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The Very Thought of You Book
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Editor02 July 2010
This book started with a lot of promise. I really liked the first chapter where Roberta is getting prepared to evacuate her daughter. It was quietly sensitive to the emotions that must have been a very common situation for many at the time. One could easily imagine the sensible stoicism and confidence a mother would wish to impart prior to sending her daughter into unknown circumstances for an unforseable future. I particularly liked Anna's pragmatism and excitement because she imagined she was going to the seaside, and I think Rosie Allison did a pretty good job of travelling into the mindset of a twelve year old girl and identifying the thoughts and feelings from a childs point of view.
Rosie Alison builds up fascinating characters in the Ashtons, and the historical function of Ashton House is particularly evocative. Both Thomas and Elizabeth's perspectives are conveyed well initially. However, whereas Thomas Ashton's emotions are deeply considered,even though he is rather emotionally stilted, it is rather less sympathetic to Elizabeth Ashton. Rosie Alison largely describes Mrs Ashtons temprament and behaviour from the outside looking in, more than she attempts to explain it from the inside looking out. Although this is a novel and doesn't require absolute objectivity, it does need to try to balance its sympathies evenly.
I think the trouble is that Rosie Allison tries to do to much empathetic perspective in the first half of the book with too many of the characters: Anna; her mother and father; the Ashtons; Miss Wier; and both of the Nortons giving a first person narrative, that she just runs out of steam. The characters become flaky and each dramatic twist and turn becomes a bit understated and whimsical, with very little compassion, at times, to very distressing circumstances.
In essence, I think ' The Very Thought of You' has the basis of a very good plot but the execution is poorer during the second half of the book. An OK read if you want something to while away a few hours without making your head bleed, but not the Orange Prize potential that made me first pick up the book.
England, 31st August 1939: the world is on the brink of war. As Hitler prepares to invade Poland, thousands of children are evacuated from London to escape the impending Blitz. Torn from her mother, 8-year-old Anna Sands is relocated with other children to a large Yorkshire estate which has been opened up to evacuees.
England 31st August 1939: the world is on the brink of war. As Hitler prepares to invade Poland thousands of children are evacuated from London to escape the impending Blitz. Torn from her mother eight-year-old Anna Sands is relocated with other children to a large Yorkshire estate which has been opened up to evacuees by Thomas and Elizabeth Ashton an enigmatic childless couple.
A story of longing, loss and complicated loyalties, combining a sweeping narrative with subtle psychological observation, The Very Thought of You is not just a love story but a story about love.
- Rosie Alison
- 1 March 2010
- Alma Books Ltd
- Paperback (Book)
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