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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Suspenseful and Unsettling Read
Rachel, newly pregnant, and husband, Dan, decide to visit a Caribbean island for their January honeymoon; Rachel envisages beaches of white sand, fringed with palm trees and girls with flowers in their hair, serving cocktails by the pool. Glad to have left winter behind them, Rachel and Dan arrive in Antigua all set for their holiday in paradise, but as soon as they...
Published on 27 Mar. 2013 by Susie B

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3.0 out of 5 stars The Quickening
This review contains SPOILERS.
I find Julie Myerson's books interesting and demanding. The latter because of the super natural elements, which I do not find easy to take in. In this case I dealt with this by interpreting Rachel as highly sensitive and imaginative. The novel shows Rachel becoming increasingly cut off from the people around her and ending up in her own...
Published 3 months ago by critica


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3.0 out of 5 stars The Quickening, 3 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: The Quickening (Kindle Edition)
This review contains SPOILERS.
I find Julie Myerson's books interesting and demanding. The latter because of the super natural elements, which I do not find easy to take in. In this case I dealt with this by interpreting Rachel as highly sensitive and imaginative. The novel shows Rachel becoming increasingly cut off from the people around her and ending up in her own world. I went along with that for quite a long way, enjoying the story and the setting on Antiqua. However, the end was so brutal that I could hardly read it. I also did not understand the earlier two murders. Was this about killing everybody who was kind and caring? Was this a way of dealing with the denied loss? (I try not to give the story away.) The story went to a very dark and ugly place and I could not follow it anymore. Three stars.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Weak entry in Hammer novels series. Disappointing and cliched., 23 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: The Quickening (Kindle Edition)
I read this book after listening to Julie Myerson talk about it at a recent Literature festival event and also because I have read several others in the Hammer series. 'The Quickening' had a strong enough opening but petered out in the middle and the ending disappointed. Like other reviewers here, I too wondered if it would have been published at all if an unknown had written it, instead of which an established author (Myerson) approached Hammer after reading Helen Dunmore's entry (The Great Coat) and being inspired to write her own supernatural entry. (Myerson told the audience this at the event) and Hammer commissioned her. The characters are thin, and don't really emotionally engage the reader. I kept waiting for something to happen. The ghost pops up every so often, described in the same cliched way each time. By the time the twist comes round at the end, it's a bit hard to care.
The total lack of regular use of speech marks for dialogue (and there is a lot of dialogue) might be a trendy experiment, but I wonder if it is effective? It didn't work for me. Overall disappointing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A huge disappointment, 23 April 2015
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Clarissa (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Quickening (Kindle Edition)
A mess. Utterly inept. I like mysteries and this one was just overdone and silly.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Suspenseful and Unsettling Read, 27 Mar. 2013
By 
Susie B - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Quickening (Hardcover)
Rachel, newly pregnant, and husband, Dan, decide to visit a Caribbean island for their January honeymoon; Rachel envisages beaches of white sand, fringed with palm trees and girls with flowers in their hair, serving cocktails by the pool. Glad to have left winter behind them, Rachel and Dan arrive in Antigua all set for their holiday in paradise, but as soon as they arrive, very strange things begin to happen: furniture moves by itself; glasses shatter into hundreds of pieces; objects appear to have a life of their own and Rachel begins to experience worrying dreams. Are these occurrences delusions? Is there an angry and restless spirit at large? Or is Rachel being targeted by something more earthly, but no less sinister? Or could it be that it is Dan, and not Rachel, who is actually in danger? Obviously, I have to leave that for prospective readers to discover.

Published by Arrow Books in association with Hammer Films, this is a suspenseful and unsettling tale by an author who is very good at creating and building an atmosphere of tension and uncertainty. I must admit to being rather easily scared, so if you enjoy reading seriously terrifying horror stories, you may find that this slim novel might not satisfy; however this short, fast-moving story kept me turning the pages keen to discover just what was really happening on this honeymoon from hell, and just who was really in danger. A book to read and enjoy in one sitting, but not one that will keep you awake at night too scared to turn off the light!

4 Stars.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the scariest piece of fiction I've read... But entertaining nonetheless., 21 May 2014
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Lola (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Quickening (Kindle Edition)
This is the first book by Julie Myerson I read and it started very promising (I stated it late Saturday night and had to stop reading because I was made so uneasy by the narrative, I envisioned voodoo magic, dead people talking through the bodies of native Caribbean folk, re-incarnation and what not!). It all started sooo good. It gave me chills!

The hammer books are designed to be read in one sitting and I finished “The Quickening” the next day. Yes, it is a page-turner, but is it a thrilling read that will scare and terrify you? Not really. Ms Myerson also got muddled up in the end, all the evidence that she provided in the beginning (the driver’s comment about the husband upon arriving, moving chairs, chandelier flying from the wall – all of this and more did not really tie up with the story).

I don’t what to spoil it for you, but the final explanation does not really explain the killings. And what’s with the luxury resort serving fried chips and coke bottles and cigarette butts scattered everywhere (I know, it’s a small point, but it became annoying towards the end)? And the final plot twist? You kinda see it coming (although I did wonder who would be the final victim for a while!).

Not the scariest piece of fiction I've read, but it actually encouraged me to try more of Julie Myerson.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More Chills Please, 8 July 2013
This review is from: The Quickening (Hardcover)
This is another ghost story from the people from Hammer and it was an entertaining read but there were a few things that I wasn't so keen on. A newly wedded couple go on their honeymoon to a tropical island but things start to go wrong when things go bump in the night.

This is well written, the sentences and dialogue have been well crafted. The lack of dialogue demarcation actually makes an interesting view on the flow of the story, and the first half of the novel is quite gripping. However, I did find at times I was getting increasingly irritated with the character of Rachel - she became whingy and to be honest, if I was Dan I would have left her to it. The ghost was good, but appeared too many times, I wasn't scared of him and I would like to have discovered more of his story.

I bought the hardback and it's a pretty object, I can appreciate the interesting writing style and really enjoyed the first half. Its worth a read, if you like ghost stories, but like me, you might find you want to leave Rachel behind on the island.
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1.0 out of 5 stars laughably, embarrassingly bad, 24 May 2015
This review is from: The Quickening (Hardcover)
Well, that's it, really. As an attempt at a horror story it fails completely and should never have been allowed to see the light of day. It is a shame as Miss Myerson has already written a superb horror story -- her autobiographical account of her hair-rising experience with her seriously difficult (an understatement) son.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars AVOIDING ALL CLICHES, 7 July 2013
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This review is from: The Quickening (Hardcover)
Julie Myerson is one of the most gifted British novelists currently writing. As she demonstrated some two decades ago with her first novel, "Sleepwalking", she possesses a deft touch for unsettling the reader with a phrase or sometimes even a single word, a touch that is veritably MR James-ian (and I can think of no higher praise). "The Quickening" - like Helen Dunmore's "The Greatcoat" and Jeanette Winterson's "The Daylight Gate" - is a work commissioned by Hammer, and long may they continue commissioning books by writers such as these. In "The Quickening" (which refers to the first flutters of a baby felt by pregnant women), Rachel allows herself to be taken on holiday to a Caribbean resort by her husband, Dan - and I am afraid that it is these two characters who have prevented me from awarding Myerson's book the full five stars I so wanted to give it. Rachel comes across as being a bit half-soaked, Dan as rather insensitive and selfish; you cannot help feeling that were you to encounter them on holiday, you would after day one be giving this pair a wide berth. Yet Myerson's skill as a novelist keeps you turning the pages. She avoids all the hoary old cliches: there are no creaking old houses here, no fog-shrouded graveyards, and the appariton Rachel keeps seeing is suitably hideous and has a disturbing tendency to pop up in daylight - and full, sun-drenched Caribbean daylight at that. Is she going mad? This one of the many ambiguities Myerson has weaved into her narrative (one that is not satsifactorily pursued is the vexing question of whether or not Dan has visited this island before), and, along with Myerson's seductive prose, they will keep you guessing, and reading avidly, until the end.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary as Hell, 22 April 2013
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This review is from: The Quickening (Hardcover)
I've always had a soft spot for a good ghost story. I love that delicious sense of unease and the eerie feeling that somehow, somewhere, in some manner you can't quite put your finger on events and situations which should be logical and sensible are just not quite right. Ghost stories are the literary equivalents of those moments when you catch, or think you catch, something moving from the corner of your eye or hear a creek on the stairs when you know for certain you're alone in the house. The Quickening is part ghost story and part horror story but most importantly, no matter what the exact genre in which it operates, it works beautifully. The mark of the truly scary tale is always the reveal at the end. With The Quickening there are really two twists. One I saw coming, but only at the very end while the other completely took me by surprise. Like an expert conjurer Myerson has you looking in one direction when you really should be looking in the other ....

Dan and Rachel, recently married and expecting their first child, head to the Caribbean on honeymoon swapping the chilly grey of London for the clear skies and heat of a paradise isle. When they arrive however inexplicable events seem to occur with Rachel as their focus. Glass shatters for no reason; the locals give her cryptic warnings and an old school friend of Dan's occasionally crosses her path although nobody else ever sees him and the hotel has no record of him being a guest. As the strange events escalate Rachel becomes ever more anxious while Dan remains strangely calm, but just who is in danger and who, or what, is the predator?

The Quickening is a relatively short book but that works in its favour. The cast of characters is fairly small and the narrative moves at a tremendous pace - it has been a long while since I found myself turning the pages of a book with such eagerness to find out what happens next. Just when the pieces appear to be falling into place something bizarre and unexpected will cause you to re-evaluate what you know, or what you think you know. I remember reading somewhere that Julie Myerson is a fan of Daphne du Maurier and there is more than a hint of du Maurier's haunting short stories ('Don't Look Now' in particular) in The Quickening. It's a disturbing book, and one which is more brutal than it at first appears, but the supernatural elements are well handled and while the conclusion is suitably unexpected and shocking an air of mystery remains up to the very end, and perhaps beyond. The truly frightening ghost story is a rarity but for me this one worked beautifully. The Quickening is haunting in a very clever, and a very disturbing, fashion. Brilliant.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sorry Julie, 21 April 2013
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This review is from: The Quickening (Kindle Edition)
I'm a dedicated fan, and will be forever grateful for 'Living with Teenagers', while Laura Blundy is one of my all-time favourite novels. I will read whatever Julie publishes.

I know this story was a departure for her, an experiment with a different form.

But for me, it should have stayed as just that - an unpublished experimental manuscript, to be recycled into something good at a future date.

This story was wooden, the details left sloppy (no-one can get married in a couple of days) and neither the characters nor their perambulation through the scenes were remotely credible, or interesting.

Ok, there's an unexpected twist - but by that time I was indifferent.
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The Quickening
The Quickening by Julie Myerson
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