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Customer Review

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Writing-by-numbers, 21 July 2009
This review is from: All The Nice Girls (Paperback)
Not my usual kind of book, either - but as Stockport is my hometown, I was attracted by its northern setting. (Stockport is loosely fictionalised as Staveley, and Joan Bakewell dredges up a few details that I'd quite forgotten like the old Essoldo cinema ... long gone I imagine?)
Unfortunately, like many journalists who turn to fiction, Bakewell is a competent writer - but that's as far as it goes and this novel is lacking in any real spark. This is fiction-by-numbers, no better than an old-fashioned women's magazine serial. She throws in all the ingredients as if she's following a recipe; mix 4oz of illegitimate birth, 5oz of kidney transplant sub-plot ... and what do you get, a trite and unconvincing ending!
On the historical side, she has done her homework - but lacks the skill to infuse it with life.
It isn't a dreadful book. It's a quick, easy read - just a bit plodding.
A girls' grammar school 'adopts' a merchant ship during WW2, the serious-minded headmistress falls for the ship's master ... and lives are tangled down to the present generation. It passed an evening, but was very forgettable.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 Dec 2010 10:51:17 GMT
Hils T says:
I completely agree - I've read to p41 and I've already worked out the gist of the plot! It's little more than a historical chick-lit. Rather disappointing from someone of Joan Bakewell's undoubted intelligence. Big question; do I continue reading or just return it to Oxfam book shop where I purchased it?!

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Dec 2010 13:57:15 GMT
booksetc says:
Oxfam shop, I'd say. You certainly couldn't imagine Joan Bakewell stooping to read the likes of this herself, could you?

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Dec 2010 22:04:03 GMT
Hils T says:
Oxfam shop it is! (I'd already decided!) And that's a very good point about JB!
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Location: London, UK

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