Thursday, January 9, 2014

Book Review: Dead Ernest

Dead Ernest

Dead Ernest
by Frances Garrood
****

When Ernest dies (suddenly, of a heart attack, at age 83), his widow Annie will not agree to have the words “beloved husband” put in the advertisment.

Annie’s son Billy worries about his mother’s reactions after the death of his father. And no doubt, some of her behaviour does seem rather odd; and would probably by most people be ascribed to shock, grief or dementia (or all three). 

Death, it would seem, muddled up all the rules of normal behaviour.
(quote from Ch. 1)

The two people who manage to see past the oddities and show genuine interest in Annie as a person, are the local vicar, Andrew, and Annie’s granddaughter, Ophelia. Talking to Andrew, Annie gets a chance to look back on her life and tell her story; while the arrival of Ophelia helps her not to get too stuck in the past.

The main focus of the novel is not really ageing and death, but relationships. I think that Frances Garrood manages quite well to spotlight not only the changes taken place in society over the past seventy years or so (in what we regard as “normal” when it comes to love, relationships and marriage) but also a more timeless discrepancy between romantic ideals vs real life. 

9 comments:

  1. This sounds like a real good read. I really likes your comments about it, and makes me want to read it.

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  2. This review makes the book sound like one I would like to read.

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  3. before i figured out all the romance books are a bunch of poppycock, i used to read them and wonder why life was not that way... now i know what real life is and what real love is. and now i am also wondering why she did not want to put beloved... i don't think they use that word any more these days.

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  4. Will definitely search for this book. This old girl sounds normal but the others sound like they have watched too much B grade television. Must read more.

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  5. I can certainly recommend it, too; I read this book some time last year (or was it in 2012?) and have reviewed it on my blog, too.
    Monica, I never thought of it, but you are right when you say that Andrew helps Annie to deal with her past, while Ophelia helps her to not get stuck in it.

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  6. Francis Garrood is an excellent writer. I am waiting for her fourth book but if she doesn't get her finger out then it may be too late for me.

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  7. This one sounds really interesting, always look forward to your book reviews.

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  8. Thanks All for your comments. By the way, if you're not already following her, you'll find a link to Frances' blog in my sidebar (in the list under the heading Places to visit).

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  9. I, too, thought this was a really excellent book. I read it because I could not resist reading a book which started "Nobody expected Ernest to die. Least of all Ernest." In fact Frances's three books are all very worthwhile reads.

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