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A Shiny Coin For Carol Prentice by [Barry, Mark]
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A Shiny Coin For Carol Prentice Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Length: 313 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 862 KB
  • Print Length: 313 pages
  • Publisher: Green Wizard Publishing; 1 edition (18 Mar. 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #88,010 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I read 90% of this book in one session ~ I had to know what was going to happen, and I knew I wouldn't be able to settle to anything else until I'd finished it. I can't describe too much about the plot without giving away the story, but... Carol Prentice is a young woman recently returned to her hometown after university. In this hometown, businessman and politician Leonard Gifford is king, while the handsome, popular and privileged prince is his son, Toby. Carol starts work part time in a book shop run by Steve, a man much older than her, and with whom she begins to form a deep connection. War breaks out between Steve and the Giffords, with Carol in the middle. What starts as a mild spat escalates into something much, much more serious....

This book has a slow start, and at first I just thought, yes, Mark Barry's always worth reading, but maybe this isn't as hard-hitting as my favourites. But by only 10% it became much more interesting, and I was reminded why I like this writer's work so much. The observations, the character detail, the dialogue, the sharply viewed snippets of popular culture, the fearless sentences that might make lesser writers think 'hmm, I want to write that, but dare I?' ~ I loved it. Unanswered questions kept me agog all the way through the first half; what was Carol's connection to the Giffords? And what were these mysterious 'work outs' with 'Gnasher' about?

Up until 52%, it was a jolly good book, I thought, but then ~ whoosh! It became something else. Questions were answered, and there were some passages of real brilliance (feedback for Mr Barry: Steve's speech about why he doesn't talk about feelings, and Carol's description of Steve's bender). The plot stepped up about ten notches, and all of a sudden I was reading a different novel.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
‘…it’s all about the writing as art.’

This is a love story… this is what it says at the beginning of Shiny Coin but if you’re looking for hearts and flowers, tears and romance, walk on by, because this is not one of those. This is the other sort. This is the type of love story that tortures breaking hearts, the type of love story that can’t ever be, and that happens in real lives only too often.

Because this is what Barry writes, real lives. His characters, and their interactions with each other, are honest and totally believable, even when they do things we could never imagine. Nothing is shied away from and while we love the rapport shown between some of his people, the faults, failings and weaknesses of all are viscerally depicted on the page.

Carol has moved back to Wheatley Fields following the death of her father. I imagined her as glamorously gothic and totally cool, but her fabulous hair, makeup and clothes make her an oddity in the conservative passages of her home town. She gets a job at the book shop working for the older and wizardly wise Steve and they hit it off, becoming friends as well as work colleagues.

One day there’s an altercation between the odious Toby and Steve, when the former tries to buy a comic, and it is this that is the catalyst for the shocking events that unfold.

While Steve bears the brunt of what is to come Carol knows it is not aimed at him, because following a terrible betrayal when she was last home she has returned with a plan for revenge, and it’s one she’s determined to see through.

Readers familiar with Barry’s work will recognise references such as the Arkwright Trust from The Night Porter, The Jacket, a short story in Punk Rocker, and Carla, of course, as this is its loose sequel.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Never underestimate a character...

My review is simple – I felt like I lived this book. Mark Barry's ability to conceive and express the inherently inconceivable and inexpressible has borne out a fabulously-written tale of raw human emotion and revenge and of the mind's complete inability to accept defeat even when annihilation is staring you in the face.

Carol Prentice is a complicated and damaged character – we understand immediately that her history in the well-heeled town of Wheatley Fields, in her life before University, a time that we don't yet know about, is the key to unlocking the persona she now projects to the world. I had to brush over her valleyspeak, I wasn't sure initially whether it was genuine, as it can conjure images of Deliciously Ella – which is decidedly not the exposed and gothic character of Carol Prentice. But, over the course of the novel, I began to feel that her idiosyncracies were real and this intelligent young, woman had developed them in compensation for the confidence stolen by her past. Through her relationship with the older and sometimes wiser book-seller, Steve, that she truly blossoms and an unlikely love story, and at the same time definitely not-a-story-of-love, evolves.

As each page of A Shiny Coin for Carol Prentice turns you start to feel this wonderful sensation that something magnificent is developing right before your eyes but you don't know what it is until the last stroke of the brush is complete. The beautiful cover is just the varnish on the canvas, but I'd like to note that, while you can't judge a book by its cover, sometimes it can give you a pretty good idea of what lies beneath.
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