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Customer reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 4 November 2017
I love Tremain's writing, and this book did not disappoint. An unusual and absorbing story, pacy and gripping. I loved it.
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on 29 October 2017
I really really enjoyed this book - thanks
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on 25 July 2017
Great read. Fascinating characters
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on 10 April 2017
Another wonderful tale from Rose Tremain. Beautifully written.
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on 28 October 2016
This is the first Rose Tremain book I have read and I enjoyed it greatly. It's ostensibly about an faded Englishman looking for a perfect French house to retire to and what happens to him. But as the story progresses the story of his own life unfolds as does the story of the French family which owned the house he would like to buy. The. book is really about family relationships and secrets. I see there are quite a few less than glowing reviews of this on Amazon but I thought the story hung together perfectly well. It's a well-paced book which I read over a couple of weeks at bedtime, a few chapters a night. I got a second hand hardback copy for a couple of pounds on Amazon Marketplace - great value for money, and a good way to buy books for anyone else who has to mind their pennies. I'd certainly read another book by the same author - any suggestions, folks?
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on 15 May 2017
An absorbing tale with superb characterisation in an evocative setting. Unsurprisingly, given that this is a book by Rose Tremain, there is a historical perspective, too. Although the narrative is actually contemporary, there are two time periods reflected here. An older world continues to be lived out in the austere region of the Cevennes by a French brother and sister stunted by poverty, isolation, sickness and cruelty. Contact is established with them by Anthony Verey, who wishes to buy their property and by so doing engenders false hope, fear, anger and resolve. There is rivalry and resentment between two cultures. Verey is the brother of one of two English women living in France, lovers who are seemingly devoted to each other, and to painting and gardening hobbies. After the decline of his business in antiques, Anthony intends to uproot himself from England and a loveless life by joining his sister in France.

Although this book is classed as a thriller, it is not a conventional one. There is a disappearance and a death. Murder is concluded and of the two suspects only one is obviously the perpetrator. But this book is much more than a murder mystery. In many ways it is a study of how childhood events and the lack of love disable future lives. It is about childhood memories, real or distorted, and parental inadequacies. It is about siblings; their inevitable closeness and the influence for good or evil. These themes enrich the story giving it depth and pace as well as providing motivation for the characters’ behaviour. Resolution, when it comes, is not complete, nor predictable.

I have been a fan of this writer since the earliest days of ‘Restoration’ although I have not enjoyed all of her books. That is not uncommon even in a devoted readership. Nor would I want to read an author who simply recreates the same best-seller over and over again. Authors should enjoy stretching themselves in their writing just as much as readers do in trying new genres or writers. Happily, I can say that ‘Trespass’ must rank as one of Rose Tremain’s very best works. (5 stars)
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on 7 December 2017
This is the first time I have read a book by Rose Tremain, not sure what I was expecting but it was certainly not this strange at times, somewhat dull read! Two sets of brother and sister siblings, all drawn together in remote France over the sale of a house, I did not find myself connecting with any of the characters and the storylines covering childhood abuse, lesbianism and homosexuality just all added to it all feeling rather depressing. I have no idea if this book follows the normal style of this author's writing, if this is the case I am not sure that I will be reading her work again. Maybe I was just not in the right mood, what do you think?
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on 11 June 2016
This yarn is about two sets of brother and sister bought together by the sale of a house. Anthony antiques dealer goes to visit his sister Veronica in France and decides he wants to sell up and move out there. Kitty, Veronicas friend is not looking forward to that. Aramon Lunel owner of a farm house wants to sell, but his sister Audrun really doesn't want that to happen.

I havent read a book by Rose Tremain before. After trudging my way through this book I don't feel compelled to seek out another. This book I found really slow going. All the characters were not very nice and apart from Audren they all really deserved each other.

I was really expecting so much more from this book but I just so bored with it. Yes it was all building up to what was discovered at the start, but by the time I got there I worked it all out.

A yarn that I struggled to finish.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 February 2013
I have read all Tremaine's previous novels and, in general, have always found them interesting and thought-provoking. "Trespass" follows "The Swimming Pool Season", 1985, and "The Way I Found Her", 1997, in having a French location but all these early books are very different in style, although not ambition. Tremaine's last novel, The Road Home, won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2008 and, perhaps, my response to this book reflects the memories that I have of reading this book.

One of the advantages of not rushing to read books when they are published is that one can forget the reviews in the Sunday supplements; another is that one does not have to summarise the plot in reviews since others have already undertaken this duty.

Compared to her other books, this is one of Tremaine's darkest and involves relatively few key characters, almost all in their sixties - from the UK corner: a bisexual antiques dealer whose Chelsea business is in terminal decline and who calls his favourite items his "beloveds"; his garden designing sister and her partner, an unsuccessful painter; whilst in France there is a drunken sot filthy in body, mind and habitation, and his sister, a much put-upon and epileptic, and a Paris-raised schoolgirl who hates her parents who have moved to the countryside and whose appearance in the novel brackets the tortuous goings on in France.

The back stories in each country are developed to a point of intersection but, strangely, these seem to be more interesting than what lies ahead of them. This is a weakness since the looking back tends to constrain the forward development of the story.

The story started rather slowly and it was quite some time before I was fully drawn in to its development. Without the experience of reading the author's earlier works then perhaps I might not have continued, although I do not like to give up on a novel. I kept thinking of Deborah Moggah's "These Foolish Things" and its screen adaptation "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", and the two novels by Marcel Pagnol, "Jean de Florette" and "Manon of the Springs". In these cases the concerns and attitudes of older people are much better delineated and they do not proceed at the speed of a pensioner at a busy supermarket checkout.

I became increasingly annoyed that, whenever the antiques dealer sees a choice item, the author inserts a snippet from an imagined sales catalogue; thus for a 19th century copy of a Borghese vase we read "Possible restoration to rim? Probable value, region of £30,000....". The French police seem incredibly bumbling, shades of Inspector Clouseau?, having to be prodded to collect fingerprints and failing to carry out even the most cursory inspection of an environment associated with the disappearance of a leading character.

Too often the story becomes bogged down in circumlocutions which are frustrating and of little interest. This might have been just about excusable had there been a revelation which shook the reader's emotions but this is not the case. By focussing on a cast of older people, with only the one younger person, who is absent from the vast narrative arc of the novel, the author has made it very difficult for herself to differentiate her characters who are appear in various shades of grey.

The French countryside is beautifully painted and food and drink are described with real relish but, on balance, it is probable that reading this novel will diminish, rather than accelerate, the relocation of Brits to France. Neither will the treatment of two French estate agents do anything to raise the public perception of this profession.

Despite this relative disappointment, the first in her 11 novels, I look forward to reading Tremaine's next book and hope to find her back to her earlier excellence.
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VINE VOICEon 5 January 2011
I picked up Trespass mainly, I'll be honest, because the cover caught my eye, and on reading the blurb I was sold. As a fan of France, I thought it'd be an interesting read. I wasn't wrong.

The book tells the tale of several characters, but their stories become more and more interwoven as time goes on. A beautiful old house is also a huge feature in the novel. The Mas Lunel is an old farmhouse, way out in the country in southern France. Aramon Lunel lives there in squalor, whilst his sister lives in a tiny bungalow on the land. There's certainly no love lost between these siblings because of their violent and disturbing past.

Things change for the siblings when Aramon decides to put the house up for sale. Audrun is horrified, knowing that rightfully that house is half hers but that if her brother sells it, she'll be left homeless and penniless. The potential buyer, Anthony Verey, is a man wanting to spend his last years in France. He visits the house and is almost decided upon buying it until he sees Audrun's house on the property - putting a real blip in the landscape, figuratively and literally.

However, this visit has already set wheels in motion which cannot easily be stopped and by the end of the book, several lives have been changed forever...

This was a brilliant read. At the beginning you would never guess what is going to come to pass. With every chapter, a little more information is given away, but it's done in such a way that you plough on through the book, desperate to know what happens next. The vital clues are drip-fed, but it's so skilfully done that it's unlikely you'll guess the ending - as I've done so many times in other books.

A really gripping read.
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