The Children's Book by A S Byatt

About the book

Famous author Olive Wellwood writes a special private book, bound in different colours, for each of her children. In their rambling house near Romney Marsh they play in a story-book world – but their lives, and those of their rich cousins and their friends, the son and daughter of a curator at the new Victoria and Albert Museum, are already inscribed with mystery. Each family carries its own secrets. They grow up in the golden summers of Edwardian times, but as the sons rebel against their parents and the girls dream of independent futures, they are unaware that in the darkness ahead they will be betrayed unintentionally by the adults who love them. This is the children’s book.

Reviewed by Fleet Library Readers:

An epic, dense, multi-layered book – bringing together art and fairy tales in the period of Edwardian times. A large cast of characters revolving around several families. also featuring the Victoria and Albert museum among other points of interest.

Star rating: ***

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4 thoughts on “The Children's Book by A S Byatt”

  1. Review by Southsea Literature Group:
    A fanatically detailed recreation of years between 1895-1919. Byatt is a writer of great ability but here as in other work she leans too heavily on didactic passages that half the flow of the text. we had a strong feeling that she writes for herself rather than the reader and some careful editing would have made for a fantastic book. Interesting characters based on people like E Nesbit and Eric Gill. The book teems with 19th Century life.
    Star rating: ***

  2. Review by Enjoying Books Reading Group:
    An erudite book that needs patience but on the whole we decided it was worth the effort. The prose is almost poetic – the characters develop in an interesting way – the history is an interesting parallel.
    Star rating: ***

  3. Review by Ringwood U3A Book Group 3
    This book had a very mixed reaction from our group. All agreed that its length made it rather daunting, with extended passages showing much detailed research but not adding to the story. Not everyone in the group managed to finish the book, but those who did thought it was very good, becoming much more enjoyable in the second half. Overall opinion was that, with some judicious editing, it could have been a fantastic read.
    Star rating **

  4. We all thought the book was too long and too detailed, although some of the descriptive text was excellent. Too many characters lost in the story. We all enjoyed parts of it but generally a lukewarm read. **

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