chestnut book blog

Read. Recommend. Revel.

Ferney by James Long


I recently won a copy of James Long’s Ferney, which you may have seen in one of my earlier posts. I settled down to read this on Friday and had a wonderful time! Thank you again to Cornflower Books for introducing me to this lovely story.

Ferney reminded me of The Time Traveller’s Wife which I read a few years ago, but I much preferred Ferney because suspending my disbelief was somehow so much easier. In reality, Ferney is actually very different to The Time Traveller’s Wife, but both use the concept of time-slippage. The modern story part of Ferney is wonderful in itself, but coupled with the historical threads woven in, this novel becomes very special indeed. It seems strange to say that a novel about what is essentially reincarnation is believable, but it really did feel like that; I cared about the characters and was drawn into their world.

One of my favourite things about this novel was the solid sense of place, despite the different eras the characters experience it in. The little cottage buried in the Somerset countryside was beautifully drawn and I immediately understood the characters’ love for its permanence, safety and happiness. I ached for the difficult choices Ferney and Gally have to make and was also happy that there was always hope for the future, whatever they went through together (this will make more sense if you have read the book – sorry for being a little cryptic – I don’t want to give too much away!). This book also confirmed my own thoughts when reading about the past, that events, the environment and technology can all change, but ordinary people remain essentially the same throughout the ages. I find this quite comforting for some reason!

Ferney now has a sequel and I know it will be on my Christmas list as I can’t wait to find out what happens to these lovely characters next.

Ferney has arrived

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My copy of Ferney arrived in the post this morning! Thank you to Quercus and Cornflower Books! I will be settling down to read this once I have finished Gormenghast and Richard III (so it might be a week or two before you see a post on it!) but I can’t wait!

Ferney by James Long

Ferney by James Long


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I am so excited! I have just won something for the first time ever – a copy of James Long’s Ferney, thanks to the lovely Cornflower Books. I’ve heard many wonderful things about this story, but have never read it and so I can’t wait for the ‘thwack’ of it on my mat! I will let you know my thoughts on it in due course, but in the meantime, do have a look at Karen’s summary on it here.

To complete the wonderful start to my week, tomorrow night I am going to be in Cambridge for Sebastian Faulks’ talk about his new book, A Possible Life, organised by Cambridge Wordfest. I will be trotting along with my notebook and camera and so will be able to share my experience with you shortly.