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12 Reviews
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mesmerising tale of deep pathos and wonderful humour
A cross section of dissatisfied Londoners go to a remote Hebridean Inn for New Year. They meet each other and the locals and the readers comes to know, feel for and even recognise a group of ordinary, eccentric, funny and hopeful souls. With enough humour to lighten but not spoil the emotional impact, this is a short book that you don't want to emerg from until the end. A...
Published on 11 Dec. 2000 by philprice59@aol.com

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3.0 out of 5 stars Not sure what I was expecting...
Didn't really enjoy this book as much as I expected, although that is not to say that it was poorly written. I wasn't sure whether it was all supernatural, part or none at all.
A times I was engrossed and scared, and others, complete at a loss to the plot and where the book was heading. I had little empathy with any of the characters and only really liked poor Harry...
Published 17 months ago by Rootie


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mesmerising tale of deep pathos and wonderful humour, 11 Dec. 2000
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A cross section of dissatisfied Londoners go to a remote Hebridean Inn for New Year. They meet each other and the locals and the readers comes to know, feel for and even recognise a group of ordinary, eccentric, funny and hopeful souls. With enough humour to lighten but not spoil the emotional impact, this is a short book that you don't want to emerg from until the end. A great story.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Never judge a book by its cover, 21 Jun. 2004
By 
Amanda Richards "Hotpurplekoolaid" (ECD, Guyana) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
If I were to choose a book based solely on the cover, it would never be this one. Having read it on the good advice of a friend, it quickly became clear that the simple, depressing and bleak cover perfectly sums up the empathy of jaded people intentionally "not celebrating" Christmas at a place best described as the edge of the world.
The first part of the book introduces you to the characters, and characters they certainly are. Each guest has their individual demon, and hopes to use the vacation for escape and relief. The host meanwhile, has completely lost track of his wife, who leaves the Inn at the most inopportune moment, as fast as her wobbling high heels will carry her. The other characters provide local color, promiscuity and adultery, adding intrigue and humor to the story.
This is a dark and hopeless romance story, where relationships are doomed to failure. Be warned that there's no cozy happy ending amidst the supernatural twists that pop up in the story like flashes of lightning on a dark rainy night.
The travellers who return home are older and wiser but not gratified or satisfied. The book closes with the enigmatic words "ye all come back in the end"
An interesting read from an outstanding author.
^AR
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "How strangely blessed to learn that love is illusion...", 26 Oct. 2012
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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I've often thought about it myself - Christmas comes around again - the expense, the horrible music on the radio, the total waste of money and energy on a religious holiday of which most people have completely forgotten the meaning. Why not book oneself into an island hotel somewhere and forget the existence of turkeys, mince pies and carol singers? That's how five people end up on a remote Scottish island with their private motives for escaping the tinsel and holly.

I really enjoyed this warm, sometimes acerbic story of how the visitors fared on their escape from Christmas. There is a touch of danger for actress Jessica, a touch of the supernatural for Harry, but it's not what actor Jon would call a successful jaunt, and though they start off well, can Ronald and Anita really end up together? For poor Eric, whose wife decides to leave on the day the guests arrive, there are only the consolations of help from Finlay, the taciturn ex-fisherman, and his webb-fingered sister, who is even more closed-mouthed than her brother.

Alice Thomas Ellis is wonderfully bright and funny but there's also an edge of the sinister to this entirely original and delightful book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not sure what I was expecting..., 25 Sept. 2013
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Didn't really enjoy this book as much as I expected, although that is not to say that it was poorly written. I wasn't sure whether it was all supernatural, part or none at all.
A times I was engrossed and scared, and others, complete at a loss to the plot and where the book was heading. I had little empathy with any of the characters and only really liked poor Harry and Eric.
I'm found the setting so bleak and desolate it was somewhat depressing. Even so I finished it, which is a sign all was not bad, as I never finish a book I truly dislike.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Likeable and interesting characters, 20 Jan. 2013
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Nice easy read with a good plot line. Iliked this book because it had an unusual plot which I thought worked well
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3.0 out of 5 stars Desolate spot, 18 Jan. 2013
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Quite an interesting book, with fairly well drawn characters. I would read another of her books in the hope of improvement.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing, but conjures up a picture of isolation on several levels, 3 Jan. 2013
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This is a great book to read in the winter when you just want to hide away in a warm corner somewhere but don't want anything too fluffy or cosy. Most of the cast of characters are hiding away from something, those somethings being sketched out beautifully in the excellent writing.
The owner of the isolated Inn in question had a dream of a cosy hostelry bustling with appreciative locals and tourists but naturally reality doesn't behave itself and he and his wife are going to be in trouble if they can't attract more custom. The starting point of the tale is his decision to advertise as a retreat from Christmas, and the story unfolds as we discover the guests and their reasons for retreating, then follow their interactions with each other and the local community.

The Inn is set in a remote island, physically cut off from the mainland, and this is a metaphor for the emotional isolation of many of the characters.
Having myself lived in a remote village I could appreciate the descriptions of the way the guests at the inn, the real locals and the "incomers" (whether regular visitors or recent residents) dance round each other. Much of this is quite funny.

I have knocked off one star because I can't decide if I was really convinced by the supernatural element that twisted its way into the story part way through the book. It almost became a way of taking the edge off something that would otherwise be a shocking tragedy, so that the reactions of the characters are less than might have been expected, somehow. However it's a clever take on old Celtic legends and you do find yourself going "ohhhhh, so that's what that bit was all about..."
Definitely a good read and refreshing not to have a load of too-neat happy endings!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good winter's read, 3 Dec. 2012
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This is a good read for dark nights when the rain lashes the windows. Plenty to keep you guessing and the reveal is definitely out of the left field .
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4.0 out of 5 stars Diverting and atmospheric, 11 Feb. 2014
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I don't have much of depth to say about this book (it's too long since I read it) but know it was amusing and I liked it!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars fast read, 5 Jan. 2013
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quite predictable, but enjoyable just the same - not a reread as far as I'm concerned but might try another by the same author
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The Inn at the Edge of the World
The Inn at the Edge of the World by Alice Thomas Ellis (Paperback - 16 Aug. 2012)
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