- File Size: 977 KB
- Print Length: 425 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1481943138
- Publisher: Accent Press (September 24, 2015)
- Publication Date: September 24, 2015
- Sold by: Simon & Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01ACM5JU6
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,982,547 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$11.99|
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Life Class Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
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Teaching a Life Class (nude art) in the community center was not what Stefan had planned to do with his talent. Like most aspiring artists he hoped to make at least a modest living from his vision. But again, like most aspiring artists. He was not yet at that point is beginning to wonder if he ever will be. Having returned to the village of his birth to care for an aging and ill father he has had to linger much longer than he had planned. Hoping to finish settling his father's estate soon he takes the teaching job in order to supplement his modest income. Unaware that all the the people in the class, save two, have been repeating the class together for years, he is unprepared for the dynamic he encounters. Emotionally attached to the instructor they have been working under for years each member of the class will bring their own personality and ambition laying it before Stefan in unique and individual ways.
Dory is a scientist who works for the National Health services in the small English village having recently ended her long time romantic and business relationship. Starting over and bringing her life back on track are her primary goals at this point in her life. Having moved closer to her sister she is at a crossroads and is not sure in what direction she wants her life to move forward. As her sister convinces her to take a community center class in art, she wonders if the talent and desire to create she had as a young woman will bring her some much needed diversion.
Fran, Dory's older married sister, is also having a life crisis. After years as a stay-at-home wife and mother she is finding her nest emptied by her daughter and filled by her now semi-retired husband. Is she ready to leave it all behind and start a new life with a new love or are her ties to the past not what they appear to be. What is Dory prepared to risk in order to bring some much needed excitement and change to her life.
Dominic, a young man scared of the future, abused by his past and slipping away from his grasp on the present is looking for direction. He has talent and skill but is he ready to accept the harsh realities of his life and move himself forward, or will the sins of those in his past keep him emotionally frozen in time. As he signs up for the class given by his mentor he is also looking to change his life. But what direction will those changes take.
As Stefan, Dory, Fran and Dominic join the class for this term session their lives and the lives of those around them will undergo dramatic changes. Some of those changes will be positive and some will lead to dangerous liaisons.
I admit to having a love for British authors who bring English villagers to life. The author of Life Class, Ms. Allan, does not disappoint. Her characters are full of the rich personality so often found in small towns and she brings them to life with ease and finesse. The protagonists are realistic, warm and easy to relate to, making the story easy to get lost in. The narration does not interfere with the flow of the story keeping it on track and moving forward and the descriptions of village life and locale draw the reader in.
Life Class is a moving story that will tug on the heartstrings of all but the most hardened readers, simply because it is a story of ordinary people who live ordinary lives, just as the rest of us do. How they deal with the situations many of us find ourselves in and the decisions they make is what sets this novel apart from many of its genre. Its warmth and realism bring an extra measure of both heart and life.
Karen Bryant Doering,
Parents' Little Black Book
Stefan begins as remote and not in the least likeable, seeking to make a go of his teaching but passionate about his art: we slowly get to know his story, what makes him as he is, complex and fascinating, and to see him begin to smile. Young Dom, strange and alien, fascinates Fran, and fascinated me equally - and he has an unexpectedly tragic story that proves quite uncomfortable to read.
The author adds a few more perfectly drawn characters - family members, others at the life class, a few life models who don't behave quite as they should, then sits back and allows her characters to play the story out. And it's quite a story - one with themes and developments that I never expected, but with love at its heart. It's a story about people and their relationships, character driven fiction at its best, the grown-up love story I'd hoped for. But it also manages to be a real page turner - I really wanted to see how things turned out for a group of real people I felt I knew so well, with all their faults and failings.
The writing is flowing and natural, shot through with gentle humour - easy to read in some ways, but appropriately difficult in other ways when the themes unexpectedly become rather darker. The art-based detail adds to the story immensely - I was fascinated by the drawing exercises, the materials they used, the construction of the sculptures, the process behind the bronzes. The settings are vividly described with the detail needed to bring it to life - the classroom, the woods around Kitesnest House (past and present), the house itself, the studio at Wyvern Mill, Dory's exploration of Michael's garden. And the pace of the whole is quite perfect - the way the characters were slowly revealed and unfolded mesmerised me.
I'm going on a bit, aren't I? But I hope I'm also managing to tell you why I enjoyed it so much - without telling you the full story, which would be quite unforgivable. I loved Gilli Allan's writing and wish I'd discovered her sooner - I can't believe her books have languished on my kindle for so long. With Life Class, she most certainly has written a story I loved to read - and one that so many others would undoubtedly love equally.
Most recent customer reviews
Huge props to Gilli Allan for her writing.Read more