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8 Reviews
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not as addictive as summertime and hens dancing
i adore raffaella barkers books, but struggled to get into this one, my 2 favourites however, in the title of this review have been read over and over, this lacked the humour of the others, but still a lovely read.
Published on 1 Nov 2008 by Mrs. J. Wainwright

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing
When Poppyland was first published I was really excited. Rafaella Barker was one of my favourite authors. I loved Hens Dancing, Summertime and Green Grass, and thought Perfect Life was ok, but not her best. Poppyland, however, left me disappointed. I never really got into the book in the way I did with the others. One of the main reasons for this was that I didn't...
Published on 10 Jan 2009 by R. Cladingbowl


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing, 10 Jan 2009
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This review is from: Poppyland (Hardcover)
When Poppyland was first published I was really excited. Rafaella Barker was one of my favourite authors. I loved Hens Dancing, Summertime and Green Grass, and thought Perfect Life was ok, but not her best. Poppyland, however, left me disappointed. I never really got into the book in the way I did with the others. One of the main reasons for this was that I didn't ever really care about the characters. I felt I never really got to know them in a way that is necessary with main characters. Something was missing. The book was neither funny, moving nor particularly interesting. It was also fairly predictible. I have to admit that I read almost all the book but never quite got around to finishing the end. Poppyland just doesn't have the magic of Barker's previous books. There was also too much description of Norfolk's landscape: too many place names mentioned for no particular reason, it was, in some parts, more like a geography book. I also live in Norfolk, so know these places well, but I never felt the true atmosphere of the area came through in the descriptions. I wouldn't read it again.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not as addictive as summertime and hens dancing, 1 Nov 2008
By 
This review is from: Poppyland (Hardcover)
i adore raffaella barkers books, but struggled to get into this one, my 2 favourites however, in the title of this review have been read over and over, this lacked the humour of the others, but still a lovely read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars :), 1 Mar 2010
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This review is from: Poppyland (Paperback)
i picked this off the library shelf because of the cover and checked it out because of the blurb...but it payed off :) i'd never read any of her work before, so maybe that's why i was less disappointed than some other readers. one of my favourite books of the month - really don't think it deserves the bad reviews it's recieved. Yes, it's not a highly intellectual, educational read and it's predictable...but i like the almost poetical writing style in some parts, and the atmosphere conveyed.
it's set in London, Norfolk, Copenhagen and New York.
the story of two people who meet for the first time, for less than an hour, in a country neither of them live in but within those first few minutes of being together, they're changed forever.
the story of how coincidental, random meetings can become something amazing and the fear of commitment.
the only negative point i have really is that the ending is over far too quickly - there's such a buildup in the last few chapters, and then we never really get to the climax, or high point of the story. because it's a predictable plot line, i think we should have been allowed to enjoy the happy ending a little longer when it came.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Book Club choice, 3 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Poppyland (Paperback)
Not my type of book really and I did not consider it to be really well written. This also general view of other members of the book club
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2.0 out of 5 stars Sugar-Coated Romance, 8 Oct 2012
By 
Kate Hopkins (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Poppyland (Paperback)
I really enjoyed Rafaella Barker's acerbic autobiographical first novel and found it hard to believe that 'Poppyland' was by the same person - apart from anything else, the author appeared to be half-asleep while constructing this rather rambling tale.

'Poppyland' is a variant on the girl-meets-boy story. Grace, a painter, meets Ryder, a marine engineer, at a gallery in Copenhagen where Grace is having a one-woman show. Grace has just heard that her mother has died and is vulnerable, Ryder is kind and caring. They are strongly attracted to each other but somehow fail to exchange contact details, and lose touch. Five years on, Grace is living unhappily in New York with the wealthy and sociable Jerome, who she does not love (and subsequently dumps) and Ryder has just split up with the latest in a stream of short-term girlfriends. Barker explains (at length) that the reason that Grace and Ryder's lives have turned out this way is that they have Unhappy Pasts: Grace's father and mother split up when she was twelve, causing Grace's Mum to become progressively more neurotic, and Ryder's sister Bonnie (the only other lively person in his family, a real contrast to his rather colourless parents) died in a car crash when he was eighteen. We begin to wonder whether Grace and Ryder will ever recover from their traumas, when suddenly, via a chain of coincidences, and people including Grace's sister, Bonnie's former boyfriend and a couple of ultra-cute children, they meet again in Norfolk. Will true love flourish? Frankly by this stage I couldn't care much. Neither Grace nor Ryder are interesting characters: we learn little about Grace's work as a painter after the first (rather enjoyable) section set in Denmark, and she spends most of the novel complaining about her unhappiness, while Ryder is the stereotypical 'tall, dark, handsome stranger'. I couldn't find much about either of them to like, or care about, though I obviously felt sorry for Ryder's trauma over Bonnie (though Bonnie never quite came to life either). I also found the ending of the book - was it a traditional romantic ending or not? - infuriating, and the two little girls nauseatingly pert and cute. I DID however enjoy some of the descriptions of Norfolk and Essex, and the scene in which Grace and Ryder walked round London. But these were descriptions in search of a plot!

On the whole, a very frustrating read. I know from her first book that Barker is very talented and can write well, but I don't think I'll be revisiting her books anytime soon!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars May not be others' taste but definitely mine, 27 July 2009
This review is from: Poppyland (Paperback)
I can see why other readers may bave found this unsatisfying, but for me this was a most enjoyable and rewarding read. I think others may be put off because this is partly a serious work, with lessons for many of us. For example, it deals with an issue I relate to a lot, being the fear of becoming involved, particularly when experience has taught you that love can bring a lot of pain and regret. In both cases there is loss of a family member rather than a lover, and both characters put up defences to avoid getting so hurt again. It is not a light "chic-lit" read, though it is a love story, and the possibility of a happy ending is signalled well in advance. (I do not recall people saying Anna Karenina was not rewarding just because you can see the ending coming!) For me it is life affirming and the descriptions of landscape and of family life fit in with that beautifully. It has a positive message, that unless you are prepared to take some risks, you can end up with much less than you need and deserve. So I recommend it for anyone who wants a little more than pure entertainment.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars funny and touching, 30 July 2010
By 
S. Kroon (the Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Poppyland (Hardcover)
Once again a lovely book by one of my favourite writers. It is a bit less lighthearted than Hens Dancing, but still a good read.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 20 Jun 2009
This review is from: Poppyland (Paperback)
Having previously read A Perfect Life I was expecting a classy light read. However this book turned out to be exceptionally dull with very little plot, an excuriatingly awful coincidence and uninteresting characters. It seems like it couldn't make its mind up as to whether it is a book about Ryder and his sister or a love story and so fails on both accounts. I ended up skimming through it just to get to the (predictable) end. The front cover says 'A modern day Brief Encounter, I'd say that's deeply misleading anyone about this book!
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Poppyland: A Love Story
Poppyland: A Love Story by Raffaella Barker (Paperback - 8 May 2014)
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