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The Legacy of Hartlepool Hall Paperback – 19 Jul 2012

3.9 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (19 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753828839
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753828830
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A black comedy of manners and a poignant social commentary. (THE GOOD BOOK GUIDE)

Book Description

Hartlepool Hall has been in Ed's family for generations - but is that about to change, and who is the mysterious Lady Alice?

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Paul Torday returns to a familiar theme of the useless upper class: those who inherited money but live a shiftless, meaningless existence. Sometimes it's as if the same individuals are floating through Today's novels - in this one it is a character named Eck who isn't part of the action, but was, I'm sure, in The Inheritance of Wilberforce.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having enjoyed a novella by this author previously, I found this tale equally as good. There were one or two shocks along they way, but the underlying themes are greed, sloth, a bullying parent, unloved children and the realisation that money isn't everything. As long as you're content with life, material things are just an added bonus. The characterisation of the individuals in and around the "upper classes" is fab, and at times very funny.

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.
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Format: Paperback
I came across this book by chance, drawn by the cover. The story, first published in 2012 is of a man aged around thirty, who has since his father’s death been living in France while his father’s estate and trustees came to an arrangement on taxes and duties with the Inland Revenue in England. Now the time has come for him to go home and face the music; his inheritance of Hartlepool Hall and all its lordly accoutrements is worthless and he owes the bank millions. Ed Hartlepool is a man who has never done a day’s work in his life, and what seemed strange to me, never felt any inclination to do anything; it’s like he just popped into being aged thirty at his residence in France without any drive or ambition whatsoever.

Meanwhile, back in England an old friend of Ed’s, Annabel lives with her father, a cantankerous curmudgeon who delights in making her life a misery. She dreams of escape, but her father drives away any potential suitors – apart from Geoff, a ‘developer’ who has taken an interest in her lately. Perhaps he is her ticket to freedom?

This story, although set in current day, seemed a little out of its proper context to me; it seemed more like a story that would have been more appropriate to take place in say the 1950s. The people just didn’t gel for me as current day people somehow. The life they led was out of whack with today’s world in many ways. And while the story itself has a certain pathos, a lot of the sympathy I may have felt for both Ed and Annabel in their own stories was removed from me by the fact that Ed seemed to be a bit of a wet fish, and Annabel a soppy drip. Sounds harsh, but I really just wanted to give them both a good shake and tell them to pull themselves together.

A pleasant enough read, but one that didn’t instil me with strong feelings of empathy, or of enjoying any message the narrative sought to spread.
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By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Jan. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ed Hartlepool has been living an aimless life in the South of France for five years when his accountant writes to say that his exile has ended - there has been a settlement between the trustees of Hartlepool Estate and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. For Ed is the son of the 4th Marquess of Hartlepool and now he must return to his family estate in England to take up his responsibilities. Ed has been adept at avoiding anything but a life of leisure before now - however he can no longer avoid making decisions.

When he returns to England, Hartlepool Hall seems much as it always has. Horace, the elderly butler, is still in place, as is the housekeeper. There are fresh flowers provided in the near empty house and a full larder, in case of guests. In fact, Ed does have a guest - an elderly visitor named Lady Alice, who Ed does not know has installed herself in his absence. At first, Ed thinks his first concern is to rid himself of this unwanted visitor, but then finds he has more pressing problems; namely that he can no longer afford to live in his family home. Old friend Annabel Gazebee, still living with her elderly father, remembers Hartlepool Hall as the place she loved best when she was young, but her brash new boyfriend, Geoff, sees it as a property development.

All Ed wants is to live the life of his forefathers. Instead he finds himself under pressure from all sides to stop himself from becoming bankrupt and homeless. This is a very moving novel as Ed discovers who he really is and what his family and the family home actually mean to him. There is also a very tragic element to this novel, as well as some laugh out loud moments which are horrible and yet hilarious. All in all, a wonderful book from the fantastic Mr Torday.
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