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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
37


on 24 January 2014
Enjoyable easy read but not really much of a ghost story. Nothing much seemed to happen but I don't think it was meant to. Will definitely read something else by this author.
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on 15 April 2015
Wonderful. So sad there will be no more
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on 29 April 2016
Great read but be aware this is the same story as The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit!
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on 25 October 2015
A great ghost story.
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on 31 December 2014
Well written. Superb evocation of the time. Really enjoyed it.
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on 21 June 2013
Graham Joyce has yet again taken a seemingly ordinary story and sprinkled it with his special brand of magic. Set in the hot summer of 1976, it tells the story of a young student working the summer in a Skegness holiday camp. Joyce beautifully evokes not only the feel of that long hot summer but also the tribulations and dilemmas of the youthful protagonist. In typical Joyce style, things aren't all they seem, encounters with damsels in distress and The National Front are only the tip of the iceberg. If you are already a fan of the authornthen you certainly won't be disappointed, if you are new to his work then welcome to the wonderful world of Graham Joyce.
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on 19 July 2013
The Year of The Ladybird is another winner from top British author, Graham Joyce. Few possess Joyce's ability to lay down swathes of tightly controlled yet gloriously stylish narrative, sentences that perfectly conjure the emotions of characters who, whatever the book, always appear unerringly real. The sort of people we meet every day of the week.

The story is slight but wonderful in its ability to evoke the swelteringly hot summer of '76. As a slice of political and social history, it's invaluable. But the way in which Joyce is able to weave a tapestry of subtle nostalgia, grim sentiment and magical realism using everyday settings and landscapes is equally amazing. The thing is, his books are always easy to read. They're working class; they're about you and me. I've been reading his novels since Dark Sister, and rarely if ever do you have to spend much time thinking about what he is trying to get across. Joyce possesses an uncanny ability to write about mundane, prosaic subjects that suck you in with deceptively simple but beautifully elegant writing.

Take the narrator of this fine tale. It's a simple enough memoir: a student's summer job at a holiday camp in 1976 (just at the point that these things were losing their appeal in the face of competition from foreign package holidays). Joyce teases the reader with colourful observations and lively characters whose authenticity make them come storming off the page and straight into our hearts. It's easy to get caught up in the simple day-to-day camp activities he describes so well; but this is just a foundation for a deeper coming-of-age tale, with some genuinely eerie supernatural manifestations thrown in for good mesaure. Apparently the book is loosely based on the author's own past experiences, and it shows.

If you want a quick, beautifully observed and down-to-earth read with poignant, witty and occasionally scary moments thrown in, there are few better than Graham Joyce to supply the goods. Unreservedly recommended!
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on 24 June 2013
Having read all of Graham Joyce's novels I find it hard to credit that his books are never, ever 'samey'. Instead each one is imbued with a different emotional aftertaste and with 'The Year of the Ladybird' he excels once again in capturing those balmy days of that long hot summer.
Anyone who remembers the summer of 1976, recalls that seemingly endless time when each day started and ended with cloudless skies, rocketing temperatures, drought warnings and hosepipe bans. It was a magical year and Graham Joyce captures the essence of it in this work, together with sinister overtones of forgotten memories, a recession and the National Front.
As usual his descriptive prose is sublime and his characterisation unparalleled. The protagonist is a student working in a holiday camp in Skegness, despite his mother and stepfather's grave misgivings. As always in a Graham Joyce book, nothing is quite as it seems however, who is the man in the blue suit carrying a length of rope and who is the small boy with him? The front cover proclaims 'The Year of the Ladybird' - A Ghost Story, it is all that and much, much more.
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on 8 July 2015
AA++
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on 9 October 2015
Good read.
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