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Ferney by James Long


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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

September 2012 Book of the Month.

I fell in love with this book when it was first published in 1997. It did moderately well but not as well as it should. I think one of the problems was that up until then James Long had written adventure spy stories, he was formerly BBC correspondent and certainly knew his stuff – but then he produced this enthralling, tangled love story. As so often happens when author’s change direction, his publishers (Penguin) were not keen, so he went to HarperCollins and, if it were today, it would have been published under a pseudonym, as his other historical novels are (Will Davenport) – but that did not happen and the book rather fell between two stools. But for those who read it, Ferney held a special magic, it haunts your memory and even fifteen years later still pulls at the heart strings. Now James has written the sequel, The Lives She Left Behind, and to refresh fans memories and entice new ones, Ferney is republished. It is such a wonderful, uplifting and unusual story of a couple settling in Somerset. As they renovate their house they discover its history, meet a previous inhabitant and unlock its secrets. Mysterious, exciting, immensely rewarding, it is one of those memorable books that has to be among your of all-time favourites. Please read it.

Scroll down to check out what some of our readers thought about Ferney, ahead of reading the sequel The Lives She Left Behind which is published on 27 September 2012.

If you like James Long you might also like to read books by Cecelia Ahern, Susanna Kearsley and Audrey Niffenegger.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

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Ferney by James Long

When Mike and Gally Martin move to a cottage in Somerset, it's to make a new start. But the relationship comes under strain when Gally forms an increasingly close attachment to an old countryman, Ferney, who seems to know everything about her. What is it that draws them together? Reluctantly at first, then with more urgency as he feels time slipping away, Ferney compels Gally to understand their connection - and to face an inexplicable truth about their shared past.

In a recent interview with The Bookseller, James Long said that the lasting appeal of the book has been to readers "testing out for themselves the idea of how long love lasts...perhaps wanting to be reassured the [love] could be durable, that it could go on and on"; and those readers who felt they had "lost connection with the bones of the earth around them, wanting to get back in touch with everything that had happened in the place that thay lived in."


In August 2012 Lovereading asked members and browsers whether they would like to review this title for us. A few lucky readers were selected to do so and below you can find out what they thought:

'Ferney is a magical page-turner. It takes you on a journey backwards and forwards through numerous centuries, moving with amazing fluidity from one time to another and always keeping you keen to know what will happen next....I have read Ferney twice and am delighted that there is to be a sequel. I can’t wait!' - Hilary Stookes - Click here to read the full review.

'A beautifully written and enthralling novel set in Somerset that will take the reader on a journey of discovery. James Long's use of time slippage is incredibly well done; so much so it will take you into another world that's chock full of tangled romance, intrigue and secrets. Time Traveller's Wife readers will love it as will those who just want a novel to sweep you off your feet for a few hours of unadulterated pleasure.' Louise Quicke

The attention to historical detail and the wonderful descriptions of locations make it a joy to read. I was hooked very early on. In short, Ferney is an epic love story, which will appeal to those who've enjoyed books such as the Time Traveler's Wife. I can't wait to get started on the sequel. Jo Ruth Turner - Click here to read the full review.

'What a wonderful book it has history, love, believable characters and a clever storyline. I love that it makes you believe that love is forever and that the individual spirit never dies but goes on to live again in another lifetime. I will be passing this book onto my friends to get there opinions as i'm sure they will love it as I do.' Lynsey Buchanan

'‘A story of love and self-discovery that resonates across the ages’

‘It has been compared to The Time Travelers’ Wife, but I think FERNEY is
much better’ – NEW BOOKS magazine

‘The book is a lovely puzzle . . . an enthralling, ambitious novel’

'The book grips . . . It belongs to the unputdownable, so goodbye sleep. I love it; the whole story sang' – MARY WESLEY

‘An historical novel, a love story and a tale of time slippage, just the tale you need when you want to escape into a book and forget the world’

‘Long’s unpretentiously told time-slippage romance is played out against a
bewitchingly bucolic setting’ – INDEPENDENT

About the Author

James Long

James Long was a BBC TV news correspondent until the end of the 1980s. After two years starting and running an international TV station out of Zurich, he returned to England to concentrate on writing, which had always been his first love. He wrote four thrillers, then went back to a story he had begun many years earlier and which grew into Ferney. The book was originally born from his disappointment at being unable to buy a derelict cottage he had found near the village of Penselwood and that house became the centre of the story. Many more novels followed, including two written under the pseudonym 'Will Davenport.' He moved into historical non-fiction in 2007 with The Plot against Pepys, co-written with his oldest son, Ben. Since then, he has co-written a play with his middle son, Harry. He lives in Bristol. His interests range from archaeology to motor racing. He is actively involved in the creative writing charity, the Arvon Foundation and tutors from time to time on Arvon courses. He is also a patron and adviser to the Dartington Literary Festival, 'Ways with Words.'

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Book Info

Publication date

30th August 2012


James Long

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Quercus Publishing Plc




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Publisher Profile

Quercus Publishing Plc is an imprint of Quercus

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Starting out in a small office in Dorset Street, London, the company quickly expanded, producing best sellers with each of its first two titles, Universe and Speeches that Changed the World.

As well as winning awards for their books Quercus also won Small Publisher of the Year at the British Book Industry Awards and the PLUS New Company fo the Year in the Fast Growth Business Awards.

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