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Summary

A beautiful, very moving, melancholic and elegiac novel set in the late 1960s in Melton, a small town in the West Country.

The story revolves around a disparate group of people who come together there to establish an arts festival. There is Jack Curtis a self-made millionaire who has bought and refurbished the local stately home, Florence Plover, a garden designer in her sixties whom he has employed and her Anglo-Greek niece, Persephone. There are the Musgrove siblings, Thomas and Mary, whose family originally owned Melton Hall, who run a failing garden nursery nearby and there is Francis Brock, whose sister Celia, Thomas's wife, was tragically killed in a car crash some years previously.

This is the story of their intertwining relationships and how they come to love, and not to love each other in different ways and why - a perfect book to curl up and read by the fireside on an autumn afternoon and as satisfying a read as Brief Encounter is a film.

©2008 Elizabeth Jane Howard (P)2008 Macmillan Digital Audio

Critic reviews

"As always, Howard intrigues and delights as her characters seem to dance to their own discordant tune. A romance for all ages." ( Daily Express)

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

not a very good writer's best

If you’ve listened to books by Elizabeth Jane Howard before, how does this one compare?

I am very fond of Elizabeth Jane Howard's books and have listened to the others. This is well worth listening to when you have heard the others and want one more, but not the best to try first. The title sums up the ending which is perhaps why I found it less satisfying and and a bit of a downer.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Joanna Lumley?

I adore Joanna Lumley but found the other narrators better for EJH's style.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not her best

Engaging but ultimately rather slight. Joanna Lumley’s voice is beautiful to listen to but she “reads”and there isn’t much characterisation. The lack of a beat between switching between stories leads to a confusing listen.

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Really Beautiful

The story is lovely and refreshing x I could almost smell the flowers x Loved the way Joanna Lumley brought it to life as she described each character x Amust to get x

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Not as good as her others....

I love EJH normally. This story had poor character development and a a rather boring and depressing plot!