Customer Reviews


41 Reviews
5 star:
 (23)
4 star:
 (11)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (3)
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


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HIs best
Like other reviewers I'm a big fan of Paul Torday's writing and I've read everything that's been published.

Northumberland is huge and largely empty of people - Kielder Forest cuts a big, dark swathe through the county and it's a pretty scary place even in mid summer because it is so huge and still. The story evokes the feel of the forest perfectly and it's...
Published 7 months ago by Mrs. Tina Elliott

versus
37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Darkness in the forest
When I reviewed Torday's last book, The Legacy of Hartlepool Hall, I happily gave my review the title "I'd like to live in Torday-Land". That was based on his books - up to that point - being largely inhabited by good chaps, with an amusing habit of wandering out of one book into another to show different sides of what was really one complex, evolving story. While they...
Published 18 months ago by D. Harris


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Darkness in the forest, 6 Jan 2013
By 
D. Harris (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
When I reviewed Torday's last book, The Legacy of Hartlepool Hall, I happily gave my review the title "I'd like to live in Torday-Land". That was based on his books - up to that point - being largely inhabited by good chaps, with an amusing habit of wandering out of one book into another to show different sides of what was really one complex, evolving story. While they suffered reverses at the hands of scheming banks, nasty property developers or even foreign terrorists, they learned lessons, remained rooted in the soil and generally survived adversity.

This book takes Torday to a rather different, much darker place.

I wouldn't want to live there. I'm not sure I'd even want to visit for long. The book was enjoyable to read - but to those familiar with Torday's earlier books, I think the atmosphere of "Light Shining..." will come as a bit of a shock. Don't just expect more of the same.

The story opens with Geordie, a forestry worker. Geordie is in a dark place both literally (he works alone in the sprawling Kielder forest) and emotionally: his stepson, Theo, has disappeared in strange circumstances. (Torday described the disappearance in his e-book only novella, Theo. While it seems a good idea to provide more insight into the backstory in this way, I'm not sure that the two books work well together, although explaining why would I think be somewhat off topic here, and difficult without spoilers for both books).

We are then introduced to Norman, a minor bureaucrat and a more familiar Tordayish character. Norman has risen without trace through the ranks of the mandarinate to become Regional Childrens' Commissioner (designate) for the North-East. He remains "designate" because the Department have forgotten he exists, although they provide him with a swanky office, an ample salary and a PA, Pippa, who is marking time while she finds a job better suited to her qualifications. Also featuring in the story is a local journalist, Willie, who is desperate to land a Big Story that will take him away from reporting on the opening of beauty salons and school plays. It is Willie who begins to dig into Theo's disappearance and those of other children, and who acts as a spur to Norman to become involved, eventually leading the three to dark revelations and a frightening nighttime encounter in Kielder Forest.

Alongside the investigation by Norma, Pippa and Willie we are also given glimpses into the upbringing of a boy, and the later life of a man, who develops in a most unsettling way. And there is also a strong hint that what the characters are engaged in has a supernatural dimension (something carried over into this book from "Theo"). I don't want to give away the plot by being too specific about this, but it comes into focus during that dark confrontation and is then explored in hindsight as the story winds down - there are some 40 pages of the book remaining after what you might think was actually its climax - for me, the least satisfying part of the book - less because the ending was rather downbeat for most of those involved than because I'm not sure it was really an ending at all).

Overall, this was an enjoyable read, and the middle part was very gripping. It is rather different from Torday's earlier books (or at least those I've read) and I think that he's to be commended for this, but I don't think it worked as well as it might. Either of the separate, darker strands - the child abduction and the supernatural hints - would have been enough, perhaps, but taken together they are maybe a bit indigestible.
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
5.0 out of 5 stars HIs best, 20 Dec 2013
By 
Mrs. Tina Elliott (Northumberland UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Like other reviewers I'm a big fan of Paul Torday's writing and I've read everything that's been published.

Northumberland is huge and largely empty of people - Kielder Forest cuts a big, dark swathe through the county and it's a pretty scary place even in mid summer because it is so huge and still. The story evokes the feel of the forest perfectly and it's menace....the characters are entirely absorbing (even the baddie) and while you don't want to know the ending , you'll have to know what it is. Torday's subject is harrowing, it's not a fun read but it's a page-turner of the first order. Well written, utterly absorbing and while I've loved everything else he's written too - this is his best I think. I'm sorry I won't be able to read more of his work - thank you Paul for what you had time to create.
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A bit horrible but excellent, 1 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Light Shining in the Forest (Kindle Edition)
This is a well written and well constructed book. The subject matter is dark and rather gruesome but the writer handles it well. The emotions of the characters are well conveyed. I do not generally like grizzly books but this one had me captivated. An excellent read but prepare yourself for some uncomfortable material.
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 Searching for the light., 28 Mar 2013
The story opens in Kielder forest where Geordie a forestry worker, whose life has been shattered by the disappearance of his young stepson, is doing some back-breaking work. Two young girls subsequently go missing and all three children are from different backgrounds. Norman is a newly appointed children's tsar who, due to a government reshuffle and a change of priorities in the department in which he is employed, has no real work to do but spends his days attending official functions, drinking lattes and enjoying lunch. A local reporter desperate for the "big story" that will make his name, discovers Norman's existence and forces him to engage with the disappearance of the three children. Meanwhile the local police have classified the missing kids as runaways. I won't describe the plot any further in deference to those who have yet to read the book.

I have enjoyed most of Paul Torday's other books and The Girl on the Landing was quite dark but this novel is in a different league in terms of darkness. I was completely absorbed by the the first half of the book but found the latter half disappointing. The supernatural/religious themes were driven home with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer and I found the embalming and taxidermy elements of this novel difficult. The characters seemed a bit clichéd to me and the final chapters might have benefited from some judicious pruning.

Reading of the little boy born with such severe facial deformity that even his family could not bear to look at him, was singularly distressing notwithstanding what later transpires.

Nevertheless, this book has its moments and Paul Torday does write very well.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different!, 31 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Light Shining in the Forest (Kindle Edition)
I have read all Paul Torday's books and like the easy, charming style of writing and interesting, often eccentric characters. However this was something completely different and quite gripping in its own way. A clever mix of spookiness, religion and evil - and why not? Douglas Kennedy did a similar thing (though at first confusing) in The Woman in the Fifth. From the middle of the book onwards I was unable to put it down. Would make a great film.
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 Stunning, 5 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Light Shining in the Forest (Kindle Edition)
It made my flesh creep. It is so well written. I also read the novella "Theo" which is its partner.
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 Disturbing, 3 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Although I found this book disturbing I could not put it down it is a real page turner and kept me on the edge as did 'The Girl on the Landing.' I have read many Paul Torday books and thinmk of it as a great loss he has died - he was a great story teller! If you haven't read Paul's books you should wade your way through them. I began with 'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.'
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, 11 Aug 2013
Picked this up in my local library on a shelf marked recommended reads and from the first page it had my full attention. A dark, well written thriller, with a theme some might find hard to cope with [missing children] i really enjoyed this book and will return to other books written by the same author.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, 8 Mar 2013
I really rate Paul Torday and have enjoyed all his books and this is no exception, it is a gripping read. Other reviews have comprehensively outlined the plot so I can't add to that, what I can say is that it is a really original and excellent book and I really look forward to his next offering.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The light really shines, 9 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Light Shining in the Forest (Kindle Edition)
I loved this book. Torday brings his stereotyped characters to life with his simple crisp prose and, as a result, the reader is quite happy to be drawn into the implausible plot, particularly as the tension builds towards the end. His usual sad ending is tempered this time with dollops of promise for the future. This is his best since "Girl on the landing". Buy it and relax into it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Light Shining in the Forest
5.49
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews