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The Very Thought of You
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The Very Thought of You

3.19 of 5 stars 3.19  ·  rating details  ·  1,940 ratings  ·  359 reviews
Shortlisted for the 2010 Orange Prize

England, 31st August 1939: The world is on the brink of war. As Hitler prepares to invade Poland, thousands of children are evacuated from London to escape the impending Blitz. Torn from her mother, eight-year-old Anna Sands is relocated with other children to a large Yorkshire estate which has been opened up to evacuees by Thomas and E
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ebook, 336 pages
Published July 5th 2011 by Washington Square Press (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Brian
I generally enjoy novels set during the Second World War. It's a period when stakes were high and when British society was struggling to reshape itself in the face of imminent catastrophe. So when I saw that this story took place in a stately home converted into a school for evacuees, run by a couple whose marriage was under terrible strain after he had become crippled by polio, I thought it sounded as if it might be a good read.

Unfortunately, this wasn't for me. The narrative seemed to have onl
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Melissa
I hated this book.
Ok, let me start by saying that I'm really sorry about what I'm about to say. I hate having to give a negative review, but I just really did not enjoy this book at all. =/
It just wasn't at all what I expected. I thought the story was about the little girl Anna, but really she was only a small part. The whole book is about cheating on spouses. Literally every couple in this book is involved in infidelity. If they're not cheating, they're planning to cheat. It just drove me craz
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Alison Wassell
Bearing in mind all the positive reviews this book has received, I must be missing something, because it is, by some distance, the worst book I have read in a long time. Until I got to the first sex scenes, I wondered if it was actually a (not very well written)children's book, so patronising was the author's tone. Most of the main characters were unsympathetic. Even the 'heroine' spent the latter part of the book wallowing in self-pity. I found the frequent switching to different viewpoints irr ...more
Dougal
All credit to Rosie Alison for getting her first book published, by whatever means. Most of us dream of being a 'writer' and never get past a first page of idle jottings. It requires grit and determination to go all the way.

However, just a few pages into this book I was reminded of the old adage, 'Everyone has a book in them and that is where it is best left'. Words alone can't describe quite how bad this book is. I don't want you to put yourself through reading it, so words will have to do.

I'v
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Rocky41-7
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sian
I have just finished this book and I have to say that even though it has left me feeling a little sad, it was a very good book.

Apart from 2 of them, I didnt find any of the characters particularly likeable but I did find myself wanting a happier ending for some of them.

The main character of the little girl Anna was very sweet, I found myself sympathising with her and was very sad that once the war was over how things didnt work out for her due to her childhood and how it affected her entire lif
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Cecily
A travesty that this tosh was nominated for the Orange prize.

It is the muddled but predictable story Anna Sands, evacuated from London to Ashton Park (a stately home adapted as home and school for 86 evacuees). While there, she becomes aware of illicit adult relationships and her experiences leave their mark into adulthood. It also tells the stories of childless Thomas and Elizabeth Ashton, Thomas' siblings, Anna's parents, and, for no particular reason other than to inject a bit of "real" WW2 a
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Elaine
Ack! What a string of bad books in a row. This book loses a somewhat original and daring spark of a plot in heavy handed writing that muses on love as a thing at great length, telling about love and being in love, without showing why or how the characters feel that way. The prose is truly heavy and plodding, and the whole book could have been a lovely 70 page novella but instead dawdles on and on.

There are also wierd extraneous walk-on characters (an ambassador and his wife) who seem to exist o
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Jo-marie
There is a great story lurking in this novel somewhere--with the war, separation, marriages, an old estate house...but the writing in this novel makes me feel like a year nine student is trying to be profound.

So many chapters end on questions that the reader should ask naturally. Not the author. Why?

Why was this shortlisted for the Orange Prize?
Virginia Campbell
Prepare to have your eyes opened, your heart broken, and your view of the amazing endurance of the human spirit revised and revived. You will experience all of these things when you read Rosie Alison's "The Very Thought of You". A shattering, yet spirit-sustaining, glimpse into loss and survivorship, this is a story which will resonate with many. Few will be unaffected. In the summer of 1939, with the impending threats of WWII devastation looming large, thousands of children were evacuated from ...more
Jim
The story revolves around the evacuation of children from London to the relative safety of the countryside at the onset of World War II. We follow Anna Sands, an eight year-old, as she leaves her mother, Roberta, to go they know not where. As luck would have it Anna, along with more than eighty other evacuees, is swooped up by the elegant Elizabeth Ashton and bused to her husband's ancestral home, Ashton House.

The blurb on the press release informed me that "nyone who loved L. P. Hartley's The G
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Carla Ford
This novel is just full of broken hearts, people for whom life has taken sad twists and turns, and left them sad, lonely, and searching for love and fulfilment. Opening in London in 1939, Anna and her mother Roberta are on a shopping trip, but not a happy one. This shopping trip is to purchase the clothes that Anna will be taking with her as she is evacuated from London. Thousands of children are being evacuated as the threat of bombing in London becomes more real. As Roberta watches the bus wi ...more
Brianna J
SPOILER ALERT

In the mid 1900’s Hitler and his Nazi army were in power in most of Europe. The Very Thought of You, written in 2009 by Rosie Alison, is an amazing and attention grabbing book based during this time zone. Anna Sands and hundreds of other children have to be evacuated from their homes because Hitler is threatening his attack on Poland. Leaving their mothers and fathers the children board a train to an unknown place. The train let children off at different spots along the journey to m
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Colleen
The Very Thought of You by Rosie Alison is set in England during the Second World War. Anna Sands, a young girl living in London, is evacuated from the city along with other children and moved to the countryside where it is hoped the children will be safe from the bombings taking place in the city. Anna is relocated to the Ashton Estate in the Yorkshire countryside; Elizabeth and Thomas Ashton, a childless couple, have opened their estate to the evacuees where they educate and care for the young ...more
Hayley
It's 1939 and Hitler is preparing to invade Poland. Thousands of children are evacuated from London to escape the Blitz.

Eight year old Anna is relocated to Ashton Park where she meets Thomas and Elizabeth and bares witness to their unravelling marriage.

I was massively disappointed with this book. Rosie Alison has created flat characters that do not move me in any way. I do not believe in their relationships or their feelings and I found them to be rather reckless and ridiculous.

I find it hard t
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Simon Acland
This is a moving book written with great clarity in a pleasantly straightforward style by an traditional omniscient narrator. The centre of the story, if not the central character, is Thomas Ashton, a wheelchair-bound former diplomat around whom spin several female characters and their lovers. All have slightly different views and experiences of love. Most of the action takes place during the Second World War, when Ashton's stately family home in Yorkshire is turned into a boarding school for Lo ...more
Lori Henrich
London 1939: War is on the horizon and the children are being evacuated to the countryside for their safety. Anna Sands mother Roberta is trying to make their last day together special, Anna is excited for the coming adventure, not understanding what being away from home will mean.

She arrives at Ashton Park. Ashton Park is a large country estate that has been opened to accept the evacuated children. Mr. Ashton and his wife Elizabeth, a childless couple, have opened up their home to the children.
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Christie
I hated this! The narrative is so expository, it is all tell don't show. It creates an immense distance between the reader and the characters, and also between the characters. I found it impossible to believe that any of these characters fell in love with each other and that they were heartbroken when people died. When I came to the last section, I realized that the first 260 page we all a set up to explore some interesting themes about what makes us the people we are, but what an extended set u ...more
Becky
I am being generous with a 3 star rating, it was not as bad as some of the reviews would have you think….this story started out being about a child who was being evacuated from London during WWII & going to live in the country with other children. I enjoyed that part of the story & hearing about the people who owned the home & why they opened it up to children….but there was so much oddness, cheating, drunkenness, & none of it rang true to me. The story kept me interested but the ...more
Maggi
I was very interested in the premise of this book but found it to be a total disappointment. The romantic/sexual adventures of some of the main characters were forced, absurd, and inexplicable, but were however, less melodramatic than the untimely deaths. When the former child evacuee discovers her long repressed love (30 years worth) for her disabled, much older former teacher, and asks if he loved her too (back when she was 10) it was definitely a "wtf?" kinda moment.
Sarah
Given that this was nominated for lots of literary prizes, including the Orange, I was expecting a great novel. What I got instead was a meandering plot, full of clumsy and obvious plot devices, and what on earth was the last section all about?! The idea behind the plot had potential, but it seemed like Alison wasn't really sure what to do with it and then ran out of enthusiasm. Disappointing and goodness only knows who nominated this for a prize!
Lisa
This was a terrible book. Amateurish writing, weak plot and borderline creepy with the main character an eight year old girl with an unnatural attachment to her teacher thirty years her senior. The plot meanders between characters and changes points of view at random, half the time you don't really knows who's it even is. All in all, very disappointing. Good thing it was a free book.
Tess
Would have been so much better if the author had not descended into the realm of the Romance novel. I loved it right up until the melodramatic last third of the book. I have no idea how this book made it to the Orange Prize shortlist for 2010.
Gillian
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
MaryannC.Book Fiend
I myself, thought this was a beautifully written, haunting, achingly sad book. I wont blather on about the details, except that it reminds me of Kate Morton's novels. Happy that it was shortlisted for The Orange Prize.
Gaby
This was so good! Very moving, and Alison really draws you into each character. Everyone is so multidimensional, for better or worse. In other words, human, as they navigate the atrocities of World War II while still dealing with all the other things life brings along. Historical fiction is my favorite genre, as it can make me feel so many emotions at once, sad yet grateful for my own life. It's a new perspective, or one that we need to be reminded of.
In this book we follow Anna from the time s
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Jill Furedy
Having read all of Kate Morton's books this year, I inevitably compared this "gothic-light" tale to hers, and it suffered for the comparison. I won this on the Goodreads giveaway page, and was excited for it to arrive, having read the glowing reviews and notice about the Orange Prize list. And while there were scenes that were beautifully written, it didn't come together for me. The Norton's had such exciting, dynamic lives, but they only popped up sporadically, while I was hearing every last de ...more
Laurie
This impressive first novel - shortlisted for the Orange Prize - traces the lives of Anna and Roberta, as well as Thomas and his wife, Elizabeth Ashton, primarily during the war years. Moodily atmospheric and increasingly melancholy, we're privy to their inner lives (multiple third person perspective) as those lives intersect and diverge, playing again and again on novelist Alison's title theme. Inner desires, memories, dreams, and resentments shift and collide with outward actions and appearanc ...more
Emily Crowe
I upgraded this to 4 stars from what would have just been 3.5 stars...

I seem to be on somewhat of a kick this summer reading WWII fiction. The Very Thought of You by Rosie Alison (shortlisted for the 2010 Orange Prize) mostly follows the story of young Anna Sands, whose mother evacuates her from London in 1939 in order to escape the Blitz; Anna fortuitously ends up at a large Yorkshire estate whose family has taken in dozens of children and set up a school for them. The author does a great job o
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Danielle Rossman
The Very Thought of You took my breath away as Rosie Allison tells this haunting tale of coming of age from a child's perspective during pre WWII England and beyond. It is 1939 and Hitler is storming down on Poland and England feels the march of German boots coming. Thus begins a mass evacuation of the children of London to safer locations along the English countryside. Initially, we meet Anna and her mother Roberta who are on a lovely shopping trip that culminates in a delightful luncheon. But ...more
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Rosie Alison grew up in Yorkshire, and read English at Keble College, Oxford. She spent ten years directing television documentaries before becoming a film producer at Heyday Films. She is married with two daughters and lives in London. Her debut novel THE VERY THOUGHT OF YOU (2009), which made it onto the Amazon Rising Stars shortlist and was longlisted for the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year and ...more
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“I want to thank you for the profound joy I've had in the in the thought of you.” 25 likes
“Of all the many people we meet in a lifetime,it is strange that so many of us find ourselves in thrall to one
particular person. Once that face is seen,an involuntary heartache sets in for which there is no cure. All the
wonder of this world finds shape in that one person and thereafter there is no reprieve, because this kind of love
does not end,or not until death.”
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