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Our Picnics in the Sun: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Morag Joss
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $25.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $15.01 (60%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE SACRAMENTO BEE

Award-winning author Morag Joss has penned a beautifully rendered, meticulously crafted, and terrifyingly gripping novel of suspense—ideal for the fans of Eowyn Ivey, Ruth Rendell, and Barbara Vine.

 
One night, two strangers.
A damage that cannot be undone.
 
For thirty years, Howard and Deborah Morgan have poured all their energy and modest savings into Stoneyridge, a smallholding deep in the English moors. Howard putters with pottery, Deborah dabbles in weaving, and both struggle to tend sheep and chickens and live off the land. But what began with simple dreams of solitude and sunlit picnics in the hills has given way to a harsher reality.
 
To help with finances, they decide to turn Stoneyridge into a bed-and-breakfast. But a sudden stroke leaves Howard incapacitated and Deborah overwhelmed. Howard’s world, once so limitless, has shrunk to the confines of their crumbling house; Deborah’s main joy now comes in the form of a brief weekly email from their successful son, who lives abroad.
 
Then, late one evening, two men arrive needing a room for the night—and set off a chain of events that uncovers the relics of old tragedies. New wounds are cut deep, betrayals and cruelties intermix with tenderness and love. And through it all, Stoneyridge quietly hides the bitter and transformative truth.
 
Evocative, intimately claustrophobic, and psychologically complex, Our Picnics in the Sun is a novel of stunning prose and knife-sharp insight. Morag Joss crafts a modern masterpiece of rising tension that binds and releases like a beating heart, propelling readers to a final page that resonates and haunts.

Praise for Our Picnics in the Sun
 
“The British writer’s latest is a psychological dazzler.”Entertainment Weekly
 
Praise for Morag Joss’s Among the Missing
 
“This remarkable novel has an abundance of suspense at its core, put forth in beautiful prose that all but glows on the page. . . . [Joss] keeps a jittery tension going as the novel spins toward its violent, grand-scaled finale.”Booklist (starred review)
 
“A haunting, harrowing punch to the heart, Among the Missing is flat-out brilliant. About the secrets we keep, the lives we are desperate to live, and the chances we miss, it’s a psychological dazzler. Truly, one of my favorite books of this year—or any year.”—Caroline Leavitt, author of Is This Tomorrow
 
“Morag Joss is a writer who knows the old truth that genuine suspense comes not from car chases or gunplay but from the clash of conflicting hearts. Among the Missing is evidence not of a rising talent but of one already fully formed.”—Thomas H. Cook, author of Sandrine’s Case
 
“A spectacular psychological thriller . . . Joss’s beautiful, evocative novel is filled with tension and suspense.”RT Book Reviews


From the Hardcover edition.


Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Our Picnics in the Sun
 
“The British writer’s latest is a psychological dazzler.”Entertainment Weekly

Praise for Morag Joss’s Among the Missing
 
“This remarkable novel has an abundance of suspense at its core, put forth in beautiful prose that all but glows on the page. . . . [Joss] keeps a jittery tension going as the novel spins toward its violent, grand-scaled finale.”Booklist (starred review)
 
“A haunting, harrowing punch to the heart, Among the Missing is flat-out brilliant. About the secrets we keep, the lives we are desperate to live, and the chances we miss, it’s a psychological dazzler. Truly, one of my favorite books of this year—or any year.”—Caroline Leavitt, author of Is This Tomorrow
 
“Morag Joss is a writer who knows the old truth that genuine suspense comes not from car chases or gunplay but from the clash of conflicting hearts. Among the Missing is evidence not of a rising talent but of one already fully formed.”—Thomas H. Cook, author of Sandrine’s Case
 
“A spectacular psychological thriller . . . Joss’s beautiful, evocative novel is filled with tension and suspense.”RT Book Reviews

About the Author

Morag Joss is the author of several novels, including Among the Missing and the CWA Silver Dagger winner Half Broken Things, which was also adapted as a film for U.K. national television. In 2008 she was the recipient of a Heinrich Boll Fellowship, and in 2009 she was nominated for an Edgar Award for her sixth novel, The Night Following.

READER BIOS
Rosalyn Landor has worked as an actress since the age of seven, both in Europe and the United States. Her extensive list of credits includes leading roles on PBS's Masterpiece Theater, miniseries on all major networks, films, theater, and audio productions. She has received an Audie Award and several AudioFile Earphones Awards, and was chosen by AudioFile magazine as a Best Voice of 2009.

Michael Page has been recording audiobooks since 1984, has recorded over two hundred titles, and has won several AudioFile Earphones Awards. As a professional actor, Michael has performed regularly since 1998 in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He is currently a professor of theater at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he lives with his wife and daughters. He has a particular interest in Shakespeare and Eastern European theater and travels frequently to Hungary and Romania.

Following post-graduate classical training at LAMDA, Ralph Lister spent 15 years in mainstage theatre in London, Madrid, Hong Kong and Edinburgh before moving to America to focus on film and television.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1677 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1629232491
  • Publisher: Bantam (November 26, 2013)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00D5BEDNQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #269,698 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
A moody drama set in the desolate English moors, Joss captures perfectly the atmosphere of a couple trapped in the sunset years of their younger expectation, when Deborah eagerly followed Howard Morgan’s vision to leave the city and return to the land, live frugally and wisely from the bounty of their own hard work. They rent a holding in Exmoor, agree to keep a small flock of sheep, a clutch of laying hens, a few rooms dedicated to a Bed and Breakfast to bring in extra income. The attrition of time, fate and a stroke that has robbed Howard of much of his ability has defined their days differently of late, Deborah’s chores made more difficult by the tedium of care for her husband. Still, she tries to keep up her spirits, traveling to town and the library for email exchanges with their son, Adam, who works far away and seldom visits. When the novel opens, Deborah is caught up in the anticipation of Adam’s birthday visit and the annual picnic the family takes on the moors, a ritual kept whether Adam comes home or not.

A customer appears at the door demanding accommodation for himself and a friend on the eve of Adam’s visit, Deborah imposed upon despite her reluctance, a complication that exacerbates her disappointment when Adam fails to arrive. The visitor’s rude note the following day startles Deborah into examining the true state of the house, the decay and lack of care that have crept in over too many days, too many years. Drifting between the present and memories that linger from the past, Deborah unlocks her quietude, words that escape her determined resistance, memories cluttering the already crowded terrain of a harried existence.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recapturing kindness December 2, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
A bursting blood vessel in Howard Morgan's head and his wife's fall from a ladder set the stage in Our Picnics in the Sun, Morag Joss' story of an aging couple in South West England. The action resumes three years later. Point of view shifts between Howard, who struggles with speech and mobility, and Deborah, who is neglecting their sheep and barely tending to Stoneyridge, their decaying bed-and-breakfast. We also see Howard and Deborah from the point of view of Adam, their 28-year-old son working abroad, who is determined to avoid them as much as he can. An unexpected guest named Theo seeks accommodation at Stoneyridge on Adam's birthday and eventually insinuates himself into the Morgan family drama, sparking changes in the attitudes and interactions of the Morgan clan while forcing Deborah (and, indirectly, Howard) to confront the feelings they have kept hidden from each other, and possibly from themselves, since Adam's birth.

Our Picnics in the Sun is about the essential role that kind treatment of our children and parents and spouses plays in a healthy existence. But the novel also helps us understand why kindness so easily disappears, why we sometimes struggle to bestow it upon the people we love. Neither Howard nor Deborah are ideal parents or spouses, and Adam is less than an ideal son, but it is easy to feel sympathy for all of them. Howard, a controlling twit who has devoted much of his self-absorbed spiritualistic life to bearing a well-deserved sense of guilt, is now a mind trapped in a dysfunctional body, incapable of articulating his thoughts, often experiencing inexpressible hunger and cold, regretting all the years that he refused to notice Deborah "fading and slipping away from him.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OUR PICNICS IN THE SUN: A REVIEW! December 1, 2013
Format:Hardcover
Our Picnics in the Sun by Morag Joss captures the life and travails of Deborah and Howard Morgan who lead an idealistic life, eking out a living in Stoneyridge, deep in the England moors, with their son Adam. But when Adam leaves to pursue a career, things take a drastic change for the couple. Their pathetic condition worsened when Howard suffers an incapacitating stroke, rendering Deborah just to the role of a caregiver. The Morgans forget their pottery, their animals and their property. It is indeed a sad time for them. Everything is in ruins.

Deborah endurance reaches its limit as she becomes more and more frustrated with the life she is limited to. The kind of life she is living now is a far cry from the starry dreams they had when she and Howard first decided to live in the country. Our Picnics in the Sun is truly a sad and thoughtful story of a marriage and unfulfilled emotional lives.

Adam is also raging with discontentment. His anger drives him far away from home, little knowing that his parents are in a pathetic condition. He is frustrated with the inadequacy of his homeschooling education, the countryside, the terrible winters, food, and almost everything. He is angry at his parents, and at the way they brought him up.

There is a foreboding sense of looming danger when two guests arrive needing a room one stormy night. One of them leaves in the morning but the other, a young man named Theo, who is about Adam's age stays behind. Our Picnics in the Sun is a tale of love and loss, it is a story of the trivial disillusionments which plug our lives and hinder us from moving forward. The book is full of multifaceted characters, many of them obsessed with idealistic dreams which render them powerless to direct the course of their destiny.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
This was a difficult book. Would I recommend it? Yes unequivocally. As I read it I began to realize that the writer was intimate with the story line and characters in a much... Read more
Published 2 months ago by William
5.0 out of 5 stars So full of ... everything
The depth of feeling in Ms. Joss's books is amazing every time. The growing wisdom of the narrators pushes events forward, and the reader experiences suspense and wonder as events... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Geline
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
A good, but sad story. Very depressing as a whole, but an entertaining story.
Published 3 months ago by Bookwyrm
5.0 out of 5 stars A sad, haunting depiction of isolation and loneliness
This is not an uplifting story but it is a beautifully written evocation of unfulfilled lives, of loneliness and sadness. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Simon Temprell
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I was reminded of Hichcock.
Published 4 months ago by Lynne C. Rountree
3.0 out of 5 stars Title means nothing in this story.
A well written book, but not a happy moment is all it's telling. If you can endure many sad and gloomy events and
stick with it, the ending is quite a surprise. Read more
Published 4 months ago by N.B.V.
1.0 out of 5 stars most depressing
This is clearly the most depressing book I ever read and I read a lot of books. The characters throughout the story are clearly lost and unhappy. Read more
Published 4 months ago by constant reader
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Depressing
Published 4 months ago by hberrybug
5.0 out of 5 stars Readers who like good literature that is not an "easy" read will ...
This book was so interesting that I told my daughter to order it, so we could discuss it. Readers who like good literature that is not an "easy" read will get more than... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Nellie
4.0 out of 5 stars Old Hippies??
This novel was at times difficult to read. The mail male character was a zealot and believed he understood the consequences of his actions, but in reality he underestimated the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
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More About the Author

Visit Morag's website at www.moragjoss.com

Morag Joss grew up on the west coast of Scotland. She read English at St Andrews University and then studied singing at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London.
In 1996 she won an award in a national competition with her first short story. Starting to write was, she says, "discovering a lifelong ambition I didn't know I had."
The first of her three Sara Selkirk novels, FUNERAL MUSIC, was nominated for a Dilys Award by the American Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. She's also the author the 2003 Silver Dagger winner HALF BROKEN THINGS, which was adapted for UK national television and starred Penelope Wilton (available on DVD), and of THE NIGHT FOLLOWING, which won an Edgar Allan Poe Award nomination for Best Novel 2009.
Morag Joss was a Heinrich Böll writer in residence on Achill Island, Ireland, in 2008, where she wrote part of her seventh novel, AMONG THE MISSING, due for USA publication in autumn 2010.

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