For 30 years, Howard and Deborah Morgan have poured all their energy and modest savings into Stoneyridge, a smallholding deep in the English moors. Howard putters with pottery, Deborah dabbles in weaving, and both struggle to tend sheep and chickens and live off the land. But what began with simple dreams of solitude and sunlit picnics in the hills has given way to a harsher reality. To help with finances, they decide to turn Stoneyridge into a bed-and-breakfast. But a sudden stroke leaves Howard incapacitated and Deborah overwhelmed. Then, late one evening, two men arrive needing a room for the night - and set off a chain of events that uncovers the relics of old tragedies. And through it all, Stoneyridge quietly hides the bitter and transformative truth.
This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
This is simply the most disappointing story I have ever read in my seventy years of reading. There is little happiness, no generosity, while each character is so sadly selfish and self-centered in the way they live their lives. The only kindness is from a grumpy neighbor landlord. The main characters are undermined by a life of disappointment and miscommunication. Underlying all this is a pivotal lie than has ruined their lives and relationships with their failure to deal with it. I can not in my wildest recommend this. I am sorry I bought it.
What could Morag Joss have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
This story struggles to reveal anything but negativity, it is hard for me to see how it could be redeemed. I am a positive, optimistic person, who fervently believes in redemption in life. I see no glimmer of any of that in his plot. It exhibits fear not love, and an attitude of getting through life, not enjoying it.
What three words best describe Rosalyn Landor’s performance?
It was an adequate performance, but with such a book to read, I can't imagine her ability being able to help it.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Our Picnics in the Sun?
This book is so negative, I am at a loss. There are many places where the characters could have reacted differently, more positively. But I sense that the author meant to show what such a life leads to.
Any additional comments?
I have never read such a book without some redemptive quality. Every time there was the opportunity for turning things around, it didn't happen and I was disappointed and ultimately let down by the portrayal of these lives.
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