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Starburst: A Novel Hardcover – August 7, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The bustling Edinburgh International Festival—an actual annual cultural event in Scotland featuring a plethora of the arts—serves as the dynamic backdrop for this nicely handled ensemble novel from Pilcher (A Risk Worth Taking). The first 100 pages introduce a multitude of lead characters, including renowned violinist Angelique Pascal, smalltown comedienne Rene Brownlow, supposedly reformed criminal Thomas Keene, retired cinematographer Leonard Hartson and others. Each has something another needs — a paying job to offer, a room to let, a shoulder to cry on. As their lives begin to intersect over the course of the three-week festival, betrayal, new love, car chases and attempts at artistic glory ensue. Some of the dialogue can be a challenge (So ye thocht ye could hide awa' frae us, did ye?), but Pilcher keeps the stage full of light and color. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Since 1947, Edinburgh, Scotland, has hosted an annual three-week international festival featuring music, dance, and comedy. Pilcher assembles an unlikely cast of characters drawn to this frenetic event. A young, beautiful French violin virtuoso, an English mother working as a comic, a retired photography director, and a newlywed festival director, among others, meet and forge friendships as they each chase their dreams. Angelique Pascal, the 21-year-old violinist, is one of the star attractions, but her manager keeps her on a tight schedule and is always at her side, so that she never experiences the world outside her music. When her decision to go out on her own is met with violence, social acquaintances join forces to help her escape as they also try to enhance their own lives. The festival ends with spectacular fireworks that constitute the swan song for the pyrotechnic company owner, and illuminate the changes each individual undergoes. Pilcher has created an ambitious cast of characters of different ages and from all walks of life, and as their lives intersect and mesh, he tells a beautiful and cohesive story about the human spirit and our capacity for adaptation and growth. Patty Engelmann
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition edition (August 7, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312354347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312354343
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.3 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,274,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 61 people found the following review helpful By SUPPORT THE ASPCA. on February 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This novel is different & somewhat less predictable than his earlier books. It is an entertaining novel about what can happen when one boldly believes in hope & dreams. Angelique Pascal is a fine Violinist excited by her invitation to perform at the Edinburgh International festival. the main conflict comes from the very unwanted overtures of her manager, a man obsessed with her unique beauty. She gets panicked after a very threatening confrontation with him, & spills her soul to Jamie Stratton a young graduate who insists she take refuge with him.

As the subplots develop, so to do the characters. There is an aspiring comedian who works as a brash bartender, a misguided thief, an elderly director, & a younger beautiful director. All the characters to varying degrees shoud be on the therapists couch. Their individual baggage adds to the main story. Most of their paths will cross during the festivals run as they all search for their own road to happiness. A good fast read.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Cary E. Lynch on August 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Just finished this great book which I wish would go on for much longer. I became so involved with these charachters and their lives all surrounding a great festival in Scotland, that it was hard to leave them all. Well written and engaging. Predictable, but still keeps you looking forward to returning to the pages that will bring you back to these wonderful people as they work through the ups and downs of their colorful lives. Don't let the "romance novel" like cover dissuade you. This book is so much better than the cover would lead you to believe. Check this one out. You'll love it.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Antoinette Klein on June 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Despite, having been a devoted fan of Rosamunde Pilcher for many years, I have never read anything by her son Robin until now. He has evidently inherited her gift of creating warm and interesting characters, charming situations, and blissful romances. He even adds a bit of clever comedy and some heart-tugging male bonding. All in all, a delightful book perfect for an armchair escape to Scotland.

Set amidst the real-life Edinburgh International Festival, this fictionalized account is very informative regarding the entertainers and the behind-the-scenes action. A multitude of characters converge in Edinburgh and their lives will intersect with sometimes wonderful, sometimes tragic results. Among the endearing characters are: Tess, the marketing coordinator, who must deal with an old lover, a new husband, and a concerned boss; Angelique, the child prodigy who blossoms into a beautiful concert violinist with a dark secret; Leonard, the aging cinematographer who seizes one last chance to shine; TK, the juvenile delinquent with a flair for car-jacking; Rene, the comedienne her hometown is banking on to make her mark; Jamie, the handsome young college graduate with rooms to rent; Gavin, the attorney who gives solicitors a good name, and Roger, the fireworks mastermind who will give the festival the greatest starburst it has ever seen.

Each needs something but each has much to give. With the festival in full swing, new friendships will provide helping hands and a chance to make dreams come true.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Sissel M. Østdahl on September 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
What a gem of a book! And how sad it's probably two years until next time!

Everybody who has seen Robin Pilcher as having not only inherited his mother's (Rosamunde Pilcher) talent but also her writing style, is in for a BIG surprise with this book. "Starburst" is quite different from the author's other novels, and positively so. This book is a genuine Robin Pilcher novel, written in his own unique style. The only thing remaining from his mother being the name.

"Starburst" takes place in Edinburgh during the annual festival. We are following some very different people/destinies through those three weeks in August, first separately and then when they accidently intertwine.

Robin Pilcher's knowledge of the various aspects of the festival and the professional secrets behind the many kinds of art being performed, as well as his insight into the human mind, whether it's world famous violinist Angélique, retired cameraman Leonard, comedienne cum housewife Rene or young car thief T.K. struggling to go straight, is impressive. These people are made so alive they literally walk out of the book.

I've got to especially mention "the two roses", Rene from "'artlepool", Yorkshire and Matti from Lancashire. I'm convinced their show at the "Underbelly" is real, and would somebody please get me a ticket for next year?

"Starburst" is warm, funny and beautifully written. Often I just stopped and repeated sentences, enjoying the masterful use of the English language. Rene's hilarious remarks in cockney, Angélique's stilted speech with charming bits of French thrown in, Leonard's polite gentleman English and T.K.'s badly twisting of his mother tongue.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Kaplan on September 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This latest from Robin Pilcher is certainly his best; it lacks some of the stiffness and self-consciousness that occasionally marked his earlier works.

Set against the very interesting backdrop of the annual Edinburgh Festival, the plot revolves against several key figures, each of whom in some way is involved with the festivities, either on or off the stage. Having been to Edinburgh during this fabulous time of every type of cultural and folk activity you can imagine, I was fascinated by the behind-the-scenes information, which was woven effortlessly into the story rather than just being presented as specious information.

I found the characters believable and for the most part likeable (there is at least one villain), and the plot lines quick and easy to read. The book held my interest throughout, and I finished it with a smile on my face.

Highly recommended!
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