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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and thoughtful
I thought this was an excellent book - very readable, extremely atmospheric, insightful and memorable. The book begins with the discovery of a body and the circumstances of how it came to be there gradually emerge in an extremely well-told story. It is not a detective story of any kind, but is concerned with the lives of the narrator and two of her school friends and how...
Published on 24 Feb 2011 by Sid Nuncius

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In the cold light of day, it kind of let me down.
Writing this review is one of the hardest I think I have had to do. On the one hand, it is dark, funny and in some ways quite clever. On the other, it has left me underwhelmed. Having read Ashworth's debut novel, A KIND OF INTIMACY, I came to this book with high expectations. However, having now finished it, I have to say that I feel somewhat disappointed. As another...
Published on 14 Jun 2011 by Brida


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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I tried - but couldn't last the course., 21 July 2011
By 
Mr. D. J. Carr "David Carr" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cold Light (Hardcover)
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I'm sure that some readers will find this story of difficult children growing up in an unkind world gripping and maybe by the end uplifting. Unfortunately, I simply didn't like the girls in the story, and gave up after 50 pages of this 336 page book.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring!, 28 April 2012
By 
Nikki - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cold Light (Hardcover)
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A disappointing and depressing read for me, the plot was slow and boring and I didn't find the main characters likeable. I want a book that really draws me into the story and its characters but sadly Cold Light failed miserably! I don't think I will be looking to read other books by this author.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea but a good read, 23 April 2011
By 
PJ Rankine (Wallington, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cold Light (Hardcover)
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Although not a comfortable read this is however a beautifully written tale of how the choices and actions of your youth can ultimately decide on the life you have as an adult. Laura (Lola) is 14 years old and not one of the popular girls at her school when she falls in with the rebellious (and to her) glamourous Chloe who leads her into a teenage life style far removed from that of her home. You can tell that Laura was never going to have a great life; underchiever, mentally unwell father and domineering mother, but Chloe gets her involoved in drinking, smoking and general misbehaviour. When Chloe adds Emma to the mix then jealousy becomes a potent mover in poor Laura's life. Chloe has her own dark secrets however and ultimately they lead Laura into having secrets of her own that ultimately ruin what life she has and any potential she had unfulfilled. Jenn Ashworth has struck right to the heart of what it is to be a teenager from a less privileged background and the whole story has a ring of truth and authenticity to it. This is probably not aimed at the male market because we prefer a more comfortable read but I'm glad I read it all the same.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine follow up to a strong début, 29 April 2011
By 
S. B. Kelly (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cold Light (Hardcover)
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In A Kind of Intimacy, Ashworth's impressive début novel, the narrator, Annie, was a woman of about thirty with only a tenuous grip on reality. Here, the story is told by a very different young woman: hard-headed, no fantasist.

It's told in flashback as the narrator, Laura, looks back ten years to the death of a school friend, Chloe, when they were fourteen -- an apparent suicide. The truth about Chloe's death unfolds slowly in Laura's memories, as we learn about her oafish secret boyfriend, Carl; about Wilson, the Down's Syndrome boy who haunted the woods; about Emma, Laura's rival for the title of Chloe's best friend.

As in A Kind of Intimacy, the facts are doled out nugget by nugget throughout the novel, until we have the full story only in the final chapter.

Teenage Laura has more reason to be unsettled at home than most girls her age. A late - probably unwanted - child, she calls her parents Donald and Barbara. They are old-fashioned and Donald is lost in a world of his own. Laura is gauche and ordinary; Chloe is beautiful, charming and domineering.

The adult Laura lives an almost hermit-like existence in a filthy flat and cleans floors at the local shopping centre. She still sees Emma who lives on anti-depressants and disability benefits and will not speak to strangers.

So many lives ruined by Chloe's reckless selfishness. Chloe, the out-of-control bully who has already been expelled from two schools, will never be older than fourteen; Laura and Emma, ten years on, are also stuck in that adolescent mindset, unable to move on from that hectic winter in 1997.

Ashworth has a fine command of the English language: even speaking in the voice of an uneducated adolescent, she is fluent, often surprising. Her narratives, in their banal settings of suburban closes or grim northern council flats, are unsettling and unusual. I shall watch her career with interest
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A slow burner, 12 April 2011
By 
EssexReader (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cold Light (Hardcover)
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I can't say that I 'enjoyed' reading this book - the subject matter and setting was such that I found it rather bleak and depressing but nevertheless it was very well written. The story centres around three 14 year old schoolgirls, Chloe, her sometimes best friend Lola/Laura and another girl Emma. The story is narrated by Lola with flashbacks between past and present. I didn't find any of the three girls likeable and I did find it strange why a 14 year old Lola always referred to her parents by their Christian names instead of referring to them as Mum and Dad. It took me a while to realise that in fact she wasn't fostered or adopted but they were her real parents. There are lots of petty rivalries and jealousy between the three girls - with Lola and Emma vying for Chloe's attention. Chloe has a much older boyfriend, Carl, a rather unsavoury and sinister character. There are a few quirky characters - Lola's father Donald, despite his problems, was one of the nicer characters and Terry 'pink shirt'- the local TV reporter appeared to present his reporting based on his own views and prejudices. I found the book quite slow to start and I didn't really connect with it. It was only after I was more than halfway through that I found myself wanting to pick it up to find out more.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Blah, 17 Jun 2011
This review is from: Cold Light (Kindle Edition)
I am not sure what I made of this book, I understand that you have put yourself in mind frame of teenage girl to read this book, when every little thing that happens feels like the biggest decision of your life. But even still, I just found the book very bleak and found it hard to conjure up any images of the characters or places involved. I don't think I would read this book again as it did not make me feel anything really.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bleak but addictive, 16 April 2011
By 
T. SMEDLEY "terrysmedley" (Taunton UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cold Light (Hardcover)
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This is a fairly absorbing story, documenting the tragic tale three ordinary female teenage outcasts. Like other reviewers on here, I too found it took a while for me to get hooked into the story, particularly as there is a lot of scene-setting early on and this got a little tiresome at times, but I could subsequently see how this was necessary later on in the book.

The story is gradually built up in a series of flashbacks, characters introduced and revelations made as things progress. The girl's form teacher, parents and Chloe's older boyfriend, the sinister Carl, all help the story from just becoming a tale about the three girls. The contemporary part of the story takes place in the flat of Laura, one of the 14 year old girls, over 10 years on. She is joined by Emma, the other survivor, as a news story is breaking which opens up the past for them, one they have never truly escaped from.

The three lead characters are well written; Chloe the enigmatic yet slightly unhinged pivot of the group, our narrator Laura (or Lola as she was known at school) who is desperate to bathe in Chloe's flame and transcend her strange parents and claustrophobic home life and finally Emma, another needy and awkward girl drawn to Chloe and therefore rival to Lola. The relationship between the three is never an easy one, based on selfish needs, jealousies, the fear of being an outcast and only occasionally genuine affection.

This certainly isn't a feel-good book, dealing with that desperate teenage desire to be older than your years and highlights some of the troubles chasing this desire may bring. The girls get caught up in a very scary world and don't all realise the full implications of what they are dealing with, people get hurt along the way and lives are changed forever. They are naive and this is preyed upon, making this very disturbing in places.
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7 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not funny, clever idea, but I couldn't read it, 17 May 2011
By 
Meerkat (Dereham, Norfolk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cold Light (Hardcover)
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It may not be a popular thing to say, but I didn't find this to be darkly comic or genius writing - I found it pedestrian, boring, over-long and didn't live up to the excitement of the tag-lines or the description on the back.
Maybe because I'm not a teenager and I don't live in a North English town - whatever the reason, I didn't get on with this book and eventually skipped through it to the (unsatisfactory) ending.
Sorry if that's not what you want to read, but that's my opinion.
Since I wrote this review - my other half has read the book and described it as 'boring', 'slow', 'like watching paint dry'. He also couldn't detect any of the humour it was claimed to have either ...
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4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In a flash, there's a dead girl snogging.... or is she?, 24 Feb 2011
By 
Ms. Felicia Davis-burden (Staines, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cold Light (Hardcover)
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This novel promises much mystery and racks up tension through gradual revelations about the characters. However, this is often difficult to keep up with because of the confusing jumps in time-frame. This is very distracting and I never felt that I was getting closer to the real juice of the story. Chloe is alive, no she's dead, alive, no definitely dead....

Chloe's surviving best friend (I think) Lola narrates the disturbing tale of their relationship with other girls and Carl, Chloe's unsavoury boyfriend. Their community is kept weirdly enthralled about a spate of flashers and sexual assaults, regularly reported by a zealous local TV presenter. Then a well-known member of the community disappears, and Lola worries about aspects of his last night out.

I like the believable characters and surroundings: the girls speak exactly as one would expect from 14 year-olds. The matter-of-fact narration and writing style is often brilliantly succinct and witty, but I'm too distracted by the time-jumps to really enjoy Ashworth's story-telling. For all the sustained tension, the book peters out to a curiously unsatisfying end. If she would cut down on the time-jumps, Ashworth's next book will likely be a stormer because she is an extremely talented writer.
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I had hoped for better, 8 Sep 2011
By 
Mrs. J. Mayne "Mollhound" (York, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cold Light (Hardcover)
I don't often do reviews, but I disliked this book so much I felt compelled to.

It's dark, unconfortable and lacking in the comedy promised on the sleeve. I read all the way to the end hoping something would happen that made the time invested reading this worthwhile, it never did.
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Cold Light
Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth (Paperback - 19 Jan 2012)
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