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4.24  ·  Rating details ·  72 ratings  ·  38 reviews
From the white doe appearing through the dark wood to the blue-winged butterflies rising in a cloud as a poignant symbol of happier times, the creatures of the Suffolk landscape move through Rosy Thornton’s delicate and magical collection of stories. The enigmatic Mr Napish is feeding a fox rescued from the floods; an owl has been guarding a cache of long-lost letters; a n ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 21st 2016 by Sandstone Press Ltd
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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Katie Lumsden
Aug 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I didn't get that much out of this one. There were two stories I found powerful, but for the most part I felt very distanced from the narratives and not fully engaged. A lot of the stories were very focussed on nature and just not my kind of thing.
Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
I very rarely read and review short stories - I always find collections quite difficult to tackle. I'm just never entirely sure how to approach them. Do you dip in, read them one-by-one, doing other things in between? And when you review them, how do you best do it - story by story, or as a collection? But I so love the writing of Rosy Thornton that when I heard about her new short story collection, Sandlands, published by Sandstone Press on 21st July, I just had to give it a try. And when I fin ...more
Jul 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sandlands is a collection of sixteen short stories, all linked to the village of Blaxhall on the Suffolk coast. Whilst geographically, Suffolk and my home county of Lincolnshire are miles apart, I get the feeling when I read these stories that they are very similar places, with the coastal towns and villages, the flat fenland, the rolling hills, the wonderful wildlife and the abundance of legends and ghost stories.

Blaxhall, and indeed Suffolk are brought to life by the author, her knowledge of t
Dane Cobain
Jun 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.

This was an interesting book to read and review, because it’s a contemporary collection of short stories that reads like a modern classic. The stories here cover all sorts of subjects, from the trivial to the sublime, and they’re all subtly linked together by the landscape.

It’s interesting, because the stories themselves are almost like parables or mini metaphors, and I think it’d take me a couple of re-reads to
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: may-2017
I was drawn to Sandlands by the cover and synopsis that promised ‘delicate and magical’ stories that incorporate wildlife and nature. It has been a long time since I read a collection of short stories, the last being Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected, and I have to say it made a really nice change from novels. I read them in sequence but it was nice to dip in and out of the different stories and reflect on each one in turn.

Each story is perfectly constructed with a mix of first and third pers
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
These stories are complex puzzles with dynamic characters who are developed in a short span by Thornton, but who will leave an indelible impression on the reader. The setting is steeped in myth and historical legends of witches and witch hunters, WWII POWs, pagan religions carried on in the iconography of Christian churches, and folklore. In Sandlands, Thornton has created an absorbing atmosphere that envelops readers like the fog, providing them just enough to discern a path forward but not eno ...more
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fine collection...

This is a collection of loosely linked short stories based in the Suffolk sandlings, an area the author clearly knows and loves well. Although each story stands by itself, locations reappear frequently, and occasionally characters at the centre of one story are referred to peripherally in another, which gives the collection a feeling of wholeness – the individual pieces gradually fitting together to create a complete picture of the landscape and community of this place. Many
Brian Clegg
Aug 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's a bit of generalisation, but I'd say short stories fall into two broad categories - there are mood pieces, which don't necessarily have much of a story, but give the feel of a place or time or person, and there are twist-in-the-tail pieces, where we think we know what's happening, but at some point, often near the end, we find that things are very different from expectation. Many of Rosy Thornton's stories in Sandlands are an interesting hybrid, where a lot is about a sense of place (that p ...more
Ali Bacon
Jul 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Rosy Thornton’s Sandlands is set in an area of Suffolk I barely know but I was soon immersed in these beautifully written stories and swept away by rhythmic but economical prose which seemed to reflect the turn of the seasons and the lie of the land.
The evenness of tone and the recurrence of place names and vistas sometimes made me feel I was in a novel, but there’s plenty of variety as we move from teenage bell-ringer to a WW2 pilot to a Dibleyesque lay-preacher with pagan leanings.
Nearly eve
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sandlands is a gorgeous collection of short stories, rooted in the Suffolk countryside, among its people, villages and wildlife. These stories and the images they evoke will live and linger long in my mind. A white doe, appearing suddenly in the dark woods, blue winged butterflies, a barn owl watching over a decades old Oxo tin of love letters, bell ringers, the spirits which exist within a four-hundred-year old house. Rosy Thornton celebrates the flora and fauna of the county she must dearly lo ...more
Jo Barton
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When it comes to short story reading, I am a bit of a butterfly; I flit and fly from story to story, never in sequential order, choosing stories at random simply because I like the sound of the title. So true to form, I was first drawn, in this collection, to the short story, The Watcher of Souls, as it spoke to me of the heart shaped faces of barn owls, a bird forever shrouded in mystery and all too often the harbinger of doom. I wasn't disappointed, far from it, in fact, I was enthralled by a ...more
Colin Garrow
Jul 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
From ghostly whisperings in a run-down Martello Tower ('Whispers') and the solemn toll of Old Jack's bell in 'Ringing Night', to the unearthing of a strange talisman in 'The Witch Bottle', Rosy Thornton tells ordinary stories tinged with more than a hint of the odd and the unusual. In this magical collection of sixteen tales, she effortlessly weaves the present with the past, creating characters who leap from the page and lay their emotions on us like old friends.

Having spent a few years in Suff
Oct 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book introduces you to to the Sandlands - the landscape of the Suffolk coast. 16 charming - and linked - short stories invite you to Blaxhall and its surrounding area.

With Sandlands, Rosy Thornton has created a charming collection of short stories with a good measure of folklore. It is a very enjoyable and varied read, drawing you in as you learn more about coastal Suffolk and its inhabitants. Rosy Thornton paints a clear picture of the characters and landscape while the story evolves. The
Jun 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sandlands is a beautifully written collection of linked short stories that for me were captivating and satisfying. I’m not normally a big fan of these as so often they either feel rushed or incomplete but here Rosy Thornton has perfectly captured the feel of the Suffolk coastal area with her characters and descriptive locations. I had my favourites and there were just one or two that I skim read but I read all of the others in full; savouring each one. The beauty of short stories is that you can ...more
Tim Love
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
"A writer with extraordinary range" it says on the cover. On the strength of this book I'm not convinced. I could almost believe that each piece began as research into a topic, with characters added later. The characters speak much the same as each other (in "Mackerel", where two voices interleave, it's hard to distinguish them; in "High House" the first-person domestic cleaner uses a few characteristic idioms, but also says "The fields that have re-emerged from the departing flood", etc). There ...more
Artur Nowrot
This book felt like - not like coming home, because I lived in a city in Norfolk, not a village in Suffolk - but like meeting a sibling of your best friend. Reading it, I had an undeniable sense of familiarity that was a perfect antidote to my longing after East Anglia.

The stories themselves also did a lot of things I love and try to do in my own writing: a lot of them were unashamedly love stories and ghost stories, drawing from history and folklore of Suffolk, or dealing with personal and fami
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved reading these short stories - each one seemed a faint echo of the one before even if it was just because the events were unfolding in the same area. All the villages, landscape and people are familiar to me, living on the edge of two Counties, Suffolk is very familiar to me. If you are not one for short stories I would recommend trying Rosy Thornton. Rosy writes in such a way that you don't feel that you are reading a series of short stories rather one long narrative drawn together by pl ...more
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
[Just an FYI, wrong page count on this one. 262, not 320.]

I thought I didn't get on with realistic-fiction short stories - too many endless tales of miserable marriages - but I guess I've been reading the wrong collections. This was lovely. Very much down-to-earth and focused on the nature and landscape and small mysteries of rural England.
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful collection of short stories, each leaving you wanting more. There's a quintessential darkness to some of these, underlying notes of death, war and bereavement, but also of beautiful English summers, wildlife and love.
Shaun Sturman
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nice collection of short stories
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A collection of short stories set in Suffolk, mostly great (I didn't really like "The Interregnum", but that's about it). Some of them dipped more into horror than I expected.
Sam Sattler
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Rosy Thornton’s debut short story collection, Sandlands, is a collection of sixteen stories, each of which is set in Suffolk, an English county bordering the North Sea. The county is a low-lying one with a few hills, extensive wetlands, and a long coastline, and Thornton uses many of its physical features as key elements of her stories. Too, the county is filled with historical significance, and almost all of the sixteen stories link the county’s historic past with its present.

I have long admire
Jul 26, 2016 added it
"At that, the crease smoothed away and she smiled at him. ‘Oh, don’t worry, we’re still appalling know-it-alls. We dig things up, but then we photograph and catalogue, record and document, and as often as not we put things back. It’s not the finds so much as the findings. Not the objects but the stories they tell.’"

Sandlands is a collection of sixteen linked short stories, all taking place in and around the small coastal village of Blaxhall in an area known as the Sandlings in Suffolk, England.
Judith Barrow
Aug 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What can I say about this book! I loved it; devoured it in one sitting.
And the cover! The image of the ethereal barn owl; the staring, seemingly unblinking, eye is, for me, a metaphor for the author’s depth of study, of research and knowledge of her subject.
Sandlands encompasses sixteen short stories that are based around the Sussex landscape, traditions, the different seasons,human nature and nature itself
Rosy Thornton has an empathetic writing style. Her portrayal of all the diverse characters
Laura Wilkinson
Jul 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Rosy Thornton is a highly regarded and experienced novelist. With her latest offering from Sandstone Press, Sandlands, she showcases her mastery of the short form. For Sandlands is an astonishing collection of short stories exploring our intimate connection with our past and the landscape, its wildlife and seasons.
The blurb describes these sixteen tales as delicate and magical, and while I wholeheartedly agree, I’d add that they are poignant, unsettling and often extremely funny. Set in and aro
Terry Tyler
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed for Whispering Stories Book Blog

This book of short stories based on the history and folklore in and around the village of Blaxhall on the Suffolk Coast was an absolute treat to read. I lived in coastal Norfolk for some years and adore that part of the country, and had vague recollections of reading other glowing reviews of this book, hence my choice.

Ms Thornton's writing is beautiful. Evocative, intelligent, mournful, intricately researched and humorous at times, the sort of prose that
Linda Hill
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I just loved this collection of short stories. Reading Sandlands was like dipping into an exotic box of chocolates and realising each one is different but equally satisfying with a unifying theme.

I wasn’t expecting the wonderful poetic quality of the writing. It put me in mind of Seamus Heaney at his very best. There’s a preternatural undercurrent that weaves its spell throughout so that I found the writing mesmerising. I felt immersed in the experience of reading so that it became an almos
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Sandlands" is a collection of short stories by Rosy Thornton, an author who I have enjoyed greatly in the past. Short stories are not always my favorite but I thought that perhaps I would be in good hands with her and I definitely was! The stories in this book are interconnected with each other but each one has a different feel. They definitely pulled me in!

All of the stories take place on the English Coast in Suffolk, a place that I have never visited before. The setting is so detailed that it
Rachella Tirazona
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Miss Rosy sent me a copy of her Sandlands book and here's my review.

This book is worth 4/5 stars.
This book is a collection of short stories that are set in Suffolk. Each short story features nature as its finest.

I love this book! There are some parts that may confuse me at first but as I keep reading, I get along. Some short stories have supernatural elements and some creeped the Gods out of me. I swear, they are creepy.

I love Miss Thornton's style of writing. Her good use of words and the way
J.A. Corrigan
Jun 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky to receive an advance copy of this collection of short stories from the author, with a view to giving an unbiased review.
At one time I read a lot of short story collections, but haven't done as much recently and so it was a treat to read this wonderful collection.
With the Suffolk countryside and its inhabitants running through every gorgeous tale Rosy Thornton has managed to produce a beautiful, sublime and strong range of short stories, filled with well-drawn and utterly believable
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My first novel, 'More Than Love Letters' was published in paperback 2007, my second, 'Hearts and Minds', came out in 2008, my third, 'Crossed Wires', in 2009, and my fourth, entitled 'The Tapestry of Love', was published in paperback in October 2010 (all published by Headline Review). My fifth novel, 'Ninepins', was published by Sandstone Press in 2012, and won the East Anglian Book Awards prize f ...more

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