A Rooftop View is the page-turning story of an artist, Matthew Sutton, whose experiences in the Second World War have haunted his mind and blunted his creative talent. Caught at an emotional crossroads, Matt accepts an offer to teach at a college of art. It is there that three studentsí tangled lives weave a thread of circumstance and emotion into Mattís own, which results in romance, tragedy and regret.
Set largely in Cornwall, a county with which author Jane Hatton has had a love affair since she was nine years old, this is a book whose chapters are much like the sea itself, sometimes calm, sometimes angry, but always with a wave of emotion rising to the surface.
The main character of Matt is well written and his relationship with Anona is filled with passion. Also, the characters of Jerry Nankervis, Helen, Giff, the dreadful Peachey and the dreaded Dot, are colourfully presented, their actions framing each otherís destinies and sealing their individual fates. A Rooftop View is an absorbing read by an author who paints a picture of an individual artistís world, where the brush strokes are not always so soft.
If a book is about people, place and plot, then we have all three in A Rooftop View. I found it a riveting read and look forward to the next in the series.
Contemporary yet timeless, the narrative is propelled swiftly and effortlessly onward by the seamless construction of well observed, multidimensional characters who act like ball bearings on the story line. I had a sense of the plot continuing to unfold regardless of whether I was reading it or not - like television for the mind - and I was loathe to miss a thing.
A Marriage of Inconvenience is an intricate web, which weaves threads of hope, love, despair, caution and impulse around its characters with such realism that empathy with their emotions and reactions is inevitable. A story which is bound to evoke a sense of recollection at some point, whether in its setting or its plot, we've all been there or somewhere like it.
More credible than reality TV, the third in the Nankervis family chronicle has allowed (our) relationship with this fictitious family to blossom, furnishing (us) with an understanding of their ways rivalling that of (our) own kith and kin. They are not a kindly lot, but this is a book about connections and it is these fragile threads of continuity, transcending time and life itself, which prove to be the redeeming factor that draws fragmented relationships together like the closing of a wound.
Writing about the county in which she lives and so obviously loves, Jane Hatton does not over romanticise her locations. They are, after all, only the settings for the real gems, her characters, but anyone with experience of the county will easily recognise the liberal sprinkling of Cornwall, as it melts into the plot like chocolate on a cappuccino!
The Nankervis sequence has become a substantial body of work, and as all such series should, can be read separately and then enjoyed all over again, with the extra pleasure of piecing characters and events together. The setting is mainly in Cornwall and is beautifully done. The writer has a feel for the place that comes across as a kind or osmosis, and we can soak in up and suspend disbelief totally. In Cornwall, whether it is a gloriously hot day or a landscape full of mud, anything can happen. The author blends reality with myth with expertise, yet never confuses madness with either: Jane Hatton makes Cornwall into a place that can change the course of lives. She never glosses over tragedy, but she offers the possibility of some kind of redemption. Finally, she has us hooked, and we want to know more about Susan, and Oliver and Chel, and Debbie and Mawgan et al. And ... there is more!
Looking for Henry as a stand alone read will introduce you to characters whose personalities jump off the page. They intrigue sometimes with their very ordinariness, or fascinate with their compelling lives, and they always captivate as an extended family of which the reader will want to know more.
This book is Susanís story and with settings in Dorset, Devon and the authorís beloved Cornwall presents places and characters which have perfect fit; the story sparkles and ripples like the surface of the Helford River, the main location. Susanís search for Henry takes the reader on an emotional journey with satisfying elements and touches of humour and pathos as her life impacts on those around her. The authorís strength is the combining of believable characters, fascinating storyline, and truly brilliant dialogue. In fact, story-telling at its best.
You know when you open a new book from Jane Hatton that there is sheer reading pleasure ahead. This latest book (A Dream of Dragons) continues that tradition in spades! That the author chose to break into historical fiction writing is a surprise, that she does it so compellingly is not. This new departure, like all her work leaves the reader wanting more. As with all the characters the author introduces, you hope to meet them again in the future, and those that do reappear can be greeted like familiar friends who continue to reveal new aspects and add a complexity and depth to a truly good story. As well as the fascination of historical fiction this book with a mysterious element at its heart will keep the reader turning pages until the satisfactory ending arrives.
In Time to Say Goodbye, Jane Hatton has again departed from her well known and loved style of writing and given us a delightful tale that emphasises the story rather than the characters introduced. Written with the main character as the narrator, only the story teller and her experiences are the focus with other participants appearing and disappearing as appropriate. As a key participant is the enigmatic Oliver Nankervis from the Nankervis Family Chronicles, devotees of the author, will find themselves placing this book in a favoured position amongst her others. Readers who have this as a first introduction to the author will find a well written and fast paced tale that while exploring the beginnings and endings of relationships also tells a wonderful story of flotilla sailing in Greece. The reader who has already been flotilla sailing will treasure this book like a nostalgic wander through a holiday photograph album, while a reader contemplating such a holiday needs to take regard of the authorís note and believe her work truly is fiction.
Lesley Costello January 2013
Jane Hatton has done it again! Brought her faithful followers a gem of a book - to take away as a holiday read or to curl up in a favourite reading corner, possibly surrounded by the rest of the Nankervis Chronicles, this latest book will not disappoint.
With an interesting excursion into the Nankervis happenings, this story introduces us to more utterly believable people, about whom we will want to know what is going on their lives right now! On the surface a simple love story, this book delves deeply into important issues that are tellingly revealed through the relationships and interactions of these new and intriguing characters.
If this book is the readersí first introduction to the author, a delightful and satisfying read is a certainty, but be warned! - finding and reading all of the earlier books may become an obsession!
Lesley Costello, Cheshire, December 2013
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