excited by a good old fashioned pulpy romp. In fact, I felt very little at all; it had all just seemed so hollow and well...pointless. What a shame.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars INNOVATIVE AND STYLISH READ,
I enjoyed this immensely. The first reason being it is written in such good english it is an absolute joy
to read in fact l devoured it. Whilst the plot l admit is a little weak in places it still rips along. Just
when l was beginning to think my imagination was being stretched a little with the storyline it suddenly
makes sense of sorts. Lady Alice is a strange one indeed again the more you read the more the plot explains
itself. It made me laugh out loud in places and more importantly gave me food for thought - l thoroughly enjoyed
it -Paul Torday is an absolute genius - l'm off the order Salmon Fishing in the Yemen now..
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny,
This review is from: The Legacy of Hartlepool Hall (Paperback)
..but the characters were a bit 2D, and I found it hard to believe in them. However, this was a nice light read when I needed one.
5.0 out of 5 stars Good,
I much enjoy Paul's style of writing and it flows so gently and is filled with daily observations of peoples' quirks and events.
5.0 out of 5 stars Strangely moving and heartwarming,
As ever in Paul's books you can empathise with the main characters straight away and get sucked into their lives and problems. I think this is probably my favourite of all his books and I am devastated to realise that there won't be any more - after hearing of his recent death.
5.0 out of 5 stars Legacy of Hartlepool Hall Review,
Interweaving zany plot and great characterisation this novel didn't disappoint. Another gripper from Paul Torday! Going to buy the next one on my Kindle.
4.0 out of 5 stars Legacies are not what you think,
As usual, Paul Torday twists his reader around his finger as the timeline moves forward.
I've said enough, now read it yourself!
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The Legacy of Hartlepool Hall by Paul Torday (Paperback - 19 July 2012)