16/05/2006

A Village Dilemma

This is the ninth in the 'Turnham Malpas' series by Rebecca Shaw. They all revolve around a small, old-fashioned village in the UK where everyone knows everyone else. There's a church, a pub, a general grocery store, a school... and we get glimpses into them all, through the lives of the different characters.

I'm not sure quite why this series is so compulsive. I don't find any of the characterisations particularly deep or thrilling, and there's not a huge amount of action. This particularly book did have a rather moving scene, when the Rector's twins finally learn the details of something which has been kept from them through the rest of the series, but the rest is either mundane or melodramatic. A face from the past reappears with great plans for the village, and causes a near rift between a couple; however he has a sudden tweak of conscience which really doesn't fit with the way he's described in the earlier part of the book.

Nonetheless I keep picking up second-hand copies of these books and reading them, and finding myself interested in what happens in the life of this village. I suppose it's the 'soap opera' effect. I doubt if this book would be of interest to anyone who hasn't read any of the previous volumes in the series - however it's not necessary to have read them all. I think I've read about four of them in all prior to this one.

To conclude: a pleasant enough light read for anyone who likes village style novels, or who wants to know more about the lives of the Turnham Malpas characters from previous books.

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