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I've finished this book and still undecided if I will listen to the series. On the plus side, it's gentle and pleasant and oddly compelling once you get into it, and some of the characters, like Clarissa and her stepdaughter, are very recognisable. Oddly enough, so is Carissa's late husband, even though he never actually appears, having died just before the book starts. Everything his widow says and thinks about him paints a very vivid mind picture.
I thought the picture of the newly widowed Clarissa hitting rock bottom with her confidence in shreds, and then gradually building a new life for herself was well drawn and probably the strongest part. Some of the other characters and situations were less convincing.
The narration is fine on the whole, though the deliberate and very slow diction given to some of the male characters is a bit overdone for me - with some of them I just wanted to get out and push. I found the tying up of loose ends a bit too convenient and predictable but on balance I think this little village saga has probably got me hooked and I'll find myself checking out book 2 before too long.
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