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Martha's Ark Hardcover – Large Print, 1 Apr 1998

2.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Ulverscroft Large Print Books Ltd; Large type edition edition (1 April 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0708939171
  • ISBN-13: 978-0708939178
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,956,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

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By Susannah B TOP 100 REVIEWER on 6 Dec. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After months of arguments, Martha Antrobus's feckless husband, Leo, a writer whose spendthrift habits and love of gambling means his family are constantly short of money, finally decides to abandon his wife and their dilapidated Sussex farmhouse and moves himself into a friend's flat. Martha, a capable and warm-hearted woman, who takes care of Leo's elderly mother, Sybil, and their thirteen-year-old son, Finian, makes the best of the situation she finds herself in, but her daughters, Eliza (a reserved academic who lives alone in Oxford) and Jess (a sensitive artist living in London and awaiting the birth of her first child), feel upset and let down by their father, and the pair of them rush down to Sussex to offer their mother their love and support. However, Martha, who seems to be lamenting the loss of her wellingtons (which were in the boot of the car Leo took when he disappeared) more than her feckless husband, soon finds herself in the position of helping to pick up the pieces of Jess's life when things do not go quite the way she had hoped or planned.

Meanwhile, living in a plush, renovated barn on the Antrobus' farm, is Tony Chandler, and his pregnant girlfriend (and ex-secretary), the sickly-sweet and manipulative Pippa. Tony has left his wife Susan, an attractive and seemingly self-sufficient interior designer, and shares the custody of their thirteen-year-old son, Jamie, who spends his school holidays at the barn, and who makes friends with Finian Antrobus.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this book in a charity shop and thought it might be interesting. Although the story is engaging, the characters are one-dimensional. The author has too many sideline tales to tell, which distract from the primary narrative. Characters like Nick, Tony, Pippa, are superficial and stereotypical and add little to the story as they are portrayed. I would have preferred to read more about Martha's inner conflict after Leo leaves than about Bella's obsessions or Jess bathing her infant son. The author seemed intent to have a happy ending and ended the story abruptly to make sure that she had one.

This story is engaging, but lacks depth of character or narrative. It's a good read if you want to get through something quickly as a "literary sorbet" between reading novels with a bit more depth.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story, but ho-hum 2 Jan. 2008
By Ms De Beauvoir - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This story starts strong, but loses strength as it progresses. I kept waiting for more character development, especially with Martha and her daughters, but that never happened possibly because too much attention was directed to minor characters. The male characters, particularly Tony, Nick and Leo, were superficial and stereotypical "bad" men. Both Pippa and her mother added some comic relief, but added little to the overall story and were more of a distraction from the primary story if anything. Although this book was certainly readable, it was basically one-dimensional. The author seemed intent on a rather abrupt happy ending rather than developing some tension toward the end of the book.

If possible, I would rate this book as 2 1/2 stars than a solid 3 stars because the story is readable and engaging. The author's style is reminiscent of Joanna Trollope. Perhaps the author hadn't developed her style as this is her first novel. I would be curious to read one of Charlotte Moore's later novels to see if the character development is more complex in relation to the plot.
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