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Rutland - Set In Stone by Robert Goddard

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RUTLAND
 
Set In Stone by Robert Goddard
 
Synopsis:
Recovering from the recent death of his wife in a tragic accident, Tony Sheridan goes to stay with his sister-in-law, Lucy, and her husband, long-time friend Matt Prior, at their new home in the country - Otherways. It is a strange, circular, moated house, the only surviving creation of an eccentric and reclusive Edwardian architect.
 
Disturbed by memories of his wife, and a growing attraction to Lucy, Sheridan is also troubled by weird and vivid dreams. He learns that a murder committed at Otherways in 1939 still has a strange and malign power over those living in or near the house, as does a later scandal surrounding the murderer's brother, a nuclear scientist who defected to the Soviet Union.
 
These and other mysteries forewarn Sheridan of disaster as he and Lucy embark on a passionate affair. But disaster, when it strikes, is far worse than a wrecked marriage or a friendship betrayed. In uncovering the truth about Otherways, Sheridan realises too late that he is merely adding to the list of its victims - and that those closest to him may soon be among them.
 
 
Other Rutland books:

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I shall get the ball rolling on this one then! 

 

Review copied from my book log

 

Thoughts: There was a lot of reference to Rutland Water, as the house was built next to it and before its construction in 1976. There is also a lot of reference to the history of the house and crime there before the Rutland Water, so I think it was a decent selection for part of the English Counties Challenge. 

 

I certainly didn't know anything about the construction of the reservoir before reading this book at any rate! 

 

Tony Sheridan is our narrator, and he is telling the story to his dead wife Marina, and the book starts at the time of her death (although Tony is telling the story retrospectively, he know how it ended from page 1 if that makes sense). 

 

He goes to stay with Lucy (marina's sister) and Matt (his best friend) in Rutland early on, in their unusual house with an unusual history. The book gets a bit confusing at this point - he starts having very vivid dreams of things that could and sometimes do happen in the future, while there is a big mystery surrounding the death of a woman murdered in the garden of the house decades earlier. 

 

I was unsure for the first 100 pages what this book was trying to be - ghost story or thriller? But after that the story picked up and it raced along to a conclusion that kept me guessing and left me unwilling to put the book down. 

 

It is a bit weird, it is a bit confusing, but I thought it was great. His characters lie and deceive, but that makes them feel quite real, and the thriller element combined with more than a hint of the supernatural actually worked really well for me once I had reached the conclusion. 

 

I struggled at first, but it was well worth the perseverance. 

 

I rated it 4/5 :)

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020-2014-Apr-14-SetinStone_zps05721261.j

 

Set in Stone by Robert Goddard

 

The ‘blurb’  (from Amazon)

Recovering from the tragic death of his wife, Tony Sheridan goes to stay with his sister-in-law, Lucy, and her husband. Their home is a bizarre moated house deep in the Rutland countryside, known as Otherways.

 

Disturbed by memories of his wife, and a growing attraction to Lucy, Sheridan is also troubled by weird and vivid dreams. Soon he learns that Otherways is a house steeped in a history of murder and wartime treason. And it seems that these crimes hold an eerie influence over the present inhabitants.

 

Well, this was definitely a book that had the feeling of the county it was set in!  Rutland in this case.  Or maybe it was because I visited Rutland whilst reading it?!  I found this in the Bookbarn for £1 just before Christmas but possibly would have put it off for longer if I hadn’t been going to Rutland for a family gathering – in the Finch’s Arms, which appears in the book as the Finches Arms – as coincidence would have it! 

 

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Tony Sheridan, grief-stricken after the loss of his wife Marina, is invited to stay with his sister-in-law Lucy and her husband  Matt, who is Tony’s best friend, at their new home on the banks of Rutland Water.  The house, Otherways, was built just before the First World War by an eccentric architect and had become infamous as the scene of a murder in 1939.  Tony starts experiencing strange dreams and then after reading an article he decides to try to find out more about the house – what is this strange effect it seems to have on its residents – both present and past?

 

This is a cracking thriller with a supernatural element to it – which really worked.  I was drawn into the story quickly and found it to be a really good read.  I haven’t read any of Goddard’s books before.  My Mum is a fan of his writing but I tried, and couldn’t get into, Past Caring , many years ago – but having read this I feel I will definitely read some more of his novels now!

 

The paperback edition is 410 pages long and is published by Corgi.  It was first published in 1999.  The ISBN is 9780552146012.   

 

4/5 (I really enjoyed it)

 

(Finished 14 April 2014)

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Great review, Janet!  I have 4 or Goddard's books, and really enjoyed them. Unfortunately, not this one!  grrrrr!  You know what that means. :D

 

Also, love the pictures, you really take great ones, Janet.  Good angles, and very atmospheric.

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Ha - coincidentally I stayed in Hambleton and went to the Finch's Arms last weekend! I had forgotten the name of the pub - all I remembered was the name of the town was Oakham, so I knew I was close :D

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Great review, Janet!  I have 4 or Goddard's books, and really enjoyed them. Unfortunately, not this one!  grrrrr!  You know what that means. :D

I think I can guess! :giggle: According to the reviews I've read (after finishing the book) it's a totally different style from his 'usual' type - some people have liked that fact, and others haven't. :)

 

Also, love the pictures, you really take great ones, Janet. Good angles, and very atmospheric.

Thanks. :) I was pleased with them. I bought a new camera last summer (a Canon) and I'm very pleased with it. :)

 

Ha - coincidentally I stayed in Hambleton and went to the Finch's Arms last weekend! I had forgotten the name of the pub - all I remembered was the name of the town was Oakham, so I knew I was close :D

Did you eat there? We had a family meal (32 of us - not all on my side of the family) and it was wonderful. :)

 

We went into Oakham on the Sunday (I wanted to snap a picture of the other pub mentioned), but it was a typical market town and not much was open, so we didn't stop.

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No, we tried but it was 2.05pm which is apparently too late for lunch in those parts!

 

I did go into Oakham though to have a look at the books in the charity shops. It's very "Range Rover territory" as my Mum would say ;)

 

That's a gorgeous photo of Rutland Water, mine did not come out as well! It's very picturesque, but I think a weekend was perfect, any longer and it was a bit sleepy for my liking. :)

Edited by Alexi

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No, we tried but it was 2.05pm which is apparently too late for lunch in those parts!

 

That's a gorgeous photo of Rutland Water, mine did not come out as well! It's very picturesque, but I think a weekend was perfect, any longer and it was a bit sleepy for my liking. :)

:lol:  It can be a bit like that where I live!

 

I thought Oakham was pretty.  It's a similar size to where I live so I'd probably cope okay!  :D

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Nice pics Janet, i only recently picked up a copy of Set In Stone & like you i haven't read anything by him before but am encouraged to make a start on it by your review. 

 

I really haven't made much headway in the counties challenge at all  :blush2:

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I hope you enjoy it.  :)

 

I got off to a good start, but I won't be able to keep the pace up.  There are some that I've already read and one or two that don't really appeal so it'll be hard to pick those up if I don't decide to go for an alternative. 

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Just finished Set in Stone. I'm being very thick, I know, but can anyone explain the ending (literally, that thing right in the last few lines) to me please?

Edited by willoyd

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I can't actually remember what happened at the end, and it would appear I have given my book away.   I'm intrigued now so I hope someone else answers for you!

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I read it two and a half years' ago now, but perhaps if you could post the last bit in spoilers we could attempt to help that way?

 

(I got my copy out of the library!)

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I think I've actually got it sorted out now:

 

 

I couldn't make out what the significance of the single train ticket from Newton Abbot to Oakham was, as I'd got my dates mixed up.  But I now see it as somebody (Daisy?) having sent Tony the ticket to prove that Lucy had taken the train back, and not driven back with Daisy as Lucy claimed.  How anybody other than Lucy had got hold of the ticket, I'm not sure, but as far as I can see that's the only reason for it to have been sent to him.  Hope that makes sense.

 

Edited by willoyd

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Oh dear - I'm really struggling to remember how the book ended now!  :blush:

 

I didn't mean to give my copy away as I was planning to keep all the paper books we read for this challenge.  I expect you're right in what you've said in your spoiler.  :)  Maybe Alex can remember with your reminder - or Kay and Claire when they read it (if they haven't already).  :)

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I've just finished this book.  I started it yesterday, and found it incredibly compelling, but, that doesn't mean I necessarily enjoyed it.  It started off with an intriguing ghost story of a house that somehow had an affinity with some of its inhabitants causing vivid dreams, apparitions and strange happenings.  In fact, the first half of the book I found quite unsettling, and this seemingly supernatural influence made for a very odd story.  I had to put it aside once the sun had gone down, as I didn't want to have any odd dreams of my own!  However, the second half of the book moves away from this plot into more of a telling of a WW2/Cold War spy thriller, which I found kind of interesting, although a little labyrinthine, and it almost felt like two separate books shoehorned together.  

 

A rather unsatisfactory resolution to the haunted house story (a bit of a cop out without much actual explanation) and an unbelievable, to me at least, ending to the spy story, and the suggestion of how the characters lives played out after the end of the book was hard to comprehend too.

 

On the plus side, it's a good fit as the Rutland book, as there's plenty of description of the county and the environs.

 

It was an interesting read, and although I don't think the resolution worked for me, there were some really good bits in it, particularly the supernatural episodes, which were very atmospheric and suitably creepy, so overall a good read, but not without some big flaws for me.

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