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Fell

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  292 ratings  ·  61 reviews
A haunting and otherworldly tale of the impact on one family of a guest with seemingly magical powers, who alters the course of their lives in ways neither they nor he foresee.
A haunting, mysterious tale imbued with the force of myth, by the award-winning author of A Kind of Intimacy.

When Annette Clifford returns to her childhood home on the edge of Morecambe Bay, she
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Hardcover, 295 pages
Published July 14th 2016 by Sceptre
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Average rating 3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  292 ratings  ·  61 reviews


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sue

This is a book that dropped through my letterbox from Sceptre. I read the blurb and the premises seemed fine to me, captured my interest even though this is not my usual taste of books. I really find things spirits and ghosts a bit of a turn off.

The plus sides are that it is very atmospheric and very well written to get you believing in what is being narrated here.

When the "speaking from husband and wife" who are no longer alive but seen to be taking care of their daughter from they're graves
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Kirsty
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed, march-2017
Fell is rather disquieting from its outset, and its sense of place is incredibly strong. The perspective used is most interesting, that of Netty and Jack speaking as spirits, and it does fit the whole well, without being too jarring or dislocated from the present day story. I seem to write this quite often in reviews, but I'm surprised that more people haven't read the novel. It's incredibly engaging, and pulls one in immediately. One knows that something sinister is about to rear its ugly head, ...more
Maya Panika
Jun 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully smooth, drifting tale of life and the afterlife; a tale dominated by Netty’s slow, long-suffering death from cancer (something to be aware of before you embark on this novel because it’s not for the faint hearted).
Annette Clifford returns to her childhood home in Grange-over-Sands, to The Sycamores, the long-empty, neglected house she grew up in. Annette’s return rouses the spirits of her parents, Netty and Jack, who watch over their only child as she struggles to cope with the
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Claire Fuller
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
I really liked the contrast between the style of writing, ghostly (since the story is narrated by two ghosts - but don't let that put you off and think it's going to be twee) and the things that happen - the death of a woman from cancer and the breakdown of her adult daughter when she returns to the family home. I loved the description of the house as it decayed - things growing out of the window frames, mold and damp everywhere.
Ashworth writes really vivid scenes - the description of Timothy
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Andy Weston
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
It’s a good time for literature in the north of England, we have some excellent young writers, Hurley, Myers and Moss of course, and Jenn Ashworth who I have been keen to read for a while (speaking as a Cumbria resident).
In the shadow of the fells of the south Lakes, on the Kent estuary near to Ulverston and Grange, there’s a gothic presence in the form of the house that Annette returns to, which was her childhood home, over-shadowed by sycamore trees, and bringing back memories of neglected
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David
Jan 31, 2017 rated it liked it
'Fell' refers to two giant and unkempt sycamore trees that are tearing an old and neglected house apart. A prodigal daughter returns to this pile, left to her by her deceased father and step mother and finds it a mixed blessing. Two spectral and time-shifting narrators follow the characters through the fairly linear plot, albeit with constant time shifts between the 50s and the sort of present day.

A much loved wife and mother's protracted and fairly hideous death from cancer is the book's
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Jo
Annette returns to her childhood home to clear the place after her parents' death. Their ghosts watch on. The narrative then skips back and forth between the now and the 1960s when Annette's parents took in a lodger who was supposed to help her mother's cancer. This was a bit of a strange book and I found it difficult to like any of the characters. More of a 2.5 rating.
Abbie | ab_reads
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a rather refreshing, quirky little novel that took me a little while to get into but then I quickly became absorbed in the dual stories that played out. I'm not sure Fell would appeal to non-UK readers tbh, as it's set in a tiny northern village on the coast of England in the 60s and present day, and there are a lot of characters, actions, dialogue that are quintessentially British. Some of the 60s ones even went over my head!

The narration is unique: although mostly told from the
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Karen Mace
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I am finding this a very difficult book to review as it's an extremely quiet story that doesn't have big shocking moments, but is more powerful in many ways than a story with a big twist due to the subjects it brings to light and the journey that the reader is taken on as they step through the front door of this imposing, decaying house.

Annette Clifford is the daughter who returns home after the death of her parents, to discover their home way past its' best and with 2 imposing sycamore trees
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Andrew
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I had the pleasure of seeing the author discuss her novel recently during the Manchester Literature Festival and she was an engaging author who brought even more life to a novel I had enjoyed thoroughly thus raising this book to a five star read. Interestingly her discussion was with andrew michael hurley "The Loney" ( review to follow) and both had similar themes both being set on the Nortj Lancashire coast.
The opening chapter of Fell introduces us to Netty and Jack, ghosts who see their adult
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Alison Woodley
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
A beautifully written story, ethereally told by the ghosts of Netty and Jack, whose spirits have been awakened by the return to the family home of their daughter Annette.

I wouldn't normally choose a fantasy-type book or anything which is vaguely supernatural, but I'm a big enough admirer of Jenn Ashworth to broaden my horizons now and again. I'm glad I did. Though the story is dark and haunting, the characters blend a down-to-earth disposition with foolish desperation, all set in a vividly
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Aurelija
Jun 20, 2016 rated it liked it
A beautifully written tale about life and the afterlife. A tale that mainly concentrates on Netty’s long-suffering death (might be a trigger for some people, so beware before picking up this book) and Annette Clifford, a young girl who returns to her childhood home, and has difficult time with coping with her memories of the past and her current life; but upon her return she wakens the spirits of her dead parents.

The spirits/ghosts tells us the story of the past, while we see the present through
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Mystica
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
The element of haunting in this story is poignant but it is not something I am very familiar with.
I am not a fan of fantasy or the paranormal so I was surprised how much this book appealed to me.

Annette returns after a very long spell to an empty house overshadowed by huge sycamore trees. The trees are symbolic of the dark shadowy house and all the stories and secrets that it hides.
Annette's childhood has not been straight forward or clear and she herself is trying to come to grips with what
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Michael
Jun 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fell is about the Clifford family, and follows two timelines. The first is in the present, with Annette Clifford returning to the home she lived in as a child and deciding what is to be done with it now that her father and stepmother have died. The other timeline is the past. Annette is still here, but now her parents are alive, and the house is full. First with her parents and their lodgers, then with an odd young man named Tim who seems to have some kind of healing gift who gives Annette's ...more
Brett Marie
Jul 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jenn Ashworth about Fell for the online journal Bookanista. I hardly expected the novel to touch me as deeply as it did. The interview became part of my rave review, which can be found here: http://bookanista.com/jenn-ashworth/

The short version: My favorite book this year.
Simon Gosden
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
A beautifully written, slow burning ghost story that never really set my pulses racing. It's a good read and a clever plot but it's hard to identify with any of the characters even though they are well drawn.
Jo
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Where do I start with this review? I loved this book, heart and soul, from beginning to end. It really is a special book that encompasses the afterlife, beautifully weaving together past and present. Fell is a story about the past, about family, love and the savagely devastating effects of cancer upon the individual and those who love them. It really is a breathtaking read.

The novel is told from the viewpoint of two ghosts, Netty and Jack. They used to own The Sycamores, and took on lodgers
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Wiz
Sep 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Once in a while you read a novel of such rare power that it speaks to the very core of you; one whose inherent intent to express something simple becomes instead something paradoxically, wonderfully profound. Jenn Ashworth’s fourth novel, Fell, is one such work.

Despite taking its inspiration from the classical myth of Philemon and Baucis, however, it would be misleading to look to the novel for similarly grand gestures or backdrop. Here, the allusion appears to gain most purchase in the
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Tracey Fawcett
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a book club choice, after we’d seen the author speak at Borderline festival, Carlisle.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book. I don’t go much for supernatural, but this really wasn’t what I expected. The story unfolds in a series of recollections and re-experiences, jumping from 1963 to a grown up and deeply unhappy and dissatisfied Annette in the modern day.
As the story unravels our support and sympathy moves from one character to another, and we feel the growing sense
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Emma
May 14, 2017 rated it liked it
I think the first thing I want to say about Fell is that it is beautifully written. I am still haunted by some of the language and the images it created. It is an otherworldly book and the words perfectly match the subject matter. I felt carried along by them from the first page through to the last.

The story was a bit harder for me to fall into if I’m honest, though by a third of the way through I was there and living it along with the characters. The beginning, though, just jumped too much for
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Kai
Nov 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2018
Marple Bookworms Book Club read.

This was a weird one for me. It started off slow, and not all that interesting. I was struggling with the ghosts of the parents and then the back story.

I found Tim to be particularly hard to like, even once I understood his talent and the fact that it was uncontrollable.

With Jack and Netty, I understood their need to find a cure for Netty’s illness and their complete desperation. You can see how consumed they became with it and how by wanting to protect their
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Julie Mcfeely
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jenn Ashworth wasn't an Author I had heard of before until we got talking on the early train to London recently and she told me she had written a novel set in Grange over Sands. As I grew up in nearby Cartmel I thought I would give it a go and I'm pleased I did! Jenn's descriptions of the town took me straight back ..... the "baths" where we spent most of the summer holidays, rain or shine! The way the bay has changed in my lifetime from sands to sea marsh. The prom, Mr Lewis's cafe and ice ...more
Anna-Klara Aronsson
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lästa-2016
Ok . Found this on the crime shelves, which made sense when reading on the cover. A woman inherits the surburbian house she lived in as a child. When she returns the spirits of her dead parents wake up. The watch their daughter and relive their life in the house. The mother is ill (i assume its endometrial cancer, but we dont really know.) the father has his issues and to provide they take lodgers. The summer when the daughter is eight they meet a Young man with special gifts. The parents ...more
bibliodufi
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Set in Morecambe Bay, this is a haunting story of the return of a long-lost daughter to her familial home. It’s a little ramshackle, and being taken over by the enormous sycamores in the garden.
The tale is told through the eyes of Annette’s parents, Jack and Netty, and flits between her present-day struggles with the house and the Morecambe of her 1960’s childhood, when her parents took in lodgers. One lodger, Tim Richardson, appears to have a gift for healing, and he is asked to move in and
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Nadia Henderson
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

The writing in Fell is really beautiful, and the story itself is as complex as the hidden desires permeating through the characters' actions and motivations. While I did feel a slight lull in the middle of the book (before it picked up and became so compelling I read it walking through a crowded train station on the way to work) I do think that the slower pace was necessary. It's left a lump in my throat to say the least.
Sarah Lee
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is another book for my book club. To be honest I didn't really enjoy this book. I found it a little slow moving, with not much happening. I didn't like the characters and i thought that the plot was virtually non existent. I am not sure what else to say about it really. Just not my cup of tea, but I did manage to finish it.
Jill Bowman
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
I enjoyed reading this book very much! I almost couldn’t put it down - but life interfered.
It’s hard to describe. It’s quiet, it’s eerie, it’s narrated by kindly - but drifting - ghosts, it deals quite intimately with cancer and a bit of psychological healing - though not in a way I’ve ever read before.
I’d highly recommend it.
Lisa Farrell
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
A beautifully written novel which deals with love, loss and grief. There's a wonderful sense of place created and the blending of past and present is done with real skill. The descriptions of Netty's decline is heartbreaking and often difficult to read, particularly as she clings on to the hope of 'cures'. A really accomplished novel.
Ron
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed many things about this book: its writing style, its sense of place and the mix of a family saga and ghostly tale. At times it was confusing, however, as the time slips and different characters were not clearly delineated. Perhaps I need to re-read it or read it all in one sitting to gather the threads together in my head. Nevertheless, the merits definitely outweigh the demerits.
Laura
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was hooked from the first page. Simultaneously a very simple and yet epically tragic tale. It managed to spill the guts of a simple life all over the well-trimmed lawn (metaphorically).
Uncanny. Haunting. Nostalgic. Chilling. Warm. Human.

Made a great addition to my collection of tree-centred fiction!
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Jenn Ashworth is an English writer. She was born in 1982 in Preston, Lancashire. She has graduated from Cambridge University and the Manchester Centre for New Writing. In March 2011 she was featured as one of the BBC Culture Show's Best 12 New Novelists. She previously worked as a librarian in a men's prison.

She founded the Preston Writers Network, later renamed as the Central Lancs Writing Hub,
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