Acquired via BookCrossing 31 Oct 2007 – Autumn NSS

I enjoyed this great wodge of a novel, as its size gave me lots of Clayton’s lovely acerbic writing, peculiar characters, and detail about the inevitable reorganisation of a decaying country house. However, I thought the Irish history and politics bits, while presumably included with a laudable aim of making sure it wasn’t a story of an Irish house in isolation, and providing background info, felt a bit clumsy and bolted-on and could have been less prominent. Some of the plot was a bit silly too, and explanations for characters’ odd behaviour was included where it probably wasn’t needed. But on the whole a jolly read, with a galloping plot when it got going. Nice to see Harriet Vyne from a previous novel cropping up, too!