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Billie's Kiss

3.32  ·  Rating Details  ·  250 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
With an Edwardian twist on The Tempest, and all the surprising, earthy and magical qualities of The Vintner's Luck, Knox's irresistible new novel is set on the remote, divided Scottish island of Kissack and Killing, one half of which looks historically and geographically towards Catholic Ireland, the other towards the Protestant north and Scandinavia. In the spring of 1903 ...more
Published May 1st 2003 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 471)
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I only got through 50 pages, so I have little meat for a review. Suffice it to say the writing was bloated with self-importance, the dialogue was choppy, the scenes were brief, & the tone was distant. I suspect these things are meant to translate into "nuanced characterization" & "exploring the depths of human experience" & other academic twaddle. Heck, maybe they do translate to nuanced characterization & exploration of the depths of human experience -- but I'm not the person to ...more
Tiffany Reisz
Mar 20, 2014 Tiffany Reisz rated it really liked it
Marvelous book. 4.5 stars? Sorry I can't do half-stars. It's not five only because I will forever compare everything I read by Knox to "The Vintner's Luck," which I've yet to recover from.

I feel like Knox and I might have muses who are near-relations. Cousins maybe? "The Vinter's Luck" has a same-sex love affair between a man and an angel. An enigmatic bisexual Frenchman even.

"Billie's Kiss" has an enigmatic blond Scandinavian as its hero. Dark and difficult, he falls in love with an unsuitable
Jul 02, 2010 Kerry rated it it was ok
I find Elizabeth Knox’s books hard to start. But I’m always rewarded if I can get past the first few chapters – they always seem to take time to warm to them. Knox’s characters and situations seldom lure me in instantly – they seem a bit unlikeable or inaccessible. I have to be willing to get to know them. But I usually am, because ultimately, the story will reveal rewards in its complexity and emotional intelligence.

The start of Billie’s Kiss seemed as frosty and remote as the setting on an icy
Dec 04, 2014 Krisz rated it it was amazing
My actual rating is more like 4.5 - definitely more than 4 but I wouldn't say there's no better book under the sun... still, it's among the best.
It is that kind of book that I actually want to keep putting away and aside and read it slowly, so it lasts longer... And I think I know the secret now! I devour those books where the writer takes the time to linger and describe things in delicate details: the people, their thoughts, the actions and movements, the surroundings. I really liked the
Booklist says: "Set in Scotland in 1903, Knox's novel begins with an explosion--literally. Billie Paxton is traveling with her pregnant sister, Edith, and Edith's husband, Henry, to Stolnsay, where Henry is to be employed by Lord Hallowhulme as a secretary. After Billie shares an impulsive kiss with Henry on the deck of the ship on which they are traveling, she leaps into the sea. Immediately after she jumps, a bomb goes off, and the ship sinks, killing many of the passengers, including Edith. L ...more
Jan 06, 2011 Charlotte rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth Knox lives in New Zealand, and it's a little hard to find her books here, but Ann got me this for Christmas. I loved it, eventually. At first I didn't think it was anything like the other books of hers I've read--Dreamhunter & Dreamquake, which are AWESOME--but actually it kind of is. And it has a terrible title. A young woman (Billie) is traveling with her sister and brother-in-law to an island that I think is in the Orkneys, a UK protectorate, but nearer to Sweden. The ferry they ...more
Aug 20, 2010 Georgina rated it liked it
A good read, a romance and a bit of a who-dunnit. Evocative of its own bleak world, but not, I feel of the period or place in which it is set. The determination to keep the prose dense and lyrical can often obscure the narrative and I often found myself puzzled. Portraying an odd collection of characters - none of whom are wholly engaging or sympathetic and without true heroes, many of the relationships are unconvincing and some complex issues of personality, history, ideology, moltive or status ...more
Mar 16, 2009 Abbi rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, as I've loved all of Knox's work so far. Her writing is gorgeous, and I always try to take my time reading her books simply to enjoy the language. The story, as her previous ones have been, is less about the mystery of the boat's explosion and more about the people involved. Knox's characters are all fascinating, and I lost myself in the story, not wanting to put the book down (a problem when in graduate school).

I tend to think of Knox's books not as thrillers or mysteries or
Angie Brierley
Apr 20, 2016 Angie Brierley rated it liked it
Beautifully written. I feel like it took a while to get started and then finished too fast.
Mar 16, 2010 Laura rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
I have become enchanted with Knox's stories, especially their eerie and mysterious moods. "Billie's Kiss" takes place in turn of the century (20th century) Scotland. It is a mystery unveiled through the perspectives of Billie, an innocent and naive young woman, Murdo Hesketh, a morose and passionate man, and Geordie Betler, the observant butler. I didn't figure out "who did it" until the end, so it worked for me!
Jun 05, 2011 Kate rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-clubs
Billies Kiss became a bit of a chore to read. I found the characters intriguing and the setting appealing but the writing style had me struggling therefore as the book progressed I lost the desire to continue - I finished but the hook to keep me going was missing.
Judith Yeabsley
Jan 15, 2012 Judith Yeabsley rated it it was ok
I got too bored and gave up 3/4 of the way through. Not something I generally do but as it was over Christmas I jsut didn't want to fight my way through. It wasn't particularly bad it just wasn't really gripping and I could not be bothered with the ending !!
Aug 24, 2009 Diane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, adult
I had a hard time following this book in spots. I was curious as to how it would end so I did finish it. Not the best book I have read, but was ok. I had to re-read some of the dialogue to figure out just who was speaking at times.
Aug 08, 2012 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gothic Lolitas
Shelves: books-i-own
Another modern Gothic novel, complete with free-spirited heroine and windswept moor. The real appeal is Elizabeth Knox's quirky writing style, and the unique attributes she gives these fresh yet familiar characters.
Nov 22, 2010 Chris rated it did not like it
This is that rare book I never finished. I have liked her others, but this just left me cold, and struggle though I might, never found out the finish-and didnt care.
Martha Grace
Sep 06, 2010 Martha Grace rated it liked it
I had a little trouble following this book, got the characters mixed up, but it may have been a reader problem rather than a writer problem.
Jul 11, 2009 Heather rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable read and I liked the depth of mystery. I’d think I had it sussed and then there would be another twist.
Feb 04, 2011 Ashley rated it really liked it
I am always deeply moved by her charaters and their detailed histories. she lets you feel their pain and happiness!
Jul 30, 2011 Nez rated it it was ok
Slow pace is right. Hard to follow at times. Doesn't entice me to read anymore books by EK.
Could have been improved with the addition of gay angels.
May 25, 2014 Michelle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Eh, ok book, not great.
Apr 10, 2009 Deborah rated it really liked it
Sometimes I found it confusing, because I'm bad with mysteries, but I felt like it was really unusual, and I liked that.
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Sharon Mulready rated it really liked it
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Elizabeth Knox was born in Wellington‚ New Zealand‚ and is the author of eleven novels and three novella and a book of essays.

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