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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
In the Springtime of the Year
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on 11 September 2017
I think this story line would be a good therapy for someone who had recently experienced a berehevement. It was carefully written and enjoyable inasmuch as someone who is suffering from the loss of a partner can be. A sensitive read.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 August 2012
I downloaded his book after I'd heard an interview with Susan Hill about this novel that she revealed grew out of a personal experience of the death of her fiancee many years earlier. She told us that Cruse, the bereavement charity, recommends it to people seeking their help. As someone recently bereaved I didn't find it helpful as the emotions of Ruth, the young widow central to the story, were so extreme and her dead husband's family so unsympathetic, that the narrative didn't chime with how most people behave. The story lacks the ray of hope that the pain will lift. There is some beautiful writing by Susan Hill evoking the beauties of natural world. I was left feeling flat and not uplifted by the story that lacks variation in tone with no humour to releave the gloom. I found the book Seven Choices: Finding Daylight After Loss Shatters Your World much more helpful to cope with bereavement as it give one hope that there is a progression that others have experienced and that gradually things improve without every forgetting the loved one.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 12 July 2012
I have read quite a few of Susan Hill's novels, but 'In the Springtime of the Year' is one I must have missed and when I saw it had recently been republished, I was very keen to start reading. The story opens with some wonderfully descriptive writing about a young woman, Ruth, walking in her cottage garden one evening at the end of the summer, mourning the sudden loss of her new husband, Ben, who has recently been killed in a tragic accident. Ruth is doubly unfortunate in that she cannot share her sorrow and grief with Ben's family who, she feels, have never really accepted her; except for Ben's younger brother, fourteen-year-old Jo, an unusual young man, who although grieving himself, is the only one who is able to help Ruth to cope with her devastating loss.

We learn how at the moment of Ben's death, Ruth feels a terrible sense of dread and foreboding, so that when one of the men working with Ben at the time of the accident comes to bring her the terrible news, she finds she already knows before he says anything that something dreadful has happened to her beloved husband. In the hours following Ben's death, we learn how Ruth cannot cope with the steady flow of mourners who come to her home to pay their respects and how she cannot bring herself to look upon Ben's lifeless body: "Now that she knew he was dead, she no longer wanted to be with him, because wherever his body was, it was not Ben any longer." (No spoilers here, we learn all of this early on in the novel). As Ruth becomes more isolated, immersing herself in her own grief, her mother-in-law, Dora, thinks her cold and unfeeling, unaware of the very deep feelings running beneath Ruth's shocked and seemingly numb exterior.

This quiet, sombre and affecting novel is the story of how Ruth struggles to accept what has happened and how she has to learn to face a future without the man she thought she would be spending the rest of he life with. It is a powerful exploration of love, loss, grief and acceptance, and Susan Hill writes lyrically and movingly, not just about the nature of grief, but of the nature of the English countryside and the turn of the seasons. This may not the book to choose if you are feeling rather low, but it is a beautifully written, poignant and contemplative novel for those times when we want a more restrained and thought-provoking story to read, written by a writer who certainly knows her craft.

4 Stars.
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on 29 September 2009
If you feel like reading slowly and sighing often, then this gentle book is for you. Ms Hill explores grief and loss through the emotions of a young and unworldly woman, who draws deeply on nature for sustenance and survival. Sometimes other-worldly, the author deals with the most raw and awful of human emotions in an unflinching but always tender way, leading the young widow and the reader towards a resolution of new growth. It is not just about grief and loss, but also about new possibilities and new ways of seeing other people. This is my first Susan Hill novel and I will read more.
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on 19 January 2000
This book is a highly emotional, yet gentle account of loss, and the aftershocks death causes among family and community alike. It is very moving without ever straying into mawkishness or over-sentimentality - unusual in itself - and the events, and their repercussions are presented and developed with such care and such a wonderful sense of the gradual flow of time, that this book leaves you with an overwhelming feeling of hope. Thus, I would feel comfortable recommending it to not only anyone who has suffered a loss, but any reader looking for a inspiring, gentle piece of fiction. Beautifully written.(And not excessively lengthy!)
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VINE VOICEon 29 April 2011
A moving exploration of bereavement told with simplicity and beautifully written. The seasons and the countryside add an extra dimension, almost an extra character, which provides depth to this the tale of a young widow's loss of her husband in a freak accident. It is not maudlin but it is very touching and some of the writing has a very poetic, lyrical feel which I thoroughly enjoyed.
It is not a complex story but it is one that I feel better for reading - it asks questions but doesn't provide all the answers what it does provide is a sense of hope.
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on 2 March 2014
I first read this book in the mid seventies and was deeply enchanted and moved by it, which is why it is now in my Kindle library. It is a story of loss, grief and healing, told against the changing seasons. Susan Hill herself lost the man whom she was going to marry and her story of Ruth who loses her husband, Ben, suddenly, is poignant for this reason. Susan Hill is one of my favourite modern writers and this novel is one I would recommend to anyone who wishes to start reading her work
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on 27 October 2010
I enjoyed this book and was pleased I finished it. It contains a lot of emotion and is very intense. It made you feel very involved with Ruth and her emotions. It was very well written.

My copy was autographed by the author too!
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on 30 August 2012
Ruth's husband of less than a year, Ben, has been killed by a tree falling on him. This book charts the progress of her grief, and the utterly individual griefs of his father, mother, sister and brother, and how his death affects the tight knit farming community. It charts the progress of the rural year, it details rural poverty, and it is suffused throughout by spirituality and the rituals of the church.

It is desperately sad.

It is brilliant. It is harrowing. I found my eyes leaking tears at moments unbearably, poignantly mundane. This is bereavement vividly and remorselessly chronicled.
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on 18 July 2017
I was very disappointed. I assume Castaner has been sold as the original design and production values I remember from this brand seem to have gone
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