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Giant's Bread

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,342 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
The story centres on composer Vernon Deyre, erroneously reported as killed in action in World War I. He assumes a new identity and wins acclaim in the music world. A romantic, but not sentimental story about real people, that allows Christie the room to develop her characters freely and in depth.

The first of the novels written as Mary Westmacott, and the only one dedicated
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Published by William Collins Sons & Co. in London (first published 1930)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,761)
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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
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Kasey
May 21, 2012 Kasey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Disha Acharya
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
Debbie
Sep 10, 2015 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Nora
Dec 14, 2009 Nora rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Julie
Feb 06, 2016 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Willow
Jan 15, 2015 Willow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this book just broke my heart a bit.
Jackie
Mar 11, 2014 Jackie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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Abbey
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
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Ana
Feb 06, 2013 Ana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Anne
Apr 08, 2009 Anne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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TheAromaofBooks
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
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Usfromdk
Dec 29, 2015 Usfromdk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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Charulatha
Jan 26, 2016 Charulatha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Desertorum
Good, but different from her (Agatha Christies) crime novels. This is said to be a romance but I prefer relationship drama. ...more
Sammy
Sep 28, 2015 Sammy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Heather80
Apr 03, 2012 Heather80 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Mohammad Siddiqui
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
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France-Andrée
Jan 10, 2014 France-Andrée rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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David
Apr 24, 2013 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Vesmé
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
Azira Zainuddin
Jan 19, 2013 Azira Zainuddin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Aisha
Jan 18, 2014 Aisha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd rate this at a 3.5 or a 4. The writing style's Agatha through and through, sans the plots, twists, crimes and mysteries. It's... not mind-blowing or anything, but is atmospheric and very morbid. To be honest, I guess it's depressing as well- but depressing books have a cheering effect on me, so I really liked it. Plus the characters were strongly portrayed, giving you an insight (or not) into dissatisfaction, confusion, desire, ambition and what-not.
Overall, a pretty good read, though I'm n
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Bonnie
Sep 14, 2014 Bonnie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little on the melodramatic side, but this novel was still a remarkably easy and fast read. Christie/Westmacott has a talent with words, no matter the genre. The first part of the story was much stronger than the latter sections though, which lended itself to enormous coincidences that stretched belief.
Shivangi Tiwari
Agatha Christie writes as Mary Westmacott, a pseudonym for a different style. This novel is not a regular Christie whodunnit, instead, it's meant somewhat as a love story. An okay one-time read, but not extremely impressive.
Raymond Bial
Dec 12, 2014 Raymond Bial rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


An interesting early work by Agatha Christie published under a pseudonym. More romance than suspense, but intriguing, especially if one's suspends disbelief to enjoy a few unlikely plot twists.

Ema
Jul 27, 2015 Ema rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cerita cinta yang tak kesampaian. Tapi Vernon bukan seorang yang genius. Dia lelaki biasa yang ego. Nell juga wanita biasa yang dalam dilema antara cinta dan budi.
Anna Smereca
Aug 01, 2015 Anna Smereca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m a fan of Agatha Christie, so when I started to read this book I was in a great surprise. On the one hand it’s not a detective it’s a novel, but on the other hand this novel is full of her child's memories… This book is like a cup of good old strong English tea in the afternoon. Vernon Deyre is so contradictory character! But he’s brilliant, simply brilliant!
Deepti
Sep 03, 2015 Deepti rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It started well, but ended in a melodramatic mash-up of Ayn Rand and Charles Dickens. Disappointing.
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