- Paperback: 420 pages
- Publisher: Bantam Books; 1st edition (March 2, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385343612
- ISBN-13: 978-0385343619
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 304 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Long Time Coming: A Novel Paperback – March 2, 2010
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Starred Review. In this irresistible thriller full of deceit, duplicity, and vengeance, British author Goddard (Name to a Face) shifts effortlessly between 1976, when 68-year-old Eldritch Swan, thought killed in the Blitz, resurfaces from 36 years in an Irish prison, and 1940, when Eldritch, a cocksure secretary for an unscrupulous Antwerp diamond merchant, Isaac Meridor, prepares to leave for America. The older Eldritch, who appears as weird as his given name implies, assures his nephew, Stephen, he'd been framed in Dublin for unspecified offenses against the state, though he admits to helping steal Meridor's Picasso collection. Eldritch needs Stephen's help to prove the collection rightfully belongs to Meridor's wife, daughter, and granddaughter, Rachel Banner. Bit by tantalizing bit the convoluted tale of Eldritch's unknowing involvement in high wartime crimes and misdemeanors during Britain's finest hour emerges, deftly counterpointed by Stephen's growing attachment to Rachel. (Mar.)
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An ill-gotten family fortune culled from Congolese diamond mines, a forged Picasso, and a hellish Irish prison form the nexus of this eccentric thriller. There are two narrators: the first, speaking of events in 1976, is Stephen Swan, a geologist who has long worked in the booming Texas oil fields. On his return to England, he finds that an uncle, who he was told had lost his life during the Blitz, is alive but not well, having been just released from an extended stay in an Irish prison under suspicion of spying. The second narrator is the uncle himself, who tells his nephew about criminal plots hatched during the war that have taken on strength and danger through the decades. Goddard shuttles between 1976, when the forged Picasso and other stolen works are on public display and must be recovered for the wronged owners, and 1940, when the whole conspiracy began. Although the plot is complex, Goddard’s gift for suspense never flags. --Connie Fletcher
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The time is 1976. Eldrich Swan is released from a Irish prison after 36 years imprisonment. He returns to England and is recruited to recover the Picasso's, currently the property of an American tycoon and in exhibition at the Royal Academy of London. His nephew Stephen and the granddaughter of a Jewish diamond merchant, his former employer and owner of the art, help in the recovery. The paintings had been stolen from a vault of a London art dealer in the early days of World War II.
At the heart of the novel is another story. It's about the dawn of World War II and the neutrality of Ireland featuring real-life characters. Eamon de Valera, a hero of the Easter Uprising of 1916, is Tsoiseach of the Irish Republic having served as early President of the Irish Free State. One Malcolm MacDonald of the British Legation is in Dublin to persuade de Valera and Ireland to join the war effort. It is June 1940.
Also in Dublin in 1940 is one fictional Eldrich Swan searching for a master forger named Desmond Quilligan.
Goddard cleverly takes his readers back-and-forth from 1940 Dublin to 1976. And finally to Belgium to resolve the matter of the stolen art. It's a rewarding and fascinating tale!
Postscript: How many paintings are in a trove? Goddard's trove is eighteen Picasso's---painted between 1907 and the early 1930's. By the time his fictional protagonist searches for provenance in 1976, the paintings would be priceless!
The story is based around Eldritch Swan, who literally returns from the dead, after spending thirty six years as a guest of the Irish prison system. Along with his nephew Stephen they investigate the theft of several Picasso paintings during the war.
The book takes place in the late seventies and preceeding the second world war, in this way the mystery, thriller unfolds. It's quite a layered and convoluted plot spanning many years. Parts of the story were fascinating reading, the history of Ireland on the international stage. But I was expecting more, more to be revealed, to happen and it didn't quite eventuate. The ending was a bit flat, I would have liked to see more resolution, justice served.
The main part of this book that hit home for me was the cancer. I lost my dad 11 years ago to cancer (I was 17; he was 43) so this book touched a deep, deep part of my soul. This book made me cry, but it also made me feel good for some reason.
So I give this book 5 stars, for the writing style, and for the message it brings. Loved it and definitely would read another 'regligious' style book if they're like this one!!
Twenty-three-year old Kenisha grew up in a dysfunctional home; barely raised by a drunken but was determined to be everything her mother wasn't to her own "three by three" children. Although she struggled to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table, her children were well behaved, clean and most of all well loved. A devastating diagnosis would change the course of the little family's lives forever.
The two women become unlikely allies as God miraculously intertwines their families together.
Miller's parable is one of emotional healing, borderless love and unpredictable reconciliation. I loved it!Long Time Coming