Sunday, 19 November 2017

The Country Set by Fiona Walker - Book Review*

I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of Fiona Walker's new book The Country Set.
I am a big fan of Fiona's writing and in particular her style. I was so excited when this book arrived!

Before I even opened the book I was thrilled that it had its own bookmark. Those are important to me because I am not a corner folder.

I opened the cover and was greeted with a beautifully detailed map. 
This is a perfect way of setting the scene and is great for referencing later on. There is also a list of characters (with brief descriptions) which is even handier than the map.
Throughout the book Fiona flicks from character to character so having the list at the beginning is really helpful. It just keeps your mind refreshed. It also means you can dip in and out of the story: perfect for busy bees.

Another wonderful thing is the family trees. As I said the characters change frequently and it's easy to fall out of the loop. There are a lot of names to learn so having them laid out on a double page spread is perfect. 

I found that I flicked back a lot to keep myself on track especially at the beginning. These trees are really useful when the characters individual stories start to intertwine with each other.

Once you are in to the book you find yourself deeply enthralled in the characters lives. Something I really love about this book is the character exploration. Even though there are many characters featured you really get a sense of each personality. I loved learning about each person: their ups and downs, their secrets and desires, their pasts and their very interesting presents.
Though the story is quite light overall it is tinged with grief, sadness and some unexpected moments.
I'm pretty sure there are more stories to squeeze out of these characters.

I didn't really connect to the horse/country theme simply because I'm a city girl but I did enjoy the lighthearted escapism (though at times it did feel like another world).
I really had to be in the right frame of mind to pick this book up because the sheer size is quite daunting. This is not a quick read. It's a very lengthy book with over 800 pages.
When I was reading it I found that some parts seemed to drag and I almost scanned the pages a few times just to move forward to something with a bit more of a story. I think that because the women are a little older in this story that I didn't really feel like I fit into their chit chat so those parts didn't really appeal to me.

Overall I liked the story. I appreciated the funny moments created by some of the characters and the quaint country backdrop. It is a little hard to get to grips with but soldier on and really get your teeth into it, it'll be worth it if this book is your kind of thing.
If you are a lover of Fiona Walker's witty, satirical style then this is a story you will enjoy. Equally if you're a fan of stories set in the countryside, family feuds, secrets and animals then this is for you too.

If you'd like to buy a copy they're available on Amazon and Waterstones.


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