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A Christmas Journey [Paperback]

3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Anne Perry Special Jan. 27 2004
By eduardo
"A Christmas Journey" is more than a mystery and more than a Christmas story. All Anne Perry fans should put aside their usual expectations of a Pitt-Monk type mystery, and simply sit back and enjoy a story about Vespasia, including a reference to her married status and an unfulfilled love affair.There is no need to flesh out characters, because that's not the point of the story.
It is, rather, a story with devastating insights into English upper-crust manners and, more importantly, into the meaning of faith,friendship, and a touch of perseverance.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Weak story Dec 21 2003
It's Christmas time and guests have gathered in the Berkshire countryside house of Applecross for a weekend of Christmas cheer. Unfortunately for one guest, a cutting remark made by another sent her to suicide. In order not to be socially ostracized the young woman who made the remark that caused the suicide embarks on a journey to Scotland to deliver a letter to the deceased mother.
I am usually not a big fan of the books written for Christmas by best-selling authors. The prime purpose of most of these books seems to be to cash in on the Christmas dollars people are willing to spend. I had high hopes for this book because I am a big fan of Anne Perry. It started with promise with one of the interesting secondary characters in the Thomas Pitt series, Vespasia Cumming-Gould. The story takes place when Vespasia is in her early thirties instead of the more advanced years of the Pitt series. I thought we would have some good character development and backstory for Vespasia, but instead the character portraits were superficial. The plot was not only rather ludicrous, but weak. Thankfully it's a short book with only 180 pages and wide margins. Save your money and read or re-read any of the excellent books in the Thomas Pitt series or William Monk series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Victorian Mystery Dec 20 2003
Just in time for Christmas, for the fans of the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt mystery series, Anne Perry has constructed a delightful Victorian mystery featuring one of its more interesting characters, Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould.
Lady Vespasia is entertaining her highborn friends at Applecross for a holiday weekend of games, good food and romance, when one of her guests commits suicide --- the victim of the waspish tongue of another. The group is stunned and outraged and demands some sort of revenge. At the urging of her good friend, Omegus Jones, Vespasia suggests to the somewhat less than recalcitrant harpy that perhaps she should atone for her foul deed with an unusual act of expiation. In front of the gathered group, she suggests that she should embark on the long and possibly dangerous journey to northern Scotland to inform the victim's mother of her daughter's sad demise. Not only that, but she should bring the grieving mother back to attend.
In order to make certain this task of medieval origins is completed, Vespasia offers to accompany her friend on the journey. Vespasia, her friend, the victim and her mother are revealed to have secrets in their pasts that come to light as the journey progresses. Perhaps the suicide is something more than meets the eye.
Perry spins a tale of intrigue lavishly adorned with Victoriana and moral conundrums. One almost wishes that expiation were a way of meting out deserved punishment in our times.
--- Reviewed by Roz Shea
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4.0 out of 5 stars A True Christmas Story Dec 17 2003
I enjoyed this book because it gave us an insight into a young Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould, one of my favourite characters from the Thomas Pitt series. I also enjoyed this story for the Christmas message that it sent. It's only a small novelette, but it's full of delight. Ms. Perry can take us into her Victorian world like no one else can, and it's an almost illicit pleasure! Surely it can't be right or legal to enjoy these books so much! But it is and it doesn't need to be a guilty pleasure either. In this book we see a young Lady Vespasia setting out on a horrific winter journey in order to provide moral support for one of her friends who has been entrusted with a mission. During the journey Vespasia pieces together the details of the tragedy that occurred a year and a half ago, and how it caused a young woman to jump over the bridge into a freezing lake. Powerful stuff here.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A nice Christmas gift Dec 13 2003
This is a much shorter book than most of those from Anne Perry; it's a piece of light rewading for and about Christmas. The writer takes Aunt Vespasia, one the favourite characters from her Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series, and tells the story of one Christmas in her younger days. It isn't exactly a mystery story - a young woman commits suicide and her reasons for doing that seem obvious. But Anne Perry is master of digging beneath the obvious to find the truth beneath the truth.
The result is a tale that flows from an elegant house party in a country mansion north to the frozen snowy wastes of Scotland (and Anne Perry lives in northern Scotland so we can assume she knows whereof she speaks). It's a pilgrimage of sorts, with Vespasia and her friend Isobel toiling through storms and snowdrifts to find the mother of the dead woman and, incidentally the truth behind the suicide.
The only thing spoiling this good story is the overly moralistic tone that Anne Perry is increasingly becoming bogged down in. Of course you want characters with deep motivation - some pure, some mistaken, some evil - and the battle between good and evil always makes for good plot structure. But Anne Perry does tend to overdo it, leaving the reader wondering if she can stand being swamped beneath so many layers of virtue and morality.
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