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Giant's Bread

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  1,638 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
Vernon Deyre is a sensitive and brilliant musician, even a genius. But there is a high price to be paid for his talent, especially by his family and the two women in his life. His sheltered childhood does not prepare him for adulthood. To write his greatest masterpiece, he has to make a crucial decision with no time left to count the cost.
Paperback, 528 pages
Published February 20th 2014 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1930)
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(showing 1-30)
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Dana Bolink
Jan 04, 2013 Dana Bolink rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In all honesty, the back of the book is a little misleading:
"Vernon Deyre is a sensitive and brilliant musician, even a genius. But there is a high price to be paid for his talent, especially by his family and the two women in his life. His sheltered childhood in the home he loves has not prepared Vernon for the harsh reality of his adult years, and in order to write the great masterpiece of his life, he has to make a crucial decision with no time left to count the cost..."

Misleading in the way
May 03, 2012 Kasey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
What did I think?
I thought it was elegant. Terrifying. Morbid. Haunting. Beautiful. Artistic. Human.

Something about this book always bothered me, even when I put the book down. I thought that the book was horrifying and the characters were so abstract and cruel. Then I realized that it was reality. Christie, Westmacott, had really captured the feelings and indecisions in a human life. That book was so accurate that it made me embarrassed to read. The characters were very...human. I think I've sa
Dec 14, 2009 Nora rated it really liked it
Agatha Christie + high melodrama involving a world war and the art world = totally enjoyable if ridiculous. The writing is just fantastic, though; I loved loved loved the first part, which is from the perspective of a small child.
Disha Acharya
Mar 19, 2012 Disha Acharya rated it it was amazing
Mary Westmacott’s books are like a cup of good old strong English tea in the afternoon. And this is my sixth ‘cup’, I mean book! Several reviewers and many other readers believe that her books are mere love stories which are bittersweet; however I think that it is not an accurate description of these books. Westmacott’s books are a wonderful exploration of human relationships and offer us an insightful analysis of the way the human mind works. Reading this particular one, made me think that perh ...more
Jan 15, 2015 Willow rated it really liked it
I think this book just broke my heart a bit.
Mar 05, 2014 Jackie rated it it was ok
This is one of the titles written by Agatha Christie under the pen name Mary Westmacott. Being a big Christie fan, I was really looking forward to reading my first Westmacott novel.

I was aware that it wasn't in her usual genre of crime novel, however, I read lots of different genres so the difference just made me llook forward to reading it even more. However, I have to say I really didn't like it.

Under her own guise of Christie and her crime novels, it is accepted that she doesn't develop her c
Book #13 for 2017/#6 for the Mt TBR Challenge
The Legendary Book Club of Habitica's Ultimate Reading Challenge Task: A book published before you were born
PopSugar's Ultimate Reading Challenge Prompts (max 3):
- A book that's been on your TBR list for way too long
- A book by an author who uses a pseudonym
- A book that's been mentioned in another book
Personal Reading Challenge Task: A book with a woman on the cover
Better World Books Challenge Prompt: A book by a female writer
Book Riot's Read Harder
GIANTS' BREAD, Mary Westmacott aka Agatha Christie
1930, Christie's first romantic novel, a semi-historical tale of a young English gent, his growing up, The War, and life after it; sentimental but enjoyable; three-and-one-half stars.

The first of Christie's six romantic "straight" novels, this is a nicely wrought, well-plotted - if extremely sentimental and typical of the period - story of a Victorian genteel boyhood, The World War and its effects on one man and some of his friends, and their gr
Jan 01, 2016 Julie rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

This is my first novel of both Mary Westmacott and Agatha Christie (Westmacott is Christie's pen name). I'd have to say Giant's Bread was long and at times tiresome to read but it made you feel full and satisfied in the end, and I think that's the mark of a good classic. It's mentioned in the introduction that Christie wrote this book and several others under the pen name Westmacott to prove herself as a versatile and talented writer, and I think she did pretty good job!

Technically Sp
Sep 06, 2015 Debbie rated it really liked it
I had only read this book once before. I remember thinking it was a bit odd for me to read the first time, just because there was some humour in there, especially in Vernon's childhood, that surprised me for La Christie. Vernon's childhood and the way he saw the world back then was very amusing.
In fact, if I hadn't known this book was written by Agatha Christie, I don't know if I even would have recognized her style...except, of course, for the rampant racism throughout the book, which was very
Jan 06, 2017 Gypsi rated it it was amazing
Giant's Bread was the first novel (1930) Agatha Christie wrote under her nom de plume "Mary Westmacott". It tells the life story of Vernon Deyer as he follows his destiny to become a composer, and the choices he makes along the way.

As is often with Christie's mysteries, Giant's Bread is a story of psychology, of what makes a person "tick", and it is a powerful story. The phrase "giant's bread" is taken from the fairy tale quote: "fee, fie, fo, fum, I smell the blood of mortal Man. Be he alive or
Nov 03, 2012 Ana rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
When I started reading this book my expectations were low, I'll admit. I had already read another book by Mary Westmacott - Unfinished Portrait - that had disappointed me, so when I started this one I thought it was going to be more of the same.

The first part wasn't spectacular and - I have to say - a bit boring but fortunately it got better and I was able to enjoy it. As for the characters I don't think they were particularly fascinating and I didn't connect with them - I was just reading about
Apr 06, 2009 Anne rated it liked it
A non-mystery (a romance, in fact) from the great mystery writer. Not finished with it yet, but am far enough along to see that the writing is very good. Strikingly human characters, making strikingly human mistakes with their lives. Not your typical, contrived romance novel, and I'm not sure how it's going to end.

Ok, I've now finished it and can confirm that I could not have predicted the ending, despite the fact that the entire thing is a flashback. So points to Dame Agatha for keeping us conf
Oct 02, 2014 Desertorum rated it liked it
Good, but different from her (Agatha Christies) crime novels. This is said to be a romance but I prefer relationship drama. ...more
Jun 25, 2016 Alex rated it it was amazing
This was a very intense, profound book! Some of the characters were annoying but overall very intriguing relationships between all of them.
Urbi Chatterjee
May 25, 2017 Urbi Chatterjee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama, fiction, romance
Agatha Christie's books always deserve very high ratings, and the only reason I did not give this one five stars is because there are even better books by the author.

When Agatha Christie took up the pseudonym of Mary Westmacott she temporarily shed her passion for all things criminal and channeled her profound understanding of the various nuances of human nature into the lives and stories of men and women who do not have the additional burden of a dead body in the offing. These non-crime novels
Elvis Rodrigues
Jul 15, 2016 Elvis Rodrigues rated it really liked it
Shelves: agatha-christie, 2016
Vernon Deyre queria ter dinheiro para morar na imensa casa de Abbots Puissants, herdada de seu pai. E queria poder compor suas óperas. E viver feliz ao lado de sua amada Nell. Mas sua amiga (ou mais que isso) Jane Harding lhe alerta sobre não poder ter todas essas coisas. Assim, o jovem rapaz vai levando sua vida, antes, durante e depois da I Guerra Mundial, ao passo que recebe conselhos de Jane e de seu grande amigo Sebastian. Ainda na história, a prima Joe, a mãe histérica de Vernon e o tio pr ...more
Mar 22, 2016 TheAromaofBooks rated it it was ok
In my quest to read all of Agatha Christie’s books (may or may not be achievable), I included on my list the six novels she wrote as Mary Westmacott. I expected these books to be different from Christie’s other fare (why else would she use a different name, other than to escape expectations?), but I was still surprised to find how heavy Giant’s Bread was.

Our story opens in London, with the opening night of a new opera. Strange, wild, artistic, innovative, alluring – it is a musical the likes of
Mohammad Siddiqui
Sep 20, 2013 Mohammad Siddiqui rated it it was amazing
For long, I have avoided Mary Westmacott Novels. May be I couldn't buy the idea of reading Christie as a Romantic
Then I decided to try Giant's Bread.
Succinctly - It was amazing and awesome.
May be today we would have many stories that follow the same line. And believe me there have been several bolywood movies that linger endlessly on the same tracks - the love triangles.
The portion of a book reminds me of an Indian Classical - Devdas. It's story of a Man who seeks refuge in a harlot when his
Matthew Hodge
May 18, 2016 Matthew Hodge rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, hard-copy
Those of you who are up on your Agatha Christie lore will know that she wrote six books under the assumed name of Mary Westmacott. This was her way of writing something outside her regular genre of detective / mystery without feeling the pressure from the general public.

She got away with it for 15 years apparently before it was revealed that Mary Westmacott was Agatha Christie. Since I've nearly finished the complete canon of the Queen of Crime, just for completeness' sake, I decided to have a c
Jun 15, 2013 France-Andrée rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama, relationships
I was completely taken by this book from the first moment of the prologue which is also an epilogue since it is the result of the story you are about to read... That is the first thing that grips you about this, you know the result, but how did it come to this?

Giant's Bread is about Vernon Deyre and his passion for music, a passion he never fully embraces because of the different hurdles to it : a house he loves, the people around him, a fear of his childhood nemesis "The Beast". It is quite dif
May 17, 2011 Sammy rated it liked it
Shelves: modern
An interesting little curio: one of six books written by Agatha Christie under the nom-de-plume Mary Westmacott. "Giant's Bread" is the tale of a group of childhood friends growing up in the early 20th century. Through the years, Christie utilises a shifting point-of-view tale to examine their growth and change.

It's actually quite a lovely little tale, with many insights into the children and their respective families, and - as the characters become adults in their own right - the delicate socia
Mar 31, 2012 Heather80 rated it really liked it
This is the story of Vernon Deyre, a musical prodigy. He is born to wealthy but unhappily married parents. He grows up to be a struggling composer. Just when he is finally getting an opera produced, WWI breaks out and changes everything.
The main characters of the book, besides quiet and gifted Vernon, are his materialistic and intelligent friend Sebastian, his headstrong and independent cousin Jo, the childish and conventional Nell, whom he loves, and spirited and strong Jane, who intrigues him
Dec 27, 2015 Usfromdk rated it really liked it
This book is very different from the other books I've read by Agatha Christie so far. I found the book both hard to rate and hard to review; it's hard to review because despite this book being very different from the usual murder mysteries by the same author it seems nevertheless to me still quite easy to spoil, and it's difficult to rate because I can't really figure out how to weigh the different elements. I ended up at four stars because I really did like reading the book. The premise of a 'g ...more
Trudy Pomerantz
Jan 19, 2015 Trudy Pomerantz rated it liked it
While this book shows promise, the characters lack a certain cohesiveness. The two characters that I found most interesting were Jane and Joe. It was as if Joe as a child was independent but then was almost trapped (by genetics?) in following a path similar to her mother's - a path of pain resulting from unwise decisions. Jane followed her own path doing what she felt was right. She was free to be herself.

Jane to Nell: "The will of God! Would you be able to say that, if God's will didn't happen
Apr 24, 2013 David rated it liked it
This is a drama.
There are clear differences between dickens and agathe christie, and between conan doyle and agathe christie. Dickens allows his characters to move around a little and be spontaneous, but agathe christie keeps them within her strong hands; she tries to take on what is general consensus, and twist it into something that is repulsive; she tries to impose on the reader her own ideas on life and relationships; and that is evident in hers this book. Also, she is different from Doyle i
Azira Zainuddin
Jan 14, 2013 Azira Zainuddin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star
Whenever I read or heard about Agatha Christie, it always in relation of crime-solving novels. Cross upon her earlier writing using Mary Westmacott, little did I know that she could write something so emotionally involved.

Giant's Bread revolves around Vernon's life during his childhood through his adult years. Being a coward for years, he always prefer to left things unattend in hope that it will solved by itself. Only when the things were beyond his reach or slipped through his grip, he was abl
Sep 04, 2016 Alison rated it it was amazing
Shelves: agatha-christie
This novel is an interesting take on the human condition. None of the characters are very realistic on paper, but the emotional turmoil is depicted with truth. Christie’s depiction of English life in the 30s and 40s is always fascinating to me. Things that sound completely foreign and nonsensical to me, like people with enormous ancestral homes but no money; things that are relics from another time, like a woman battling with herself over marrying a passionate lover or rich suitor because it’s l ...more
Jan 26, 2016 Charulatha rated it it was amazing
The book is divided internally again into 4 books covering all phases of life. Vernom's childhood is the best part of the book . A child's view on the external word, curiousity to know is best explained. Remaining part of the book shows the bitter practical truth of the world around us which has been beautifully portrayed. Enough justice is made to the description of the location , people and their thoughts. The war time affair and the activities involved gives an insight about the days during t ...more
Mixed feelings on this. Some parts I liked, other parts I didn't. At one point I didn't read it for 2 or 3 weeks because I didn't want to pick it up and start reading about these spoiled characters. Other parts, especially the first part when they were children and Nell working at the hospital, I really liked. I read the bulk of the book in 2 sittings, but struggled with the middle area. I should note that it's well written, and through other characters points of view we see that the main charac ...more
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