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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
This is the first novel I have read by Mary Lawson, which I was kindly lent to read in a review copy. The story takes place in the late 1960s although as certain characters look back on growing up it does span the earlier years of the Twentieth Century. The story itself isn’t told in a conventional way; instead it is told through three characters. Edward, who is...
Published 8 months ago by M. Dowden

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A volume too far....
Mary Lawson seems to have lost her magic touch in this her third novel set in Struan, Northern Ontario. Family life is once again played out against the bleak landscape of this remote region, where the characters struggle with disappointments, suppressed longings and wasted lives. I wanted so much to love this book as I loved her previous novels, the wonderful Crow Lake...
Published 8 months ago by Amanda Jenkinson


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 1 Mar 2014
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Road Ends (Kindle Edition)
This is the first novel I have read by Mary Lawson, which I was kindly lent to read in a review copy. The story takes place in the late 1960s although as certain characters look back on growing up it does span the earlier years of the Twentieth Century. The story itself isn’t told in a conventional way; instead it is told through three characters. Edward, who is the father, is told in the first person, and Tom and Megan, brother and sister, are told in the third person.

Set mainly in the small town of Struan, in Northern Ontario this does also take in other places, noticeably Sixties London. At the heart of this story though is a family, a very dysfunctional one at that. The father goes to work and spends his evenings in his study, whilst the mother, who is always seemingly having a new baby, is wrapped up in that, and lets everything else go to seed. Megan is the only girl in the house being surrounded by her brothers, and along with the cleaner who comes in a couple of times a week, really runs the household.

When Megan leaves home to seek out a new life in London, obviously the family starts falling to pieces. Why this works is that through the eyes of the three main characters you can see why the family is the way it is. Tom is feeling depressed and isolated by the suicide of his friend, as well as what led up to it, whereas through Edward you can see why the family is set on such a chaotic course.

I found I did enjoy this to quite a large extent, but I did at times get a bit annoyed at Megan’s experiences in London as from a bumpy start everything just seemed too pat and smooth for her after that, to a large extent. The dynamics and psychology of the family was very interesting, and although quite deep was easy to understand. This may make an interesting read for a book group, as there is quite a bit here that could lead to a good conversation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A volume too far...., 26 Mar 2014
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Amanda Jenkinson "MandyJ" (Cheltenham) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Road Ends (Kindle Edition)
Mary Lawson seems to have lost her magic touch in this her third novel set in Struan, Northern Ontario. Family life is once again played out against the bleak landscape of this remote region, where the characters struggle with disappointments, suppressed longings and wasted lives. I wanted so much to love this book as I loved her previous novels, the wonderful Crow Lake and The Other Side of the Bridge and was looking forward to meeting up again with some of the characters that so memorably populated them. But somehow it doesn’t quite come off this time around. The gloom and despondency, the dysfunctional family life, is so unalleviated by the tenderness and charm of the earlier stories that the writing descends into caricature at times. The switch from small-town isolation to 1960s London dissipates the atmosphere of loneliness and isolation that is so important for the trajectory of the first two books, and Megan’s life in the city becomes little more than a romantic comedy.
I can’t help feeling that maybe Lawson’s heart wasn’t in this one as much as it was before, and it feels in some ways just a publishing initiative to milk her previous success. Disappointing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent page turner, 14 May 2014
This review is from: Road Ends (Hardcover)
I really loved reading Road Ends. I found the story an excellent page turner. I was gripped the whole way through. I enjoyed Road End so much that I want to buy Mary Lawson's other books that she has published. Road Ends is the first book that I have by Mary. I can honestly say that Mary Lawson has become one of my favourite authors. Megan lives with her twins brothers Peter and Corey, who are a handful she has another brother Adam and her oldest brother Tom. Their mother has had nine children of whom only eight has survived. All were boys apart from Megan. Their father Edward works in a bank. Now Megan has reached twenty-one she tells her mother she is now leaving home. Megan had already told her mum when her mother was pregnant with Adam, that she was leaving home but Emily Megan's mother does not remember Megan saying to her that she was going to leave home. Megan wonders if her mother at 45 years old is going senile. Megan's father Edward offers her the money for a flight ticket to England so Megan can go and stay with her friend in her flat in England. Megan has always helped around the house and with the boys, She has been like a mother in the house. Once Megan leaves there is no food in the house so Tom has to venture out in viciously cold snow blizzard to buy some food. A lot happens in Road Ends. There is anguish of family life, the push and pull of responsibility and individual desire, the way we can face tragedy and in time hope to start again. I hope that many readers who buy Road Ends will enjoy the story as much as I have. Review by ireadnovels.wordpress.com
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite the end of the road, 4 May 2014
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Denise4891 (Cheshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Road Ends (Kindle Edition)
Set between rural Ontario and 1960s London, this is the story of the dysfunctional Cartwright family told mainly through the voices of patriarch Edward, eldest child Tom and long-suffering daughter Megan. Megan has had enough of mothering not just her five younger brothers but also her parents – distant Edward, a bank manager who prefers to spend time at work and in the library than at home with his family, and fey, sickly Emily who seems to exist merely to produce baby after baby and prefers not to have to deal with her older children.

On the rather vague invitation of a friend whose family have moved to England, Megan sets off for London and finds it, if not exactly swinging, then certainly brash, lively and loud compared to her home town. As she builds a new life for herself, elder brother Tom is confronted with the reality of his broken-down family when he returns home from University, nursing his grief over the tragic death of a close friend.

It’s a very thoughtful, beautifully written novel full of acute and poignant observations on family life. One character in particular who will tug on your heartstrings is 4 year old Adam, a victim of shocking neglect at the hands of his distant parents. None of the characters are perfect (even saintly Megan) and their flaws and vulnerabilities are portrayed in a real and sympathetic manner. I’ve read and enjoyed Mary Lawson’s other novels, Crow Lake and The Other Side of the Bridge, which are both set in the same remote Canadian town. Although some of the characters and settings overlap slightly, they’re not part of a series and can be read independently.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome new book, 31 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Road Ends (Kindle Edition)
I was so excited to discover that Mary Lawson had written another book as I loved her previous two.
I was not disappointed. She deals with almost unbelievably complex relationships so skilfully that the reader becomes completely involved with the characters. Another heart breaking tale beautifully written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 8 Mar 2014
This review is from: Road Ends (Hardcover)
I was happy to hear of a new book by Mary Lawson and enjoyed it very much.I love how she writes/tells the story and it's interesting to note that the characters are not all written from the same POV.There is character depth and drama in equal measure and it does once again bring insight to life in Northern Canada.
I'd recommend all three of her books and hope there will be more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I was so delighted to find that Mary Lawson had written a third ..., 2 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Road Ends (Kindle Edition)
I was so delighted to find that Mary Lawson had written a third novel with the same setting that I could not wait to read it and was not disappointed. I found the characters and their situation fascinating and gripping - and the story is really moving. I enjoy the small town Canadian atmosphere that feels so real - it reminds me of Annie Proulx's Shipping News and even of the recent television remake of Fargo - the claustrophobia and preoccupation with extreme weather conditions. Megan's time in London does not seem too good to be true, as has been suggested. In fact it has a tragic quality with her hopeless love. And of course, I am a sucker for a positive, upbeat ending.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Less powerful, 11 Mar 2014
This review is from: Road Ends (Hardcover)
It pains me to say so but this novel is not nearly as good as the previous two. The Canadian wilderness gets very little mention as most of the action is town or city based and it seems the the author writes less convincingly about urban life. There is quite a lot of 'product placement' to help set the scene in London but the episodes there about Megan read very much like romantic fiction. The life of the family in Struan is distressing but it is hard to feel any sympathy for the non coping parents as the factors behind their plight are revealed too late and they are not likeable enough to carry the tale.Tom is the most convincing character and his trauma and position were the best plot features.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read, 2 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Road Ends (Kindle Edition)
I heard this book being reviewed on the radio by Graham Norton speaking to the author. It's sort of a sequel and to Crow Lake which is even better. All her books focus on family and tragedy sometimes exploring difficult relationships. I loved this book. I really hope Mary writes some more of this kind of stuff.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written!, 4 July 2014
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This review is from: Road Ends (Paperback)
The third beautifully written novel by Mary Lawson exploring relationships within a family in a rural North Ontario setting.
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Road Ends
Road Ends by Mary Lawson (Hardcover - 8 July 2014)
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