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The Telling
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on July 14, 2014
I finished it, but it was a chore. I read "Longbourn" by Jo Baker and loved it, so I chose "The Telling" to read next. I was disappointed. The writing was eloquent, but tedious. I would have liked the book if it was just the story of what happened in the 1800's, but I never got the significance of the current-day character. The current-day story-line had no plot.
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on January 2, 2015
I like historical novels and I like stories of the supernatural. "The Telling" is a mixture of both. It alternates between present-day and mid-19th century events as experienced by two female inhabitants of the same English cottage. Occasionally those two realities collide. Is it just a symptom of the modern day character's emotional collapse? Or is this a haunting? Jo Baker makes a convincing case in either direction, and tells a fascinating story in the process.

This story is very rich in setting details...more in keeping with a 19th century style of writing. That, and some slow pacing, makes it tedious for some modern readers, but the style fits well with the "voice" of the one of the two main characters. The only negative for me is a rather rapid and pat conclusion. I'm going to read this again to see if I missed some clues in all of the lush descriptive language. Not a chore......I loved the way this tale unfolded until the big Reveal....
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on June 7, 2014
Is Rachel having a nervous breakdown after her mother's death? Are the voices and presence she feels in her head or could Reading Cottage have secrets and sorrows of its own? After her mother's death a sad and bereft Rachel leaves her husband and child for supposedly a weekend of cleaning out her parents' recently acquired retirement cottage. The village is remote and neighbors are few. Why is the cottage known as The Reading Cottage? Over the next days the story seems to slide between two worlds as Rachel feels and becomes Elizabeth, a young woman whose own pain and loss in the 19th century have saturated the cottage and find an outlet in Rachel. The historical aspects concerning the little known Chartist Movement in England and the conditions of life for the working poor are well presented. Ultimately, we must understand Lizzy before Rachel can let go of her grief and return home.
I found the book compelling and interesting. Jo Baker has a deft hand for portraying a bygone era and making us understand it's people and a world that usually was confined to a village, a cottage, a place by the fireside. And , always, flesh and blood people, carefully described and brought to life.
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on June 23, 2014
This book is about a woman who goes to a cottage to clean it out after her mother's death. While there, she picks up on the vibes left by the past owners and we are sucked into the intertwining stories. If I'm going to be honest I have to say that after awhile I got a little sick of Rachel's whining and stumbling around. I was fascinated with the story from the past about Elizabeth and frankly I would have liked to simply have read her story with more detail, rather than have to keep on going back to Rachel. So, while I enjoyed Baker's ability to write and share the stories of the past in such an amazing way, I think that Rachel and the story in the present took away from the book rather than adding to it. I will be trying to read another of Jo Baker books, because I did appreciate her ability to tell Elizabeth's story.
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on July 11, 2017
Good product, arrived on time and as described.
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on January 1, 2014
Jo Baker knows how to delve into a little-known pocket of history and develope a wonderfu original story and characters. I didn't think her device of shifting from 21st C to 19th C worked, however, and the contemporary heroine's mysterious malaise goes nowhere unti being "resolved" by a hurried conclusion.
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on April 15, 2016
I was a huge fan of Longbourne, so I was disappointed by the book. The time shift was not necessary. She should have stayed with the historical telling -- those characters were better developed and the story was more interesting.
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on March 21, 2014
I loved this book, I felt totally drawn into the story and couldn't wait to read at night..the present day back to the past and back again, you find yourself falling in love with Lizzie and her story is historical and sweetly haunting...
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on February 27, 2015
The two story lines were equally well done but all of a sudden things just seemed to solve themselves. I was expecting more of a connection of the two on
some level. I enjoy this author's work but this left me hanging.
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on July 19, 2014
I read Longbourne first and decided to read this next. It's about books, history, emotions and life. At times I was truly moved by the sadness and hope. It's a good read for sure especially if you like descriptions of English countryside.
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