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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another triumph for Graham Joyce
Having read all of Graham Joyce's novels I find it hard to credit that his books are never, ever 'samey'. Instead each one is imbued with a different emotional aftertaste and with 'The Year of the Ladybird' he excels once again in capturing those balmy days of that long hot summer.
Anyone who remembers the summer of 1976, recalls that seemingly endless time when each...
Published 21 months ago by Wiccawoman

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Snapshot of the cultural landscape and the supernatural don't meet seamlessly enough
I may have read too many novels by Joyce, whom I discovered earlier this year, too close together, because this particular outing had me latching on to his style and voice a little too easily, and I felt rather 'I've heard this one before', though of course I hadn't, but was experiencing the disappointment, rather than the comfort of, familiarity.

The Year Of...
Published 12 months ago by Lady Fancifull


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great book from Graham Joyce, 22 Aug. 2013
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Graham Joyce's characters are so well written I always leave his novels feeling like I might have actually met them, rather than read about them. Its the same with the dream-like environments they inhabit. TYOTL is a love story, a lust story, a story of dangerous politics and a fading industry - but most of all its a story of a young man laying ghosts to rest, growing up, falling in love and moving on.

The only reason I haven't given the book 5 stars is that - for me - the supernatural scenes upset the flow of the book; jarring the story, rather than flowing with it. But this is a quibble - I loved the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now you see it, now you don't, 12 May 2014
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There is a magician in this book but not really the main character and not a magician as in the supernatural. Nothing is as it seems, in this novel except the vivid depiction of what it is like to be a student in fairly mild rebellion against family expectations, to be an infatuated young man, sorting people around him into the good and the bad. A question mark even hangs over the real 'supernatural'.
The sad thing about the book is that the political situation of the late nineteen-seventies described so well is being re-enacted around us thirty-six years later.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!!, 25 July 2013
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This is a brilliant book - took me back to a fondly remembered summer from my childhood. The subject matter is delicate at times but true to what was happening back then although I did not know it at the time - fortunately things have moved on significantly.
Joyce introduces and develops his characters in a way that draws you in and compels you to carry on reading - I couldn't put it down!!!
Thanks again for another fabulous read Graham!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coming of age in the 70's, 27 Nov. 2013
By 
Mary Kersey (West Walesl UK) - See all my reviews
I received this book as a giveaway. It did not disappoint Having been of a similar age during the 1970's I could really relate to the storyline. Even without the ghost storyline I would have enjoyed the book as a coming of age story. The characters were well drawn and believable. I read the book at one sitting as I wanted to know what was going to happen. I will look for this author again
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ladybird hits the spot!, 8 July 2013
By 
sharon York (FALMOUTH, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I have not read a book of Graham Joyce' s that doesn't stay with me long after I've turned the last page. This one brings back long forgotten memories of a time and place. The past truly is a different country I must remember to cross the border occasionally. Another great read I give thanks for.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely read, 1 Jan. 2014
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Bought it by accident whilst looking for something to read. Must adjust I wasn't sure at first but it's an easy read that keeps you wanting more. Well written with the ability to twist and turn at an easy pace, I'd recommend this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book couldn't put it down, 26 Jun. 2013
Great book couldn't put it down. Took me back to my childhood days of Skeggy . Mysterious plot and dark undercurrents of an unsettled time. Memories of drought and ladybirds set in the 70s.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Year of the Ladybird, 24 Jan. 2014
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Enjoyable easy read but not really much of a ghost story. Nothing much seemed to happen but I don't think it was meant to. Will definitely read something else by this author.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Snapshot of the cultural landscape and the supernatural don't meet seamlessly enough, 9 Mar. 2014
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I may have read too many novels by Joyce, whom I discovered earlier this year, too close together, because this particular outing had me latching on to his style and voice a little too easily, and I felt rather 'I've heard this one before', though of course I hadn't, but was experiencing the disappointment, rather than the comfort of, familiarity.

The Year Of The Ladybird is a growing to manhood book, set in the long, hot, dry summer of 1976. Set in a holiday camp in Skegness, amongst the seasonal workers, it follows the story of David Barwise, a young student, working the summer vac as a Greencoat. David has some history with the place, which is revealed over the life of the book, and is connected with the 'supernatural elements' in the publicity info - the book is billed as a ghost story.

In my earlier readings of Joyce, I felt that his finger on the cultural and political landscape of his settings, has been excellent, and that the other realities or fantasy settings are a kind of deepening of the more acceptable realities.

Unfortunately, this was not the case here. The closed, curious locked in a week-long time-warp and fake community world of the holiday camp and the turned in on itself world of the camp workers, were excellently done. So too, particularly was the sense of a very real and corrupt underside to that world. Seasonal work of that kind attracts all kinds of disparate people, and some have darker stories than others, to explain why they are there. The undercurrent of some of the dark happenings and rumblings from organised, far right, racist groups was menacing and potent. So was the slightly incestuous nature of sex and romance, within the 'family' of the workers within the camp. All this had me absorbed. However, the ghost elements of the man in the blue suit and the small boy, with their eyes like glass failed to convince this reader, and i found their tacking into the story an annoyance. The uncovering of David's real history with Skegness (which I'm sure I'm not alone in having cracked immediately) could I think have been managed better without them. I felt there were two books here - a well written one, evoking a time, place, and rite of passage of sorts, and a short ghost story. Either could have stood alone, together, they felt a little less than each would have been without the other
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coming of Age in Skegness Circa 1976, 24 July 2014
By 
A. Ross (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
I've never heard of World Fantasy Award-winner Joyce before, but the coming-of-age plot of this (more or less) non-fantasy book caught my attention. It's a quasi-autobiographical story narrated by an English teenager who has just finished his first year of college. The year is 1976, and instead of working as a laborer for his stepfather's construction business, David takes a jack-of-all-trades hospitality gig at a seaside resort in Skegness.

Lounging on England's east coastline, about 150 miles north of London, Skegness has all the charm of a third-rate destination. The resort is a fading institution, catering to the outmoded variety-show holiday tastes of the working class who are soon to be ground under the heel of Thatcherism. As one might expect from such a setting, David is thrust into a colorful and bewildering cast of coworkers, including a jabbering Mancunian roommate, an Italian tenor, some terrifying kitchen workers, a beautiful dancer, a jolly impresario with a dark side, and dangerously dour cleaner married to a much younger attractive woman. Adventures with all these people ensue, and David learns a bit about life while the reader gets a nostalgic portrait of a bygone time and place.

Meanwhile, David is also being plagued by momentary glimpses of a mysterious man with a small child. This is the ghost of the title, and the reader discovers early on that his natural father had some connection to Skegness, and that the man in the suit has some connection to his father. The light comedy and romance of David's adventures complement the heavier tone of the more supernatural storyline, and the combination succeeds. Definitely recommended for those who enjoy coming-of-age plots or fiction set in 1970s England.
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