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Listened to it as an audiobook. Needed to listen twice to first two chapters. After that I enjoyed the 'different worldliness' of it.

Sue G

I have and then discouraged my husband from bothering! I liked the story that she was trying to tell, but it just went on far too long for me, which means I end up skipping text. The risk with such a long book is that if you don't read it quickly enough it's difficult to pick up after a break.
I guess I would say if you don't have the time to crack through it now, then maybe save it until you can.


It took me about 100 pages to really get into it, but after that I LOVED it.


Loved it, every word, don't be tempted to skip the footnotes either, they take you deeper and deeper into another world. Here's my tips on how to succeed:-)

Desperate Reader

I thought it was okay, raced through it on a New years visit to Shetland where it was to cold to do anything but read, but I would have loved to have chopped great big chunks out of it and generally thought that the author had been over indulged by her editor.


haven`t read it yet but it is one of my sons favorite books!!


I haven't read it yet, due to its length. I plan to read it next year for (almost) certain, when I can be a little less rigid in my reading habits. I know already that I will like it. I love long books with digressions and lots of detail (Name of the Rose, Charles Dickens, name a few). Pretty much the same reasons other people dislike the book.


I read this when it came out. I don't really remember much of it but I didn't love it like some others did. Maybe it's because I read The Woman in White and other Victorian sensation fiction just before it. I thought it was just ok.


It is very fun and whenever we're walking a long distance path like the Cleveland way that has particularly good footpaths the part about the magic armies making roads before them comes back to me.
However it is awfully long and more than a little whimsical, so not to everyone's taste. I have just bought the Night Circus which I feel will be in the same vein, have you read that?


This made me smile because I picked up a paperback copy in a charity shop *years* ago and still haven't read it! Could this be a Stephen Hawking book?


In my notes from 2005 I wrote: I loved this magic realism novel. It twists and turns beautifully and always remains other-wordly.
Exactly as I remember it and I hope you enjoy it too. (My Ravelry name is taken from this book - the man with the Thistledown hair!)


I have tried to read it but just did not like it and so gave up. I found it irritating. But you will probably love it, as our tastes seem to diverge at times (cf The Good Soldier)!


I'm another one who tried to read this book, borrowed it from the library. I gave up on it, after about 50 pages or so.


I bought a copy when it came out in paperback, having had it recommended to me by a number of people, but apart from one occasion when I failed to get beyond the first few pages, it has remained untouched since then!
From comments I have read, it seems that it is one of those books (like Captain Corelli's Mandolin) where you have to get beyond a certain number of pages before the story really grabs you, so I will be more persistant the next time I try it which will hopefully be soon.


Excellent! Many thanks for that link, Lynne, and I love a good footnote!


Our copy was bought by me for Mr. C. and he did read it at the time. I've long intended to pick it up, and goodness knows why I've done so now with lots of other demands on my time, but so far, so good.


No, I haven't read (or got) The Night Circus, though I like the sound of it very much, too.

B R Wombat

Yes, I read it when it came out and really enjoyed it but, as with so many other books read in middle age, I can remember very little of it. I hope you like it.


Like DGR I loved and loved the footnotes. Funnily enough I was just looking at it and wondering if it was time for a re-read. It's one I'd always keep.


I have read it.

I found it comfortable read. Of course, I do often find long books more comfortable than short ones (still remember how sorry I, as a child, felt for poor undernourished "Salambo" between other, fatter books on shelf).


I read this and simply loved it. It was prior to setting up of Random so did not review but here is a link to her second book, which I did review with a mention of JS

I found the whole book totally fascinating and I had not expected to.


Thanks for the link, Elaine. I'm only around 60 pages in but loving JS&MN, and 'The Ladies...' sounds like one to add to the wishlist.


I think the Ladies was cobbled together after the succes of JS using various short stores by the author but they are all enchanting.


I could've sworn that I wrote a review in my Goodreads account when I finally finished it, but I can't find it. I know my reaction was a mix of all the responses above: I felt it could've been shorter, I found parts of it very interesting, there were times it really bothered me, but there were also times it reminded me of Austen and Colfer and Pratchett! In general, I'm glad I read it, but I'm not sure why!


I loved this book when I read it a couple of years ago. I'm a Strangeite rather than a Norrellite!


I read the first book at the suggestion of a dear friend and roommate and within weeks, both myself and the fiance had gobbled it up. It's a long read, but I think the best "otherworldly" books are, in order to create that other world.

I also really loved The Ladies of Grace Adieu and it's definitely good for those days when you want a shorter read, or just to get started on something more quickly. Either way, enjoy!

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