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I didn't actually pick this up myself, my mam bought it as part of a 3 for 2 offer and I decided I'd read it after her, she didn't love it or anything but I needed something to read due to boredom so thought that I may as well.
Tess tenant is taking a teachers position and moving back to the village of her childhood - a picturesque tourist trap with quaint pubs and antique stores. Its not just the locals she's coming back to that will recognise her though, there's also the problem of her best friend from childhood Adam, whose history is complicated to say the least. The past seems to turn up at the least convenient moment, and the move is making Tess a lot more stressed than she'd thought it would, and it all comes to a head when she has to take her class on a trip to Rome.
Well, I didn't exactly hate this book, I suppose it was okay to pass the time when I was really bored but I didn't particularly enjoy it and I won't be passing it on to any friends. It was rather mediocre and you won't remember it! The plot and characters just seemed to be really cliché and predictable, I was guessing the whole plot of the book as it went along and the characters were just not really interesting! I was going to read some more of her books as they are cheap on amazon, but I don't think I'll bother now. If you still want to buy its about a fiver from amazon or 1.20 used last time I checked.
Wow! I have just finished a fantastic book! My latest read is called 'I Remember You' and is by an author called Harriet Evans. The book is fairly recent, having been released in 2009. This book is currently available to buy from Amazon for a price of £5.99, which I think is quite expensive considering that I got my copy from The Works as part of a '£1.99 each or 3 for £5' offer.
In this book : After living and teaching in London, Tess decides to head back to the village where she grew up, Langford. She reunites with some people, including the best friend she grew up with, Adam. How will she cope with getting used to some changes and finding out some secrets ? Read I Remember You to find out!
I was really impressed with this book!! I read many books, mostly from the chick-lit genre, and I enjoy reading a lot of books, and can never say one is better is than the other, although what I can easily say is that this book is one the best, if not the best chick-lit book I have ever read!
I thought that the plot was fantastic!! What starts out as what seems like a simple storyline turns into a really 'twisting tale'. There are so many twists and turns that they just keep you wanting more. The book (apart from the ending, which I thought was a bit obvious, but hey, we all love a happy ending!) isn't that predictable at all, compared to a lot of books of the same genre. Events you hadn't even thought about, would crop up when you had no idea what would happen.
I thought that the characters were an interesting bunch! The book is interesting really, as although it's set as though it is based about one main character, Tess, it actually ends up being all about her best friend was interesting. My favourite character was Tess as she came across as a 'typical' teacher, who had time for everyone.
Harriet Evans deserves praise for this book!! She has such a great imagination and I particularly loved her style of writing. I loved the fact that the chapters that were set 'back in time', were placed in the middle of the book, as I could not wait to find out the secrets behind certain characters. I think that if the 'back in time' chapters were placed at the beginning of the book, then I would not have been half as interested, but because they were in the middle of the book, I was a lot more interested because I had got to know the characters quite well by then.
On first impression, I thought that this book looked 'too long' at five hundred and twelve pages, but after getting 'hooked' on it, I was so glad that it was a long read, as I enjoyed it so much. Normally I really get into book, and then I find it ends to soon, but this book kept me reading for a couple of weeks, which is unusual as I usually finish books like these within a few days!
If you are looking for a great read to entertain you during these cold dark nights, then I would definately recommend this book to you! It's a perfect read!
Thanks for reading!
November 23rd 2010
xd-o-n-z-x (also posted on ciao under xdonzx)
"I Remember You" is chick-lit author Harriet Evans fourth novel. I have read and enjoyed her previous three.
It tells the story of Tess Tennant who returns to her chocolate-box home of Langford after a relationship break-up to take up a job of Classical Civilization tutor at a private adult education college in the town. There she is reunited with childhood best friend Adam whose life has stood still since the sudden and devastating death of his mother just as he was due to go to university, however it appears that the two of them share slightly more than a friendly past. Enter then a new romance for Adam which threatens to throw things into disarray. Also, the fabric of the village is threatened by a proposed new development instigated by wealthy, elderly, eccentric and despised landowner Leonora.
Essentially the plot of the novel falls into three plots as far as I can see. The first part is largely taken up with the setup that I described above. The second part involves Tess taking her class on a 'school trip' to Rome where she meets a charming American journalist and begins a romance which goes smoothly until an unexpected event and a startling revelation bring it to a grinding halt.
The final part of the novel deals with the fallout of the events of this trip for all concerned and the heart of the village as a whole.
I have to say that I really did enjoy this novel. Evans is definitely an author in the genre who has found her voice and there has definitely been an improvement since her earlier books. The characterisation is really good, it is very easy to recognise them and sympathise with them. In many places it feels quite realistic and the dialogue is quite effective.
Something that Evans really tries to do here which is very ambitious is to really capture the personality of the village by a lot of room for development to a lot of different characters that inhabit it and give room for their relationships to develop - thereby giving more 'airtime' (if you will) to characters which would normally only be secondary ones. This is an admirable tact to take and works to a certain extent in that it does give the novel and added depth than what it would normally have. However, its key failing is that it means that the final part of the novel, where most of this happens, is far far too long and the novel really suffers from a lacking of pace during this time, which is unfortunate because it undoes some of the good work of earlier on in the book.
That said, I think she does a good job of illustrating not just village/small town politics but has some really good points to make about the battle that goes on in some rural areas where development is due to take place and explores the conflict between keeping such an area as a picturesque tourist-focussed location and providing new opportunities in order for the young who grow up there to be able to afford to stay on and live there, and indeed want to. This is a subject close to a lot of people's hearts which is not really explored in fiction so I think that it is commendable that Evans has done this.
There is a lightness of touch to Evans tone which makes this novel highly readable. She also treads the right line between engaging and sentimental and handles shifts in emotion very well to the point where some of it is quite affecting.
There is a certain amount of predictability to it perhaps, but along the way she has done very well at putting in some genuine surprises and curveball
In conclusion, I think this is a good yet flawed novel but one that I would definitely recommend if you are a fan of this genre and I am definitely interested to see what Evans comes up with next as she is certainly finding her voice.
After reading the review for this in Cosmo, claiming it to be 'Fabulous and Feel Good', and seeing my librarian reading it at great speed, I thought I'd better check this out!
Tess Tennant is leaving London, her 'new' life in tatters, and heading back to her home town to teach in the local school. The only positive she can see is Adam, her best friend throughout, and seeing him much more frequently. Although Adam has a new girlfriend, and is more then just a little preoccupied. Feeling ignored, and quite jealous, Tess volunteers on a class trip to Rome.
This first part of the book was incredibly hard to read, in my opinion. Tess struck me as a very selfish character, who had come home planning for Adam to dote on her, and was very upset that he had moved on. This is only my opinion, however! I found that this made her an unlikeable character, and just wanted her to leave.
Rome, however, seems to change her. She's much funnier, and more likeable, when she isn't competing for Adam's attention or acting like a spoilt brat. And when the sexy Italian stranger chats her up, you almost feel excited for her! She spends a few days blissfully enjoying her time with him, before returning home to the miserable Langford and her drab life.
Life hasn't stood still while she's been gone, however, and Adam has left. There are other changes, too, which Tess finds hard to believe...perhaps another indication of her selfish and egotistical personality? Tess finds herself having to choose who, and what, she wants.
Evans has tried hard to be original, but in the end she has created an unlikeable character and a confusing sub plot involving a bitter old woman and a bulldozer. I found this irrelevant, and hard to follow. The writing style is very basic in places, and there are whole paragraphs dedicated to Tess doing nothing at all and eating biscuits, which isn't exactly riveting reading!
This book is very much for people who enjoy the 'fantasy' part of chic lit, as Tess is a likeable character in Rome, but in Langford is spoilt, and unwilling to help herself. It may, however, appeal to previous fans of her work.
Tess Tennant and Adam Smith have known each other since birth. They grew up together as best friends and everyone in Langford expected them to end up together. Until one day, Adam's mother Philippa drops dead. Tess goes off to London whilst Adam remains in Langford working in a pub. Years later though Tess returns but her friendship with Adam is completely different to how it was. It all comes to a head when Tess takes a class trip to Rome and by the time Tess returns, Adam has gone. What went on between Adam and Tess to cause their friendship to fall so dramatically?
I've only previously read one of Harriet Evans' three novels, her debut Going Home, however when I saw this one up on Amazon, I loved the sound of it and more than that I loved the fact it would be part-set in Rome; I'm a huge fan of authors setting books in foreign destinations. A fellow book blogger, the wonderful Suzana of Bookalicious, offered to send me her review copy and I jumped at the chance. I was thrilled to finally start it a few days ago. My joy, however, was short-lived.
From the offset I liked the sound of the plot: Tess and Adam being best friends for a long long time, since birth, but slowly they seemingly grow apart. The book starts with a prologue where Tess and Adam are still teenagers and we then come to Part One. Strangely enough, the opening chapter is told from the third-person view point of Leonora Mortmain who comes across as nosey and mean. The first chapter also sees Tess return to Langford and we slowly unravel the story behind Tess' departure from London. The rest of the book is told in the third-person view point from mainly Tess herself, as in, she features in most of those scenes but we do also get the odd change of viewpoint from those living in Langford. There are a total of four parts to the book as well as the prologue. Part One is Tess' return to Langford, where we also find out what happened between Tess and Adam all those years before; Part Two is Tess' class trip to Rome, Part Three is the return from Rome and the aftershocks of what went on there and then Part Four is Adam's disappearance followed by his eventual return. For me, it felt as though the book was four separate books. Yes each part followed on from the last but it also seemed to draw a line under the previous part and I found that disrupting. I want to read a book and have it flow throughout rather than feel as though the book is stopping and starting all of the time. Also on the pages where it says "Part One/Two/Three/Four" are various quotes; I can't tell you what they were as I skipped them, they'd only have slowed down the book more, as far as I was concerned.
There also didn't seem to be one main central plot to the book unless of course Tess and Adam's friendship counts. That is the only main factor to all four parts of the book. The rest of the plots seem to be sub-plots; the fact Leonora Mortmain is turning the watermeadows into a shopping center; Tess' move back to Langford and how she changes whilst there or how Langford has changed, it depends how you look at it; there's also the trip to Rome where Tess falls for Peter. But there wasn't anything that I felt held the book down. I don't think Tess and Adam's friendship was a big enough factor for it to be the focal point: yes they have a lot of rows and there are lots of secrets discovered from the past, but there friendship just seemed like any normal friendship really: topsy-turvy. Maybe I missed what the plot of the book was supposed to be? I doubt it, though.
The book is a very slow burner. A lot of the book seems to be filler and, although I'm no book editor, I'd have probably chopped some of it out. I mean I got half way through and I just wanted it to end. I seemed to be reading and reading but I didn't feel as if I was getting anywhere because nothing was happening. I just didn't understand what I was reading about: was it Adam and Tess' friendship and all that had gone wrong? Was it the fact Leonora was turning the water meadows into a shopping mall? or was it the fact Tess felt strange being back in Langford? The book didn't seem to be going anywhere. The mystery about Adam's mother didn't even perk me up. Truth was, I'd already guessed it 100 pages ago. I'd also guessed what had went on with Tess and Adam when they were teenagers because it was quite obvious. To want a book to end after 250 pages is incredibly sad and it's a rare occurence where I wish that.
I didn't even feel anything for any of the characters. I thought Tess was quite whingey most of the time and yes, of course, I felt sorry for Adam but Tess was right: what had he done with his life? Of course we find out exactly why he stayed in Langford but still. I wasn't at all connected to Tess or Adam, I didn't feel much for them and maybe that's why I disliked the book so much. How can I enjoy a book when I don't even enjoy the characters? Tess and Adam spent most of the book being pretty maudlin and that's exactly how I felt as the book moved along. One character I did like was Francesca, Tess' flatmate and Adam's sometime girlfriend. She added a bit of life to the book and I enjoyed her scenes. I also quite like Diana, Adam's godmother, she seemed nice as well as Liz, who becomes Tess' flatmate. There were plenty of other charcters but they all seemed the same to me. I mean there were loads of characters who were there throughout the book but none of them, bar those mentioned, really made an impression on me.
One thing I will say about the book was that I loved the descriptions of Rome. Harriet really did her research about Rome and I loved reading of the cobbled streets and the Spanish steps. However, on the flipside of that, I thought the descriptions of the classic things Tess described to her students were quite long winded and, as I have no interest in the subject whatsoever, I found myself skipping passages. I also can't fault Harriet on her writing, she is a superb writer but even that isn't always enough to save a book. The description on my review copy says it's witty, rich and moving. The only one I'd agree with is that it is indeed a rich book. Again, that's down to Harriet's writing.
For me though, the book wasn't really there. I knew how it would end, I'm sure even you all reading this review could guess how it'll end. While I enjoy a happy ending, I think it was rather rushed. I think it's a shame I didn't enjoy the book as I can see Harriet Evans has talent but for me, it was too slow and too long. A book should not bore me after 250 pages, it should just be getting exciting and I should be raring to finish it.