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The Furies

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  451 ratings  ·  135 reviews
When you open up, who will you let in?

When Alex Morris loses her fiancé in dreadful circumstances, she moves from London to Edinburgh to make a break with the past. Alex takes a job at a Pupil Referral Unit, which accepts the students excluded from other schools in the city. These are troubled, difficult kids and Alex is terrified of what she's taken on.

There is one class...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by St. Martin's Press (first published February 2014)
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i grabbed this from netgalley thinking it was going to be a The Secret History kind of story, just because: teacher, troubled students, greek tragedies, "cruel fate and bloody revenge," yadda yadda. but it is a very different kind of story. not a bad thing at all, but if you are looking for The Secret History knockoffs like i always am, know that this is not the same kind of narrative arc. there are troubled students, yes, and there will be crime, but it is a much narrower story than s.h. and it...more
Shelby *wants some flying monkeys*
Alex has lost her fiance to a brutal killing. So when her friend Robert offers her a job in a new town away from the pain she is having living in London she takes the job. She starts working in Edinburgh in a school of troubled teenagers. The one class that stands out for her is her harder one. Five teenagers she sets out to make a difference too.
In the beginning the book reminded me quite a bit of the movie "Dangerous Minds". That's really not a bad thing since I enjoyed that movie.

She gets th...more
Review originally published at Learn This Phrase.

Alex Morris is a successful theatre director at the age of twenty-six and has a pretty perfect life. She lives in London with her adoring fiancé Luke, an even more successful lawyer, and is not only blissfully happy, but thankful for her happiness and aware of how lucky she is. All of this changes abruptly when Luke dies suddenly, and, mired in grief, Alex returns to Edinburgh - where she went to university - and is taken under the wing of Robert,...more
Liz Wilkins
First of all, I am not entirely sure myself why this particular novel captured my imagination the way it did – but it really really did.

The premise or rather construction of the story is not entirely new, but the way Natalie Haynes tells us the tale is imaginative, captivating and utterly engaging . We start the book knowing that a tragedy has occurred but not the details nor the specific players – as things unfold using diary entries, real time action and past flashbacks, it is compelling stuff...more
Julia Ibbotson
I seem to be one of the very few who has not rated this book highly! I'm afraid that I can't give it 3 stars as I can't say that I liked it. There were too many flaws and irritations. The premise is that Alex, a successful theatre producer in London, flees back to her university town of Edinburgh after a tragic incident kills her fiancé Luke. The story is then woven around the aftermath of the killing; why is Alex apparently spying on someone and why is one of her pupils stalking her? The basic...more
Alex Morris’ fiancé was unexpectedly and brutally killed and she is drowning in grief. Barely coping, she moves to Edinburgh to make a fresh start. Her background is in theater and she takes a teaching job at Rankeillor Street, a place for children who have been kicked out of previous schools. She chooses to focus on Greek tragedies and she’s pleased with the result—at first. Only when it’s too late does she realize what has been unleashed by the volatile mixture of troubled teens and themes of...more
Here’s my conundrum: how do I rate a book that had me eagerly turning pages well into the evening…and yet left me feeling curiously flat by the time I finished?

The Furies has a lot going for it. The first-person narrator, Alex Morris, flees from her former life as a theater director to take on the challenge of teaching dysfunctional kids in Edinburgh after the unfair death of her fiancée.

As a novice teacher, she gravitates toward her oldest class – two boys and three girls, all 15 years old. He...more
Margaret Madden
Thanks to for the review copy of this book.......

Alex Morris has escaped to Edinburgh in order to forget her past. She finds herself helping a group of troubled teens who, for varied reasons, have been kicked out of mainstream schools. Through her teaching of Greek Tragedies and her interest in these forgotten children, she inspires them to look at life from a different perspective. When her past seeps into her present, things get out of control and Alex is obliviou...more
Liz Wilkins
First of all, I am not entirely sure myself why this particular novel captured my imagination the way it did – but it really really did.

The premise or rather construction of the story is not entirely new, but the way Natalie Haynes tells us the tale is imaginative, captivating and utterly engaging . We start the book knowing that a tragedy has occurred but not the details nor the specific players – as things unfold using diary entries, real time action and past flashbacks, it is compelling stuff...more
Kathleen Minde
The ancient Greek tragedies told the story of a basically good person who, through fatal error or misjudgment, experienced a downfall that produced suffering and insight for the protagonist. The chorus would open the play with foreshadow and then reappear frequently throughout and finally end the play with their song as the protagonist accepts responsibility for his own fate with honor. The greats established this very simple method of presenting a play about humans and their tragic flaws and th...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
My goodness, I've seen some harsh reviews out there for this novel.

Some say that it's far too predictable. I'd say that it appears to be so predictable because the who-does-it question isn't really so much the point of the novel. Granted, I recognized the identity of the Fury so early on - and you will, too, I assure you - that I thought there would be some sort of twist in that identification, but there wasn't. So when I saw these criticisms, they gave me pause to consider and I don't think th...more
AmberBug review

Dear Reader,

This was not the book for ME. Let me explain this... I think the publisher's description is very misleading, I was under the impression that it would be more thriller than anything else. This was NOT the case. Do not be fooled into thinking this is the next "Gone Girl", because it doesn't even come close. I might end up judging this too harshly because I don't like getting tricked. For example, if you notice above it says, "Finding them enthralled by tales of...more
Bill Kupersmith
I'd love to read Greek tragedy with Haynes. Apparently the American publishers think we Yanks are too stupid to catch the allusion in the original title The Amber Fury & changed it to The Furies.

When I read The Amber Fury last spring I loved it but there were several turns in the plot & character that eluded me & I put off writing a fuller review. Now that I’ve finished Tana French’s The Secret Place - another & even more wonderful story dealing with a tragedy in a contemporary...more
Somewhere, my education went awry; I don't remember ever reading any Greek tragedies as a kid. So, in a way, this book sparked an interest in that regard. The lessons Alex taught throughout the book seemed formulaic, however. Like the author really wanted to share what she knew about the tragedies and we just had to buckle up and go along for the ride. Much more interesting to me was the story of Mel. I wish the whole thing would have been written from her perspective. And maybe geared toward a...more
Or 'The Amber Fury' as it is called on my kindle, which is probably a much better title for it.

The author's theory that Greek tragedies and teenagers are the perfect mix is interesting. I can't say I agreed though, and if anything the outcome of the story confirmed this for me!

To a certain extent I did enjoy reading the discussions about Greek tragedies I never have, and never shall read, and how the modern-day characters related to them. But I did have other problems with the book. Sure, Alex's...more
I was quite disappointed in this book. The book's setting is reminiscent in some ways of Donna Tartt's "A Secret History" and, in fact, many reviews liken this novelist to Donna Tartt. In my opinion, that is a mistake. This novel is like an outline that was never fully fleshed out. The set-up is as follows: after losing her fiance in a "shocking tragedy", a young woman (Alex), who was a theater director in London, takes a job teaching drama therapy at a last chance school for students who have a...more
Librarian Lavender

Alex needs a new start. She moves from London to Edinburgh, because she's heartbroken. Her fiancé died in a terrible way and she has to learn how to live with the grief. Her friend Robert has offered her a teaching job. As a former director of plays she hasn't got much teaching experience, but as she could use a distraction she's giving it a try. The Pupil Referral Unit, or the Unit, is a school for troubled children. Working with difficult teenagers could be a challenge, but there's one class i...more
Keira (Lazy Book Lovers)
I'm unsure how I felt about this title. There were places I felt I loved it, and places I felt it would never end. One thing I did like was that it stayed true to the format of Greek tragedy, which was what made the book suspenseful.

From the beginning you wonder who Alex is and what brought her to this place, where she's teaching multiple groups of adolescents. Alex wasn't exactly likable or dislikable, she merely was. I found myself irritated at her passive behavior, however, chocked it up to...more
The Amber Fury is one of those unexpected little gems that come along rarely and for a first novel the writer really should be proud of this book.

I loved the way in which the novel was written by the main character and also one of the students and how it managed to go back and forth in time without loosing its way or loosing the interest of the reader. Clearly Natalie Haynes has a great knowledge and appreciation of Greek tragedies and she managed to weave these brilliantly into the psyche of th...more
Jo at Jaffareadstoo

Following a devastating personal tragedy, Alex Morris returns to Edinburgh to take up a teaching post in a unit for troubled teenagers. The work is as challenging as it is difficult, and at first Alex despairs of ever making a connection with a particularly demanding group of five young people who seem intent on making her life even more miserable. By using a series of Greek tragedies, which mimic events in their own lives, Alex starts to build a connection. However, the stories of spiteful fate...more
This book was a huge disappointment. The way the description read, I was hoping the characters would be using what they read in the Greek tragedies to get revenge on people in their own lives, but the real plot line was not nearly so interesting. Also, right in the beginning, the author set up the story using political propaganda with vaccines and the complete inaccuracy of her statement made the entire story unbelievable. A rare reaction to the measles is so incredibly implausible and having a...more
The Furies
Natalie Haynes

My " in a nutshell" summary...possibly a spoiler but it's told almost right away.

Alex suffers a huge personal loss...her fiancé was killed while trying to save someone...she leaves London and everything about her life behind to teach at a "unit" for troubled teens in Edinburgh. The position was secured for her by her dear friend Robert...also director of the unit. Then...something terrible happens that involves this one small troubled class that she teaches.

My thoughts...more
Beth Keogh
I literally just read this book in one sitting I think it took about 2 hours.

I got this as a review copy from Waterstones and I wasn't really expecting much I don't even remember requesting it, so I went in with fairly low expectations....they were completely blow out of the water I freaking LOVED this book!!

I don't want to give anything away so I suggest you just read the synopsis on here, as I will likely say something wrong and give something away.

This book is almost flawless, the main chara...more
Alex is mourning the death of her boyfriend Luke when her old professor Robert asks her to come to Edinburgh to teach theater to kids who have been kicked out of regular schools for being delinquents. Her most difficult class is a group of 4th year students (15-16 years old) that the other teachers seem to live in fear of. Alex is able to reach them by not treating them like a group of idiots and by not judging them for what they may have done in the past. What she doesn't realize is that one me...more
Robert Blumenthal
This novel reminded me a lot of the novel What Was She Thinking (Notes on a Scandal) by Zoe Heller. It has the same kind of feel to it, involving a young woman working at a school. It is about a young woman whose fiance has recently died while they were living together in London. She moves to Edinburgh, Scotland, where she had studied drama in college, and takes a job in a school for wayward youth run by her former mentor at the university. It is both about her using Greek tragedies in an attemp...more
Amie Gaudet
THE FURIES by Natalie Haynes was first published in Great Britain under the title THE AMBER FURY.

I received a hardcover copy of this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program.

This is the debut novel by author: Natalie Haynes.

The book begins with newly accredited teacher, Alex Morris, beginning her first ever teaching position far from her home in London, England. She had not planned to be a drama teacher. She only sought her teaching certificate to be able to continue directing amateur theatr...more
This novel is a layered and suspenseful story of tragic characters struggling to find order in the chaos of their lives, each with their own Fates and Furies to appease.

A group of troubled teens and their teacher in mourning connect through the language of literary drama, exploring the themes of classic Greek tragedies—obsession, betrayal, revenge—which prove to be all too relevant to their modern lives.

The past and present is interwoven with intriguing diary entries, providing tantalizing glimp...more
Sara K
Read this review and others on my blog: The Library Princess

*This review is based an ARC from Netgalley, this title release 8/26/14.

When I saw the summary of this book on Netgalley, I immediately wanted to read it. I misinterpreted the part about Greek tragedies thinking it was going to be about Greek Mythology, which I and my students have a high interest in…oops! But, I read it anyway and here is what I thought:

Alex is a young woman who comes back to Edinburgh (after attending college there) f...more
Marcee Feddersen

What They Say....After losing her fiancé in a shocking tragedy, Alex Morris moves from London to Edinburgh to make a break with the past. Formerly an actress, Alex accepts a job teaching drama therapy at a school commonly referred to as "The Unit," a last-chance learning community for teens expelled from other schools in the city. Her students have troubled pasts and difficult personalities, and Alex is an inexperienced teacher, terrified of what she’s tak...more
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Natalie Haynes, author of THE FURIES (THE AMBER FURY in the UK), is a graduate of Cambridge University and an award-winning comedian, journalist, and broadcaster. She judged the Man Booker Prize in 2013 and was a judge for the final Orange Prize in 2012. Natalie was a regular panelist on BBC2’s Newsnight Review, Radio 4’s Saturday Review, and the long-running arts show, Front Row. She is a guest c...more
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