Customer Reviews


27 Reviews
5 star:
 (16)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read - thoroughly enjoyable & absorbing
I really enjoyed this book which my reading group are going to discuss at our next meeting in May. It tells the story of Angie, an unhappy woman who drinks too much following the death of her mum; she's also estranged from her brother and lives a lonely life. The book starts in 2004 on a freezing evening ( I almost found myself shivering reading the first two pages...
Published on 11 Mar 2011 by lilysmum

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read but a little underwhelming
This book slightly underwhlemed me which is probably why it's taken me a while to review. I am stuggling somewhat to review it too as I keep finding myself wanting to relay the plot rather that my feelings about the book as, to be honest, I didn't really connect with any of the characters.

To briefly summarise the plot: Wen is an illegal immigrant from China...
Published on 6 Jun 2011 by Boof


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read - thoroughly enjoyable & absorbing, 11 Mar 2011
By 
lilysmum "lilysmum65" (uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Crimson China: A Novel (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book which my reading group are going to discuss at our next meeting in May. It tells the story of Angie, an unhappy woman who drinks too much following the death of her mum; she's also estranged from her brother and lives a lonely life. The book starts in 2004 on a freezing evening ( I almost found myself shivering reading the first two pages alone!) on Morecambe sea front, when Angie is sitting in her car considering ending her life. What actually happens is that she rescues Wen, a Chinese cockle picker, from drowning. (It was true that a couple of the cockle pickers in the Morecambe Bay tragedy were never found.) Angie takes Wen home and this is where the story really sweeps you in. Wen has a twin sister in China, called Lili, who is grieving for him, as their parents were killed in an earthquake and they were lucky to survive. The writer follows the story of Wen as he tries to make a life for himself in spite of owing a large amount of money to the snakeheads who organised his move to the UK. There are twists and turns in the story and moments of tension that are very well written and kept me turning the pages, though I won't give away what they are. This book is well worth a read. I've heard it was a Book at Bedtime on Radio 4 last year, though I didn't hear it, but wish I had.

This book makes you think again. A great read and I have bought another Betsy Tobin book to try.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real page turner !, 1 Mar 2011
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Crimson China: A Novel (Paperback)
I saw this book briefly featured in the books section of a woman's magazine ,the synopsis caught my eye, reminding me of the horrific deaths of the cockle pickers in 2004.The book starts on that night with Wen's story & moves between London,The North East & China. Intertwined with this is the story of his twin sister who comes from China to look for him.
Although the subject matter is undoubtedly depressing,the book races along - it's a really good read, part thriller, part a rather unorthodox love story. The characters are extremely well drawn & believable. A stark reminder of how tough a migrant workers life over here must be - highly recommended !
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, 28 Mar 2011
This review is from: Crimson China: A Novel (Paperback)
I first listened to Crimson China on radio 4's Book at Bedtime; I decided to read the book as I had enjoyed it so much. It's a good believable story, the characters come across as real people, when I had finished reading the book I was hoping things worked out for Wen and Angie and that maybe Angie would stop drinking so much, had to remind myself they were fictional characters. I would highly recommend this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Moving Novel and a Great Read, 13 Nov 2010
This review is from: Crimson China (Hardcover)
Crimson China is a novel that opens up like the rose it takes it's name from. It's an emotionally intelligent story with wonderful characters and reads like a thriller. The novel transports you into new worlds that are both unfamiliar and totally recognizable. It gives you an insight into what it must be like to struggle with being a Chinese immigrant in the UK. It moved me deeply, and I highly recommend it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect, 24 Nov 2010
By 
Pen pal "Topaz" (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Crimson China (Hardcover)
I am very sparing with my 5 stars, but this book thoroughly deserved them. I felt sad when the book ended, I wanted it to continue. Wen and Lili are so well portrayed, you feel like you know them. I have read several books on how difficult it can be for immigrants and all the various probelms they face, and it is so interesting to learn of different cultures. So many things that we take for granted - a book like this one is very good at raising awareness to the plight of others. What happened at Morecambe Bay was a tragedy, such tragedies abound all over the world every second. I like the way the author took the fact that two out of the twenty-one Chinese migrant workers were listed as missing and their bodies were never recovered, and so she wove a story around one of them as to what might have happened. Everything was written simmply and realistically with a minimum of fuss, and yet so completely effective. I shall be very interested to seek out more of this author's work.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crimson China, 5 April 2011
By 
This review is from: Crimson China: A Novel (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. Angie one night is on Morecambe Bay seafront trying to come to terms with the death of her mother, she also drinks too much. There is a storm and she ends up resucing Wen ( a chinese cockle picker)and taking him back to her house. The story then has you totally hooked, Wen also has a twin sister Lili and she has come from China because she was told Wen had died and she still feels that he is alive. The book is really good as it alternate's each chapter to either Wen or Lili and you follow how Wen is trying to make a life for himself and Lili is searching for her brother. There is also a nice little twist as Wen has got mixed up with the 'Snakehead' gang back in China and they have followed him. Well worth reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull expression and too many loose ends, 1 Sep 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Crimson China: A Novel (Paperback)
I was disappointed by this. Firstly, the plot relied on too many contrived conveniant twists or coincidences - such as Lili arriving at key scenes on numerous occasions, or Angie's brother's job/background saving the day. There were numerous loose ends or unexplained rambles: Johnny, Miriam, Adrian and May came in and left for no greater reason than it gave Lili/Wen someone to talk to - none were developed in any way; indeed Jin was of barely any greater significance.

Conversation and description was dull and plodded - given the themes of death, loss, culture, poverty, relationships, loyalty, family - nothing touched or moved. Angie's alcoholism didn't evolve or recede; no-one made any great discovery. The suggestion that the police drop a case for the reasons given are facile, as is the inference that the snakeheads would. Plus there were inaccuracies in some of the translations and incidental inaccuracies eg a surgeon being called 'Dr'. The opportunity to write a book which describes the cross-cultural difficulties of being native Chinese in an England which can exploit was not taken - more research on the subject would have helped make it more plausible.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read but a little underwhelming, 6 Jun 2011
By 
Boof (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Crimson China (Kindle Edition)
This book slightly underwhlemed me which is probably why it's taken me a while to review. I am stuggling somewhat to review it too as I keep finding myself wanting to relay the plot rather that my feelings about the book as, to be honest, I didn't really connect with any of the characters.

To briefly summarise the plot: Wen is an illegal immigrant from China who gets caught up in the Morceombe Bay tragedy (for those who aren't aware - this actually happened in Britain several years ago when over 20 illegal Chinese immigrants drowned while picking cockles for very little pay on Morecombe beach at night). Wen survives when he is rescued by Amgie who is a woman who is an alcaholic has decided to commit suicide on that very beach at the same time. Angie makes a last minute decision to save both herslef and Wen instead. After Wen is assumed dead, his twin sister Lili flies over to the UK as she can't quite believe he is dead and is determined to track down his last known movements to get some closure. She doesn't get what she bargained for as Wen is very much alive.

While this was not a bad book in any way, in fact on the whole I did enjoy reading it, it did however have the potential to be so much more. I would have liked the book to really bring the plights of the people involved and also their families who also had to suffer the consequences, to life. It never really pressed home to me the devestation of that night and the aftermath and nor did I ever feel fully engaged with any of the characters. Having said that, there were many good points too - in particular I liked the character of Wen: although I never felt he was fully fleshed enough to get to know him properly, I did like his observations of Englishness through his watching of Angie when she took him home.

What I liked about the book was the fact that it opens our eyes to immigrants in this country (both legal and illegal). The fact that everything is strange and foreign, our customs and eating habbits are different as well as the language barrier in many cases. It's often easy to overlook why people have made the decision to leave everything they know and step into the unknown in search of work or a better life for their families. Crimson China goes some way to highlighting that, but again I never felt it was fully explored. If you want to read a truly fantastic book about coming to England as a foreigner then read Rose Tremain's The Road Home - it is brilliant!

In summary - I enjoyed reading this but didn't feel it went deep enough into any issue and I didn't have any particular bond with any one character. Good story if your expectations aren't too high.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow - what a fantastic book!, 19 May 2011
By 
L. Voss "Louise Voss" (SW London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Crimson China (Kindle Edition)
I absolutely adored this book, and read it flat-out. It had been sitting on my kindle for a little while as I hadn't really felt inspired to start it - the subject matter sounded so depressing, and it just didn't appeal. But as soon as I started it, I couldn't bear to put it down.

All the characters are so vivid, the subject matter so interesting, and the writing is beautiful. I actually can't think of anything I disliked about it (except perhaps the title - somehow it doesn't match the book). I feel like I know Lili, Wen and Angie; I loved the complexity of Angie's character, and the unlikely closeness that she and Wen develop.

Louise Voss
Author of Killing Cupid
Killing Cupid: A Psychological Crime Novel
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book, 14 April 2011
This review is from: Crimson China: A Novel (Paperback)
We decided to read this book in our book club and I was not disappointed. I got hooked by the story very quickly and found it hard to put down. I like the way the relationship develops between the 2 main characters and the insight that you get into their different lives. Extremely well written and also makes you think about the issues of immigrants and the struggles they face.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Crimson China
Crimson China by Betsy Tobin (Hardcover - 21 Oct 2010)
10.23
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews