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Summer In February by [Smith, Jonathan]
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Summer In February Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 120 customer reviews

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Length: 366 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Review

Subtle and affecting, a tender Edwardian love story. GOOD HOUSEKEEPING"

Book Description

This true tale of love, liberty and scandal among the Edwardian artists' colony in Cornwall has been made into a stunning film starring Dominic Cooper (Mama Mia) and Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey).

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1098 KB
  • Print Length: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (26 July 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008KS5V1W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 120 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #128,462 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wanted to read this book as I'm a big fan of the Newlyn School of painting and know the area the book is set in intimately so anything related to either subject is of great interest to me. However, although I found the book interesting I felt the style was quite stilted and at times I had to re-read what I'd just read as I wasn't sure what was happening for example, after Florence's first suicide attempt when Evans is researching the effects of cyanide poisoning and the process of decomposition of the body and then in the next chapter she is coming down to dinner! At times I felt the dialogue was so awful it was comical - some of Munnings's dialogue reminded me of the Prince Regent from the Blackadder series! Also, I found the character of Florence to be so two dimensional. There was no explanation of why she chose to marry Munnings who came over as rather an objectionable character. This I found rather annoying as I thought the book would shed some light on this. However, I am glad I read it and shall enjoy seeing the film which will hopefully breathe more life into these rather flat characters.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the best book I have read in a long time. Beautifully evocative of the gentle way of life before 1914, it describes a motley and somewhat eccentric group of artists living on the south coast of Cornwall. Each is so vividly brought to life and has their own distinctive voice, that we feel what they are feeling, particularly the repressed passion of quiet, sensible Gilbert who we almost wish wouldn't behave quite so impeccably! We share the landscape too, seeing the light as an artist does, enjoying the wild flowers and the sea air.
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Format: Paperback
This is more than a skilful recreation of painters' lives in Newlyn and Lamorna before the First World War. It is a work of meticulous research, where the characters who formed its raw material live and engage our emotions. Jonathan Smith avoids casting Munnings, larger than life and the chief protagonist, as ogre or villain; his well-judged moderation increases the book's impact. Munnings' first wife Florence's tragic story is told from the viewpoint of Major Evans, the local land agent, with pre-1914 honour, humour and restraint. It's a novel in a million -- one to be read and re-read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book to read something of the early life of A. J. Munnings, the renowned painter of horses and gypsies. Munnings and the important artists, Laura and Harold Knight, lived for a while in Lamorna, an offshoot of the Newlyn artists colony in Cornwall in the halcyon days before the First World War. The author describes very well the atmosphere of this small circle of artists working in this remote village, who were largely influenced by the work of the French naturalist painter Jules Bastien-Lapage, and the considerable impact that the arrival of the ebullient, larger than life, Munnings had upon everyday life. The book is clearly a novel, and conversation is invented, but the story involves real people and is based upon published biographies and the diaries of Major Gilbert Evans as related to the author by his son David Evans.
In addition to giving us a fascinating insight to the life and work of the Lamorna artists, and the stresses and strains of class differences, this is essentially a love story, and for the most part it is well told. However, some two thirds into the book the style does rather emulate that to be found in Mills and Boon notably, "his spine tingled as he felt her body close to him etc.," but thankfully, this does not last too long. Most of this dramatic and dark story is related in a forthright and objective manner and provides well drawn, if not always very flattering, characterisations of the key players.
This is a really quite moving and dramatic story, all the more so as it is based on fact, and these are real people not some fictional contrivance. A very interesting insight into part of the artistic colony at Lamorna before the onslaught of war and Modernism consigned them for a long period to obscurity. It is not surprising that it has now been made into a feature film.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I am interested in Sir Alfred Munnings who painted a picture of the place where I live. I have read the three unabridged volumes of his autobiography. I enjoyed them being a lover of horses, the countryside and paintings. I read on an internet site that he had had a first wife who committed suicide and was curious as Munnings does not mention this in his autobiography.

Because of the publicity re the recent film made from the book Summer in February I was keen to read the book and see the film.

I would recommend this book. I thought it was well written and it is a very gripping story, with the addition of being set in beautiful Cornwall. Unlike some faction novels, I felt that the author stuck to the facts he actually had evidence of and portrayed the characters well, all of whom were real people. In this book you learn about the Lamorna group of artists, partiularly Harold and Laura Knight which I found fascinating. Also many incidents portrayed in the book were also in Munnings' autobiography. Munnings was a hard swearing, hard drinking man who loved to be the centre of attention and entertain his friends with recitals of poetry, including some of his own. He liked painting gypsies and seemed a bit of a gypsy himself, moving around from place to place, often at short notice. However he worked hard at his art, working outdoors in all weathers. Florence remains an enigmatic character and it is difficult to understand why she ever agreed to marry Munnings, let alone went through with it. It is a sad story for all concerned but I still felt a bit of sympathy for Munnings in the situation, although far more for Gilbert Evans. As for Florence, I am not sure if she was a victim or a bit of a minx. Florence's brother asks Evans what he thinks of his sister. He says "extraordinary" and the brother replies "but not extraordinarily odd?".
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