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The Children's Hour

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  519 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
Marcia Willet's A Week in Winter and A Summer in the Country, her first two novels to be published in the United States, were welcomed enthusiastically by both eager readers and appreciative reviewers. Her new novel, The Children's Hour, will not only delight her current ardent fans, but will garner Marcia Willett a whole new circle of friends.

The Children's Hour is set in
ebook, 368 pages
Published July 1st 2004 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published August 4th 2003)
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May 15, 2013 Neb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers of Rosamund Pilcher
Charming story about dealing with love, loss and family. Sort of "Rosamund Pilcher light". Brave use of present tense for the flashback scenes of wartime England, but it works. Believable characters, nice character development arcs, satisfying resolutions without being overly saccharine. I would definitely read more by this author. I find this type of story to be good "summer reading".
May 14, 2013 DubaiReader rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible, 2013
Old folk reminiscing.

Marcia Willet started writing at the age of fifty and has since written 20 novels. It is not surprising then, that this book was peopled with old folk, all churning up distant memories. I listened to the Audible version, read by June Barry, who is also getting on in years, and by the end I could feel my hair greying. Admittedly, there are some young folk in the narrative and flashbacks to when those whose memories we shared, were young, but overall, it was if I'd walked into
Sep 20, 2016 Brandie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I did not like this book here or there.
I did not like this book anywhere.

So many secrets. So many things that "circled back" but it felt forced.
It felt fake and sugar coated and frankly, it just bored me.

I picked it up and read because I confused it with another book of the almost same name.

And ugh. I did not like this one bit.

Sorry Willett. I'm sure you are a lovely person and we can have tea together, but your book was just not for me.
Jan 28, 2017 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, england
Mina (Wilhemina) and her sister Nest (Ernestina) are elderly sisters living in the family home. Nest had been injured in a car accident and is wheelchair bound. Their older sister Georgie comes to spend a couple weeks with them in advance of space being available at a nursing home. Georgie suffers from some sort of dementia and Mina and Nest are concerned about the visit, fearing it will bring up long buried family secrets. Will the visit be the struggle they fear?
This is the third book of her
I'll start by saying that I'm not overly fond of books written by authors from across the pond. Even with that less than glowing start, I still gave the book three stars because I did like the story in this one.

I liked the way the author moved us back and forth from wartime England to (almost) the present time. I found there to be a few too many characters at the start of the book for me to keep straight in my head so I quickly made up a family tree and stuck it in the front of the book. After s
Sarah Sammis
Jun 09, 2007 Sarah Sammis rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: released
I tried reading The Children's Hour for a Bookcrossing bookring because it came so highly recommended and because the blurb on the back of the book sounded interesting: "...But when their sister Georgie, now somewhat frail and forgetful, comes to stay at Ottercombe, memories of their past start to revisit them. As a child, Georgie claimed to know all their secrets — secrets that she now wants to share..."

If there were any secrets worth sharing, I didn't last long enough in the book to find out
Shirley J
I didn't take to this book right away. Some British terms weren't familiar, the story switches from the present back in time through memories and I just wasn't sure where the story was going. It was annoying enough to give up on ... like some I have.

One of my favorite quotes from the book, which is repeated several times, "Everyone has a right to their own history."

There is a show of strong loyalty and unconditional support among the siblings and extended family, especially as old family secre
Kerry Hennigan
The Children’s Hour is the story of three elderly sisters who are brought together in their declining years by family members while the eldest sister is waiting for admission to a nursing home. Georgie is physically frail and increasingly forgetful, but her temporary return to the family home where they all grew up and where her sisters Mina and Nest still live, dredges up all sorts of memories and family secrets.

Marcia Willett has written some charming novels. However, in this instance, after l
Jan 30, 2011 Shelley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my gosh, this was probably one of the worst books I've ever read. To think that this author has 13+ other books she's written; I wonder if they are as bad as this one was. This was one of those books that I could skip over paragraphs, especially when she gave paragraphs and paragraphs and even one time 2-1/2 pages describing about what the dogs were doing - ahhh! Who cares! What's up with the main character, Mina's "po-po-po of sighing breath" and to boot, quite a number of times throughout t ...more
Jun 16, 2016 Anya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a cute book with its adorable cover (in the French edition) ! This is the kind of book that perfectly suits after a harsh time. It is warm and cosy as a cup of tea during a rainy day.
I particularly liked the relationship between Mina and Nest.
Plus the author fully controlled the alternation between their past, written in present tense, and present time, written in past tense. What an enjoyable exercise !
However I did not put five stars because I found Lyddie's story kind of annoying.
Jun 08, 2012 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book starts out pretty slow, it took me a while before I really started to enjoy it, as a matter of fact more then half way. I really enjoy Marcia Willett's writing but this one is not one that I would choose to. It takes place and the very beginning of WW II the family has a summer home in the Devon country side along the ocean. The Father works in London so it is primarily the Mother Lydia who suffers from asthma and bronchitis, and the children that live in this beautiful old home most o ...more
Jan 25, 2008 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story unfolds gently, with secrets being gradually revealed for the main characters: three elderly sisters. There are inevitably many flashbacks to their childhood and early adult life, but rather than being intrusive or annoying, they work extremely well. Marcia Willett adopts the present tense in the memories or dreams from the past, which makes it all the more real.

I found the characters believable and three-dimensional, and the story often moving. On re-reading, four and half years aft
Feb 18, 2008 Marie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wouldn't have picked this up at a bookstore but my mom sent it to me in a box of birthday goodies. It was a bit hard to get into, but once I was about half way into it I was caught up in the characters. Lots of family secrets, lots of heartbreak, lots of reminiscing to those days of a first love... It sounds gooey, doesn't it? It was, sort of. One thing I didn't like at all - pages of description of the English countryside. I don't know anything about plants and don't need to read long run-on ...more
Jina Howell-Forbes
Mar 08, 2013 Jina Howell-Forbes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: British mystery lovers who like complex charaters
This family saga that alternates between present day occurrences, and reminiscences of several different events that occurred in that family over the past 70 years. The story is told from multiple points of view. Many family secrets are held by family members, and the meat of the story is contained in those secrets. Since the secrets come out slowly, with family members holding different pieces and perspectives of pivotal events, the book read like a jig-saw puzzle.

I loved the characters, their
Jul 03, 2012 Vionna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written book with descriptions of places and events that you could envision unfolding right before you. The story follows the lives of five small children spending their time in a large house by the sea. Through flashbacks and present day events, you learn about their lives from childhood and on into their adult years with happy and sad times wonderfully recounted. The characters were very endearing, full of life and with flaws that made them very interesting. novel to savour!!!
Sep 05, 2015 Lesley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book , it was an easy read , good story with wonderful twists throughout.
There are a number of characters introduced throughout the book and a bit of jumping back and forth in generations but this all adds to the secrets which hang in limbo.
But with all revelations there comes a certain amount of closure and the author draws the reader in to share the memories in this family saga set in the Devon countryside.
I will certainly be looking out for other books by author Marcia Willet.
Nov 28, 2010 Victoria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-fic, family
I had a nice time reading this very English family drama. Though overly predictable in parts, the plot still held a few surprises. The strong female characters were really what made this book so enjoyable - and also their dogs! There was certainly a lot of drama in this book and plenty of big issues like Alzheimer's, infidelity and growing older in general. There were many moments that seemed very genuine. All in all, an enjoyable read!
Jun 21, 2009 Jodi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
(page 1 - 150) I bought this at a garage sale for a quarter and so far I am wishing I had saved my money. Ho-hum is about all I can say so far. However, I have a hard time putting a book down once I have begun to read. I will see what I think at the end.

I did finish the book, but found it rather boring. Even though all these big secrets were revealed, it was just not very interesting. Ho-hum is the best word I can think up to summarize my opinion of the book.
If you are looking for a fast-paced page-turner, this is not for you. Three sisters, Georgie, who has Alzheimer's; Nest, who is crippled; and motherly Mina come to terms with secrets from their past. As always, characters are three-dimensional and real. One thing I really like about Marcia Willett is her willingness to put older characters front and center, and show they are still participating in life. Other Willett books do this better, but this is still worth reading.
Jun 28, 2008 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't normally the kind of book I would read, it is slow paced, not a mystery or anything but it was good, I enjoyed it. It's about 5 children who are now elderly and are back in their old home and they discover secrets to their past, of their parents, it's good, not a thrilling page turner by any means but a lovely read just the same.
Judith Yeabsley
This book should have been a 4 but it was a bit slow to start and so took me a while to get into. By the end I was devouring pages really wanting to find out what was going to happen. There were some plot leaps of faith but enjoyed the characters and especially how the older ladies were so cherished.
Jan 01, 2016 Bo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took a while for me to invest in this book, but in the end I was happy to have read it. every family has their secrets, there were 2 in here I got "wrong", and that was the fun of it! Great read, fast read. A beach or cabin read.
Jul 17, 2015 Marjorie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have become such a huge fan of Marcia Willett! I think I have read all the ones available in the U.S. now. Her books will make you smile, make you cry, keep you turning the pages until the book is done! She writes with such love!!
Mar 02, 2011 Sofia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. When I found myself reading three books at the same time, this is the one I would keep coming back to. Sure, it was predictable but very pleasantly written. A good "cuddle-up-on-the-sofa-read".
Apr 09, 2009 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a wonderful read. A very moving story about family relationships, secrets, betrayal and moving on. I did skip a very small part due to a character who was in the book for a very short time whose language I found offensive, but it was so short that I didn't miss anything.
Holly Colbert
This book overall was good but it took a long time to pick up! For me, it didn't pick up till a little over half the book! But once it did it kept me engaged and at the end, I was a little teary eyed!
Oct 23, 2014 Pearson, rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good recreational read set in contemporary England. Interesting twists and turns without being too heavy.
Sheila Kyle
Jan 10, 2015 Sheila Kyle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
great atmosphere--felt I was right there--generations of family to know and grow fond of---didn't want it to end.
Aug 04, 2009 Carmussel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up for the title and cover, but found the storytelling and characters to be compelling. The ending wasn't what I expected, but was as it should have been.
I did enjoy the book. Slow to start, ok in the middle and a predictable end!! It was just a good story, nothing overly dramatic.
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Marcia Willett began her career as a novelist when she was fifty years old. Since that first novel Marcia has written twenty more under her own name as well as a number of short stories. She has also written four books under the pseudonym "Willa Marsh", and is published in more than sixteen countries.

Marcia Willett's early life was devoted to the ballet, but her dreams of becoming a ballerina end
More about Marcia Willett...

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