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4.5 out of 5 stars209
4.5 out of 5 stars
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 30 May 2013
I really enjoyed this book. As a keen amateur genealogist myself, I could really relate to how addicted Peter became with trying to solve the mysteries he was uncovering as the result of buying an old marriage certificate that had caught his eye on an antique stall. The story was very well-written, and the characters believable, and I was gripped from start to finish! I hope the author will write some more novels on this sort of subject. Highly recommended.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 9 May 2013
Although not a thriller in the usual sense, I found it as gripping as one and didn't want to put it down! Interesting subject matter and a very welcome change from the usual topics books are written around. Thoroughly recommend it. A great read.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. I found myself totally immersed in the Victorian story, at the same time eager to uncover the truth behind the Wedding Certificate. It's a fascinating plot, with lives and events being revealed in a simple narrative style which I felt made it all the more realistic and emotional. I was impressed by the amount of research which must have gone into the book and how the author has managed to mix historical fact, human emotion and modern genealogical techniques into one brilliant story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
When Peter sees a marriage certificate on sale at an antiques fair he decides to buy it on a whim. As an amateur genealogist he is moved to discover more about the couple, Louisa Crockford and John Williams who married in 1900. Who were the couple? What happened after they married and why was their marriage certificate up for sale when surely it should have been kept by their family?

This story alternates with that of Rosetta Ince beginning in 1898 and Peter's search in the present. In the past we get to know more about the young draper with ambitions to own her own shop, her hopes and her dreams and the understanding that as a woman at the turn of the century she couldn't have the marriage and the career it just wasn't possible.

The groom is off to fight in the Boer war in South Africa. This is not a war knew much about but Stephen Molyneaux's writing certainly appeared to be well researched and with Rose moving to the Isle of Wight the bond between her and Lousia remains strong with letters and the newly invented postcards made their way between the two women.

I really liked this book, it was strong on the historical aspect. It also realistically portrayed quite how easy it is to make assumptions when researching family history, although Peter had more lucky finds than I ever have had! There were plenty of sad moments and I got quite involved, wanting to know the full story. The book concluded on a twist, which although not unexpected, rounded off this great story nicely.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2013
Great to see some genealogy fiction/mystery books out there.
I loved "The Marriage Certificate" and could well relate to Peter Sefton each time the postman arrived bring envelopes containing birth, death or marriage certificates.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, loved the suspense and the surprise at the VERY end was something I'd contemplated while
reading the book but had forgotten when I got more and more involved with the story.
Only problem is that there is, so far, not another book by Stephen Molyneux to read. I hope "The Marriage Certificate" is the first in a series.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 26 July 2013
This book was engaging both due to the family history that forms the story's core, and the genealogical methods used to discover that history. Whilst the family may itself be fictional, the author writes of its members with such authority and knowledge of his subject that it is easy to see this as almost a universal tale of ancestry.
Although I feel that the plot drags a little towards the middle, it quickly picks up pace again and leads to an interesting finale.
A great deal of research has clearly been done, particularly with regards to dates and the nature of the Boer and First World wars. The writing style suits the content insofar as it is straightforward and designed to further the plot, rather than lingering for too long on descriptive detail.
It is a book well worth reading.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 13 November 2013
I bought this book on a recommendation from an acquaintance.
While the subject matter was of interest initially the author soon got bogged down in detailed explanation, which became quite tedious after a while.
I found an error in this detail which then had me wondering exactly what else might be incorrect and in the end I gave up caring about the characters and the outcome. I persevered until the end but even the last minute "beat the clock" scramble left me cold.
On the whole this was an interesting plot idea that was suffocated by too much minutiae and poor execution.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 August 2013
I really enjoyed the story line, how the book flowed well through the different historical events. That's is why I have given my review 5 stars, The Genealogy was gripping and towards the end a surprise finish I hadn't foreseen.

The only time I lost my way through the book was the long description of each Number of the train carriages. Only a minor point for me personally maybe. I would recommend this book to others. It was recommended to me by a friend and I enjoyed the book.
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Amateur genealogist, Peter Sefton, purchases a marriage certificate from an antiques centre. It catches his eye and he decides to try and find out more about the people who married in 1900 and their witnesses. This leads him to an unclaimed estate.

This book reminded me a lot of the TV programme Heir Hunters and in fact a firm of genealogical researchers does appear in the book. I loved how Peter dug deeper and deeper into the histories of the various people to eventually solve a mystery. This kind of genealogical fiction is right up my street and there aren't that many decent books like this one around.

There is the modern day investigation and also the story of Louisa and John, Rose and Frank in the early 1900s. If I had one complaint about this book it would be that the 1900s story has a very long section in the book which I think would have benefited from being broken up with a bit of the modern story, but once the story returned in earnest to the modern research the book just absolutely raced along and I couldn't put it down until it reached its conclusion.

An excellent read which will particularly appeal to those who enjoy modern history and family history research.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 December 2014
As a genealogist, I enjoyed the story that evolved through research into the single marriage document. It was a first venture into this sort of story for me but it was sufficiently interesting to give me ideas for my (not for publication) offering on my own research. The story had enough twists and turns to be plausible and it held my attention to the end. Maybe not the best written book ever but certainly not the worst. Give it a try!
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