Customer Reviews


52 Reviews
5 star:
 (33)
4 star:
 (11)
3 star:
 (6)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ties that 'bine'
The Cure of Souls, Rickman's fourth novel featuring the Revd. Merrily Watkins, finds her settled, more or less, into her role as Diocesan Deliverance Minister. But in spite of her growing experience, the job seems only to grow more difficult. This time, the lines between good and evil blur, leaving Merrily uncertain how-or who-to free from spiritual bondage.
The...
Published on 4 Dec 2001 by T. Williams

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plot development a bit slow but good Rickman fayre
Another outing for Rickman's female Deliverance Consultant the Reverend Merrily Watkins. A murder in a supposedly haunted house-cum-hop kiln, a missing child who believes she is being contacted from beyond the grave by her dead mother; these are plots weaved expertly together by Rickman as he plunges his female priest into yet more controversy and danger. The plot of this...
Published on 25 Jan 2012 by Jane


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ties that 'bine', 4 Dec 2001
By 
T. Williams (Mariposa, California United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The Cure of Souls, Rickman's fourth novel featuring the Revd. Merrily Watkins, finds her settled, more or less, into her role as Diocesan Deliverance Minister. But in spite of her growing experience, the job seems only to grow more difficult. This time, the lines between good and evil blur, leaving Merrily uncertain how-or who-to free from spiritual bondage.
The diseased crops of the Frome Valley are a good metaphor for the psychic condition of those now living there. Something is sucking the life out of not only the land but of the people. That what remains of a once flourishing valley draped in hop bines is a rural wasteland-scape is painfully evident to Lol Robinson, who is about to re-enter Merrily's life after going off to take courses in psychotherapy. Led by 'Prof' Levin to the legendary luthier, Al Boswell, Lol learns not only about the region's gypsy heritage but that the romany ways still pervade the lives of those who live ... and die ... in the Frome Valley. And from this culture comes a psychic adversary as mysterious as the romany themselves.
Lol's close encounter with the legendary "Lady of the bines" leads him to the vicarage of the Reverend Simon St. John and his wife, the intriguing Isabel. Simon's refusal to exorcise the house, a converted hop kiln, of a local "entrepreneur," places the task in Merrily's hands. Soon Merrily, Lol and Simon realize that it will take all three of them, and more, to deliver this town from what plagues it. In perfect contrast to the wilt and waste of the main setting is the continued flourishing of Merrily's "flower," her indomitable daughter Jane. Rickman's secondary story, that of Jane's growth into young womanhood and her and her own spiritual and psychic quest, provides a wonderful parallel to the main storyline. And in a way that he does probably better than any other writer in the business, Rickman deftly weaves this sub-story into the main textual fabric, adding to the narrative tension and the intrigue of his tale.
Phil Rickman's The Cure of Souls is a sophisticated blend--part ghost story, part detective story, part myth--and totally gripping. His unerring ability to bring each character fully alive on the page and make every scene in which he places them believable will not disappoint. This book is just 'The Cure' for a cold winter's night!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, 10 Jan 2002
By 
n.pember@ntlworld.com (Huddersfield, West Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
2001 was a good year for Phil Rickman fans, with two new novels to his name. (OK, three if you include Phil's, erm, partner-in-crime, Will Kingdom novel, MEAN SPIRIT.) For my money, though, this one is the best of them.
It's summer, and the temperature's rising in more ways than one. A haunted hop-kiln. a drop-out trainee psychotherapist/sensitive musician (yep, folks, Lol Robinson's back, after being criminally dismissed from the last book in a couple of sentences), the wonderful and irreverent Simon St John (from DECEMBER; along with Prof Levin and Simon's missus, with her useful collection of carnal verbs), as well as Annie Howe, whom we see a lot more of than the last book, too. Jane is here, too, of course, Merrily's new-age daughter (think a pagan version of Winona Ryder in MERMAIDS), desperate to unburden herself of certain things you really do want to get rid of at 16.
This is a sexy book. Its motifs recurr nicely in Rickman's spare yet full descriptions of the countryside all the action occurs in. The supporting cast is, as ever, great and quirky; the dialogue sparkles -this is how people really do talk - and the plot powers everything along to an inevitable conclussion.
This is Phil's 4th Rev Watkins book, and by now, according to series' conventions, she should be staking vampires and shooting werewolves in an unavoidable escalation of events. But no, Rickman's smarter than that, he knows characterisation is what keeps people interested, not stakes and silver bullets. And with Merrily, Jane and Lol he's on to a winner.
This is one of my favourite reads of the year; great characters and a great story which Rickman puts to bed nicely. Of course you should get a copy
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 Rickmanian Times, 8 Jan 2002
Phil Rickman never fails to impress me. Not only is he the master of dark crime, he is also an adept at characterisation and plot. Not only is there a plot that the likes of Ian Rankin and James Lee Burke would be proud of, he also has a talent to make you really care for the characters, whether they be the principal or supporting members of the cast. So it was with excitement bordering on obsesive that I rushed to get the latest 'Merrliy Watkins' episode. I wasn't disapointed.
Romany lore and the local hops history, give weight to the realism and authenticity, making the unexplainable moments all the more chilling.
Get Rickman of the horror shelves! This is dark crime at its best, so do your self a favour and jump on the Merrily Watkins train. This man deserves to be on the best sellers list...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plot development a bit slow but good Rickman fayre, 25 Jan 2012
Another outing for Rickman's female Deliverance Consultant the Reverend Merrily Watkins. A murder in a supposedly haunted house-cum-hop kiln, a missing child who believes she is being contacted from beyond the grave by her dead mother; these are plots weaved expertly together by Rickman as he plunges his female priest into yet more controversy and danger. The plot of this one is very slow to get going; over half way through before any real action happens and in this respect Rickman has not got the pace right at all. The characters are vivid, deliciously ambivalent and well developed. It's a pity that one needs patience to get to the denouement, as the plot builds inexorably slowly. Not the best in the Merrily series.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Hops Than a One Legged Firewalker........, 3 Oct 2007
By 
A. Watson "allan watson" (Glasgow) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Cure of Souls was first time I ever picked up a Phil Rickman with a muted feeling of half hearted enthusiasm. The problem you see was Hops - those little flowery things used in the beer brewing process. No matter which way I turned it over in my head I couldn't envision how `hop picking' would ever lend itself to the sort of edge-of-your-seat thriller chillers that Rickman specialises in. As it turned out my fears were groundless as the Cure of Souls was a fantastic read and if Rickman ever decides to write about `Porcelain Thimble Collecting' or `Tapeworm Charming' then I'll be more than happy to bow to his better judgment.

This time round Lol Robinson - who every guitar strumming bloke of a certain age must surely identify with - returns after a strategic absence from `A Crown of Lights' (edged out most likely by Robin the fluffy Wiccan) to play a lead role in the story arc and he teams up with a couple of old lags from `December' - Prof Leven and Simon St John to record his first album since Hazey Jane broke up. Merrily meanwhile is called upon to exorcise a haunted Hop Kiln and suddenly we're off and running on the Rickman Express. The storyboard is studded with all manner of good things; possessed schoolgirls, vengeful gypsies, bent coppers, and to top it all a very naked Annie Howe.

Having written my thoughts on more than a few Phil Rickman novels my hyperbole tank is pretty running low so let's leave it at this - the guy is a superb writer - one of a kind. In fact I intend to commission a statue of him, albeit rather small and made from plasticine but all are welcome to come and pay their respects. Just watch out for those pesky hop bines, they get everywhere.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, 2 Oct 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Cure of Souls (MERRILY WATKINS SERIES) (Kindle Edition)
Readable, but definitely not Phil Rickman's best. Long and rambling in places. Would be better if rewritten and tightened up a bit.
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 These books just keep getting better, 6 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Cure of Souls (MERRILY WATKINS SERIES) (Kindle Edition)
I bought the first book in this series on little more than a whim, it was going for 99p and I thought ah why not.
I was hooked within the first few pages and now having read the fourth book in the series they just seem to be getting better. Lol Robinson returns in this book just as Merrily's life seems to be taking a real spiralling downwards.
You really fall in love with these characters and feel their pain as well as their happiness, you urge them on and really wish you had friends who were like them. Good honest people who are just trying to do what's right in this strange world we live in.
If you have read the three previous books, then you will just love this one and if you haven't read the first three, then go and read them.
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 The Cure of Souls, leaves you dying for more, 16 April 2014
This review is from: The Cure of Souls (MERRILY WATKINS SERIES) (Kindle Edition)
Hops. I love hops, the feel of them, the smell of them, even the way they look. Most of all I love them because of what they are used to make. I've never before come across an author who would base a novel around the history of the growing and harvesting of the humble hop. However I've never come across an author like Phil Rickman.

The Frome valley is declining, the place's former success was based on hop growing, but the village where Lol Robinson has taken up residence is failing. The crop can barely be grown there any mor because of disease, and the local landowner had to sell off most of his assets. He is now dead, and his son is now determined to restore his family to their former glory, and is trying to buy back everything the family lost.

Lol meanwhile is living with Prof Levin, in his new studio, where he is introduced to Simon St John, and from there to Al Boswell, another wonderful character. From these two and their wives Lol is able to piece together a history of the area, the hop industry and the involvement of gypsies. All of this comes after he has an encounter with the ghostly "lady of the bines".

Merrily Watkins, of course, has to be involved, and she is brought in to deal with a possible haunting. A local couple have inherited a converted hop kiln, where there was a recent murder, and Merrily is required to cleanse the place.

Once again Phil Rickman is able to take local legend, weave into it a plausible ghost story and also a believable detective story involving some fantastic characterisation. None of these strands suffers at all because of the presence of the others, because the author is so skilful and everything is treated so sympathetically. This is actually a genuinely unsettling book, as have been some of the earlier works in this series, but the detective and police procedural parts of the book are just as intriguing. Masterful.

This is the book that sums the series up for me, even the title is fabulous.
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 ATMOSPHERIC AND HAUNTING MYSTERY SERIES, 22 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Cure of Souls (MERRILY WATKINS SERIES) (Kindle Edition)
Another case for the all too human female vicar and exorcist in rural Herefordshire. Dealing with her errant teenage daughter, her own diffident musician boyfriend, plus a few unquiet spirits makes a very interesting mix.
l
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 a tremendous and very addictive read, 9 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I recently discovered the Merrily Watkins series and am working through them in order. I haven't reviewed them all, but I think that now, at number four in the series, some comments are in order. I just love these books! You can enjoy them as character studies (Merrily and Jane are wonderful creations), as really gripping mystery/thrillers, and of course there is also the religious/spiritual angle, which adds greater depth. I must say I do not consider myself a particularly religious person, but having been brought up in the Anglican tradition, I find myself utterly fascinated with all aspects of the deliverance ministry whose existence I did not even know of! Added to all this, the writing is really fine, with striking, atmospheric descriptions, good dialogue and lovely touches of humour. As soon as I finish one I am looking for the next. I wholeheartedly recommend these books, they appeal on so many levels. Try one and maybe you'll be hooked like me!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews