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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Graham T, 21 Dec 2012
By 
G. J. Todd (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ripples and Shadows (Paperback)
This is Steve's third book written for the adult reader, and is very much of the same construction and genre as the previous two. It is set in Georgian times, with two separate storylines running in parallel for most of the book, one of a poor servant girl from humble origins and the other of a man from a privileged background whose paths eventually intertwine through a series of events that unfolds as you read the book. Their respective lifestories are well documented in individual diaries that are discovered in the attic of a restored manor house. An academic and his research assistant acquire the diaries and soon become totally immersed by the stories of passion, achievement, heartbreak and tragedy, with the story of their own relationship developing throughout the book.
As with Steve's previous two books, I found this a good read and didn't want to put it down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT, 29 July 2014
This review is from: Ripples and Shadows (Paperback)
The third of Stephen Taylor's excellent historical novels set in Georgian England. This time we see an intriguing story unfold through a collection of old documents unearthed in a Nottinghamshire country house. History professor James Postlethwaite, ably assisted by Grace, one of his students, are working their way through a series of diaries written over two centuries earlier by two individuals from opposite ends of the social divide - Ginny, the orphan, who leaves her foundling hospital home in Bristol and is put into service in a grand house in London, and Corbyn Carlisle, the wealthy and privileged aristocrat making a name for himself in the legal profession.

With each diary entry a little more of this absorbing tale is revealed, and we just know that, sooner or later, these two unlikely characters are destined to meet. Not that this gives any of the story away - it doesn't - for there are plenty of surprises along the way, and they merely make this even more of a page-turner.

And as Postlethwaite finds himeself becoming more and more absorbed by the fate of Ginny and Corbyn, there emerges an uncanny parallel with his own developing relationship with Grace.

Ripples and Shadows, the winner of a recent Book Award, deserves a bigger audience, as do his other books. Do read them; I doubt that you will be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cracking new novel from Mr Taylor, 4 Jan 2013
By 
P. Elletson (Leeds England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ripples and Shadows (Paperback)
This is the third in Taylor's trilogy of stories set in Georgian England and each telling of extraordinary lives.Here we have two people from opposite ends of the social ladder,yet their lives intertwine. One is a child of the Foundling's Hospital set in Bristol and the other a baronet. The novel tells their stories,their hopes,their aspirations. It is a story of the human spirit and of course love.
This is not the romanticised view you see in Upstairs Downstairs or Downton Abbey,but the real thing.The life of servants is shown in all its ugliness,its drudgery,the long long days,the lack of status,and lives that can be destroyed at the whim of the master. But Taylor has accentuated this with the different way he has told his story,the way he draws his readers in to make them care about the characters.
The story unfolds as journal entries ,told in the words of the characters themselves.The author has used handwriting fonts to emphasise this illusion. I especially liked Ginny, starting her working life as a cinder maid at the age of fourteen and barely literate but her words seemed nevertheless to shout across the centuries.

I also liked professor James Postlethwaite the historian who narrates the story for us from the perspective of the twenty first century.Our story starts when,by chance,he hears of some old documents that have been festering in the attic of a country house for two centuries-he is keen to study them,manorial records together with journals written by the lord and lady,a first hand view into the life of the Georgian privileged. But he is unprepared for what he finds,for what he reads. But as the story unfolds we learn of his back story so his character grows from merely the man that finds the journals to a major player in his own right.We learn that his own detachment as a professional historian is compromised; he knows he should be dispassionate,but instead he finds himself emotionally connected to these two long-dead people. There are uneasy parallels as his own life starts to mirror the antique stories that he is researching.
The best thing about Ripples and Shadows - what sets it apart from most historical fiction and keeps you reading- is the way the lives of the characters converge and the diverge,to,maybe, come together again,we are never sure - Taylor keeps us guessing. And finally, a secret told for the first time in two hundred years. Confronted with this strange way of telling his story Taylor could easily have lost his way,but,no,we are able to enjoy the remarkable life journeys of Ginny and Corbyn. But make up your own minds ,I know you will enjoy it-I certainly did.

To end on a light note I wish Mr Taylor the best of luck in his attempt to secure some freebies from Millicano coffee and Bomardier ale.
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