13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rural Affair- a snippet of life and an absolute must read
She's done it again and created a hysterical scene,an absolute romp comedy that captures you from begining to end 5 stars for Catherine Alliott.This rollercoaster read will have you in tears of laughter and sorrow all at the same time.
Published on 23 Aug 2011 by Toni P
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a rural affair
I have been hooked on this author since her first wonderful complexed story lines of old to her now somewhat roll out storyline of recent years. I have enjoyed this easy read but feel a level of complacency that comes now with each print. They no longer hold the complexity they did in "old girls network" or "olivia's luck" that magic of a wordsmith. is it...
Published on 5 Feb 2012 by nigel7738
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3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing,
Have not even finished this book yet but I can already tell how it will end. That's not bad in itself, it's what you would expect from chick lit. However, I won't be rushing to read future titles by this author as the last couple have just not been anywhere near as good as her original novels.
The characters in this book are not likeable & the "hilarious" antics failed to make me smile.
I thought that the author was trying too hard to make readers laugh & had just rolled out another book to meet some sort of deadline.
Diappointing is my verdict.
3.0 out of 5 stars A rather boring affair,
This is my first Catherine Alliott book and my reaction, having just finished it, is that I probably shouldn't have bothered.
It starts off promisingly - I thought the way Phil was killed was hilarious (perhaps I just have a peculiar sense of humour). I thought it rather strange that Poppy and Jennie (and, it is implied, every other married woman) often wished for their husbands to be dead. Have they never heard of divorce?! And yes, I speak as a divorcee who never once wished for her husband to be dead. As I say, I found this strange but put it down to some middle-class idiosyncrasy (the novel is VERY middle-class, demonstrated by the fact that the newly-widowed and jobless Poppy never once worries about money, and when she is told she and her children have been well-provided for courtesy of Phil's life insurance, she talks of giving it away to charity! This is clearly a woman who's never had to worry about paying the gas bill).
Poppy's failure to look after her children properly in the days following Phil's death would have been more understandable had she not despised her husband so. And, I have to ask, where was Jennie (her best friend and next-door neighbour, no less) when Poppy's children were wearing the same clothes for days on end and being fed crisps at mealtimes? Surely any half-decent friend would have stepped in and helped out? Instead, Jennie spends more time caring for the plants in her front garden.
The protagonist's children seem strangely detached from the plot. Where was the screaming, the temper tantrums, the tears? Archie appears to be the most well behaved baby in the world, apparently happy to spend day after day gurgling in his high chair. Likewise, Jennie's children are strangely absent, apart from Frankie (one of the few characters I loved).
Jennie and Angie I found a bit hit-and-miss as friends go. I'm not sure I'd like to be best friends with a person who told me I was being too harsh on a man who had openly expressed doubts about hooking up with me because I had children. Any decent friend would agree that you should tell the man to take a running jump. That said, I loved the character of Peggy - she reminded me of Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous. I'd like to have seen more of Peggy.
It annoyed me intensely that the whole plot seems to be concerned solely with Poppy finding herself a new man. Why oh why is this deemed so important, so necessary? That aside, the man she appears to fall in love with overnight - without having spent more than about two full hours in his company - is apparently still besotted with his ex-wife one minute (the 'body language' Poppy notices at the party) and yet ready to propose marriage to Poppy the next. Their 'relationship' (I use the term loosely) is devoid of all the tension and anticipation one would expect. Sam finds Poppy's drunkenness an embarrassment rather than endearing, yet the next day he is saying he loves her?! (this despite his 'body language' around his ex-wife). There was no build-up to their romance, hardly any time spent together, Sam has barely even met Poppy's children, yet she is ready to up sticks and move to France with him in the blink of an eye.
With its hurried ending, this novel left me feeling unsatisfied and I have already put it in the bag to take to my local charity shop.
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful read for a lazy weekend.,
A Rural Affair This is the first Catherine Alliott book I have read. It kept me laughing out loud all weekend, much to my two dogs' consternation. I will certainly be reading more of this perceptive and entertaining writers' books. I loved her sense of fun and humour.
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it..,
Poppy Shilling often fantasised about her controlling husband's death, so when a freak accident actually caused her husband's demise, she finds the prospect of life without him quite daunting. The marriage wasn't particularly happy, but when Poppy discovers that her husband had been keeping some secrets from her, she is galvanised into action.
I thought the book was great fun, it's best read quickly, as the story bounds along at a cracking pace. The dialogue is witty, and even though the heroine is far from perfect, she manages to convey warmth of character, and a simple belief in the world around her. There is an abundance of quirky characters that flit into and out of Poppy's life, and there are some truly funny moments that had me laughing out loud.
This is a great beach read, and highly recommended if you need something to keep you amused on a long journey.
3.0 out of 5 stars Can do better....,
Catherine Alliott has always been a favourite of mine, but this latest book left me strangely dissatisfied. Maybe it was the heroine, Polly, who seems to lurch through her days getting on everyone's nerves and annoying people. The fact she had just lost her husband seems to be perfect fodder for her to go completely doo-lally and forget to feed and clothe her children. She really is very tiresome and I found myself getting agitated with her antics.
The author has chosen to throw a number of characters into the mix, I suppose to keep us all guessing who Polly will end up with, although I found it to be glaringly obvious throughout.
Oh, and Knights in White Satin was sung by the Moody Blues, and not Procol Harum, as Ms Alliott seems to think.
As has been previously mentioned by other reviewers, some of the scenes in the book seem to be thrown in to pad out an otherwise weak storyline. I'm thinking specifically of the fox hunt scenes, which were cringeworthy, and trying too hard to be funny. The fact a wee doggy was killed in the melee wasn't my idea of fun reading.
The ending seemed to be very rushed with no build up, or sexual tension, or anything, come to that. Just as if the author wanted the book to be done and dusted.
All in all, I thought it was a pleasant enough read, but without the laugh out loud moments I've come to expect from Catherine Alliott novels.
4.0 out of 5 stars Well, I liked it!,
I'm really surprised by the mixed reviews for this one. Ok, including a particular incident during the hunting scene might not have been the best idea, but I really did enjoy this book from beginning to end. It's a long time since I last read a Catherine Alliott book, but I'm now acquiring her back catalogue. The writing is genuinely witty - a bit grown-up Milly Johnson? - and although I'm not a massive fan of romantic comedy I found myself laughing out loud several times at some of the predicaments the widowed Poppy found herself in. Poppy's bereavement, the discovery of her husband's other life, and her moving on is at the centre of the story, but I also loved her friends - subsidiary characters they may be, but they're all well drawn and female friendship really is the heart of this book. Such a strong sense of place and community too - from the village shop to the book group, the nearby manor house, the solicitor on the high street, the church, I enjoyed following Poppy's life for a while. Thanks to netgalley for an advance e-copy.
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing read,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am a huge Catherine Alliott fan and have read most of her books (some twice), but this one I'm afraid to say was hugely disappointing. I don't want to start dissecting the plot because there really isn't one.
I found the first few chapters very depressing. Not for the fact that Poppy's husband dies but for the way in which she dealt with it. In essence she proceeded to neglect her children; allowing them to go to school in filthy clothes, feeding them Ketchup (if memory serves). This continues to the point where the social services are called in but the social worker sent to check on Poppy's very small children is diverted away by her smooth-talking father. Completely unrealistic. On top of this Poppy's husband leaves an abundance of money for her and the children and at some point she talks about giving it away to charity. It gives the impression throughout that Poppy only thinks about herself.
The mistress turning up at her house, made no sense whatsoever and no explanation was actually given for the visit, only suppositions. A lot of things just didn't make sense. For example, why at the start of the book, does Jennie loathe her husband, is completely disrespectful to him, talks about divorcing him all the time, then midway through does a complete about face and seems to have fallen back in love with him with no explanation?
There were too many characters which was extremely confusing; I couldn't remember who was who, who was linked to who. And there was no real build up to anything.
Overall, the whole thing had a kind of depressed feeling to it, which made me wonder whether the writer was indeed going through some sort of crisis whilst writing the book. (No offence intended).
I turned the final pages with increasing speed, anxious to get to the end and heaved a sigh of relief when I'd finally finished it. Never felt anything like that before with any of Ms Alliott's books.
2.0 out of 5 stars not so good,
I usually like to read Caterine Alliott's books. However on this occasion I found A Rural Affair not to be up to her usual standard.
She drifted off so often that I started to lose the plot ! It could have been a good subject to write about....it could have been a good read...unfortunately on this occasion it failed to reach the mark with me. I am sure the author has lots of fans who will say they enjoyed this book. Reading material is a selective thing. But on this occasion, this book was not for me. I did not enjoy reading this book and felt almost bored by it.
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read,
This was the first book I have read by Catherine Alliott but I shall certainly look forward to reading more as I found this a very enjoyable read with several laugh out loud moments. The writing was witty and entertaining (despite the serious subject of Poppy's husband Phil dying very suddenly (and in a most bizarre way). The marriage had not been a particularly happy one and Poppy had harboured fantasies in which her husband was dead and the family were free of him. Initially her feelings were of relief, mixed with sadness for her children's loss but then she discovers he had been leading a secret life and this news plunges her into a depression from which she could barely function, until her feelings of anger overtake those of misery. Thus begins Poppy's fight to making a new life for herself and her children and to dipping her toes into the minefield of dating.
The main cast of characters were well written and engaging - many were likeable, and some definitely not so, but they all had their own contribution to the story. I loved the character of Clemmie, Poppy's young daughter, she was an absolute delight. Poppy's friends Jenny and Angie also feature heavily and they have their own marriage problems to deal with whilst Poppy is trying to come to terms with hers.
I enjoyed accompanying Poppy on her journey to find a new life after Phil. There were a couple of instances where the storyline disappointed - in particular the hunting scene and also where Poppy gets drunk but overall a very good read and one which I would recommend.
4.0 out of 5 stars Trepidation,
I love Catherine Alliott books, I have been known to laugh out loud on the beach or wherever I am reading them, so after reading the reviews of her latest book I was in two minds about buying it, so put it on my Christmas list and am so glad I did!
I have to agree with other reviews, it isn't her funniest book, and possibly not her best, but as Chick-Lit-Girl says, it isn't the stuff of Booker prizes! It is an easy read, with likeable characters and an amusing plot. I would highly recommend reading it, it will be worth it!
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A Rural Affair by Catherine Alliott