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The Garden Party

3.09 of 5 stars 3.09  ·  rating details  ·  85 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Alice Dunlop knows the best things in life are free. But the approach of her 40th wedding anniversary and 60th birthday surely warrants a proper celebration. With visions of a glorious family gathering complete with a marquee, champagne and beautiful sunshine, Alice has big plans for the big day.
Paperback, 438 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Headline Review (first published January 1st 2011)
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This book changes between a lot of characters: Alice and David and also some of their children, in-laws, grandchildren and friends. But with exception of Alice and Anne it wasn't very confusing, and it was mostly only confusing with Alice and Anne because of their similar names (I can be rubbish with names).

The book is about the life of all these characters, the tension and dilemma of family life, and the search of true happiness. Often in books you only know what the main character is thinking
First book I have read by this author and it was ok. The Garden Party centres around Alice and David and their family (four children, wives, partners and grandchildren). Alice wants to throw a party for her sixtieth birthday, their fortieth wedding anniversary and David's retirement. Alice really wants all her family together to celebrate these special events but this is not like Alice.

What I found hard to find about this book was the fact it was supposed to be about Alice wanting a party but I
I listened to this audio book in the car and it was just right for that. Nice and easy dramatic entertainment. It tells the story of Alice and David, married for 40 years, and their children and their families. David and Alice had a traditional life - 4 kids, Alice stayed at home to look after them. Their kids live in a different world now, dealing with various challenges of step-families, new babies, exes, single parenting, and how women deal with the pressure to stay at home with children or g ...more
I was given this book to read by a friend, so let me start by saying that looking at the cover, I could tell that it was something I wouldn't normally have picked up on my own. Still, I decided to give it a chance. It's one of those books that your mom/mother-in-law would love to read during the summer. Like "Eat, Pray, Love" or something. Incredibly boring narrative about a retired couple's upcoming anniversary celebration. I was never so glad to get out of that hospital bed and walk into freed ...more
Maaike Boersma
Was best aardig om te lezen, maar neigt soms wel naar wat tuttig. Denk ook dat de vertaling wat humor heeft laten verdwijnen door soms te letterlijk te vertalen. Er worden verschillende hedendaagse relatieperikelen aangestipt, maar nergens wordt de tijd of de ruimte genomen om de verhaallijnen goed uit te werken. De huwelijksproblemen tussen David en Alice zijn bijvoorbeeld in theorie interessant, maar worden niet uitgediept, waardoor het geheel wat oppervlakkig blijft.
Megan Taylor
I have to say I enjoyed it. A bit on the slow side and it jumps around quite a bit but I stuck with it and I was glad I did. No family is perfect and although Alice thinks she has that perfect family its falling down around her. Will they all find happiness? it to find out! If you want an easy going read - perfect for a holiday read, train journey or just to take your mind off eveything else but won't tax the brain then this is the book.
I really enjoyed this gentle read. The characters were so convincing & well fleshed out. I really wanted to find out what happened to them & the way it was all weaved together worked really well.
Ok it's not great literature, but it is well written with some good descriptive sections. Excellent for stepping out of reality & becoming engrossed in convincing descriptions of a cross section of lives.
Want to read more by this author.
Oct 24, 2012 Misssharice rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Someone wanting an easy-read, family-orientated people
Recommended to Misssharice by: The Library
This was a warm tale of family life. I did find that the book took forever to get to the crux of the story and then was finished in about two chapters, it did feel a bit hurried towards the end. However, it made me think about my own relationships, both with my partner and with my family and that is what I got most from reading this, some insight into how some of the relationships I am a part of need some care and attention.
A pleasant read I can only describe as "quiet." A soft plot with various family dramas, that ultimately lands with a strong message of the importance of family. Not a thrilling book, but just the kind of book you want to cuddle with on a sick day in front of a roaring fireplace.
Lisa Bergin
I would have given this 3.5 if possible as although well written, I did not like it as much as some of the authors previous books. I found several of the characters either unlikeable or just annoying, so this spoilt my enjoyment of the book a little.
An easy read and likeable characters, the trials and tribulation of organising a family party and then secrets coming out all over the place and easy, comfortable read - nothing challenging about it but quite like it.
A very Joanna Trollope type of book. While Alice is planning a big party to celebrate her anniversary, it appears that her marriage and family is falling apart. I really enjoyed it.
Jag kände att jag var lite fel målgupp här, sen tog den sig efter att tag. Den skildrar en massa olika karaktärer och vi kan väl säga att vissa är mer intressanta än andra.
Aug 11, 2015 Lesley is currently reading it
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An easy light read but the characters in the plot are constantly jumping from one to another in a rather confused manner.
Not a bad read. Interesting look at the interrelationships between family members and in particular between spouses.
Couldn't get into into....maybe just my frame of mind - not ruling out I'd give it another go?!?
Christina Rochester
This book was kind of interesting but it felt like all the stories were too similar.
Could have written that story in less pages no substance to it
Imperfect families - an easy read - pretty cover pic!
What a dull book. The first book was much better.
Easy pleasant read about family problems.
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Sarah Challis, whose father is the distinguished cinematographer, Christopher Challis, travelled widely with film units as a child. She has since lived in Scotland and California but is now happily settled in a Dorset village with three rescued dogs and three chickens. She is married with four sons.
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