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3.5 out of 5 stars
52
3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 29 July 2014
As another brief foray into the little world that is Tilling, this was a very enjoyable read - the plot is well constructed, credible to any Tilling fan, and full of the kind of humour that first drew me to Benson. However, I have two issues.

1) The price Lucia paid for Mallards was Grebe plus £2000, later raised to guineas, then compromised to midway - £2,050 (Lucia's Progress, end of chapter 5) - and not Grebe plus 100 guineas. Sloppy research.

2) The ending, plus the epilogue. Apart from being able to spot what was coming very quickly, and gradually becoming more and more averse to the idea as it unfolded, I found myself questioning the right of the author to pronounce on the destinies of not just Lucia, but all the characters. You are over-reaching yourself Mr Fraser-Sampson, these are not YOUR charcters, they belong to the late Fred Benson. Your borrowing them and entertaining us with them is appreciated, but they are timeless, and should always remain so. Had this been observed, it would have been four stars.
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on 30 December 2014
Mr Fraser-Sampson has, to use modern parlance, taken diabolical liberties with E.F. Benson's beloved characters. The final chapter and epilogue were reminiscent of the final episode of the drama "Six Feet Under", when you see the characters die. There were some nice moments, but the constant references to characters ageing, possible signs of dementia and indeed the clear signpostings of unhappy endings made for an uncomfortable read. Tilling and its inhabitants are timeless and not to be destroyed at the whim of a man trying to make a quick buck. Let's hope that Mr Fraser-Sampson has written his last Lucia book (he'll have to write them as prequels if he hasn't) and perhaps Tom Holt can follow up his excellent "Lucia in Wartime" and "Lucia Triumphant". Alternatively, given the wild success of his new TV adaptation, perhaps Steve Pemberton can find time to pen a new story.
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on 29 July 2014
Just very disappointed that Fraser-Sampson decided to play God at the end of the book. The characters should remain immortal, especially when you didn't create them and are just a temporary guardian of the story. EF Benson will no doubt be turning in his grave. Very sad.
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on 2 January 2015
Although better than the awful Lucia on Holiday, the author appears not to understand the character of Lucia at all. Indeed it seems that the author was simply having to comply with his obligations to complete a cycle of three novels and to ensure that none will follow. The ending of the novel was predictable and the author has presumed for himself unnecessary liberties with the characters that lovers of the characters will feel only anger with. Disappointing. The author's first novel of this series. Major Benjy is worth reading but do not read any of the successors.
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on 2 April 2014
More adventures in Tilling. It's clever and witty with some good comic moments and the characters are satisfactorily brought to life but surely, in the original E.F. Benson novels, things never became quite so vindictive. Riseholme and Tilling were extremely civilised little societies - this is the point - and the many rivalries were conducted with mutual enjoyment and gusto. Au Reservoir, in the latter part especially, lacks this lightness of touch. And as for the ending (no spoilers!), though it wasn't badly done, it just felt completely out of key with the spirit of Benson's series. A sad letdown.
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on 10 April 2015
Oh my God - I am in total shock.... What the hell- hallelujah is going on??? How egotistical of Mr Fraser-Sampson to assume he could just kill these beloved characters off.... And what on earth was his publisher thinking? And the only reason I gave 1 star for this is because I couldn't post my comment without one....

On the positive side, if there's one thing Lucia has taught us well, it's how to affect a blissful unawareness of being snubbed. I think we should adopt that stance here. Tilling has enough drama and intrigue in just one summer to fill lots more books so there's tremendous scope for someone else to take up the baton.

Perhaps Mr Holt would consider dipping his toes in the water again!
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on 4 May 2014
As a fan of EFB I thoroughly enjoyed this third offering from GFS.

I am just extremely happy that someone has taken the time to study the original writing style and characters and enabled me to return to Tilling again for more adventures.

I particularly like the way that actual circumstances like Bridge tournaments, Fetes, and nights at the Opera are not actually written about verbatim. Instead post events, we are given just the necessary highlights and points of interest thus setting up and conveying to the reader the usual status quo of a vanquished Mapp and a triumphant Lucia.

A very enjoyable few hours back in Tilling. Many thanks
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on 16 May 2014
Slthough it is much easier to copy characters alreaddy fully rounded and alive, Mr Fraser-Sampson has done Mapp and Lucia lovers a big favour. Whil keeping the tenor and atmopshere of the original books, he hads given us fresh scenarios to treasure.
I do hope he will feel he can continue? Time does not need to progress very fast. As far as I am concerned, Time can stand still in TIlling!
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on 20 July 2014
Yes I liked the book as much as his others and crave new Lucias, but also not pleased with the ending. Bit of a cheek, I felt. For those who want something of a similar nature - quietly funny, elegantly written and very English - might I recommend 'I Beatrice' by Gillian Ageros?
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on 8 August 2015
I now have all three of the trilogy by Guy Fraser-Sampson and find myself torn between the critics who say they do echo the writing of E F Benson or alternatively they are not like his whimsical style at all. If you enjoyed the original books then you must read them. You will I am sure not be disappointed, but I do regret the ending.
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