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Felicia's Journey Audio Cassette – Jul 26 1995


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Audio Cassette, Jul 26 1995
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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc. (July 26 1995)
  • ISBN-10: 0736631208
  • ISBN-13: 978-0736631204
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER on Feb. 3 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an intriguing book of psychological suspense for which its author was the recipient of the 1994 Whitbread Award. Written by a master storyteller, it tells the story of two people whose lives interconnect, only to have repercussions for both in the most unexpected ways.

Felicia is a seventeen year old motherless and naive Irish girl, who has become intimate with an Irish boy named Johnny. Of course, the expected ensues, and after Johnny has left Ireland and returned to England where he ostensibly works, Felicia is left holding the bag. Her disapproving father suspects Johnny of actually being in the British Army and, thus, a traitor to his own. He also has a few choice words for his daughter, now that she is in the family way, and none of it is flattering. So, Felicia leaves her rural village and her family and goes off in search of Johnny, having nothing more than the vaguest of ideas where he might be.

She crosses the Irish Sea and arrives in the English Midlands in the industrial city of Birmingham, as she believes Johnny to be working in a lawn mower factory there. In her search for Johnny, she runs into the portly catering manager for one of the local factories. His name is Joseph Ambrose Hilditch, and he is outwardly a jovial and agreeable man, well-liked by his co-workers and meticulous about his culinary repasts. He lives in solitary splendor in the large house in which he grew up. The house is cluttered with collectibles but well- kept, although decorated in the style of a bygone era. Mr. Hilditch is, indeed, a collector, but his collection is initially far beyond Felicia's imaginings. In fact, Mr. Hilditch has a darker side to him, which is not immediately discernible by the unwary.

When Felicia first meets Mr.
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Format: Paperback
Felicia's journey is an excellent novel. The background to both characters is well developed. Mr. Hilditch in particular becomes more sinister due to his overwhelmingly ordinary appearance. The intimations of his unusual childhood merely suggest that he may be more disturbed than his manner presumes. Mr. Hilditch's interactions with strangers in the presence of Felicia provide the most chilling insight into the purpose of his friendship with her. It is for this reason alone that the film fails so miserably. No reference is made at all to these brief conversations. As for Felicia herself, it must be said that her character is a little limp. There are few convent girls left in Ireland who show such naivety. However she does grow more likeable, but not enough to demonstrate why she should affect Mr. Hilditch so much.
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Format: Hardcover
" Felicia's Journey" is a departure for the Irish author in that the plot is driven by suspense more than character.
Felicia's character is pretty much unformed. A small town motherless Irish girl, just out of school and newly unemployed, she's trapped in a round of housekeeping and caring for her hundred-year-old great-grandmother. The old lady is famous as the widow of a hero, killed in the "Troubles" a month after their wedding.
An ordinary girl, with no particular talents or ambitions, Felicia's keenest awareness is of her lack of prospects. Not that she plans to do anything about it. But then a young man, older than herself and back on a visit from his job in England, flatters her with his ardent attentions. And leaves her pregnant, having "forgotten" to give her his address in the muddle of leavetaking.
After several months without a word (but he doesn't have her address either), Felicia takes her great-grandmother's savings and runs off to England, looking for the factory where he told her he worked.
The first night, she wakes, and thinks of returning. "If she goes back now she'll wake up again in that bedroom. There'll be another dawn breaking on the same despair, the weariness of getting up when the bell chimes six, another day beginning. The cramped stairs will again be cleaned on Tuesdays, the old woman's sheets cleaned at the weekend. If she goes back now her father's eyes will still accuse, her brothers will threaten revenge. There will be Connie Jo's regret that she married into a family anticipating a shameful birth. There will be interested glances, or hard looks, on the street....Only being together, only their love, can bring redemption: she knows that perfectly."
Mr.
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Format: Hardcover
There are only two real characters in this drama, narrated in Trevor's usual spare, sparse style that puts you into the heart of things. There's Felicia, a somewhat plain teenage girl from a depressed industrial town in the Irish Republic. She's the product of a convent school, but only on suffrance because her father tends the convent's gardens. She's inexperienced and naive and when Johnny Lysaght comes along and turns her head, her subsequent pregnancy is no surprise. And there's Mr. Hilditch, a fifty-something catering manager at a factory in the English Midlands, who lives by himself and fancies young girls, though he's very careful "not to shop near home," as he thinks of it. Felicia runs away from home in search of the absent Johnny, but she finds it's not easy even to survive, much less to locate an errant Irishman, in England. She's a bit suspicious of Hilditch when he tries to help her out, but he arranges things to reduce her options, and Felicia is suddenly in very great danger indeed. Trevor does a terrific job getting inside the head of a pleasant, mild-mannered psychopath, allowing the reader to gradually understand what makes him tick. He won the Whitbread Prize (again) for this novel and he deserved it.
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