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I was browsing around my local bookshop looking for something different to read. I wanted a new author that I had not tried before and I came across Lesley Glaister. After consulting the back cover of the book, I liked the idea behind this book so I bought it. It was in the sale too so I saved 40% of the original cost.
About the Author:
Lesley Glaister was born in Wellingborough, Northampton in 1956. She was discovered by the Novelist Hilary Mantel at a course in 1989. As a result she was recommended to her literary agent. So far she had written twelve books with the one I'm reviewing being just her second written back in 1991.
Synopsis of the book:
A new young family moved into the street that has been home to Olive and Nell all their lives. They are separated by this new family but have been at war with each other for years, despite once being best of friends.
Wolf who is eight years old is the youngest child of this family. He visits both old ladies with his sister and brother doing 'trick or treat'. But both are afraid to open their doors to people they do not know. However the following day he meets them both in the garden while helping his mother Petra and invites them to their family Bonfire Party.
Both women except with relish this invite and it not before they arrive they realise the other has been invited to. Their meeting reminds both women what their relationship once was and how much they detest one another now and why. With their differing values and ideals in life that date back to the War.
Can these two bitter rivals with the help of Wolf somehow bury the hatchet?
My thoughts on this novel:
To be honest I was surprised I was surprised to see Lesley Glaister had written 12 books. Not because of the quality of her work at all but because I had never heard anything about her before I picked this book up from anywhere.
My overall opinion of this book was it was a well written, absorbing novel. Sometimes I think it is easier to review an author that you have never read before as you do not have any prejudice or bias for or against them. So you can go in with a clear mind and just enjoy the book.
The title gives the reader quite a good clue as to what the book is about. Set around that time of year that children love, it skilfully depicts the story of a lonely young boy trying to make friends in a neighbourhood with lots of ancient history between two of its eldest residents Olive and Nell.
The story itself is a simple one. But that said it is a good effective one, as you never really know what is going to happen next and what direction the author is going to lead you. It is well written throughout with information given as the book unfolds and the plot develops.
I felt it was a good storyline, because of the wonderful way you find out all about the two old ladies as the book moves on. The author made the so contrasting I could never see a time with their differing ideologies that they could ever have been friends.
As the chapters develop you get to understand why they are in the situation they now find themselves with one another. This is all explained excellent by the author along with some very good descriptions of their characters and their personalities.
The book moves at a lively pace throughout, with lots of excitement, some horror and a lot of suspense in the concluding chapters. This helps bring the novel to an excellent climax.
My only criticism really was it all ended a little too abruptly for me. It was almost like the author was in a hurry to complete it which was a shame as it was such a high quality yarn.
I particularly enjoyed the way the author put ideas in the readers mind and made you wonder if these were relevant and where would they lead. As she introduced a couple of characters briefly that could have altered the direction the novel was taking and I wondered if they might be significant later in the book.
The characters were absorbing, always well described, interesting and contrasting. I particularly found Wolf a fascinating character and how he tried to make sense of all those around him.
With the two old ladies Olive and Nell being like Chalk and Cheese in both appearance and characters. It made for an interesting read and one I felt dread about when the two women met up at the Bonfire party and what may happen between them.
The book contains a variety of well hidden secrets along with some sinister and horrible moments, which you are never entirely sure how if they will develop and how they will develop as the author keeps you on tender hooks throughout.
The length of the book is a little on the short side with quite long chapters. This for me however does not create a problem as the author with a lot of thought and planning always changes the scenes so that you know exactly what it going on to the various characters.
Overall this is an excellent well thought-out piece of fiction. It was well written, with a good storyline running through it and wonderful characters. I certainly am very glad I have finally found this author and will be trying another one of her books in the next few weeks.
Publisher: Bloombury Publishers Plc
About the author: www.lesleyglaister.com
I hope you enjoyed the review!
It was published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.
@CPTDANIELS June 2009.