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4.1 out of 5 stars
47
4.1 out of 5 stars
The Pull of The Moon
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VINE VOICEon 24 April 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Thirty years ago, Kate Mayfield spent the summer in a country house with her boyfriend, Danny, and his best friend, Simon. On a day trip to the beach, they met free-spirited Trudie, who came to live with them. Her addition to the party created tensions between the group, and jealousy and passions soon erupted, followed quickly by violence...In the present, Kate receives a letter from Danny's elderly mother, summoning her to a final meeting. How much can she possibly know about the traumatic summer that has haunted Kate ever since?

When I first started this book, I didn't think I would like it. For me, the beginning had an air of 'Surfacing', by Margaret Atwood, a novel I particularly hated, but it soon moved away from this. The book manages to evoke the Seventies atmosphere well, and I could imagine what it was like to be young in this time; plenty of Cat Stevens, cheesecloth clothes, long hair and sweeping skirts.

At first the story is a simple tale of youthful relationships, the mystery comes in the present day segments, where Kate dwells on her visit to Danny's mother, afraid of past secrets. As the story slowly unravels, through a combination of flashbacks and present-day discussion, a heavy, claustrophobic atmosphere emerges as the teenagers fight and loyalties change. The summer is unbearably hot, and the group are isolated from the outside world in a lonely house belonging to Simon's uncle. Whenever an outsider appears, their presence jarrs amongst the teenagers. The situation comes to a head with a mysterious death three-quarters of the way through the novel, and the remaining members of the group quickly descend into guilt and paranoia. Their feelings are convincingly drawn, and their petty disagreements and squabbles add realism to the story.

This isn't a standard mystery, it focuses on characters and is stronger for this, as the believability of the plot hinges on the complex nature of the four youths and the relationships between them. It is difficult to know which of the characters to sympathise with, as the story is told from Kate's perspective, Trudie is initially dealt with quite harshly, due to Kate's suspicion and jealousy, but as she gets to know the younger girl, another side of her nature is revealed. There are a few moments that might raise eyebrows, but in the end the story comes together convincingly, something Kate herself reflects upon. This isn't a fast paced story, but has a creeping sense of unease that will keep you reading until the end.
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on 3 March 2014
Enjoyed this book, This is the first by this author that I have read but I have one other of hers already on my tbr. This is not a fast paced book and perhaps in parts is a bit too slow. Well worth a read.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 January 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The idyllic summer of 1972 and four teenagers, Katy, Danny, Simon and Trudie are spending that summer house sitting at Simon's uncles house in the tranquil Hereford countryside. The tranquillity is brought to a sudden halt and things will never be the same again.

Thirty years later and Katy receives a letter from Danny's mother asking to see her, bringing the past and secrets buried there back to the present.

A well written book that drew me into the plot and kept me reading, intigued to find out what happened. The lazy summer hanging out of students was well depicted as were the relationships between the four characters, the undercurrents that threatened their friendship and the tranquil setting.

A good solid read that kept me intrigued from start to finish, I'll certainly be looking out for more by this author.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 March 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It's the summer of '72 and 3 students set off to house-sit for a relative. Their idyllic summer of love is soon interrupted by an uninvited newcomer and the mounting tension that arises from the oppressively warm summer and their inactivity and boredom eventually leads to tragic events that will change their lives forever.

The story unfolds as a combination of flashbacks to that summer and present day in the life of one of the housesitters who is now a single, middle-aged, retired teacher. We as readers are not fully aware of what exactly happened till the very end (although most experienced crime readers probably have a pretty good idea) which in a less gifted author's hands could prove really annoying and unnecessarily complicated. However, I think it works rather well in this instance. By mixing the past and present, the author manages to convey the consequences these events still have in the lives of the survivors and just how deeply it has affected not only those directly involved, but their families and futures as well.

As some of the other reviewers have already mentioned, this kind of storytelling is not new or innovative, but Diane Janes does it very convincingly. She has managed to create an oppressive and suffocating atmosphere around the past as well as the present and it makes for an entertaining and gripping read.
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VINE VOICEon 18 May 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
On the surface of it, this looks like the kind of standard psychological whodunnit (or maybe whydunnit) which would appeal to fans of Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine. Read on, though, and there are unexpected delights to savour. Our narrator is Kate, a retired teacher stuck in the kind of suburban hell reserved for those middle-aged singletons unsatisfied by a teacher's pension and daily trips to the leisure centre. There's some brilliant observation guaranteeed to make anyone of the same generation squirm with horrified recognition - the stately swims,the necessity to keep the chlorine out of artfully coloured hair, the slow slide into Marks & Spencer clad uniformity. But gradually, we realise Kate has a secret which marks her out as different to the grey panthers gossiping about grandchildren and committee meetings. And that secret - with its memories of a halcyon summer in the early 70s that went horribly wrong - are threatening to engulf the uneventful present.

Author Diane Janes paints her characters and settings with rare skill, evoking the patchouli-scented 70s with as much precision as she does contemporary England. Few of her characters are very likeable, and she exposes their flaws pitilessly - the dim ingenue, the feckless runaway, the vain, self-interested lover, the jealous obsessive. The plot is also unwound with careful precision: the fact that there's a death in her heroine's past is plain almost from the start: but the twist in the tail is that it's not just a murderer we're seeking here. For most of the novel's length, we don't have a body either. We don't know who died, or who killed them, if indeed someone did kill them - or why: there's just a sense of horrible, looming danger and guilt bubbling up from an unfathomable past.

The denouement, when it comes, is harsh and harrowing but also strangely compassionate in its understanding of love, illusion and human frailty.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 December 2009
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Four students house-sit during a hot summer in 1972 and secrets are created which haunt them for the rest of their lives: this plot-line has been done before (Barbara Vine/Ruth Rendell, Sean O'Brien's Afterlife, Tana French's The Likeness) but Janes succeeds in delivering something which is slick, seamless and controlled. Often books which jump between past and present seem to me to be jagged and bumpy but that doesn't happen here and there are no irritating and clumsy sections beginning `I remembered...'.

I don't remember 1972 but the evocation of that time feels right and Janes doesn't bludgeon us over the head with contemporary references: students sitting around singing Cat Stevens, eating corned beef out of a ring-pull tin, a time when tutti-frutti ice-cream was still exotic are all wound into the narrative effortlessly.

This isn't great literature but it's a great read: involving, compelling, well-paced. I found it difficult to put down once I started and was up till late reading just one more chapter. Perfect holiday reading.
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VINE VOICEon 21 March 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I found this to be a slow-paced, but gripping story of four young people. Katy and her boyfriend Danny, and his best friend Simon, go to stay at Simon's uncle's house for the summer of 1972. Simon's uncle has gone away and has asked Simon and his friends to do some work in the garden, in return for which they get to spend the glorious summer there.

They then meet up with Trudie, a younger girl, who starts to cause trouble amongst the group. To say anymore about what happens in the story would be to give too much away, but over 30 years later, Mrs Ivanisovic, Danny's mother, writes to Kate (as she is now known) asking her to go and see her to tell her the truth about what happened at that house all those years earlier, before it is too late.

The story is told by Kate, both looking back to 1972, and in the present day when she receives correspondence from Mrs Ivanisovic. This means that we see everything only from her point of view, but also that the ending is even more gripping because of it.

This is a well-written thriller/coming of age story. It has been compared to A Fatal Inversion by Barbara Vine, and I would agree that there are a lot of similarities, both in style and story. I enjoyed finding out what happened that summer, as the story as told by Kate unfolded, and I think the book has a kind of intensity that works very well.

There are a fair few twists and turns in this book, and although I didn't find it 'edge of the seat' stuff, I did really enjoy reading it.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 14 January 2011
Diane Janes usually writes non-fiction, this is her first published work of fiction, and a very good first novel too. Janes is quite obviously an experienced author, the book is well-written and although quite slow at the start, soon packs up the pace, she weaves a great story and I found myself reading faster and faster towards the end.
The story is told in flash-backs by Kate, a middle-aged single retired teacher. Kate has received a letter out of the blue from the mother of a boy spent the summer of 1972 with. She recounts the story of that summer which was spent staying in an isolated country house. Initially there were just the three of them; Kate, her boyfriend Danny and his university friend Simon. Then Trudie turns up - mysterious, young, spiritual, she soons changes the whole atmosphere of the house.
There is a certain feeling of dread, impending doom, the thought that something tragic is about to happen. The descriptions of the long, hot summer days, the old dusty house and the assorted and quite different characters work so well.
I enjoyed every page of this thriller, slow-paced but well told and it makes you wonder just how well do you know anyone?
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VINE VOICEon 19 January 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I really enjoyed reading this book, its fast paced and I found it hard to put down. It tells the story of Kate and her summer stay in 1972 house-sitting at her boyfriend Danny's uncle's house. Kate, along with boyfriend Danny, Danny's friend Simon and newcomer Trudie all stay at the house but things start to go wrong and nothing is what it seems. At the end of the summer, Trudie, Simon and Danny are all dead and only Kate remains! What happened and why?!
An unusual thriller with some good twists and turns - I would definitely recommend it
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on 11 March 2012
I bought this for my kindle as it sounded like it might be a good read. It turned out to be a fantastic read with lots of twists and turns and in the end i just had to finish it in one sitting. I liked the smooth changes from the past to present day. All in all it was very well written and i really got involved with the characters. I'm now looking for something to fill the void i have now that this is finished!! Well worth a read.
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