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Saturday 18 June 2016

Satchfield Hall by Pauline Barclay

I really enjoyed second outing with the author, Pauline Barclay. It’s quite a story, spanning forty-four years, starting just before the end of the second world war. 

If ever there was a nasty, power-hungry, vicious, egotistic character, then Henry Bryant-Smythe was one. What a vile man. You can imagine, then, that when his young only daughter finds herself ‘in the family way’, the lengths he goes to are extreme, to the point of inhuman, to make sure she understands the consequences of such disgrace for a family of such standing. There isn’t a soul who doesn’t fear this hideous man…his own wife included. But he never entertains the possibility that he could be underestimating her. His domineering, vulgarity and bullying are as unbearable as are endearing her quiet sagacity, forbearance and gentleness. But pay he must for ruining the lives of those nearest to him.

Barclay overdoses us, wrings us out with oceans of wide-ranging emotions in this book. She does it skilfully, subtly, poignantly. The story is utterly compelling. 

This is a book which has been loitering around my Kindle for a while now and after reading it, I understand why. Every time I saw the title, it just didn’t scream ‘read me’. It’s not about Satchfield Hall at all: that’s just an address and really doesn’t play a part of any importance. The title of the book written by one of the characters is what screams at me as the perfect title. I was also a little at sea with the dates. The story is divided into two parts, but with untitled chapters it was hard to know exactly where we were.

For those reasons, I can’t elevate it into the five-star category, not least because of the bad editing (no editing?). So many spelling/grammatical errors was annoying.

However, I did manage to overlook those faults and ultimately, am glad I finally answered the book’s call to ‘read me, already!

See Also:
Magnolia House

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