The Observations

The Observations

Book - 2006
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'Vastly original. Bessy is surely one of the most striking characters in recent fiction: cynical, disruptive, tender and very, very funny.' Independent on Sunday

Shortlisted for the Orange Prize

Scotland, 1863. In an attempt to escape her past, Bessy Buckley takes a job working as a maid in a big country house. But when Arabella, her beautiful mistress, asks her to undertake a series of bizarre tasks, Bessy begins to realise that she hasn't quite landed on her feet. In one of the most acclaimed debuts of recent years, Jane Harris has created a heroine who will make you laugh and cry as she narrates this unforgettable story about secrets and suspicions and the redemptive power of love and friendship.

Publisher: London : Faber and Faber, c2006
ISBN: 9780571223350
Branch Call Number: F HAR NVD


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Jan 24, 2015

Parts of this read were funny, but maybe not to the American ear. I found much of it tedious, a bit redundant & in the end really lost all interest.

Apr 24, 2013

This novel was fun to read. Set in mid-Victorian Scotland, it is the tale of an Irish maid, told with humour and without condensation. It is a mystery which holds the reader's interest. As Bessy tells the story, her writing improves, but she never discovers the apostrophe! It has some similarities to the work of Sarah Waters, but Harris is not there yet.

placebo Apr 24, 2011

Told by a young woman with a very amusing way of relating life. Loved the writting style and the plot was good too.

Jan 10, 2008

It is always a pleasure to find a new author - and to find one with such promise is truly a great find! Jane Harris is more than clever as she sets about telling the tale of Bessy Buckle (was there ever such a comical name in literature!), a young woman on the road to success after trying the road to ruin. Set in the mid 1800''s, Bessy must find a new situation and comes across one quite by accident. She is taken in to be a housemaid to a very strange household and a very odd mistress. Soon she finds herself entangled in a web of lies and deceit. What Bessy then sets into motion may lead to a resolution or to disaster. The author''s astute use of slang brings a comical side to Bessy and at the same time subtly shows her true growth as a character as the book progresses. I would consider this a true hidden gem of a book!

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