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Peculiar Ground

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2018

A huge book both in scope and length, it begins with the journals of a landscape gardener building a great park in 1663 then moves to 1961 and follows the lives of a large group of friends and extended family up to 1989. Complex relationships, infidelities, petty betrayals, great loves play out against the grand landscape. Occasional first person inserts by different characters add a depth to the narrative and a new perspective to the situations. The writing is lovely and now and then a turn of phrase would stop me in my tracks. It is a novel of parallels, AIDS to black plague, storm to change, sanctuary to prison, spying for Russia to informing for Cromwell. The psychological aspects of a wall; is it keeping something in or keeping something out? It’s a good read, a family drama on the surface but the literary style and symbolism means there is far more depth to it. A book of layers and levels, leading to unexpected places, just as the path through hedges will suddenly open to a stunning view. It is the first novel from a renowned historian and writer of non-fiction. Great stuff.

If you like Lucy Hughes-Hallett you might also like to read books by John BoyneIan McEwan and L. R. Fredericks.

Sarah Broadhurst

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