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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 28 July 2011
The story is certainly original and compelling, but I find the pretentious use of the present tense distracting, unnecessary and awkward to read. It is as if the author wants to continually remind us of her by stamping herself into the story using this technique.
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VINE VOICEon 26 April 2012
I bought this book after stumbling across comments from the author on one of the Amazon forums and enjoyed it enough to have just ordered her second novel, Cave.

The plot revolves around a doctor, suspended from work, who believes she has lived before and the events which take place when her world has been disrupted by the suspension and she becomes a prison visitor. If it sounds a little bit ethereal and new agey to you, don't be put off. This novel has plot, characterisation, emotional intensity and a readable style. I won't spoil it by telling you anymore, other than to say I was curious to see how it would all come together, and pleasantly suprised by the way it did. Recommended read.
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on 24 July 2011
This is a nice, easy read, and, with more thought and development, and a little less obvious signposting, could have echoed D.H.Lawrence.
For the price, I am not disappointed, but the writing lacks maturity, and the main character is woefully naive - and that is all the less comprehensible after all she has been through. Although there are elements of the story that make you want to read on to discover answers to particular questions, it is not particularly clever and is unlikely to hold in my memory after the event. Pity really. Girl Reading is a much better book all round.
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on 16 May 2011
In trying out some self published authors on my kindle I purchased this on the strength of the reviews and because of its price. Also fancied something different from what I have been reading. Proved to be a good decision as I found this a very well written and enjoyable book with an original plot-line. I haven't posted many reviews and for me a 'five star' is something that will stay with me for a long time. Four stars is still excellent in my view. I thought Ms Cooper had really captured the emotions of the central character who had lost a child and this was well portrayed. I did find it a little bit of a stretch that an educated woman near the top of her field in medicine was so unsure and rather dense about other aspects of her life (although that may have been due to her bereavement I suppose) and some of the details regarding prison didn't ring true for me (esp re releasing someone doing a life sentence for murder to stay temporarily with a prison visitor with minimal checks being carried out) but I suppose the plot had to be moved along and one can't include everything. All in all though an engaging read and I will certainly read other things by this author.
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on 22 February 2011
I really enjoyed reading this story and was engaged with the MC Julia throughout. I had a strange feeling that the letter from Sarah had some sort of connection with Julia's late son, but I'm not going to ruin anyone's enjoyment of this story by saying too much here. Buy it and read it for yourself and I can guarantee that if you've got any heart, you will not fail to be moved by the conclusion. Have some tissues handy. Looking forward to your next novel, Ali. Well done. Pam. :-)
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on 20 July 2011
A brilliant first novel, written with clear passion, and what feels like years of experience. Intelligently planned and neatly tied up at the end. The few main characters are expertly developed and every detail is completely necessary to the story, without being dreamy and over descriptive. Utterly shocking in parts, loving in others. Heartfelt, believable, yet written with enough pace to keep my interest right until the last page turn. A brilliant read.
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on 8 October 2012
This book was recommended to me by my sister and she got my taste spot on..... loved this well written story, totally felt the pain of the main character and was fascinated by her journey into the past. My only lsight (very slight) disappointment was that I felt that the scepticism of some of the other characters regarding the likelihood of past lives, was a little outdated, as generally people are more open these days.
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on 13 June 2012
A well written novel that shuttles back and forward in time, weaving through the lives of many people. Strong on describing family and personal relationships and the detail of everyday life, along with the not so everyday central plot element of past lives. The central character, Julia, handles what is thrown at her, and carries the story on well. Impressive.
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on 6 December 2011
For the right reader, this book would score 5 stars. It's a contemporary story about a doctor who sees images she believes are from a former life which in turn are distracting her from some terrible issues in her own personal life. It's very readable but I felt a little let down and confused about who the girl on the swing actually was by the end and whether she was a ghost, a vision or whatever.

On the positive side, I liked the fact that the characters were defined instantly (nothing worse than getting half way through a book and then having to turn back as you have forgotten who a person is). However, it felt to me that this was a short story which had been hugely padded out. Sometimes the long winded descriptions were too overdone and by the time the main characters vegetable patch was described in great detail, I was losing the will to live. If only the atmosphere in the prison scenes had been described as carefully as the former unnecessary blurb on the vegetable patch, the book would have certainly improved for me.

It is also a safe book, before the watershed, no swearing and no risqué behaviour, so it would be safe to give to your granny and she would probably enjoy it. For me, I like a book with more of an edge to it and this was far too predictable; the main character turning on the TV and seeing a celebrity being regressed, discussing reincarnation with her friends and them having just been discussing hypnosis with their daughter for childbirth, a convenient toothbrush in the handbag when unexpectedly staying out overnight, chocolate biscuits in the car when dropping in on a shaken elderly relative, husband handily at a conference when the prison visit is to be arranged....

As I said, not really for me, but I'm sure very enjoyable for the right reader.
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on 11 June 2010
The Girl on the Swing is a well-crafted and haunting book. It explores how we become trapped by our own doubts and fears when our external lives collapse. It deals with grief and fractured marriage, and the self-doubt which feeds on our despair when we have no-one to turn to. But, ultimately, it is a book of hope and redemption. Exceptionally well-written, it is literary fiction at its page-turning best.
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