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Motherland Hardcover – 14 Feb 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus; First Edition edition (14 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780876203
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780876207
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 4.6 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 173,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'[Nicholson's] portrayal of the wartime disaster that was the raid on Dieppe is grippingly rendered' Observer. (Observer)

'A profound and moving novel; a tender and compassionate mediation on love and God and duty and how to be good' Guardian. (Guardian)

'A superbly intelligent wartime romance' Daily Mail. (Daily Mail)

'A total triumph' Julia Gregson, author of East of the Sun. (Julia Gregson)

'Epic novel of love and loss ... I love William Nicholson's simple, intense style. One to get lost in' Red magazine. (Red magazine)

'He brings all the restraint of the this era to this love triangle and a screenwriter's instinct for dialogue' Daily Express. (Daily Express)

'His particular gift is to take you inside the contemporary mind, tracing out trains of thought with astonishing agility, sensitivity and honesty' Spectator. (Spectator)

'Nicholson tells his ambitious story with a moving eloquence' Sunday Times. (Sunday Times)

'This is a novel worth reading more than once' Elizabeth Jane Howard. (Elizabeth Jane Howard)

About the Author

William Nicholson grew up in Sussex and was educated at Downside School and Christ's College, Cambridge. His plays for television include Shadowlands and Life Story, both of which won the BAFTA Best Television Drama award of their year. His first play, an adaptation of Shadowlands for stage, was Evening Standard's Best Play of 1990. He was co-writer on the film Gladiator, and his film writing credits include Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Les Miserables and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. He is married with three children and lives in Sussex. Visit his website at www.williamnicholson.co.uk


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
No spoilers in this review
I read an article in the Guardian interviewing the author a few days ago. I'd never even heard of him, but the article was spellbindingly interesting.
For this book there was a passage that earned him a 'bad sex award' and the article goes on to say

"Nicholson refused to play the good sport - although he did print up some Bad Socks award Christmas cards for his friends - and instead asserted the importance of dealing honestly with the subject and called for a Good Sex award. "It is not to do with just describing sex, it is to do with discussing our hopes and fears about something important. We have no idea if our sex lives are aberrant or not. We don't know whether we are undersexed or oversexed. People can actually benefit from these things being talked about more openly and truthfully."

I thought, ok, perfect, I'm going to check this guy out. So I went and got a copy of Motherland. A book with a chick-lit type cover (DO NOT let that put you off) about a love triangle between a woman and two men in WW2. I was only into it about 20 pages when I started to think. I absolutely love this. And it just got better and better.
The characterisation is simply astounding, you start to feel that you really know and care about these people and the way they communicate has none of the cliche of a lot of WW2 dramas we've been relentlessly exposed to, these are sentient flesh and blood people, of their own time, but timeless as well, aware that life is truly difficult to live well.

Rather than go on and on about the plot, you can read it yourself, I will just say that for me this is what fiction should be about, the human condition, about love and morality.
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By Moonlit VINE VOICE on 1 April 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An ambitious novel and one that feels quite old fashioned in some ways: the sweep of the tale, the attempts to get to grips with 'big questions' such as religion, the merging of the political and the personal, the hanging on at the edges of the upper classes. I liked it. It's like a mixture of Brideshead Revisited and the Cazelet Chronicles except not quite as upper class as the former. Larry, the main protagonist is a sympathetic character who you feel for throughout the book. His adored Kitty never seems quite real though and this means you don't feel as much empathy for her. One thing I didn't like though was the setting of the story in the present day with the main story presented as something told to one character by another. This seemed really clumsy and totally unnecessary. Why not just set it firmly in the past? I've hovered between three and four stars because I did like it but at times it seemed to be a real effort to read as the story just didn't quite draw me in as much as I would have liked.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love William Nicholson's writing, and in Motherland, he's done it again! Not only complex, likable characters, but a great story, and even though it was set in the Second World War, it felt fresh because we lived it through characters that we already felt we knew well, and that it was their unique experience. And I think he's a marvel, because he weaves the same characters into his books at different times in their lives, and with less or more of a central part in the plot. He's a genius if you ask me!
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Format: Hardcover
British author and screenwriter William Nicholson's new novel, "Motherland" is, in part, peopled with characters he's included in previous novels. This novel, which takes place - mainly in the WW2 era England and post-war/independent India - begins and ends with a modern setting, which establishes some of the characters and their places in the story. By the way, "Motherland" seems to refer to the British Empire.

For me as an Amazon reviewer, the hardest reviews to write are the 3 star reviews. At Amazon, 3 stars are lumped in with "negative" ratings, but they really shouldn't be. It's fairly easy to write a 4 or 5 star review; basically you either liked the book or really liked the book. One and 2 star reviews are equally easy to write; just explain the reasons you hated a book or why you really hated a book. Three stars, on the other hand, mean a mixed bag. I wish Amazon would view three stars as "neutral"; neither good nor bad, and possibly appealing to readers, while other readers shouldn't bother with it.

Nicholson's three main characters - one woman and two men - form the ever-popular romantic triangle. As with all love-triangles, there are winners and there are losers. In "Motherland", war-time ATS driver Kitty must choose between two soldier-suitors she meets during her driving duties. The problem is that we have met "Kitty", "Ed", and "Larry" many times before. Oh they may have had different names and been active in different wars, but basically a war-time romantic triangle is just that...a war-time romantic triangle. And although William Nicholson tries hard, his characters just don't step off the page and distinguish themselves in the reader's imagination.

That is not to say "Motherland" is a bad book. It's not. It's just not a rememberable one. The reader of war-time romances which continue into the dull days of the post-war will enjoy this book. He or she might just not remember it in a year.
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