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Thursday, 1 November 2012

Alan Titchmarsh - The Haunting

review given live on the bookshow by Brian Lowen 1st Nov 2012 In my humble opinion, A T has progressed from the writer of frothy little stories to a producer of a really good novel. The story is excellent, believable, with good character depictions and keeps you interested the whole way through. There are really two story lines, one set in 1816 and the other in 2010 and you gradually see throughout the book how they are going to be linked in the end. The story in 1816 concerns a young 15 year old housemaid, Anne, at the Manor House, Withercombe in Hampshire who longs of becoming a lady’s maid, and when she is given the chance to escape the drudgery of her present life, she jumps at it, only for it to result in disastrous consequences. The story in 2010 involves a young 30 year old secondary school history teacher, Harry, who is coming to terms with the aftermath of an unsavoury divorce. He decides on a change of career, and a change of house. He sells his apartment and moves into a picturesque, but run down little cottage in the country. His new next door neighbour turns out to be Alex, a single mum of a seven year old daughter, who is trying to get over the death of her husband. When we learn that their two houses were the old mill and the mill cottage at Withercombe you start to see how the two stories are linked. And so we follow Harry as he gets to know Alex, in 2010 and Anne’s adventures in 1816 in alternate chapters. This continual chopping of the story from one century to another does not spoil the story but keeps all the characters fresh in your mind. A lovely book which I thoroughly enjoyed, as I have all of Alan Titchmarsh’s books. Recommended.

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