Top positive review
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Beautiful and melancholy account of Netley Hospital
on 12 March 2005
I have never read any other book that is able to capture the spirit of a place quite like this book. As I small child, I can well remeber being taken to Netley Abbey on Sunday afternoons and the erie description the Hoare evokes is spot on.
Much of this book concerns itself with the pioneering military hospital, a close neighbour of the abbey and which too evokes a morbid fascination as what remains of the establishment is enveloped in a cloak of melancholy. Hoare explains the fate of the first inhabitants of the hospital, the secret experiments that are supposed to have taken place and even the odd ghost story. Wrapped up in this are a cast of diverse characters such as Jane Austen and Wilfrid Owen. The writer captures the decay of Southampton as a great transatlantic port with aplomb.
This is a book that I could not put down and that got passed around amongst family and friends who similarly were entralled by the extremely well-written narrative. Recommended, especially for all readers around Southampton.