Top critical review
2 people found this helpful
Good information, maddening layout
on 3 July 2013
This is an agreeable book, very well illustrated and nicely designed in a style a bit reminiscent of National Trust literature. However, it also has its irritations. Comments from readers are solicited by the injunction 'more reports, please' embedded in the text for certain addresses, which lends a slightly amateurish air to the enterprise (even if perhaps this is the most effective and obvious way of securing updates). Readers' comments are presented in inverted commas throughout, as in "a fire is lit year-round in the 'intimate, welcoming' bar-restaurant", where the effect is to make it look as if 'intimate, welcoming' might actually be the very opposite of the truth. Most irksome by far, however, is the editors' decision to list places (i.e., obscure villages, in many cases) alphabetically: in other words, not under alphabetically arranged counties. This means that if you're looking because you don't actually already know where it is you're going to stay, the information comes at you completely haphazardly. If you've never heard of a village called Temple Sowerby in Cumbria, or one called Muthill in Perth and Kinross, you won't know they're what you're after, even if you do know in a general sense which part of the British Isles you're aiming for. This seems to me a completely counterintuitive way of setting out the information in the book, and a thoroughly unhelpful one too if you want to find something suitable as quickly and painlessly as possible. Finally, it may be worth adding that there's no clear sense how or why some of these places made the cut and others just like them didn't. There's a small selection for London, but not all areas of it, and one suspects there must be plenty of other deserving places that could have been included, possibly for the country as a whole.