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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 12 November 2001
Having read a few of Deborah Moggach's other books I had high hopes of a cracking good read. As ever Moggach has introduced us to some very real characters; identifiable without being too stereotypical. By portraying many of the key scenes from several points of view, we can understand why the characters behave, think and worry as they do. This works really well, and generally the story moves along at a nice pace.
We follow two sets of neighbours over the course of a long, hot summer - a sweet and very hassled Kate at home with her two small kids while her husband James is flying back and forth to Brussels to bring the cash in for his family. Meanwhile next door, flippant and good-humoured Sam has given up work to write his first novel; his extremely competent and liberal wife, Jetta, works as a psychiatrist solving anything which comes into her path; along with their angst ridden teen daughter, Marion, who refuses to rebel and prefers to eat left-overs she has hidden under her bed.
The way Moggach develops the characters means that you really get to know them. You care about what happens to them. This also makes events funnier, more poignant and increases the dramatic tension. All of which make this a top read and keep the pages turning and make it feel a far shorter read than it actually is.
If you have read and enjoyed any other of Deborah Moggach's novels, then I have no doubt you will enjoy this. If you haven't read her before then this is as good a place to start as any.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 28 December 2011
I was disappointed by this book as I always expect a riveting plot and plenty of development with this writer, but this one takes for granted that the reader will stick with a story that doesn't entirely get off the ground or go anywhere interesting. The situation is, as in so many other books, the young married couple, the pains of losing your status as a fascinating lover and becoming just the mother of your children when the first gloss comes off the marriage and honeymoon scenarios. Kate has a toddler and a baby to take care of while her husband James is part of the British delegation to the EU. When they are able to be together Kate feels out of her depth with his complex political conversation and wonders if he still loves her as he used to do.

Next door there are Jetta - a psychologist with a full workload, and her husband Sam who is writing a novel, though that isn't going very well. There is also Marion, their teenaged daughter who has eating problems and suddenly develops an awkward fixation for one of the neighbourhood's fathers.

Not a lot happens, but everyone finds a solution to their problems. There is the potential here for one to wonder why Deborah Moggach bothered. It was rather like reading other people's diaries. You get the bare bones, but you never feel you are inside anyone's head.
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on 19 March 2014
I'm a huge Deborah Moggach fan but found this story disappointing. The story was very slow to develop and it was clearly set in the 1970's which confused me slightly as it wasn't written as though it was a period piece. I found the characters a bit two-dimensional and a little cliched - the beautiful but bored housewife/earth mother, the cold career-focused husband, the frustrated creative type struggling to write his book and his wife, a career woman who manages to carry over her ruthless efficiency into every aspect of her life. When I looked into its publication date (1979) I realised that this was probably one of her early novels and it explained why I didn't enjoy it as much as her more recent writing which is much more mature, confident and rings true on so many levels. Its still a good story and well written but is no match for 'Close Relations' which I enjoyed hugely and was a fantastic read.
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on 25 October 2015
Beautifully written, as is always the case with Deborah Moggach, but without the usual intruiging plot to back it up. In fact there is barely a plot at all, just descriptions of the characters' dull, lonely lives. Disappointing.
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on 27 February 2014
Fairly rattles along with hugely entertaining characters and a brilliant narrative. Author really hits the spot in describing the village and locations - easy to visualise all the details.
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on 12 January 2015
I enjoyed this book although perhaps not one of my favourite Deborah Moggach stories. It was about the relationship between neighbours - not a huge amount of action but worth reading.
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on 23 February 2015
After a few pages I realised I had read this book under a different title. It was OK - quite predictable but bowled along nicely. Nice ending. Sympathetic characters.
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on 12 September 2015
I am still reading this book and enjoying it very much. As usual, it is well written, as all Deborah Moggach's books are. Can't wait to see what happens next!
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on 19 March 2014
Dull. The plot never develops. Her more recent writing such as heartbreak hotel is much better. Disappointing characters. It's a shame
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on 15 March 2015
Very disappointing. Struggled to get to the 'end'. Not worth reading. Plot weak, uninteresting characters and left me uninterested.
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