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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 3 November 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed my latest outing with our hapless heroine Maureen. I especially enjoyed finding out more about her past history and in so doing gained some understanding of what makes her function or dysfunction as the case may be.
As in real life behind the façade of hilarity lurks a heart which aches to love and be loved and I find myself increasingly warming to the character as the series develops.
The author conjures up such vivid descriptions of Maureen's antics that they remain with the reader long after the book has finished. I shall never again see a rock shop or indeed a guest house without sparing her a thought and a smile.
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on 21 May 2014
This is a delightful mjix of humour and sadness, cleverly combined. Maureen visits Blackpool and I was there with her. I couldn't stop laughing at the references to Colin Firth. I quite agree with Maureen's choice! Was so sad the meerkat ended up in the skip. Intrigued? Read the book and all will come clear. Feel there is a touch of Alan Bennett in the author's style. Can see these books as another "Talking Heads" series. Wouild love to see them televised with Patricia Rutledge as Maureen. Love the books. Please keep them coming. I have only one left to read and am saving that as a treat. Amazed that Jonathan Hill can so accurately depict a woman of uncertain years.
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on 5 November 2013
Having encountered Maureen in two earlier novellas and two short stories I'm beginning to feel I know her quite well. I follow her on Twitter @MaureenEbooks and enjoy her barbed comments so was looking forward to reading this latest Maureen offering from Jonathan Hill. The context for this book is Maureen attempting to get over her bereavement after the sad demise of husband Roy. Maureen has planned a trip to Blackpool as part of her re-habilitation and the contrast between the destination here and on her other trip in Maureen goes to Venice couldn't be greater. I love Blackpool and greatly enjoyed how it's described in Maureen and The Big One: you can smell it as well as see it. Jonathan Hill has an excellent eye for detail and uses this to great effect as he establishes the setting and develops his characters. I particularly enjoyed Ada the B&B owner and her "husband", Trevor the taxi-driver and Stella the clairvoyant. You learn more about Maureen's background in this book which goes some way to explaining her personality and her less endearing traits and this gives the book more depth than the earlier ones. Once again Jonathan Hill has produced a well written and entertaining story which I enjoyed reading and highly recommend.
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on 22 February 2014
Everyone should read the Maureen books.
I say this because every time I read one, I come out of the other end smiling. Maureen is one of those people who we all recognise, but probably from a safe distance. Reading one of her adventures puts you slap bang in the middle of her life and although you might want to run away, you can't because you must see what happens. You know disaster beckons but it's compelling.

The Big One is no different. Maureen on holiday in Blackpool awakens some old memories for her and there are some genuinely intimate moments for both Maureen and the owner of the guest house. These aren't unnecessarily sentimental but they are well handled and only add to the colourful picture.

The story is a series of events taking place on The Golden Mile and there are plenty of laugh out loud moments. Her "dear off" with Ada is brilliant and I chuckled my way through it. I could mention each event but it wouldn't do it justice. You must read it for yourself. I challenge anyone not to come away chuckling!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 22 June 2014
It was simply lovely to touch base with Maureen again. She is the sort of character you just cannot help liking, but from a safe distance because you just know that if something can go wrong in any situation, it is going to go wrong when Maureen is around. The results are usually very funny, for the onlooker if not for Maureen. Maureen is a woman of a certain age, widowed, and I always think it is incredibly brave of the Maureens of this world to go on holiday by themselves. First we saw her go to Venice and now we join her on a weekend break in Blackpool. She has come to Blackpool to try and make sense of parts of her childhood that she knows she has blotted from her memory and that they have something to do with holidays in Blackpool with her parents as a young girl. Interspersed with the usual sights and sounds of Blackpool, the Pleasure Beach and the Golden Mile and the associated inevitable calamities that will befall Maureen, we see her memory jogging and Maureen herself finally seems to find some peace of mind and the courage to move forward on her own and to enjoy life.

It is a very funny farcical read at times and also has moments that are quite dark and poignant. Maureen is a wonderful character – I have always thought she comes across as a mixture of Hyacinth Bouquet and Miranda – and I really hope we see more of her in the future.
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on 24 December 2013
Maureen's latest outing takes her to Blackpool for a weekend. She's not impressed with her first impressions of the B & B she's booked into.

Maureen is still a walking disaster, but with each expedition she sets out on, we get to see more and more of what makes her tick and I get to like her more and more. This story has a greater depth to it than the previous stories and I liked that.

Here's to more Maureen.
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on 18 January 2014
Maureen is a wonderful character and one I'd probably never have met if I didn't read indie authors. She's an odd character, larger than life she is often a comic character through her mishaps and clumsiness. She also has a more complex side and in truth a more tragic side. So much so that you feel for her, you might laugh at the things that she does, or says but you also wonder how she came to be the person she is.

Like A Letter for Maureen (which remains my favourite book of the series so far, although this new one does come close) as well as enjoying her adventures we discover a little more about her past, in particular her childhood. In this book she visits Blackpool to banish the ghost of her husband, but it is the ghost of her father that haunts her.

Maureen might be the centre of attention, but she's not the only interesting character in the story. Most you only meet in passing, their lives touched my Maureen's presence before they continue on with their lives, but of note is the owner of the guest house where she stays.

As I've come to expect from the author the story is very well written, the humour works well and is described in a way you can see it in your mind's eye. The sadder side is handled with the same skill and more important it done so delicately, it would be easy for him to have overworked some of the points in the story, but the author doesn't do so and the story is stronger because of it.

The only off note for me was the narration on a couple of occasions steps out of the scene to comment on an event or memory. It's far from a major problem, but it didn't fit with the flow. It certainly shouldn't put you off reading what is a fantastic read, although I can't help but wonder, with the revelations what the future holds for Maureen, whatever it is, I'm looking forward to finding out.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 4 November 2013
Many readers have delighted in the exploits of Maureen, a lady of a certain age who can sweep into any situation leaving a chaotic wake. Here is all the humour we've come to expect but there's so much more. I feel that in this story Maureen takes on greater depths and the story is all the richer for it. I laughed at her visit to the rock shop - in order to hide from another situation she'd created. I loved her sudden discovery of a gambling addiction, her consultation with a pseudo psychic and her ride on the ghost train. There's a wealth of funny situations here. It's not just slapstick comedy though. Jonathan Hill is very good at humour based on a great choice of wording. It's clever and witty and really appeals to me.

In this story I feel that the author has matured in his dealings with his character. We are witness to her recollection of repressed childhood memories and of her discovery that she will not be able to have children. We had 'the letter' in Book 2, but there's much more here to change Maureen from 'larger than life' to 'real life' and I feel she's a better character for it. Some of the revelations about Maureen's life are unexpected and stunningly done. Jonathan Hill can hit harder with understatement than many can with a gush of words. This series is going from strength to strength. I can happily take more of this! Go Maureen!
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on 9 November 2013
Maureen and the Big One is not only humorous, it is also an insightful voyage of self discovery for Maureen. After previously reading Maureen goes to Venice, I'd developed a love/hate relationship with the character's brash manner and her hilarious escapades, but the Big One sheds knew layers on Maureen's onion personality.
In this book, Jonathan has maintained all that we knew about Maureen, and yet, he has managed to bring her even more to life. He has humanised her and made her even more lovable. We see into the depth of soul, her inner doubts and fears as well as the strong will that carries her through her difficult life.
Set in Blackpool, the tale brought forth many of my own childhood memories of summer holidays in the northern seaside town, and captured all its attractions with a sharp eye and a sharper wit. It brought me many a warm smile and a few out loud, belly laughs. It's well worth a gander.
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on 1 July 2014
Gentle humour, is, I, suppose the best way to describe this, though you have to accept that anyone can be simultaneously both as naive and as forceful as Maureen. She gets into all kinds of scrapes and escapes from them just as fortuitously, and it's all rounded off well enough. Pass the time with it if you have nothing better to do. I got it free, and would have begrudged paying anything for it, but the Maureen series seems to have something of a minor cult status, so perhaps I really am in a minority of one!
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