A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern

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A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern

Buy A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A magical story about the place where all the missing people and things go - and about one woman who is in search of the missing. Recommended as a good holiday read.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 496 Date: June 2007
Publisher: Harper
ISBN: 978-0007198917

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It was unfortunate for Sandy Shorrt that she had black hair and was over six feet tall. People could never resist the temptation to comment. The other misfortune was having her classmate and neighbour, Jenny-May Butler, disappear without trace when she was ten years old. It wasn't that Sandy was friendly with Jenny-May - in fact she felt guilty because she'd disliked the girl and wished that she would disappear. This led to a life-long need to find missing things, which frequently went beyond compulsion and became obsession. It wasn't just the odd sock that gets lost in the washing machine, or a toothbrush. Sandy soon moved on to looking for missing people, giving those whose loved ones had gone missing a last glimmer of hope.

Jack Ruttle is one of those people. His youngest brother, Donal, went missing a year ago and he turns to Sandy Shorrt in the hope that she will be able to find answers where others have failed. They talk on the phone over a few nights and then arrange to meet, but Sandy never turns up and Jack Ruttle is the only one who seems worried by this. All Sandy's friends and family tell him that it's not unusual for her to go missing and she always turns up. But Jack's right as Sandy has gone to the place where the missing go - all those things which have been lost and all the people who just disappeared. She's in A Place Called Here.

Now, I don't like fantasy in any shape or form and this is normally the point where I hurl the book at the wall in disgust. But I didn't. I kept reading. I stopped muttering 'fantasy' and started thinking 'magical'. I almost got to 'heart-warming' but fortunately stopped short of that. Sandy Shorrt is a compelling heroine. She's not a conventional beauty but a real personality. It's easy to see how she came to be as she was, having been in the centre of the hunt for a missing child, easy too to see how her parents humoured her, thinking that the compulsive searching would pass, only to see it get worse and worse.

I warmed to Jack Ruttle too. He hadn't been the best of brothers to Donal - they were too far apart in age to be close - but he was determined to find out what happened to him. He applies that same determination to Sandy's disappearance too. The other characters are a little shadowy but Sandy and Jack fill the spotlight well.

Here, that mysterious place where all the missing people and things go, was a little too perfect for my liking, but it worked well within the plot, as people and things appear, but nothing ever goes missing except in exceptional circumstances. The plot is perhaps a little slow to start but builds into a satisfying and believable climax, given the rather 'magical' storyline. If you're looking for a good holiday read then this could be spot on.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending this book to The Bookbag.

If you're interested in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder then you really ought to read Elaine Bass' A Secret Madness. For another story about disappearance you might enjoy Eliza Graham's Playing With The Moon a story about a black GI who disappeared in Dorset during the war and whose body is found sixty years later. You might also enjoy The Ottoman Motel by Christopher Currie.

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Buy A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern at Amazon.com.


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Claire Holtey said:

I really liked this book, though I know of quite a few who could not finish it. I liked the way that Sandy Short thought that the worse thing to happen was to disappear and no-one come looking for you - that would be really sad that no-one cares enough about you. I also liked the idea that not only lost objects appeared in Here but lost memories, because you do lose your memories they just slip away and you just can't find them again in your memory.

Victoria Bailey said:

I tried to read Cecilia Ahern's much praised novel PS I Love You, and must admit I gave up part way through because I felt no sympathy for the heroine. However having bought A Place Called Here at a bargain price, I decided to give it a go when I had nothing else to read! That first night I read over half the book, and was captivated from the first chapter.

I am a hard to please reader, with very high standards, but this book astounded me. It was perfectly paced, and I loved the ideas and the charaters immensely. The story is a perfect mix of possible fantasy blended with reality very similar in style to the novels of Elizabeth Goodge. All in all, a thoruoghly reccommended read. I was gutted when I finished the book, I would have loved it to go on for ever.