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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 10 Sep 2016, 19:43 
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Taking the train home
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Aha - yes I think his blog should come with a bank account health warning attached to it. Some fascinating stuff on there. I think he and his partner must be touring the UK at the moment; I know their holiday was fairly imminent.

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 10 Sep 2016, 20:18 
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Enjoy the Nesbits, brie - quite a variety in style, really. I infintely prefer her less well-known books like Harding's Luck to the more famous Bastables.


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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 10 Sep 2016, 21:34 
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Furrowed Middlebrow is a very time-consuming but delightful blog!

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 11 Sep 2016, 09:11 
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Getting into trouble with Mlle Berne
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I have found it to be a lovely distraction. Work has been extremely stressful recently and this blog has felt like the perfect antidote- although my bank balance might not agree!

I think I may end up agreeing with you Noreen. It was the review of Nesbit's 'the Lark' which drew me to her. By the sound of things it one of her rarest books.

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 11 Sep 2016, 09:36 
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I love how furrowed middlebrow has fallen for the GO genre, especially the CS :D

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 11 Sep 2016, 11:46 
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Getting into trouble with Mlle Berne
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Yes, I have seen some nods so far (i went back to quite early on so I could read forward rather than back), but then who could resist EBD?? :P
She is still the author I am most likely to pick up if I am feeling unwell, down or stressed.

Even just from being on the CBB I have fallen for Gwendoline Courtney (just recently) and Clare Mallory; and dabbled with several other GO writers.

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 11 Sep 2016, 15:09 
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I read the entire Marlow series while on holiday - my first time of meeting them (thank you Noreen and Mrs Redboots). I could pontificate at length about why I fell in love with them and why I wanted to give several members of the family a good walloping! I also wondered why, as a teenager in the late fifties/into sixties, I'd never come across them, specially with a character called Nicola, which was incredibly unusual at the time. ( I was the only Nicola at my school until I was in the Upper Sixth and a new first former arrived.) The reason I didn't know them is simple, of course. It wasn't a series and it's only a series now once you realise that whole decades go by before there's another book.

Spoilers here, so don't read if you don't know the series.



I liked Autumn Term enough to want to read more. Thought '...traitor' was ok and was struck by the villain, who wasn't the usual suave baddy or gor blimey cockney wrong 'un. And people really died!
It was Falconer's Lure that hooked me; I love the story and the way she treats her readers as intelligent people and doesn't talk down to them. After that, so-so-ok till I reached Readymade Family. This made me want to kill Mrs Marlow! I know GO parents are often dead/away on long missions/feckless, but she is the most feckless woman I've ever come across in fiction! And the father's no better. To let a 16 year old take on the running of a farm is bad enough, but to let a 19 year old marry a man more than twenty years older, and let her leave Oxford to do so, is appalling. They should have refused permission, offered to help find him accommodation, and sent her back to Oxford.
And as for telling Nicola she might have to leave Kingscote because they couldn't afford the fees - that's criminal. They sold their house to the Merricks, for goodness sake! A large house in Hampstead. What did they do with the money???

The last book made me even crosser. For a career naval officer to get involved in an illegal act is bad enough, but to involve his younger siblings, is not only stupid but criminal.

As you can see - I loved the family but I've rarely wanted to kick any fictional character as much!

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 11 Sep 2016, 15:44 
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I love the Marlow books! They just feel so real. I can't even remember now which my first one was...

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 11 Sep 2016, 16:29 
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I too love them and the only people I want to kick at various times are Lawrie and Karen.

For me, Antonia Forest is the best GO author of them all. Lucy Mangan clearly agrees :D

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 11 Sep 2016, 16:35 
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They do feel real! That's what I love, but the fecklessness drove me nuts! That kind of upper middle class family, loads of children, ancient house, all that - was what I dreamed of as a lonely-only steeped in books, and they really are terrific. It's just the shock of parents who start out so lovely and competent, turning into useless (though charming) idiots!
I like the way Forest has real people really dying and lets it matter, rather than the usual slightly abstract 'oh dear, never mind' that sometimes happens. I was upset about Cousin Jon's crash but then again, presumably his money (if any) also went to Captain Marlow but they're still too poor to keep a child at boarding school.

I like Rowan and Nicola (well, I would, wouldn't I) and Peter's quite real too. Lawrie reminds me of a cousin who is exactly my age: we used to play our own Gondal type games and she was always the princess/heroine/drama queen. Ann gets a raw deal from Forest, I think, because she comes across as priggish but I'm not sure she is. Kay too, clever but no good as Head Girl and OK to marry off rather than let her do what she'd dreamed of. Ginty and Patrick are nicely flawed and behave like real teenagers rather than the 65 year old Len and co. Though where she got her teenage slang from, heaven only knows.

I deliberately didn't look up Antonia Forest till I'd finished the series and was charmed to find she lived in Bournemouth, about five miles from where I was brought up. And I wasn't surprised to read that she was another Catholic convert though I can't imagine EBD using the Vatican changes as the theme of a book!

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 11 Sep 2016, 17:04 
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Finding out about the Sale
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More Marlow spoilers -



I'm willing to overlook the implausibility of some of AF's plot developments because a lot of them are merely devices to set up the situation she really wanted to write about. Most of the plot of End of Term couldn't have happened if Rowan had still been at school, so there had to be a reason for her to leave.

They could have refused permission for Karen to marry Edwin, but they couldn't have forced her to go back to Oxford and work for her degree. She obviously wasn't that much of a dedicated student if she was willing to chuck it all in after two terms. She could just have slacked to the point that she was thrown out at the end of the year anyway.

I doubt if there'd have been much money to go with Trennels. It's only a few years since Great Uncle Laurence died - two lots of death duties at 1940s levels...

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 11 Sep 2016, 17:22 
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Oh yes, agreed - especially about Karen, but Mrs M uses the excuse that she and her husband were married against family wishes when she was even younger. But they were presumably madly in love, whereas Karen's wedding is like a funeral. I do like the way it's completely un-GOish, mind and I can't think of another author who would have done such a thing, but it's so drab.

I actually quite like Karen because she, like me, isn't a fan of the Brontes, apart from Anne. I loved the discussion about Gondal, etc. Very refreshing in a GO book, as opposed to just prep or a lecture from Miss A.

When I read the blurb for the last book, ie that it was about a custody battle, I got quite excited. I thought Karen had ditched Edwin and that there was actually a divorce :shock: in a GO book. Shame, really.

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 11 Sep 2016, 21:34 
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Crumbs, sealpuppy, I love the Marlows to bits myself (as you may have gathered), but I'm not at all sure that I could take a complete readthrough. You must be shattered!

Maybe this is not the time to ask if you know about this website?


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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 11 Sep 2016, 21:53 
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I do now! Thanks, Noreen, I'll lurk over there. And yes, need a break but I did fall heavily for them, despite my gripes!

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 11 Sep 2016, 22:03 
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Noreen wrote:

Maybe this is not the time to ask if you know about this website?


Eeeek! You mean there are drabbles??? Oh no, more time glued to the laptop. And no blog posts getting written. Tschah!

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 11 Sep 2016, 22:37 
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cestina wrote:
Eeeek! You mean there are drabbles??? Oh no, more time glued to the laptop. And no blog posts getting written. Tschah!
Yes, though I was thinking of the discussions as much as the drabbles. It's not the equal of the CBB, IMO - well, what could be??? - but it might while away an hour or two when one's in the mood for reading other people's views about the books, and quite a few characters come in for something of a kicking, notably Giles...


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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 13 Sep 2016, 08:24 
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Noreen wrote:
cestina wrote:
Eeeek! You mean there are drabbles??? Oh no, more time glued to the laptop. And no blog posts getting written. Tschah!
Yes, though I was thinking of the discussions as much as the drabbles. It's not the equal of the CBB, IMO - well, what could be??? - but it might while away an hour or two when one's in the mood for reading other people's views about the books, and quite a few characters come in for something of a kicking, notably Giles...


Please tell me Horrible Edwin comes in for a kicking as well! I'm reading Ready Made Family and Edwin Dodd doesn't seem to give a toss about his kids. First their parents separated, then their mother dies in a plane crash, they're torn away from their home and Granny and come to live with a bunch of strangers but Edwin just abandons all responsibility for them and leaves the Marlows to look after them. He's short-tempered, controlling and violent, horrible, horrible man.

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 13 Sep 2016, 09:27 
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RubyGates wrote:
Please tell me Horrible Edwin comes in for a kicking as well! I'm reading Ready Made Family and Edwin Dodd doesn't seem to give a toss about his kids. First their parents separated, then their mother dies in a plane crash, they're torn away from their home and Granny and come to live with a bunch of strangers but Edwin just abandons all responsibility for them and leaves the Marlows to look after them. He's short-tempered, controlling and violent, horrible, horrible man.
Oh yes - 'Why is Edwin such a bastard' is fairly well debated on there. Apparently Forest fans divide into two camps about Edwin (a) he is a bastard (including that's the reason why) and (b) Nicola's 'he's better than he seems at first'.


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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 13 Sep 2016, 09:39 
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I always think it would have suited everyone a lot better if the kids had stayed with Rosemary's mum and dad. I don't think Edwin actually is that bad, but I think he's the sort of man who thinks that looking after children is a woman's job, with the main role of a dad being to enforce discipline. Not such an unusual outlook amongst men of a certain generation and a certain class, but I'd have thought that dumping the children on their grandparents - as Mr Cochrane did with Grizel, for example - would have suited him a lot better.

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 13 Sep 2016, 16:14 
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I imagine Edwin got more than he bargained for. He thought he had a nice, compliant girl to take on the children, help him with his work and provide him with home comforts, and he got an enormous, cheerfully gabby family who hadn't been 'trained to instant obedience'. Big shock to the system. Plus his attitude to Peter just emphasises the age gap. I still think Mrs Marlow should have refused permission for Karen to marry. She could have done the time-honoured thing of 'can't make so serious a decision without my husband's agreement' - hoping that by the time he came home it would have blown over.

And yes, of course the children should have stayed with their grandmother. Poor woman, losing both her daughters and now the grandchildren. And you do wonder why the first marriage was on the rocks though presumably it was his control freakery.

I was staggered at the paedophile/murderer plotline. To find something like that in a GO book is quite extraordinary and I liked the way Nick handled it.

Good kids, useless parents. Now where have we ever seen that in any GO book before...?

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