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The Very Thought of You

3.20  ·  Rating details ·  2,699 ratings  ·  442 reviews
Torn from her mother to escape the impending Blitz during the summer of 1939, 8-year-old Anna Sands is relocated with other children to a large Yorkshire estate where she is drawn into the unraveling relationship of an enigmatic couple.
Paperback, 310 pages
Published July 5th 2011 by Washington Square Press (first published January 1st 2009)
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Average rating 3.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,699 ratings  ·  442 reviews

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Mar 21, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hated this book.
Ok, let me start by saying that I'm really sorry about what I'm about to say. I hate having to give a negative review, but I just really did not enjoy this book at all. =/
It just wasn't at all what I expected. I thought the story was about the little girl Anna, but really she was only a small part. The whole book is about cheating on spouses. Literally every couple in this book is involved in infidelity. If they're not cheating, they're planning to cheat. It just drove me
Nov 01, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I generally enjoy novels set during the Second World War. It's a period when stakes were high and when British society was struggling to reshape itself in the face of imminent catastrophe. So when I saw that this story took place in a stately home converted into a school for evacuees, run by a couple whose marriage was under terrible strain after he had become crippled by polio, I thought it sounded as if it might be a good read.

Unfortunately, this wasn't for me. The narrative seemed to have
Alison Wassell
Jun 25, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Bearing in mind all the positive reviews this book has received, I must be missing something, because it is, by some distance, the worst book I have read in a long time. Until I got to the first sex scenes, I wondered if it was actually a (not very well written)children's book, so patronising was the author's tone. Most of the main characters were unsympathetic. Even the 'heroine' spent the latter part of the book wallowing in self-pity. I found the frequent switching to different viewpoints ...more
Aug 24, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
All credit to Rosie Alison for getting her first book published, by whatever means. Most of us dream of being a 'writer' and never get past a first page of idle jottings. It requires grit and determination to go all the way.

However, just a few pages into this book I was reminded of the old adage, 'Everyone has a book in them and that is where it is best left'. Words alone can't describe quite how bad this book is. I don't want you to put yourself through reading it, so words will have to do.

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bev Taylor
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is based around life in ashton park from 1939 to the present day

it is the start of the war and anna is evacuated from london. hoping to go to the sea she finds herself in ashton park in yorkshire

this is owned by elizabeth and thomas ashton who r childless and the latter in a wheelchair after polio. they open their home to over 30 children which brings them great joy

but their marriage is not happy and elizabeth seeks out other men, usually one night flings, to get pregnant but it is not
Jan 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010
I have just finished this book and I have to say that even though it has left me feeling a little sad, it was a very good book.

Apart from 2 of them, I didnt find any of the characters particularly likeable but I did find myself wanting a happier ending for some of them.

The main character of the little girl Anna was very sweet, I found myself sympathising with her and was very sad that once the war was over how things didnt work out for her due to her childhood and how it affected her entire
A travesty that this tosh was nominated for the Orange prize.

It is the muddled but predictable story Anna Sands, evacuated from London to Ashton Park (a stately home adapted as home and school for 86 evacuees). While there, she becomes aware of illicit adult relationships and her experiences leave their mark into adulthood. It also tells the stories of childless Thomas and Elizabeth Ashton, Thomas' siblings, Anna's parents, and, for no particular reason other than to inject a bit of "real" WW2
Mar 17, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was very interested in the premise of this book but found it to be a total disappointment. The romantic/sexual adventures of some of the main characters were forced, absurd, and inexplicable, but were however, less melodramatic than the untimely deaths. When the former child evacuee discovers her long repressed love (30 years worth) for her disabled, much older former teacher, and asks if he loved her too (back when she was 10) it was definitely a "wtf?" kinda moment.
MaryannC. Book Freak
I myself, thought this was a beautifully written, haunting, achingly sad book. I wont blather on about the details, except that it reminds me of Kate Morton's novels. Happy that it was shortlisted for The Orange Prize.
Aug 02, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Ack! What a string of bad books in a row. This book loses a somewhat original and daring spark of a plot in heavy handed writing that muses on love as a thing at great length, telling about love and being in love, without showing why or how the characters feel that way. The prose is truly heavy and plodding, and the whole book could have been a lovely 70 page novella but instead dawdles on and on.

There are also wierd extraneous walk-on characters (an ambassador and his wife) who seem to exist
Jun 28, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There is a great story lurking in this novel somewhere--with the war, separation, marriages, an old estate house...but the writing in this novel makes me feel like a year nine student is trying to be profound.

So many chapters end on questions that the reader should ask naturally. Not the author. Why?

Why was this shortlisted for the Orange Prize?
Virginia Campbell
Prepare to have your eyes opened, your heart broken, and your view of the amazing endurance of the human spirit revised and revived. You will experience all of these things when you read Rosie Alison's "The Very Thought of You". A shattering, yet spirit-sustaining, glimpse into loss and survivorship, this is a story which will resonate with many. Few will be unaffected. In the summer of 1939, with the impending threats of WWII devastation looming large, thousands of children were evacuated from ...more
Jul 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story revolves around the evacuation of children from London to the relative safety of the countryside at the onset of World War II. We follow Anna Sands, an eight year-old, as she leaves her mother, Roberta, to go they know not where. As luck would have it Anna, along with more than eighty other evacuees, is swooped up by the elegant Elizabeth Ashton and bused to her husband's ancestral home, Ashton House.

The blurb on the press release informed me that "nyone who loved L. P. Hartley's The
Sep 11, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I hated this! The narrative is so expository, it is all tell don't show. It creates an immense distance between the reader and the characters, and also between the characters. I found it impossible to believe that any of these characters fell in love with each other and that they were heartbroken when people died. When I came to the last section, I realized that the first 260 page we all a set up to explore some interesting themes about what makes us the people we are, but what an extended set ...more
Brianna J
Nov 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

In the mid 1900’s Hitler and his Nazi army were in power in most of Europe. The Very Thought of You, written in 2009 by Rosie Alison, is an amazing and attention grabbing book based during this time zone. Anna Sands and hundreds of other children have to be evacuated from their homes because Hitler is threatening his attack on Poland. Leaving their mothers and fathers the children board a train to an unknown place. The train let children off at different spots along the journey to
Jul 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: british, england
The Very Thought of You by Rosie Alison is set in England during the Second World War. Anna Sands, a young girl living in London, is evacuated from the city along with other children and moved to the countryside where it is hoped the children will be safe from the bombings taking place in the city. Anna is relocated to the Ashton Estate in the Yorkshire countryside; Elizabeth and Thomas Ashton, a childless couple, have opened their estate to the evacuees where they educate and care for the ...more
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
The word that comes to mind is dispassionate. If the author doesn’t seem to care about the characters, why should the reader.
Carla Ford
Sep 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel is just full of broken hearts, people for whom life has taken sad twists and turns, and left them sad, lonely, and searching for love and fulfilment. Opening in London in 1939, Anna and her mother Roberta are on a shopping trip, but not a happy one. This shopping trip is to purchase the clothes that Anna will be taking with her as she is evacuated from London. Thousands of children are being evacuated as the threat of bombing in London becomes more real. As Roberta watches the bus ...more
It's 1939 and Hitler is preparing to invade Poland. Thousands of children are evacuated from London to escape the Blitz.

Eight year old Anna is relocated to Ashton Park where she meets Thomas and Elizabeth and bares witness to their unravelling marriage.

I was massively disappointed with this book. Rosie Alison has created flat characters that do not move me in any way. I do not believe in their relationships or their feelings and I found them to be rather reckless and ridiculous.

I find it hard
Aug 04, 2011 rated it liked it
I am being generous with a 3 star rating, it was not as bad as some of the reviews would have you think….this story started out being about a child who was being evacuated from London during WWII & going to live in the country with other children. I enjoyed that part of the story & hearing about the people who owned the home & why they opened it up to children….but there was so much oddness, cheating, drunkenness, & none of it rang true to me. The story kept me interested but the ...more
Aug 09, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Given that this was nominated for lots of literary prizes, including the Orange, I was expecting a great novel. What I got instead was a meandering plot, full of clumsy and obvious plot devices, and what on earth was the last section all about?! The idea behind the plot had potential, but it seemed like Alison wasn't really sure what to do with it and then ran out of enthusiasm. Disappointing and goodness only knows who nominated this for a prize!
Jul 26, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was a terrible book. Amateurish writing, weak plot and borderline creepy with the main character an eight year old girl with an unnatural attachment to her teacher thirty years her senior. The plot meanders between characters and changes points of view at random, half the time you don't really knows who's it even is. All in all, very disappointing. Good thing it was a free book.
Jul 07, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 04, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Would have been so much better if the author had not descended into the realm of the Romance novel. I loved it right up until the melodramatic last third of the book. I have no idea how this book made it to the Orange Prize shortlist for 2010.
Danielle Rossman
Oct 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Very Thought of You took my breath away as Rosie Allison tells this haunting tale of coming of age from a child's perspective during pre WWII England and beyond. It is 1939 and Hitler is storming down on Poland and England feels the march of German boots coming. Thus begins a mass evacuation of the children of London to safer locations along the English countryside. Initially, we meet Anna and her mother Roberta who are on a lovely shopping trip that culminates in a delightful luncheon. But ...more
Julie Smith (Knitting and Sundries)
This review first appeared on my blog:

What a gorgeously written, poignant novel! I could picture the settings and feel the heartaches contained in is pages.

Quick summary: Anna Sands is eight years old when in 1939, part of the wave of children evacuated from London to the countryside to keep them safe during the war. This book chronicles her life from that time until the year 2006, when she is 75. The interwoven tales of Thomas and Elizabeth Ashton, Ruth
Mattie Haag
Oct 28, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is by a wide margin the worst book I have ever read.
As the World War II period is one of my favorites, I picked this book up expecting to find an intriguing read about a young girl overcoming the odds in the midst of a terrible conflict, told from a fresh point of view. What I found, however, was a messy and ridiculous book that I found hard to finish.
When London becomes unsafe due to the threat of German bombs, Anna Sands leaves for the English countryside for the Ashton estate, a
Jill Furedy
Having read all of Kate Morton's books this year, I inevitably compared this "gothic-light" tale to hers, and it suffered for the comparison. I won this on the Goodreads giveaway page, and was excited for it to arrive, having read the glowing reviews and notice about the Orange Prize list. And while there were scenes that were beautifully written, it didn't come together for me. The Norton's had such exciting, dynamic lives, but they only popped up sporadically, while I was hearing every last ...more
An excellent book about romantic and physical love, about the strange paths of human desires - most of the main characters get what they wish, only... - and about a precocious child that observes the above due to the historical circumstances, but all interspersed with vignettes from related characters that actually add a lot to the story; and of course a story of the British "home front" from 1939 on, but also vignettes from the brutality of the previous war that scarred a generation and made ...more
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Rosie Alison grew up in Yorkshire, and read English at Keble College, Oxford. She spent ten years directing television documentaries before becoming a film producer at Heyday Films. She is married with two daughters and lives in London. Her debut novel THE VERY THOUGHT OF YOU (2009), which made it onto the Amazon Rising Stars shortlist and was longlisted for the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year and ...more
“I want to thank you for the profound joy I've had in the in the thought of you.” 38 likes
“Of all the many people we meet in a lifetime,it is strange that so many of us find ourselves in thrall to one
particular person. Once that face is seen,an involuntary heartache sets in for which there is no cure. All the
wonder of this world finds shape in that one person and thereafter there is no reprieve, because this kind of love
does not end,or not until death.”
More quotes…