2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Work of Art
As I neared the end of "The Forest", a sadness moved over me as I realized that the wonderful journey through time in the forest was coming to an end. This is not just a book, it is an adventure into moments in history in a region of England not often covered. Rutherford has perfected the ability to tell stories of ancestry while incorporating beautifully described...
Published on Aug. 29 2002 by Vinzo
3.0 out of 5 stars I prefer paper back book size
I have not read to books yet, was planning on returning but will see. I know I will like the stories. I did now order the hard cover as I thought I the book that was bigger than pocket book size.
Published 11 months ago by Marianne Taylor
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4.0 out of 5 stars History alive!,
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful!,
But, this one was something special. It's my first Rutherfurd. I know readers of his previous works were a bit disappointed in this one. But being my first and having no frame of reference . . .let's just say, I can't wait to read more of Rutherfurd! I normally read popular authors like Grisham and King, while I like them, this was a welcome change.
It's labeled a "novel" but I'm sure most people would agree it reads like a series of short stories with a common thread, that being the settings, and the generations of the same eight or ten families that keep showing up as characters.
While I didn't find all eight stories to be great, most of them were at least four star stories. My favorites were Beauliu, Lymington, and Pride of the Forest. Least favorite The Hunt.
The characters were just so human . .from Brother Adam's moral dilemnas in Beaulieu, to the beautiful realization of father-son love in Lymington, to Fanny Albion's rollercoaster ride of emotions and problems in Albion Park, the plots and characters are very down to earth. I love some of the comic relief as well . . .for example The Grockletons in Albion Park, and more.
One might wonder with such rave reviews, why didn't I give it five stars? Well, my only minor complaints were that on occasion it got a little hard to follow the political happenings and royal families. But . . .overall the stories were easy to follow.
5.0 out of 5 stars Despite what others say ...,
In my opinion, Rutherford gets better with every book, though "Russka" is still my favorite Rutherford book. Rutherford goes out of his way to find the little historical facts as well as the well-known ones. The characters are vividly drawn in their periods of time. The scenery is terrific ~~ the whole time I was reading this, it was below zero outside and all I could think of was hiding in the woods in the middle of summer to feel the breeze going through the treetops.
If you are looking for a long read during these cold winter nights, this book is a great bet. Just grab your glass of wine, a blanket and light the logs in your fireplace and settle down for a nice winter read. It's worth it.
4.0 out of 5 stars A visit to an overlooked corner of Merry Old England,
Rutherford begins his narrative in 1099, and continues in chapters headed 1294, 1480, 1587, 1635, 1794, 1868 and 2000 respectively. From previous exposure to the author's style, I've found it convenient to consider each chapter a short story more or less independent from the overall chronology. That way, I don't get too confused by the intersecting genealogical lines of the featured families as they thread through the centuries.
This is a collection of vignettes portraying the human dramas encountered in the everyday lives of ordinary people, both gentry and commoners, as influenced by the time and place of their life spans. Thus, one becomes acquainted with Adela, a Norman noblewoman in search of a husband soon after the Conquest, and Brother Adam, an abbey monk suffering a crisis of faith after being seduced by a local housewife. Then there's Jonathan, a young boy living in the port of Lymington, caught in a storm at sea during a boat race, and Clement, a young gentleman threatened by his crazy mother's treasonous behavior as the Spanish Armada seemed poised to invade. And Alice, caught in the turbulent and dangerous times of Cromwell's Civil War and the subsequent Restoration. Or Fanny, an heiress pulled in opposite directions by love and an age-old family vendetta, on trial for shoplifting a piece of lace. Finally, Colonel Albion, fighting to save the forest he loves from the depredations of the London politicians.
If you're looking for a thriller, or epic conflicts between a series of protagonists and antagonists, then THE FOREST is not for you. However, if you love England - especially that - and you enjoy vicariously immersing yourself in the everyday joys, heartaches, triumphs and defeats of others, then you'll love this book. Moreover, THE FOREST contains interesting information about non-human elements of the region: the mating rituals of the local deer population, the life cycles of the forest's oak trees, the method for harvesting salt from seawater, the formation of bogs, the proper use of timber in the art of building wooden sailing ships. Additionally, England's southern coast was once a hotbed of smuggling (oh, sorry ... "free trade"), and Rutherford gives some insight into its economics and methods as practiced there.
If, by serendipity or design, you should find yourself on the A31 between Southampton and Ringwood, perhaps leave the main route onto the B3078 or A337, and explore the villages and landscape of the New Forest. I've been on the A31 several times, yet have never taken the time to explore this small corner of England. Now, I wish I had.
4.0 out of 5 stars Light reading for genealogues,
5.0 out of 5 stars The place of my childhood came alive.,
4.0 out of 5 stars The Forest by Edward Rutherfurd,
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to savor,
Contrary to some of his other work, I was captivated in all of the stories. Most are no more than 50 or 60 pages long, so the form of the plot is quick-paced and literal. Longer stories (the longest being 'Albion Park') cover larger blocks of time and can be excruciatingly slow. You keep waiting to come upon some action, while Rutherfurd is sweetly biding his time with his wonderful descriptions. However, if you try to hurry through any of the stories, you'll find yourself lost and confused because you missed a precious detail.
Rutherfurd's storytelling is unmatched. The climax of the plot can fill your stomach with butterflies. He also manages to skirt the "big" events in England's history, never directly putting his characters in a traumatic and dramatic period. (The closest he comes is the Spanish Armada.) He effectively describes everyday life for people and animals of the New Forest.
'The Forest' is most similar to 'Russka: The Story of Russia' to me. Both use a more saga-like form, careful to show the outcomes of the families as well as the setting. It is also the only English book of his I've been able to read (I couldn't bear trudging through 'London', which has been prasied as his best work).
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Rutherfurd's work or is interested in a historical fiction/saga-like epic.
4.0 out of 5 stars Making history great fun!,
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent epic ...,
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The Forest by Edward Rutherfurd (Mass Market Paperback - July 3 2001)
CDN$ 9.99 CDN$ 9.49