- File Size: 1151 KB
- Print Length: 308 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: The Cluny Press; 1 edition (January 16, 2014)
- Publication Date: January 16, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00BSDM4MU
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,074,683 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Cuckoos of Batch Magna (The Batch Magna Novels Book 1) Kindle Edition
"Depth of Lies" by E. C. Diskin
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The book has conflict, as all good books should, but it is a gentle conflict and you know that it absolutely must come right in the end somehow. How could it not when the new Squire (who just wants to be liked, after all) and the eccentric tenants he is intent on evicting are so made for each other? This novel certainly describes an old-fashioned rural Britain that doesn't exist anymore. But it should. It really should.
The book blurb says that fans of MC Beaton will enjoy this book, but the only thing I can see in common with MC Beaton's stories is setting. By my reckoning, Mr. Maughan's writing style has more in common with Kingsley Amis than MC Beaton. Don't get me wrong here -- I am an MC Beaton fan and am currently reading my way through the full Hamish McBeth series again. But I read MC Beaton for twenty or so minutes a night before I turn out the light and go to sleep. The Beaton books are formulaic and have no particular subtlety or beauty of language, so it's easy to read a chapter or two when sleepy and pick the book up again later. Not so with The Cuckoos of Batch Magna. You'll miss all the best stuff if you read this one when less than awake.
I have one criticism, which is primarily for the Grammar Nazis (myself among them, sadly). Because of this, I considered giving the book a 4 star rating instead of a 5, but I enjoyed the book so much in the end that it got the 5 stars after all. Truth is, I am still thinking about some of the scenes from the book two weeks after finishing it (and I have read four other books since then), so this is definitely one that lingers.
So...here is my (mild) criticism for those who are concerned about the quality of the editing when reading an independent or self published book: Mr Maughan is very much a fan of the complex/compound/chock full o' dependent clauses style of sentence construction. He does not write run-on sentences but he does create very, very, very long sentences. These also appear to be front-loaded in the book and I kept finding myself being pulled out of the narrative early on when I lost my way along the grammatical, but overwhelming, string of words. My personal choice? I would have broken a number of the one-sentence-long paragraphs into more manageable bites. However, by the time I was several chapters in, the writing hit a more comfortable stride and I no longer found myself being distracted by overly long sequences of words. I instead found myself tickled by the sweet, charming, loving way in which the story and characters are described!
The author has the gift of writing descriptive prose and of writing in such a way that many readers from differing backgrounds will quickly come to care about his characters and what happens to them. The author does a fine job of leaving the outcome in doubt to the final pages of the book as events move believably, first one way and then another. Early on, we see a way we would like things to conclude: but will they?
After the first chapter, the book quickly draws the reader into a world that is, at one go, old and traditional, fresh and contemporary and timeless. 'The Cuckoos of Batch Magna' is about things that endure, things that are worth wrestling with to save--in human relationships and in man's relation to nature and to the built environment of the village and an ancestral home. Along the way there is plenty of jolly good fun. There are saucy barmaids, hotly contested inter-village sports rivalries (and the sly tactics that go with them), people who enjoy a good traditional drink and older ladies who brew those drinks up with uncommon skill and disastrous potency. There is bedroom farce and true romance and enduring marriage. There is friendship born out of unexpected juxtaposition of people who would be adversaries were they not unexpectedly thrown together. There are 'Monty Python-esque' comic experiences. This book is rich with characters and with events and with botany and with the genuine culture of rural life.
I have read good books this summer and this is definitely one of them! The book is so good, it deserves to find a wide audience and to be published in paperback and hard cover. It is the sort of book one would like to revisit--on the beach via Kindle or in front of a good fire on a blustery day, book in hand. I purchased this book to read based on the reviews already posted and they do not deceive. Now I want to keep it...and to buy and read the sequel!
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