The Catalpa Tree by Denyse Devlin

About the book

When Jude is orphaned at fourteen, her father’s best friend comes to the rescue. Oliver wants to remain her friend as well as her guardian, but spirited Jude isn’t a girl you can shelter from the world – not after she’s already suffered so much heartache. And with each passing year, both Jude and Oliver struggle in their own ways against the ties that bind them. What place has love inside and outside of their relationship? Who is really protecting whom – especially when Jude grows into a desirable young woman? And what future can a relationship with so many complications ever really have?

Reviewed by Anon Reading Group:

Excellent for a first novel. Characters perceptively portrayed. Good narrative flow – page turner.

Star rating: ****

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3 thoughts on “The Catalpa Tree by Denyse Devlin”

  1. Review by New Forest/Waterside U3A – Theatre and Literature Reading Group:
    The only description of this book which carried anything near to unanimity was a ‘page turner’, although the reasons given were almost as numerous as the group membership on the day (18 including myself, the only male). The star ratings ran from * to ***½, taken at the start of our discussion reflect the wide range of reaction to the book and had not substantially altered by the end. Only one reader acknowledged understanding of and sympathy for JUDE. The sub-title of the book could have been ‘An everyday story of dysfunctional people’. The magazine short-story character descriptions and the author’s failure to separate their patterns of speech in the too lengthy dialogues, often made re-reading of passages necessary.
    An accepted conclusion was that there was enough material for three, or at least two novels. One can only hope that Denyse Woods has not exhausted her creative stock. There seems to be talent here, which needs honing.
    Star rating: * to ***½

  2. Review by Biscuits Books and Banter Reading Group:
    Family saga set in Ireland/London and France. Enjoyed by many, but some were put off by love story between two main characters. Many felt that the author had thought of ethical dilemma and then concocted the story around that. Enjoyable discussion.
    Star rating: ***

  3. Review by Boaters Book Club:
    A lot was said about this book which as always makes the BBC book club meetings interesting. Generally it was not liked because it was considered that too much was going on, it was repetitious, a roller coaster which lacked cohesion with too many twists and turns, odd fill ins, emotional overkill and was not developed to its presented potential. Most thought the characters not developed and weak . However it was considered to have some amusing bits, expressions and good descriptions. It was felt the ending had to happen and was generally OTT. It resulted in a good discussion about a book which most did not like, it caused a lot of laughter about us feeling “Mary Whitehouse” about it.
    Star rating: **

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