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Brimstone Wedding [Hardcover]

Barbara Vine
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 2 1998
Stella is a secretive, elegant, elderly lady dying of cancer. Only Jenny, her young care assistant, seems aware of Stella's mysterious past. Allowed to use Stella's house for meetings with her lover, Jenny discovers clues to Stella's past, and a dark, shocking secret is finally revealed.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details


Product Description

From Amazon

A wise and unsettling tale of the power and poison of love, from the acknowledged queen of the English psychological mystery. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Once again, Ruth Rendell writing as Vine (e.g., No Night Is Too Long, Harmony, 1995) weaves a compelling tale of ordinary people facing extraordinary pressures. Two women, divided by age and class, share their deepest secrets in an English nursing home in which one cares for the other. There is a sense of secrecy from the start, as Jenny Warner tells dying Stella Newland about her love affair and Stella shares with Jenny the location of her secret house. Secrecy gives way to foreboding, and tension builds as details are masterfully revealed. Vine is an extraordinary storyteller, able to enthrall a reader right from the start, as she does here. Additionally, she provides a satisfying symmetry in the construction of this book, with the two women's alternating voices and the inextricable linking of their lives, as Stella dies and Jenny is virtually reborn. This is a marvel?may Vine write many more. Highly recommended.?Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., Va.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing Nov. 3 2003
Format:Paperback
Genevieve Warner, a young woman trapped in a hopeless affair and a loveless marriage, works at Middleton Hall, a home for the elderly. Most of the residents are pleasant enough, contentedly reminiscing about their lives to their carers, but Stella is different. Stella and Genevieve immediately form a bond, taking to one another, seeing little bits of their own personality and situation within the other. Unlike other residents, though, Stella is sharp, smart, and in control, and she does not share the memories of her past, so retains a definite air of mystery. But Stella is dying of lung-cancer, and now she feels a desperate need to tell someone the story of her eventful life, so that her secrets do not die with her, following her into the grave, unknown forever. Thus, she decides to tell her story to Genevieve, slowly unfolding a tale that is moving, powerful, and, ultimately, subtly horrific.
This, "The Brimstone Wedding", is yet another masterpiece of atmospheric fiction from Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell). Yet again she synthesises her twin storylines ­ one in the past, one in the present ­ brilliantly, and they eerily mirror each other down the generations. She builds the atmosphere brilliantly in both the time periods, and the suspense is continually ratcheted up, helped along by subtle and tantalising hints as to what exactly Stella's shocking secret could possibly be.
This time around, the characters are also more likeable than is the norm for a Vine novel, so it has a warmer, deceptively (and dangerously) cosy feel, which is juxtaposed with the usual chilly atmosphere and down-to-the-bones and wonderfully detached writing style. They're characters you are motivated to care deeply about, which serves to make this not only a powerful in places but also very moving.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric mystery of infidelity Feb. 3 2004
Format:Hardcover
Driven by atmosphere and character, this novel by Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine, centers around two stories of infidelity and deception.
Genevieve, 32, a working-class caretaker at a private nursing home, confides her affair to her favorite patient, Stella, who is middle-class, educated, affluent and dying. Stella responds with the keys to a house none of her family knows she owns, a house no one has visited in 30 years. She asks Genevieve to report its condition.
Shocked that something so valuable could be simply abandoned -for whatever reason - Genevieve appropriates it as a trysting place, her curiosity only slightly piqued by the abandoned, burned car in the garage, the photographs hidden away, the food and champagne left in the refrigerator.
And so begins a story in tandem as Genevieve's stolen meetings alternate with Stella's story of her own doomed love. Character precipitates the events of the plot, and as we increasingly sympathize with Stella's shy dignity and Genevieve's fretful ardor, foreboding envelops the narrative like a London fog. Not to be missed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars another masterpiece Feb. 24 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Genevieve Warner, a young woman trapped in a hopeless affair and a loveless marriage, works at Middleton Hall, a home for the elderly. Most of the residents are pleasant enough, contentedly reminiscing about their lives to their carers, but Stella is different. Stella and Genevieve immediately form a bond, taking to one another, seeing little bits of their own personality and situation within the other. Unlike other residents, though, Stella is sharp, smart, and in control, and she does not share the memories of her past, so retains a definite air of mystery. But Stella is dying of lung-cancer, and now she feels a desperate need to tell someone the story of her eventful life, so that her secrets do not die with her, following her into the grave, unknown forever. Thus, she decides to tell her story to Genevieve, slowly unfolding a tale that is moving, powerful, and, ultimately, subtly horrific.
This, "The Brimstone Wedding", is yet another masterpiece of atmospheric fiction from Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell). Yet again she synthesises her twin storylines - one in the past, one in the present - brilliantly, and they eerily mirror each other down the generations. She builds the atmosphere brilliantly in both the time periods, and the suspense is continually ratcheted up, helped along by subtle and tantalising hints as to what exactly Stella's shocking secret could possibly be.
This time around, the characters are also more likeable than is the norm for a Vine novel, so it has a warmer, deceptively (and dangerously) cosy feel, which is juxtaposed with the usual chilly atmosphere and down-to-the-bones and wonderfully detached writing style. They're characters you are motivated to care deeply about, which serves to make this not only a powerful in places but also very moving.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Deceit Times Two Sept. 19 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What Barbara Vine (aka Ruth Rendell) does best is make us uneasy. You can never settle right in and accept the persons and scenes quite the way they are presented. "What a lovely girl --- and yet?" is a typical reaction. In "The Brimstone Wedding" Ms. Vine is at her best, right up there with "Dark Adapted Eye." The novel is beautifully crafted, the prose spare and the atmosphere of the Fen Country in East Anglia is perfect. Because The Fens are a series of islands based in the boggy soil, the foundations are forever shifting. Nothing changes, but nothing stays exactly the same which is an excellent setting for this haunting tale.
Jenny/Genevieve Warner is a care assistant at a luxurious home for the elderly where she has built a friendship with terminally ill, exquisitely turned out Mrs. Stella Newland. Two women could not be more different on the surface. Jenny is a modern, practical, hard working country girl who has never traveled and is a product of village life and education. Stella comes from the gentry, married very well and seems so sheltered as to have come from a different age all together. Yet the sparkling Jenny's humdrum marriage is teetering because she has discovered passion in the form of a married lover. Stella has some dark secrets she has lived with for over twenty years and wants to share them with Jenny. Stella believes in nothing, but would like redemption. Jenny believes in everything: omens, charms, and every passing happenstance has psychic meaning for her. Jenny is willing to work her way to better things; Stella is passive. But why does Stella own a house that no one knows about? And why is she afraid to even ride in automobiles when she once was considered a dashing driver? Why does she refuse to sit outside in the sunshine?
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Rendell/Vine's best story I've yet read
What a beautiful job Ruth Rendell/Barabara Vine did on this story! Excellent characterization, developed progressively through the narrative as we find out more and more about... Read more
Published on Aug. 27 2010 by B. A. Scharf
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!
This is one of the very best thrillers that I have read. An elderly resident of a nursing home, Stella, is befriended by Genevieve,her special carer. Read more
Published on Sept. 18 2003 by Beverley Strong
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!
This was the best book I've read in a loooooooong time! I read alot and am quite particular that the books I read have some substance and make you think a bit. Read more
Published on July 29 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderfully engrossing book
another marvelous creation from that all time master of mystery, suspense, psychology, and the human heart, barbara vine, aka ruth rendell. Read more
Published on June 15 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars The death of love---no one does it better than Barbara Vine!
Jenny/Genevieve Warner is one of the most appealing heroines in contemporary women's fiction. Vine (Ruth Rendell) creates a dark, complex plot that unwinds almost too slowly,... Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2000 by Jo Manning
5.0 out of 5 stars She's done it again!
This is the 4th Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine mystery that I've read. I've enjoyed all of them but this one has been the best yet. Read more
Published on Sept. 9 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
I have read every one of Barbara Vine's books and they just get better and better. "The Brimstone Wedding" is one of her finest works, a deep psychological tale of... Read more
Published on Sept. 13 1997
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