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on 4 March 2009
Geoffrey Staddon is a failing architect, a man who seems consumed by emotional ennui and lack of purpose. His present is dissolving around him - a failing career, a failed marriage, a frustrated and moribund life. He lives in the past - the past glory of the finest building he's ever built, the haunting memories of past failure in the only real love he has known. The trial of the glamorous, exotic Consuela Caswell brings this all back to him and changes his life forever.

Robert Goddard is a fine story teller - one of the finest around. This is probably one of his best. It is un-put-down-able. Goddard weaves together a tale of murder and romance which is utterly compelling. He does not go in for heroic action heroes - they are more likely ageing, balding, corpulent, a bit uncertain and lacking in confidence. But Geoffrey Staddon grows into the role of romantic hero, exposing his sense of guilt and loss of honour (the book was released in the US under the title of "Debt of Dishonor").

Goddard writes historical drama - this one is set in the post-War world of the 1920's and the uncertainties of the 1930's, it hints at the loss of innocence England suffered on the Western Front and the bleak prospects before it in the years before the next war. The characterisation - of Staddon, of his first love, and of the house he built, is outstanding, the sense of time and times past is utterly convincing. The story is slow-paced but electric in its compulsion - a masterclass in narrative construction and writing skill. Goddard is an outstanding wordsmith. His writing style is intelligent, economical, and wonderfully seductive - he leads you into a story, into the world of the story, and makes you at home within it.

Published in 1991, this was Goddard's fifth novel (following "Into the Blue"). Yet again, he demonstrates his rare ability to weave a tale across time, to take a twelve year span and make it wholly relevant to the plot of the novel. Goddard handles time better than any other writer. He uses it to give depth and gravitas to the characters and narratives he constructs so convincingly. He is a very English writer - he possibly doesn't cross the Atlantic as well as some, the implicit 'cosiness' of his mysteries concealing the dark undercurrents and Goddard's incisive dissection of the English world and character; his plots are intelligent and beautifully sketched in sepia and charcoal rather than projected as visceral, Technicolor displays.

An absolutely first-class work and an absorbing read.
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on 7 January 2012
I wasn't sure about 'Take no Farewell' when I first picked it up. The synopsis seemed somewhat vague and I wasn't sure I would get to grips with the story. But as with all Goddard books, once I was a few pages in all doubts subsided.

The book is set in the early twenties, with dips into the late Edwardian era, and sees Geoffrey Staddon, an architect, reunited with a decision he once made, a decision he will be now forced to reevaluate. As for the rest of the story, you'll just have to read it. And you won't be disappointed. From the first page till last, the writing is several cuts above, poetical, literary but with heaps of suspense and mystery. Staddon is a flawed character, bland perhaps, but the events that unfold in his life see him become an unwitting hero, fighting others and himself along the way.

Being one of Goddard's earlier works, the story is strung out, as was his wont back then. Nowadays, his stories have more of a race-against-time element, the action unfolding over over days and weeks rather than months and years. It never matters, though. Whatever this writer creates I enjoy. 'Take no Farewell' is now firmly ensconced on my favourites list. I haven't been so lost in book for some time now. Wonderful stuff.
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on 26 November 2011
I've read and enjoyed most of Robert Goddard's output and this was no exception. It was a "slow burn", taking a while to hook me in but, by the halfway mark, I was completely enmeshed in the lives of the characters. As usual, the story has more layers than an onion and is intrinsically a tale of greed, deception, lost love and a race against time. My only reservation and the reason I've only given it four stars is the ending. I don't want to spoil it for others so all I'll say is that, if they were my characters, I wouldn't have finished it that way!
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on 12 August 1999
Robert Goddard is one of the most talented writers of the time. He pulls you into the story as though you were a part of it and keeps you guessing until the very end. His books somehow manage to contain everything, it has suspense, romance, history and always very believable characters. This book is amoung the best with a plot with so many twists, ... and a very enjoyable story. I have yet to meet a person who has not enjoyed his books and i would be amazed if i ever did.
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on 10 April 2014
Main character plodding along in life? Check. Events in the past coming back to haunt him? Check. Flashbacks to weave said events into narrative? Check. Everything not as it seems? Check. Scenes in italics when a journal is being read? Check. Exquisite use of language? Check. Yep, it's another Robert Goddard mystery/thriller/historical fiction novel.

Goddard's grasp and use of English is a joy to behold; broad enough so that the odd word makes you think, but without ever showing off to the extent that the reader needs a dictionary to hand (no problem anyway if you're lucky enough to own a Kindle!). Take No Farewell is a fairly long book, but Goddard's flowing style and excellent story telling ensures that it never drags.

I rarely give a 5 star rating, and nearly knocked it down to 4 due to an issue with the main character, Geoffrey Staddon. As an architect who has designed and built a number of impressive buildings, I would expect him to be a clever chap. However, at times he proved gullible beyond belief. This was obviously required to make the plot work and I suppose Goddard would say it's part of his character, but it seemed a bit convenient. However, in the end I rated the book on my overall experience of it which was first rate.
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on 20 April 2003
An absorbing read,which begs you not to put the book for fear of missing the latest twist or turn, with no chance of guessing the ending. Being new to Robert Goddard it was a pleasure to read a well thought out storyline and a gripping tale.
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on 15 March 2001
A brilliant read from a consummate storyteller. Typical Goddard: he gives you a taste of what to expect, then wrong foots you and goes off in another direction! You never know whats coming next but his great skill is keeping you truly hooked. All his books are hugely entertaining, this one being no exception.
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on 17 November 2014
I have read a few of Robert Goddards books and they are all in a similar theme, with very believable characters which are thrown into a situation where they find they are compelled to become amateur detectives. This is over simplifying the stories of course, but this book is superbly written with all the usual RG twists in the tail.
This story is set in the twenties, with plenty of action with murders betrayal , divorces and lost love.
All good stuff, don't let the first few pages put you off, I have found this with RGs books before they tend to have a few pages of nonsense before the story proper kick starts.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 30 December 2015
Robert Goddard's books are, always, gripping - varied subjects, widely varying characters, yet the writing is such that the reader is immediately drawn into another series of lives, whose circumstances, often tragic, are played out before our eyes.

This is no exception - set in 1923, with flashbacks to a period some years earlier, we read of Geoffrey Staddon and his first major architectural brief; a large and opulent house for a wealthy client and his Brazilian wife. Now, Consuela, the wife, has been charged with shocking crimes. Geoffrey finds himself revisiting his earlier life that he thought he had left behind in an effort to make sense of all that happened, and all that is now happening.

This is a great story which roars along at a rapid pace; revelations flow from the pages, and the reader is left constantly turning to new twists in the tale. The writing is wonderful, as always from Robert Goddard, and the characters are compellingly real. The story turns from unexpected revelation to the next surprise in the story, and the ending leaves the reader shocked with its final twist. A great story, and a great Goddard book; totally recommended.
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on 7 October 2011
I have enjoyed many Robert Goddard books. As usual Robert Goddard's skillful writing took me into the heart of the story as though I was actually present with the characters. I was fascinated with all the twists and turns as the story unfolded. The characters were believable, the journey into history fascinating. I really could not put it down - my favourite so far - buy it and enjoy....
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