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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bitter-sweet saga
Annie comes back home to Ireland after her father dies. Her relationship with her father was fractures at best since the death of her mother years before. Coming home was not the easiest thing for Annie because there was so much water under the bridge and unanswered questions.
While trying to decide if she should remain in Ireland and open up a book shop- she runs...
Published 3 months ago by Robyn K

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Sixpenny Song
Annie Ross escapes from her Dublin home when her domineering father insists that she gives up her plan of reading English at Trinity and join him in the family business. Annie arrives in London, finds a tiny flat in Notting Hill, and a job in an independent bookshop, which she thoroughly enjoys. When she receives a call from her stepmother to say that her father has died,...
Published 11 months ago by Susie B


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Sixpenny Song, 31 Oct 2013
By 
Susie B - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Sixpenny Song (Hardcover)
Annie Ross escapes from her Dublin home when her domineering father insists that she gives up her plan of reading English at Trinity and join him in the family business. Annie arrives in London, finds a tiny flat in Notting Hill, and a job in an independent bookshop, which she thoroughly enjoys. When she receives a call from her stepmother to say that her father has died, Annie decides she is not sorry; she has always found her father overbearing and more concerned with making money than with the happiness of Annie and Annie's beautiful, but fragile mother, Jude, who died when Annie was a child. Feeling estranged from her father, especially as he sent her to boarding school in England when she was twelve, Annie is surprised to learn that her father has left the large and very desirable family home with its ten acres of land to her in his will; however, as all of his money has been left to Annie's stepmother, Annie does not have the money for the upkeep of such a huge house and she decides to sell it, particularly as not all of her memories of living in this house are very happy. The house is put on the market and Annie makes plans to use the money to buy a premises where she can open her own bookshop and she soon finds a potential property in a small prosperous town near to the sea. Keen to leave her old life behind her, Annie is, however, very disconcerted when she meets Kevin, who works as a gardener and odd job man at her family home, and his very elderly aunt, who both reveal details to Annie about her mother, and her past life, which shock and upset Annie considerably.

I was looking forward to reading this novel, especially as I have read several Jennifer Johnston books, enjoying her flair for language and her honesty in the portrayal of her characters - however, I did not find this novel to be as satisfying to read as others of hers I have enjoyed in the past, and although the author's lyrical prose is still in evidence, and the theme of memory remains a focus, as it does in many of the author's novels, this story did not captivate as much as I had expected. I wasn't entirely convinced by the character of Kevin, or his role in the story, and I found the ending a little disappointing and rather abrupt, especially when after learning some even more distressing information about her mother, Annie leaves the bearer of bad news and exits with: ' I don't suppose I'll be seeing you again, so ta-ra. Tararaboomdeay.' (?) - it almost seemed as if the author might have been thinking: 'Well make of that what you will.' There were, of course, some interesting aspects to the story and I enjoyed the author's lovely descriptions of the rambling family home overlooking the city of Dublin and the sea beyond, but I do have to say that although I regard Jennifer Johnston highly and this is an easily readable story, I don't consider this novel to be one of her best.

3 Stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Okay Read, 22 July 2014
By 
Mrs. C. Colbert (Blackburn, Lancashire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Sixpenny Song (Paperback)
When Annie comes back home to Dublin she is met by Miriam, 'Mrs Number Two Wife', as Annie called her father's widow, who, soon afterwards, takes all the furniture from the house Annie has inherited.

Annie is not sorry he's dead.

"She hadn't really liked him very much, Dada (he preferred it if she called him father: to him Dada was an untidy name for a man of his standing).He liked things to go his way; his word was law, and always what he thought was the best for you.'I only want what is best for you.'How many times had she heard those unanswerable words? And now he was dead. She wondered if he had ordered his death as he had ordered everything else in his life."

Annie plans to sell her father's house and open a bookshop in the small village but as she talks to Kevin, the odd job man, and his elderly aunt she discovers secrets but are they all lies or are they telling her the truth?

A moving family drama, with very few characters and an interesting storyline. Overall I enjoyed it but I thought the story was too short, I felt there was more that the author could have told us and I felt as if I didn't really know the characters very well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bitter-sweet saga, 8 July 2014
This review is from: A Sixpenny Song (Kindle Edition)
Annie comes back home to Ireland after her father dies. Her relationship with her father was fractures at best since the death of her mother years before. Coming home was not the easiest thing for Annie because there was so much water under the bridge and unanswered questions.
While trying to decide if she should remain in Ireland and open up a book shop- she runs into one of her mothers old friends, Kevin.
As Annie and Kevin get to know each other, buried secrets about her family re-emerge and she finds out that some secrets aren’t as buried as people wish.
With new insight, she begins to see the reason behind her fathers estrangement and it is bitter-sweet because it is too late to heal the rift between them.
“A sixpenny song” is a lovely tale about discovery and finding out the truth about Annie's personal history that had been kept from her for too long.
Set in gorgeous Ireland, Jennifer Jones, bring the emerald Isle alive- vividly with her beautiful prose. It is a gentle story that is just the perfect length for a quick and easy read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Her Best Book, 3 July 2014
By 
Lincs Reader (Lincolnshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Sixpenny Song (Paperback)
Another of Jennifer Johnston's trademark short, sharp novels. In keeping with many of her other books, A Sixpenny Song concentrates on once close, but now fractured relationships.

Annie left Ireland many years ago, and now works as a bookseller in London. She's as happy as she can be, fairly content and liking the anonymity of life in a big city.

Annie receives news from her step mother. Her father is dead and he has left the family home to Annie. Returning to Ireland, and to the house that holds few happy memories is a journey that Annie does not undertake lightly.

In Ireland, back amongst the familiar places and people, Annie learns more about her parents than she ever imagined.

As always, Jennifer Johnston writes beautiful prose that is at times witty, yet often heartbreaking. Despite the beauty of the words, the plot to me was fairly predictable and often dull. The few characters are very hard to engage with, and Annie as lead character did nothing to endear herself to me.

A very short novel, with huge print that only takes a couple of hours to get through. It's a good filler, but really not up to the author's usual standards.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another classicly written tale by this wonderful author, 21 Jun 2014
This review is from: A Sixpenny Song (Paperback)
Thanks to Tinder Press for sending me this book for review........

A new book from the multi-award winning Jennifer Johnston was always going to pique my interest. This novel may be short, but more than makes up for its length with the content.

Annie receives a call that informs her of her father's death. She is not too surprised, or too bothered by the fact, as they have been estranged for quite a while. She ran away to London as a teenager to escape her father's domineering ways and to try and live her life to her own agenda. Now, the thoughts of returning to Dublin is not appealing and she dreads meeting her Stepmother. However, the funeral must be attended and she boards a plane to face the music.

When she learns that her father has left her the family home, she is shocked and thinks he is trying to control her from beyond the grave. She goes to the house, to clear it out, and encounters the handyman,Kevin, who lives nearby with his elderly aunt. It turns out that they both knew her mother well, and as Annie has limited memories of her, she visits to piece together some information about her mother's death at such a young age.

The uneasy friendship that develops between herself and Kevin becomes much deeper the more she learns about her mother, with secrets revealed, memories re-surfacing and the past being re-written.

Jennifer Johnston is well known for her masterful storytelling and classical writing style. I was a little worried when I heard the title of the book, as it sounds like one of those mundane memoirs about "desperate" childhoods. The title actually refers to a song that Annie's mother used to sing regularly and which is like an ear worm for the young woman. The story is simply told but with beautiful style and finesse. Some of the phrases used by Kevin were a bit annoying as they are not ones I would ever have heard an Irish man utter. The book reads almost like a play, with four or five main characters and had echoes of All My Sons by Arthur Miller. Buried secrets which change how you view someone's character when they come to light.

I would recommend this quaint novel to lovers of Colum McCann and Colm Tobin. Quality writing from Ms. Johnton, as usual.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Easy read, 28 Jun 2014
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This review is from: A Sixpenny Song (Paperback)
Very easy to read even though there are no actual chapters, second of Jennifer Johnston's books I have now read. Will buy more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks again, Jennifer!, 2 Feb 2014
This review is from: A Sixpenny Song (Hardcover)
Another fantastic piece of work from the great and talented Jennifer Johnston!

I have read every novel Ms. Johnston has written as well as some of the shorter pieces. This one does not disappoint. As usual, JJ is the most candid, realistic, and thought-provoking authors I've encountered.

Anyone who doesn't enjoy Johnston, doesn't enjoy life.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A little story with little substance, 15 Jan 2014
This review is from: A Sixpenny Song (Kindle Edition)
Time to put the typewriter away Miss Johnston. You're a brilliant writer, but this one disappoints on all levels - plot, characters, conclusion of threads and the satisfaction that comes from reading a tale well told. It had such promise in the opening chapters then it just fizzled out, as though you got fed up with it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit dissapointing, 20 Jan 2014
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This review is from: A Sixpenny Song (Kindle Edition)
I read in the newspaper a brief description of the book about a girl coming into some money from her late father and decided to buy a book shop in Ireland her native country, it seemed to be the sort of book I would read, thinking it would involve some of her experiences running a book shop etc but most of the book covered her life as a child with a alcoholic mother and her mothers lover. It wasn't the sort of book that you can't put down in fact the complete opposite I had to force myself to finish reading it
Not what I expected
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A Sixpenny Song
A Sixpenny Song by Jennifer Johnston (Hardcover - 31 Oct 2013)
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