The Legacy of Hartlepool Hall Hardcover – 5 Jan 2012
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"It's a novel that should enhance his reputation for excellent, ingenious writing" (Tina Jackson METRO)
More intriguing is the skein of darkness that, in common with much of Torday's fiction, runs discretely through the story - one sequence is sufficently macabre as to recall the work of a young McEwan. (Jonathan Barnes Literary Review)
if you liked his previous efforts then you'll enjoy this too. (Voyager)
it grabs you right from page one and is another great read from the author of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (Essentials)
A novel that's quirky, funny, moving and peopled with superbly drawn characters (CHOICE)
a deliciously dark comedy about class, snobbery and a vanishing way of life (GOOD HOUSEKEEPING)
This is a novel about decay and destruction, but bracingly unsentimental and surprisingly moving (Kate Saunders THE GUARDIAN)
A gloriously enjoyable wallow of a read. (John Harding DAILY MAIL)
Hartlepool Hall has been in Ed's family for generations - but is that about to change, and who is the mysterious Lady Alice?See all Product description
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Ed Hartlepool has spent years in France as a non dom, not opening letters or emails from home and failing to see that his stately pile Hartlepool Hall is close to financial ruin. He faces the news when he returns, and struggles to comprehend how he can turn the situation round when he has never worked in his life. He also returns to find a mysterious elderly lady - Lady Alice - staying at the hall. No-one seems to know who she is. Meanwhile an old friend of Ed's, Annabel, is struggling with the demands of her unpleasant father, and wanting to escape by marrying either "new money" Geoff or old money Ed.
As with all Torday novels, there are allegories being drawn and themes presented which trouble the mind for days afterwards. In the case of Hartlepool Hall, should we just raze buildings like this to the ground? Follies which were created because of the wealth and arrogance of a family a few hundred years ago, and now all but meaningless, needing repairs and not substantial enough to be preserved as a historical archive.
I was also troubled by the motives of Annabel. Unlike Lady Alice, who turns out to have a modest background, Annabel has also spent a wasted life dreaming of her father's inheritance. Annabel discovers that it is dangerous to get all that you wish for. And in sharp focus to Annabel and Ed, we hear the sad story of one of the estate tenants, a man who eschews emotion and has an antidote to his life of misery which is hard work.
I found the novel so engrossing I had to read it in two sessions.
I would highly recommend the book. It's an easy story to get into and once you're in there, you will be hooked. I am definitely looking out for another book by Paul Torday which I think is a sure sign of how much I loved it.
This is a story about material loss but emotional and spiritual gain. The main protagonist loses all his inherited wealth but finds, for the first time in his life, those things which matter most. There is a moral here for all of us.