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Shire Hell Paperback – 7 Jul 2011

3.5 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (7 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241955394
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241955390
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 202,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for Notting Hell

'Shiveringly brilliant' Jilly Cooper

'An addictively funny read about the lives of the rich and richer ****' Heat

'A wickedly funny comedy of modern manners' OK!

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

`An irreverent romp through the wilds of the English countryside...hilarious. Johnson's humour is wickedly delicious' She

`As witty as it is affectionate, will delight both townies and countrymen' Country Life

`Great fun' Closer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. J. Saxton VINE VOICE on 20 Jan. 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So Mimi upped sticks and moved to the country where a horse is worth more than a human and the pub is the hub of village existence. The children seem to have settled, except the one she suddenly finds herself expecting. Too busy to notice, she is faced with a dilemma when she has to tell her husband.

And everyone seems to want to move to the countryside, including Clare. Does she have an ulterior motive after her past arrangement with Ralph? She is not the only Notting Hill neighbour to look at relocating.

Then there's new bestie, Rose, who, let it be said, is a bit of a goer now that her artist husband doesn't take much notice of anything but the log he carries around. Is an eco-warrior the best type of lover (even if he is young and fit)?

It's a tapestry of country life that could rival The Archers (if there were more farming in it). Full of emotional ups and downs, it takes a little while to get going, but really delivers when it does.
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By Ralph Blumenau TOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
Mimi and Ralph Fleming have sold their house in Notting Hill and moved to Honeyborne in West Dorset. The population of that village is made up of a few people - gentry and lesser folk - who have lived there for ages and of a number of wealthy newcomers. The latter in particular bring with them all the competitive attempts at one-upmanship that characterized them in Town; and Mimi, ever fashion-conscious, now has to learn what is fashionable in the countryside. There is a lot about horses and horsy women, and a nice extended set-piece description of a country house shooting party.

Rachel Johnson ploughs much the same furrow as she did in her previous novel, Notting Hell. If you were amused by the recounting of what is chic in Notting Hill, you will be amused by this novel also; but if, like me, you wearied a little of this relentlessly sustained theme by the time you came to the end of the former book (see my review), your heart may sink a little at more of the same here. In Notting Hell there were some hilarious situations which made me laugh; but in this book, though it has some intricate plotting, the comedy of manners is not matched - at least in my opinion - by comic situations. It seemed to me that the author was for long stretches somewhat on autopilot. As in the last book, we have alternating female narratives: one by Mimi and the other by Rose, the only companionable friend and confidant Mimi has been able to make in Honeyborne. The situations are similar also: in Notting Hell a wealthy American outraged the other residents of the garden square by erecting an intrusive `garage'; in Shire Hell a (somewhat) impoverished local landowner plans to erect a huge wind-turbine on a beautiful hill-top, for which he will collect a handsome sum from an electricity company.
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Format: Paperback
The town and country set have long needed a send-up, and Johnson is the ideal writer to take over from Jilly Cooper in this field. Mimi, the former chronicler of Notting Hell has sold up for a mere £2 million and moved to Home Farm, a chaotic Dorsetshire farmhouse which does not bear comparison with her friend Rose's immaculate one. Her children are not pleased (I especially enjoyed her daughter's complaints on "gurl" about the dreariness of it all, which greatly resemble my own petal's moans)and the contrast between visiting fairs with knitted yoghurt and city slicker pursuits is wittily described.

But what appalling people! The lazy, hypochondriac Pierre, who carries a log around in order not to be asked to do anything by his enrage wife is one thing; the multimillionaire who describes himself as a "Jewray Henry" another. If these are the kind of snobs who set up their own literary festival and who smugly pat themselves on the back for having wind-farms then the guillotine can't come here too soon. I'm sorry the Johnson didn't turn her pen to the contrast between the real poverty in such areas and the kind of idiots who fret over the choice between Boden and Barbour. Less name-checks and more of the genuine venom of Notting Hell would have made it a stronger sequel.
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Format: Paperback
I adore Rachel Johnson -she is a witty and intelligent writer. The characters are spot on and as a West London and Dorset home owner they made me weep and wince at times. This is the sort of book you want to read in a Diptyque candle lit bath or snuggle up under White Company fresh linen with a bar of Green and Blacks. A gorgeous girly indulgence. But I think the story loses the thread at times- expect brilliant characters but not an edge of your seat plot.
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed reading Shire Hell, although the plot wasn't strong enough to make it unputdownable. In fact, a third of the way through, I wondered if there was a plot, since it seemed to be largely a commentary on country life seen through eyes of Mimi and Rose.

However, this apparent lack of plot (there is one, it's just not signposted at the outset) was saved by rich and clever writing. I couldn't help but enjoy and admire Rachel Johnson's use of vocabulary, descriptions and witty observations; her description of an advert for a 'pack-away TV blanket' was hilarious.

I will definitely be reading more from this author.
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