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79 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars historical saga's as they should be done.
Norah Lofts was a natural-born storyteller, and nowhere is this more evident than in her Town House trilogy, which covers nearly 700 years in the history of one house in a Suffolk town (based on Bury St Edmunds). I've read so many historical saga's where the author makes heavy weather of history, and often sacrifices characters to the great events he/she is writing...
Published on 5 April 2004 by S. Hapgood

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I agree with much of what other reviewers have said and they are obviously going to completely disagree with what I say.

First of all, the positives: she writes beautifully; the historical and 'folk' detail is very authentic and interesting; she shows great understanding of human nature.

However, there is something indefinably sad about so many...
Published on 1 Feb 2012 by P A Noble


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79 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars historical saga's as they should be done., 5 April 2004
By 
S. Hapgood "www.sjhstrangetales.com" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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Norah Lofts was a natural-born storyteller, and nowhere is this more evident than in her Town House trilogy, which covers nearly 700 years in the history of one house in a Suffolk town (based on Bury St Edmunds). I've read so many historical saga's where the author makes heavy weather of history, and often sacrifices characters to the great events he/she is writing about. Lofts though tells her story in the first-person through the eyes of a diverse set of characters, five in all, and she is at ease in each one, and each has a fascinating tale to tell. Most of the book revolves around the life of Martin Reed, who, as a young man breaks away from serfdom when the lord of the manor forbids him to marry the girl he loves. With her he escapes to the market town of Baildon, and there endures many terrible hardships before a chance stroke of fate enables him to set up as a wool merchant. It is he who builds the Town House, or the House At Old Vine, as it is also known, and thus begins the long history of the house and its motley line of inhabitants.

This book roughly covers from the late 14th century to the 1440s, (the second two in the trilogy cover a couple of hundred years apiece),and each page brings vivid imagery of the late Medieval era to life. Lofts shows a deep understanding of life and all the diverse (and sometimes irrational) things which motivate people to act the way they do. She shows an era which was colourful, but intensely hard for most who lived it, and she never makes the fatal flaw of trying to put a modern-day slant on the way her characters think and behave. Lofts is a writer much-loved by her fans, and when you read the House trilogy you will see why.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Norah Lofts is a wonderful writer!, 26 April 2009
By 
Susan Edwards (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I am so pleased to see that Norah Loft's novel are being re-published. I have all of them, and many are in poor condition with being read so much. She writes a lot in the first person which I find gives the stories a very personal touch. Jassy was the first one that I read, and then the "House" trilogy. She makes her characters come alive, and her books are guaranteed to be very "can't put this book down"! I can honestly say that I would recommend her novels to anyone who enjoys historic fiction, but which also are full of reality and facts of the period. I have just had to replace "Pargeters" which was sadly her last novel. I wish I could thank her for all the pleasure she has given to me and many others over the years. (she has also written some factual books, and some "whodunnits" under the name of Peter Curtis.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am glad to see this trilogy back in print, 18 Jun 2009
By 
P. Revill (UK) - See all my reviews
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My original copy of the Town House Trilogy is dog-eared from being read over and over again, it is so good, a really gripping read from cover to cover. Norah Lofts created magic with her writing,there is no clumsiness in her text. I am always carried off into another world by the images her writing creates. I am looking forward to reading this trilogy again soon. Try some of her books, you will love them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!!!, 20 July 2011
Just getting to the end of The Town House on kindle and am immediately going to buy the rest of the trilogy. What a fantastic story with great attention to detail and historical fact.
Norah lofts is one of my favourite historical fiction writers.The Town House (Suffolk House Trilogy 1)
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lifetime of pleasure, 16 Jun 2010
By 
Mrs. J. Brown "Jo Brown" (london, UK) - See all my reviews
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I have been reading the books of Norah Lofts since I was a teenager and I am now in my 50's. She never ceases to entertain me no matter how many times I read her books. The Old Vine trilogy of books are my favourites as they combine great stories with historical accuracy. Norah Lofts is unjudgmental about her characters and their motivations - I find this refreshing as it allows me space to make up my own mind about them! Read them and enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb writing, 27 Sep 2011
By 
R. Lawler "Hilary" (Norfolk, England) - See all my reviews
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Having read this book - and indeed the rest of the trilogy - more than 35 years ago I was delighted when it was produced on kindle (the only way I read now!) Norah Lofts is an excellent author, and The House Trilogy is one of her finest works in my opinion. Anyone who is interested in historical fiction will love these stories. Masterpieces of their time. Thank you to whoever has produced them on kindle and may we have many more Norah Loft books reproduced in this manner so that a whole new modern generation can enjoy them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favourite Book, 9 Sep 2011
Eight years ago I picked this up from my grandmother's book shelf expecting a light romance to help me get to sleep, but I was drawn into the story of Martin Reed from the first page and read for hours. It is one of the rare books that is as much a pleasure to reread as much as the first time that I was drawn in and I delight discovering details that I had over looked and thinking over the subtle clues that add to the tale.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great writing!, 3 Oct 2010
Firstly, may I say that I put paragraph indents in this where they belong, but Amazon takes them out!

I can honestly say that I'm NOT a fan of historical fiction on the whole. I can also honestly say that I ADORE Norah Lofts' novels. I have all of them, except "Lovers all Untrue", and "The day of the Butterfly", which I disliked. I've read a Wayside Tavern at least once a year since I was 9 years old... I am now 37.
The Town House Trilogy is to the point, dramatic without being queasily histrionic and cheesily melodramatic, as so many other historic fiction is. You can really love and hate all these characters, because you can see yourself, and the people you know, in their motivations aspirations and disappointments. This is a great place to start reading Norah Lofts.
I love these because they are written in ENGLISH. So many novels puporting to be written in English, are not. They are WELL written. They leave out all the romantic fol-de-rol, except when it's germane to the story. YAY! I'm not the kind of woman who ever went for romantic, prettied up guff. Neither is Norah Lofts - she gets to the nitty gritty. The writing is punchy and moves right along without swathes of unecessary detail filling out a word quota. No Fluff here. ( BTW-TO ALL THE PUBLISHERS OUT THERE - we are well aware that you impose word quotas on certain big selling Authors - DON"T!!!! It makes for bad books and it shows!!! It's like big green mending patches on a red jacket. Not all readers are blindly uninformed, and have no idea about writing.)
It does help if you have a general understanding and knowledge of the events of history in Europe and Britain, although the stories are still fascinating if you don't - perhaps more so? Anyway, you don't really need to brush up on your history.
One of her best is "How far to Bethlehem?" I'm not a Christian, though I'm familiar with their religion, I still really adore this book. I also loved the Lute Player... Don't be deceived, her books are not lovey-dovey, although the publishers have often tried to put that feel forward on the covers.
If you like these you might also read Hugh Walpole's "Rogue Herries" series of books. Also well written, and without 'over the top' sentiment.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 1 Feb 2012
I agree with much of what other reviewers have said and they are obviously going to completely disagree with what I say.

First of all, the positives: she writes beautifully; the historical and 'folk' detail is very authentic and interesting; she shows great understanding of human nature.

However, there is something indefinably sad about so many human beings (the main characters as we go through the periods of history of the house) predisposed to nastiness (dare I say 'evil' in this PC day and age?), if not outright murder, even from a very young age. There were a few positively 'good' characters, but they seemed to me outweighed by the 'bad' ones. Although I couldn't put the three books successively down, something in me longed to do so, to loosen their obsessive grip on me, and now I have sold them on on Amazon, whereas I have retained 'The Lute Player' and 'How far is it to Bethlehem', the only other two I have so far read of her books. This trilogy has, overall, left an unpleasant taste in my mouth. Sorry, all those Norah Lofts fans out there, but just felt I had to point this out to those who have never read her and might not want to start with these particular books.

One other thing: there are a quite exceptional amount of typos in all the History Press books I have so far read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not my usual read . . ., 6 Sep 2011
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I was completely captivated by this book. Can't wait to read parts 2 and 3. The book starts off quite gently and just jogs along for a while. Just when I thought this was how it was going to continue throughout the book, without spoiling the story, I couldn't have been more wrong!! It's a really good story and a really good read. I can't see how anyone with an imagination could fail to enjoy this book. Norah Lofts really sets the scene, gives the characters real personalities and creates believable situations and events. Fabulous book - not to be missed.
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