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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Living the Dream in the Country
Suzanne Bugler's books all concentrate on family relationships, her descriptions so good that each time I read one of her books it feels like I am peeking through the windows on someone else's life.

In the safest Place starts with Jane persuading her husband to live their dream, this couple's dream is to live in the country. Once Jane decides that she wants to...
Published 12 months ago by C. Bannister

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wine and whining.
I have just trudged my way through this terminally tedious story, hoping that it would redeem itself eventually and reward me for investing my reading time. Sadly, no. It didn't.

A thoroughly unlikeable lady gets what she wished for, at a cost that was there to be plainly predicted from the outset. She may have moved but she has taken herself with her. And how...
Published 3 months ago by Mrs. Katharine Kirby


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Living the Dream in the Country, 29 Mar 2013
By 
C. Bannister (Jersey, CI) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Safest Place (Paperback)
Suzanne Bugler's books all concentrate on family relationships, her descriptions so good that each time I read one of her books it feels like I am peeking through the windows on someone else's life.

In the safest Place starts with Jane persuading her husband to live their dream, this couple's dream is to live in the country. Once Jane decides that she wants to move and broaches the idea she quickly escalates to a full blown campaign to make the move happen. The couples two children, a quiet son Sam and a younger daughter Ella are promised an idyllic life but the dream soon becomes a little troubled as reality encroaches.

I don't read Suzanne Bugler's books for an action packed read, her books are far more about observing people and their relationships, however I was surprised that it took quite so long for the event to happen that is to change everything for all of them. The relationships are well observed, mother to teenage son, the envy Jane hopes to inspire to her London friends to that she feels towards her new friend in the country .the sadness of a marriage under strain and the way Jane feels like a teenage daughter when conversing with her own parents are all perfectly drawn.

Suzanne Bugler is an expert on mothers of all types as illustrated in her previous two books This Perfect World and The Child Inside
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't believe I haven't discovered this author before, 23 Mar 2013
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A. Linton (Manchester, Manchester United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Safest Place (Kindle Edition)
Have you ever wondered what really happens to those couples who trade a sophisticated (if cramped) existence in the capital for some picturesque but remote village? This novel completely captures the middle class angst and sense of entitlement which drives those couples who are already living a life which most people in the UK, never mind the rest of the world, would regard as aspirational. I was gripped by this dark tale from beginning to end and would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who wants something with a little more edge than the average chicklit or romantic novel.

Sometimes Amazon recommendations really do come up trumps and this is a case in point - not only was 'The Safest Place' a great read but now I also have the chance to catch up with the back catalogue of this extremely talented writer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sinister, albeit slow, read, 30 Nov 2013
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Miss R. Hughes (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Safest Place (Paperback)
I have been a fan of Suzanne Bugler's since reading and being impressed by This Perfect World, and found this novel to share similar themes of outward contentment yet inner resentment, of the dark tone female friendships can take.

Like 'This Perfect World', there is irony in the title of the novel: the safest place proves, ultimately to be anything but. The novel is certainly character rather than plot driven, as the plot in itself is so straightforward as to risk being slightly dull: Jane Berry makes the decision to move her family - husband David and children Sam and Ella - from London to a rural location. Unsurprisingly, things begin blissfully but slowly disintegrate: the novel's climax then causes Jane to reconsider.

This is certainly an enjoyable read: the lack of complexity of the plot and the relatively slow pace of any action mean the reader is at liberty to consider the characters, which seems to be the author's intent. Like a previous reviewer, I also smiled at the names of the children - "Sam and Ella" is, however, as far as I can see, a deliberate and conscious choice on the part of Bugler. By having Jane christen her children names which are perfectly innocuous individually but together sound ridiculous at best (like a deadly virus at worst!) we are given important clues about Jane's character. Jane Berry is not a woman who thinks at length or considers the impact of her actions, on herself or on others, with regard to the naming of children or the moving of a family. I did find Jane's attitude so unreasonable as to be unrealistic at several points in the novel which is part of the reason I awarded the book four stars. However, Jane's self-awareness is skilfully managed - her (admittedly slow) realisation in the part she played in some of the events is very well written.

The novel is able to simultaneously have the reader want to shake Jane for her foolishness, yet also understand and to a degree sympathise with how this foolishness came about and is as such very well written and certainly worth reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark, bleak, depressing but kind of brilliant, 27 Jan 2014
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Love Books "Jessie" (Durham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Safest Place (Paperback)
I've just finished reading this book and I feel exhausted. It's not exactly an enjoyable experience, more of a masochistic exercise. But it's very well written and in a miserable, nerve-wracking way, it's very good.

Jane badgers her husband David into buying a dream house in the country, and the family ups sticks and moves from London to their West Country idyll. All this is very well described and tension builds almost imperceptibly. At first Jane is smug. She invites people down so she can show off the family's wonderful new life. But David is spending five hours a day commuting, making friends is not so easy when you live a long way from anywhere, and soon the cracks begin to show.

Jane's relationship with her new friend Melanie, a woman with a more laid-back attitude to parenting is plausible and fantastically well described. Melanie is completely believable, in fact of all the characters in the book she is probably the most real.

This is less a story about Jane and more about her teenage son Sam and its Sam's story, the fact that he does not really have a safe place, that is so harrowing.

I didn't enjoy it, but it's completely compelling and rather brilliant. Suzanne Bugler is a fantastic writer. Recommended but only if you're feeling very buoyant to start with.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wine and whining., 12 Jan 2014
By 
Mrs. Katharine Kirby "Kate" (HELSTON, Cornwall United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Safest Place (Paperback)
I have just trudged my way through this terminally tedious story, hoping that it would redeem itself eventually and reward me for investing my reading time. Sadly, no. It didn't.

A thoroughly unlikeable lady gets what she wished for, at a cost that was there to be plainly predicted from the outset. She may have moved but she has taken herself with her. And how could any poor husband survive a two and a half hour each way daily commute? He had my sympathy but as he doesn't feature a great deal, that didn't help engage me much.

Set to self-destruct and drag her unfortunate children with her; Jane swans along oblivious to the misery she is creating; pushing for the Country Living dream, powering along an inevitable path to a mess someone else has to clear up.

The only friendship she manages to make is the worst of all choices; Melanie and her children look hopeful at first but then become part of the problem. Their two worlds collide and the bomb goes off.

This felt like a particularly dreary soap opera. Even Jane hates herself so sticking with her drab story seems a big ask. She admits being nasty, spiteful and without real empathy. I felt she was immature and silly, cruel even.

However people do behave as Jane does and she was honest about her failings, when looking back. There were plenty of recognisable, believable conversations, well observed writing, sharp dialogue. I liked that but felt it was let down by the rather weak plot.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Triumph from Suzanne Bugler, 1 April 2013
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This review is from: The Safest Place (Paperback)
Once again Suzanne Bugler has skewered the strange, brittle world some middle class people live in, where what your life appears to be like is far more important than what it really is. In lesser hands, the protagonist Jane Berry would have come across as snobbish, pathetic and entirely deserving of the disintegration of her "perfect" family life. However, Ms Bugler manages to make her sympathetic and worthy of our empathy. I can't think of a current modern fiction writer who is so capable of describing the minutiae of everyday life whilst imbuing it with such significance and easy recognition. I highly recommend this book if you enjoyed her last two, she does not disappoint.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very dark story, 22 Sep 2013
This review is from: The Safest Place (Kindle Edition)
Having read a couple of Suzanne Bugler's novels previously, I knew what to expect from her writing. Once again, it was a very dark and edgy novel, with one scene in particular that completely shocked me as it was something I wasn't expecting. The deterioration of Jane in her supposed idyllic country house is well written by Bugler as everything around Jane, starts to fall apart. A good read but don't expect too many light hearted moments.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, disturbing and totally compelling read, 30 July 2013
By 
JM (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Safest Place (Paperback)
For me, the rating of a book mainly relates to how much I want to pick it up, not necessarily whether it has the greatest plot in the world (although that helps), but how readable it is. I rated this book 5 stars because I was so reluctant to put it down and was desperate to keep on reading. Some other reviewers complained it was slow and nothing much happened, but I thought it was just the nature of the story, a slow burner, and very subtle; if you're looking for action and adventure this isn't the book for you. This is a clever and disturbing story, very well written d completely absorbing. I read the author's previous novel 'This Perfect World' and enjoyed it but this one was so much better. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read, taut and dark, 8 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Safest Place (Kindle Edition)
Thoroughly enjoyed this, as I have Suzanne Bugler`s other books. Her writing style is polished and lean. I got through this in 2 days. I thought Jane`s husband was painted as somewhat blameless, though he could have made more of an effort to take time off work when it mattered, for his family. I loved the villains Melanie and Max, expertly painted :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Safest Place, 25 May 2013
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A very good read,got very involved with this family and really cared about what happened to them,would love a sequel to this book just to see how their lives worked out.Would recommend this book and also the others by this author.
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