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Bookends - Jane Green

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Author: Jane Green / Genre: Fiction

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      14.12.2012 17:22
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      5 stars

      I really enjoy reading Jane Green books. I find that they are written in a very good way with a pace which isn't too fast so that it's very believable a read and enjoyable.

      Bookends is the latest book that I have read and it hasn't disappointed.

      The story tells of two friends who set up their own book shop together. One has always dreamt of having a cafe, the other of a book shop so they combine the two. It sounds like a dream job for both of them but there is more to it than that.

      The story tells about their lives. The main character is Cath and she is written really well in a witty, light hearted way. I felt as though I really got to know her and enjoyed hearing about her views on things. The other characters are very well formed too, you can't help but love them and really understand how they all relate to each other.

      I found this book very enjoyable. I liked that I got a very good sense of the characters so that every twist and turn was just as interesting as the next. It was not written in a fast action packed way which is what I like as I found this book very honest and as easy to read.

      I do not think it is as funny as some of Green's other books but it still had wit throughout it which was enjoyable to read and made it light hearted.

      It is quite a chick lit book really, there isn't anything too difficult or deep about this but it is fine by me as I like to lose myself in a book which isn't full of stresses and woes.

      I definitely recommend this book, it's light, full of well written characters and very enjoyable to unwind with.

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      22.01.2012 02:13

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      A really easy read, but I would not read it again.

      A pretty disappointing and predictable read. The start was promising and I really wanted to like the book, but the plot started leaking everywhere when it approached the middle! The premise of the story is that a group of university friends befriend Portia - stereotypically beautiful, rich, and stuck up, only to drift apart from her not long after. The book then fast forwards to about 10 years into the future where everyone has got their own jobs and some of them have settled down with families. I loved the idea of Cath, the main character of the book, opening a bookshop with her friend and trying to achieve her dreams. The beginning was interesting with the introduction of Portia during university - it made me really want to know how the author would weave her in later after the characters reunited with her since I assumed that her appearance later in the book would mean that significant things would happen. There were some nice messages in the book such as the advice Cath gets from her friends every so often. Unfortunately though having finished the book I found it to be pretty dull and even silly. There were some funny bits thrown in nicely, but to be realistic, after reading all this drama that ends up happening - who would jump to so many wrong conclusions anyway? I thought it was very stupid for Cath and her friend to make mountains out of molehills over certain incidents that could be cleared up easily - this lasted several chapters/a nice chunk of the book! I was also left a bit annoyed at how predictable it was to involve Si in the scenario he was involved in towards the end. The cover art is lovely though and I must admit I judged the book heavily by its cover on this occasion and regret it!! But having said all these negative things, I know Jane Green has written other books with more positive reviews, so I wouldn't put it completely out of the question to read another book of hers!

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      30.12.2011 09:02
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      .

      I bought this after reading another Jane Green book, as I liked her style and now I have read quite a few of her books. After reading the description of this online I thought that this would be a book that I would enjoy and yes it isn't the best book that I have ever read or that, but it is good and kept me turning the pages.

      The book is about a woman called Cath. Cath works at a top London advertising agency. Cath wants to leave the career that she has worked at for the last good few years and open up her very own Bookshop. Cath's friend Lucy also wants a change in scenery and Lucy wants to open up her own Cafe. The 2 woman decide to take both their dreams and turn it into 1 place, so they open up Bookends - a Book cafe. Sounds interesting. So come in, enjoy a Coffee and and read a bit.

      Cath and Lucy's husband John met each other at Uni, and have still kept in touch (but obviously Lucy and Cath work together in their book cafe.

      I like the story as it doesn't focus on the normal early 20's woman as the characters are in their 30's. IT tells a story of people who are doing alright, but who are longing for a change and although often some people don't have the guts for a change these 2 ladies take the big step in order to change their lives. But do things go to plan? Well no in a way. Someone tyrbs up out of the blue that cath and John knew from Uni and this person caused trouble back when they were in Uni. Will time have changed this person or will they be as much trouble as they were before? Unfortunately you will just have to read and find out.

      I found this book a little slow to start and I wondered if this would be any good, but about 50 or so pages in then I got a bit more into it and I enjoyed the read.

      A good read and if you are a fan of Jane green's work then you should like this. Not a new story concept or anything but still a good book and the type of book that I like to read.

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      06.01.2010 18:20
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      And Jane does it again

      This is another one of my favourite Jane green books. This one gets a thumbs up for everything. It is about the lives of 5 friends over the period of a decade or so, one friend is dropped from the group and becomes a television writer then re-enters their lives years later. But is this a good thing or a bad thing.

      The book is about Cath who is a hugely disorganised, scatty, well-meaning thirty-something. She is part of a close knit of friends, her gay best frind who is unlucky in love Si, then there is Josh who is a city worker who is married to Lucy.

      Cath has always wanted to open up a cafe/bookshop ( i think this is why i related to her!) , but she has never had the guts to quit her advertising job and go for it. Lucy manages to persuade her it is a worthwhile idea, and they set about opening a bookshop/cafe as Lucy is such a good cook. This is where Caths love life finally takes a change when she meets the estate agent James.

      The groups lives are turned updise down when their old friend Portia who was dropped from their group turns up in their lives the question is is she there to cause trouble or does she also miss her friends.

      This chic-lit book has a bit of everything the love story, the humour, the ambition, also there are touching sad parts. The way that Jane Green talks about each character in such detail makes you feel as though you are part of their group. Another thumbs up from me Jane Green!!

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        15.09.2009 15:48
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        OK but nothing special

        This book tells the tale of a group of friends who met at university and are now living happily-ish in West Hampstead in London. The central character is Cath, who is nursing a broken heart following a bad break-up a few years ago. Cath gives up her well-paid job in advertising to realise her longstanding dream of opening a bookstore and cafe with her friend, Lucy which they name 'Bookends', hence the title of this book.

        Si is Cath's best friend; he is equally as unlucky in love as Cath and is desperate for a man of his own. Cath and Si are complete opposites but best friends nevertheless. As Cath says, "The first time I met Si I fell hopelessly in love and prayed I'd somehow be able to convert him." The fourth member of this little group of friends is Josh who is Lucy's husband and who was friends with Cath and Si at university.

        The story ostensibly explores how the lives of our four characters change when the beautiful and mysterious Portia, another member of their group at university, reappears after they haven't seen her for years. However, this ultimately turns out to be merely one of several subplots. Romantic interest for Cath is provided by James, an estate agent, who could be the one to mend Cath's broken heart. And Si finds romance in the form of Will who is not all he seems.

        This book offers nothing new or exciting but it is comfortingly easy to read. The book was reasonably well written but I found it rather boring, mostly because the characters were uninteresting and underdeveloped and I was therefore not especially interested in the outcome of the story. Parts of the story were poignant and touching but far more were clichéd and ridiculous. Some serious issues were raised towards the end of the novel but I felt that they could have been tackled in more depth.

        The ending was totally predictable and whilst certain parts of the book kept the reader guessing, they were not drawn out as much as they could have been and so this book was certainly not one that was difficult to put down.

        This was a rather patchy novel; some parts were good, some were awful. All in all this was an ok read, probably worth picking up if you are a fan of Jane Green or similar authors and want something lightweight to pass the time.

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        29.07.2009 18:04

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        Easy to read fun but will make you think Brilliant

        This is definately one of the best books I have ever read it picks up on a group of friends who met at university and starts off looking at their adult lives and they all seem to be ticking along in their own way. I think most people can identify with one of the friends at this point be it as a single career minded person, a husband or wife who have been married for a while or someone longing to find love. The story turns all this on its head and reintroduces the former best friend of Cath rich succeesful Portia who has threatened the security of the group in the past and sets of a chain of events that changes everything.

        This story is funny, sad and realistic in the main. As usual Jane Green shows us that life is hard and has many twists and turns but has an overwhelming message that friendships can overcome anything An excellent read that you can reread over and over again.

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        09.11.2008 10:59
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        a good chick lit book

        Bookends is the fourth book written by Jane Green. In this novel we meet Cath who has worked the same job for many years and suddenly she decides to follow her dream of opening a book shop, hence the title of the book. As she can't do it alone, she enlists the interest and help of Lucy, her old friend Josh's wife.
        Lucy has always wanted to run a cafe, so they decide to put the two ideas together and have a bookshop coffee shop.

        The novel is primarily centred around the above plot about how the girls manage to find and set up their shop and all the trials and tribulations that go with running a business.
        I found very early on in this novel that there were quite a few sub plots running through the centre. Characters pop up throughout the book that weren't there at the start, and we find our self meeting lots of new faces.
        These characters are mainly people from Cath's past from her Uni days. There are some people she adores and are in her life a lit such as Si, who is her best friend. He's searching for the one man to become his soul mate, but whilst he is searching Cath and Si have each other to attend parties with together.
        Other characters are not so welcome, such as Portia. She was the beautiful one at Uni and broke all the men's hearts. Why does she want to be part of their lives again ten years on?

        Cath is the main heroine of this book and when we meet her we realise that she is single, maybe not happy being single, but insists to the world that she is. There aren't any good men around anyway, so she is focused on her new business.

        As I read this book I found that Jane Green had developed Cath's character really well, and I had high hopes for them all. Unfortunately I felt that Lucy faded into the background slightly when she had every right to be up the front there with Cath a bit more.
        There were a few twists throughout the book, some were obviously going to happen, and there were a couple that I didn't see coming, which I felt were written well and placed in such a way that the situations were written to be subtle background scenes over Cath's ventures, but they came out well and took over the plot at certain points.

        Being chick lit I spent the first half of the book wondering where the plot would take Cath. She is the heroine after all and every chick lit book deserves a heroine.
        There were a lot of chances I saw being written for Cath but she never seemed to be able to grasp any of them. It was quite sad reading some of it, but will Cath find happiness away from the book shop in the end?

        I would recommend this book to any Jane Green fan as it's an easy read and very easy to understand, with the ability to be able to pick up and put down at any time.

        Price: £5.99
        ISBN: 978-0140276521
        Published: 2004

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          25.08.2008 06:55
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          Bookends

          I am currently re-reading all of my books before clearing them out, and this is the second of my Jane Green books I have re-read. In general, I'm quite a fan of Jane Green, but the last book of hers I read, Straight Talking, was a bit of a disappointment. Luckily, I feel she is back on track with this one.

          ~The Plot~

          The book is written from the perspective of Cath, who is 31 and is your stereotypical chick lit heroine - slightly overweight, bad hair, no confidence. The story starts back when Cath was at university.

          We learn how she quickly made a group of friends - there was Si, her (stereotypical) gay best friend - very camp and overdramatic, Josh - a handsome rugby playing type, Eddie - a sweet but quiet guy from Yorkshire, and then Portia. Portia the only other girl of the group, who has lots of money, is drop dead gorgeous and is adored by everyone.

          Josh has always fancied Portia, which is well-known amongst the group, however Portia is not interested in him at all. One night when Eddie brings a friend of his, Elizabeth, to stay there is an instant attraction between her and Josh. Despite not liking him in the slightest (at least not in a sexual way), Portia cannot cope with the fact that Josh is concentrating his attentions on another girl, and so practically jumps on Josh, and they end up sleeping together.

          This events of that night cause shockwaves around the group, and eventually everyone drifts away from Portia.

          Fast forward around 10 years, and Cath and Si are still best mates, both single and both loving life. They no longer see Eddie or Portia, but remain friends with Josh and his wife Lucy, a bubbly and loveable woman.

          When it comes up in conversation that a friend of Lucy's knows Portia, Cath decides to get in touch with her. And as Portia re-enters their lives, how will the group dynamic change? And will Cath ever find herself a man?

          ~What I thought~

          I must admit it did take me a little while to get into this - I always find it a little bit confusing when lots of characters are introduced into a book at the same time, as it's sometimes difficult to remember who's who! Once I'd started reading it though, I really got into it, and I read it in a couple of days - which is good for me, as it normally takes me a couple of weeks to get through a novel.

          Cath, as the main character, although I suppose she's a bit of a cliché in ways, is still likeable and very easy to identify with. The relationships she has with Si, Josh and Lucy are very well written and you really feel that these are a group of friends who truly love each other. Si describes them as his 'family of choice' which I think is very apt, as they are very much like a family.

          The main plot revolves around the friendships of the group, but there is also a little bit of romance thrown in there for good measure, although that's not the main story.

          I felt the pace of the book slightly slowed towards the middle, however it is about three quarters of the way through where the drama starts, and there are lots of twists and turns to keep you hooked! A couple were predictable, but there was one huge shock in there too. Unfortunately I cant go into too much detail as it would ruin the story, but it's worth reading until the end.

          So, overall I loved this book, it's classic chick lit, and I think it's well worth five stars.

          *Available from Amazon for £5.95

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            12.12.2001 17:54

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            I knew I'd love this book from the second I saw it advertised - I wasn't disappointed! - Advantages: Very funny, Addictive reading - Disadvantages: Not enough of it!

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            19.08.2001 21:23
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            Wow this woman will have you hooked from the very first moment you pick up her books...i first got hooked on Jane Green with Jemima J. I laughed until i cried with that book - it was until i read this my most favoured book..now i have to say that bookends is my best book to date. Oh how i could read this book again and again it is just so close to what could really happen in real life to people. The characters really come to life in this book - this woman has a real flair for stories and i often wonder if she has researched into people lives to get information. I cried whilst reading this book - i don't want to say to much in case people haven't actually read it .... I cried when the guy went to the clinic as he had not been feeling well - i don't think any of us had to read on to know what he was being diagnosed with here...oh god how sad i so wanted him to be ok but somehow you knew he wouldn't...i did not want to put this book down but i had to sleep sometime - as soon as i had a spare minute this book was in my hand - i finished inside a few days. My only hope is that Jane Green will keep up her good work and keep on with such good books like this one....what a pity they have to end!

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              02.05.2001 01:40
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              I don't normally read this type of fiction, and I'm sure I'm not in its target audience, but I was told that Jane Green is better than most of her kind.... Doesn't say much for the rest, really. Mind you, I did at least finish this, whereas I found Bridget Jones unreadable. I kept trying to convince myself that there was the skeleton of a better book lurking inside it, but no cliche goes unvisited, none of the characters develops beyond stereotype, and it isn't even really funny (I didn't laugh out loud once, which is the real test). The worst thing about it for me was the unrelenting middle-class smugness. The world of the book runs on money, which is always just there in the background, an unspoken assumption, and there's always more when needed. The characters are all very much on a social and educational level (politics and class don't exist) so there's no cultural friction either. As a result, it's very hard to care about the characters, who live in an hermetically sealed bubble, and have no problems other than their largely self-created relationship tangles. This defect becomes acute when the bubble finally bursts, (one of the central characters becomes seriously ill); there's no real resonance for the reader, because within the world of this novel the author can't allow a real problem to be genuinely intractable. As a result, what feels like the emotional core of the book seems to have wandered in from a different and more serious novel. Oddly, for a book named after and supposedly set in and around a bookshop, the bookshop theme is muted, and by the end of the book has effectively disappeared, having served its purpose in providing a plot hook for a novel whose real interests lie elsewhere. Bookends reads easily, and would be ideal for a tired person whiling away a long train or plane journey, as it makes no demands whatsoever. I haven't read anything else by this
              author, and I'm afraid this one doesn't persuade me to bother.

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                01.05.2001 01:54
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                You might have read my opinion on Jemima J by Jane Green, which I wrote in February. That was the first of her novels I had read, but it was so wonderful that it prompted me to borrow all her other books from the local library. Bookends is the second of hers I have read, with Mr. Maybe and Straight Talking waiting. I would love to say Bookends is as brilliant as Jemima J, but it wasn’t. It isn’t un-put-down-able either. It took me a couple of weeks to read it, instead of a couple of days. But it is a very good read though. You might struggle with it a bit in the middle, but the last third is a page-turner. I think the best thing about the novel is the wonderful characterisation. Everyone is so well described that you really feel you know exactly what they look like and how they behave, even the minor characters. This makes it very easy to like them, to want to know how they get on and how everything turns out. The book centres around Cath, who is overweight, disinterested in fashion and adamantly single. When she was at University, she was best friends with Portia, Josh and Si. Following an incident one evening, the friendship with Portia splits up and as we catch up with Cath some years later, she has had no contact with Portia for some ten years. She is still best friends with Si and Josh though, as well as Josh’s wife, Lucy. Cath and Lucy decide to go into business together, opening a bookshop-cum-café. I can well understand this, it is an idea that appeals to me too. I found it very interesting to follow the business from a mere aired thought between friends on its long journey to realism. Of course, I am not going to give away too many of the book’s secrets, or there would be no point in you reading it, and I do hope you will. But I can give you a few tasters, like cruelly dangling some luxury chocolate in front of your face… Portia resurfaces, now well-known as the
                writer of a Friends type TV drama series. But are her motives honourable, and is the TV series really based on people very close to home? Are Josh and Lucy as happily married as they appear to be, or is Josh having an affair – and if so, who with - the elegant Portia or the blonde bombshell au pair, Ingrid? Will Cath ever let her emotions out and find the true love she deserves? And what appalling revelation awaits the lovely Si? After a few pages, you will really care about the characters. From a lovely front cover design, you will happily follow the friends you will grow to know on their journeys through almost four hundred pages of their lives. No, it isn’t as good as Jemima J, in my opinion, but it is still a great book and one I would recommend, especially to thirty-something women like me!

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                  05.03.2001 03:46
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                  Bookends is the fourth novel by Jane Green, whose other titles include, straight talking, Jemima J and Mr Maybe. In Bookends we meet Cath, our narrator, scatter brained, untidy, a failure in relationships due to her emotional walls built up to prevent her getting hurt and who dreams of leaving her job to set up a cafe come bookshop, and settling down with a genuine man. Si, is Cath’s best friend in the world, he is as bitchy as the next woman, meticulously tidy, loves clothes and shopping and desperate for a man to settle down with. Josh and Lucy are married and appear to have the perfect relationship, adoring one another and their ‘devil-spawn’ child Max. Cath, Si, Josh and Portia all met at University where they were inseparable despite their differing characters. Supporting one another through all the ups and downs that life threw at them. An event was to change the dynamics of the group and Portia disappeared from their lives. A change comment over dinner, by a mutual friend brings Portia back into the friends lives once again after ten long years. Cath and Lucy are realising their mutual dream of setting up the coffee shop, Si appears to have met the man of his dreams, and a rather handsome, charming, genuine man is interested in Cath, although she is in denial about this and refuses to see the signs! Everyone is on tenterhooks about the reappearance of Portia, is she set to devastate their lives once again? Will the friends survive the turmoil that is to ensue? The characters in this book are as believable as in all Greens previous books, you will love them and hate them, smile with them and cry with them, right until the last page is turned. This is truly a heart warming and heart rending tale of love, dreams realised, suspicion and surprise. Just as you think you know where Green is taking you, she changes direction.

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                    27.09.2000 20:57
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                    Bookends by Jane Green is book that is most enjoyable. This is the second book of Jane's that I have read. Bookends being the better one. The story is based on a group of friends Cath, Si, Josh and Portia that have been close since university. Portia leaves the group and they are re-united at a later stage. It is mentioned on the reverse of the book that the story revolves around her return. However, I believe there are more important aspects that would grip. For example Si finds out he is HIV positive. I was very gripped at this part. Si is a very lovable character, as is Cath whom the story mainly focuses on. Bookends is a book that could easily be read two days. I couldn't put it down on the train home, and nearly missed my stop. A very easy to read book, with characters I believe can be related to.

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                      22.09.2000 19:21

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                      Part of my job involves sitting on trains to and from London, to while away the time, I like to take a good girlie book with me. A couple of years ago my sister introduced me to Jane Green and I have been hooked ever since. The one drawback of reading them on packed commuter trains is that you get looked at as if you are a first class nutter. No matter how hard you try you cannot help yourself from laughing out loud during these books, and usually sobbing at the end!! If you have not tried Jane Green before, try one now and if you have read them before make sure that Bookends is on your bookshelf as soon as possible.

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