Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Book review - Hens Dancing by Raffaella Barker

Review of 'Hens Dancing' by Raffaella Barker

 Venetia Summers appears to lead a fairy-tale rural existence with her husband and two sons in her tumbledown Norfolk cottage. But when her husband leaves her for his masseuse, not even the arrival of a splendid baby daughter can make up for the sense of loss she feels for her newly lopsided family. Hens Dancing follows Venetia's diaries over the course of a year. It tells of domestic battles - with an unruly garden, errant cockerels, Orcs and War Hammers and a traumatic bathroom conversion. But there are also consolations: a passion for fun fur, the severe beauty of the Norfolk landscape, the regal serenity of The Beauty (Venetia's baby daughter) and perhaps, amongst it all, the promise of new love.

It has been a while since I last read this book, but I love reading books again, they become like old friends. Something familiar to settle down to and enjoy. This book has become so tattered with my reading time and time again that I thought it deserved a review!

My review

I just love this enchanting book. The jumbled colourful lifestyle in the countryside makes me smile every time. This book also inspired my love of chickens as the protagonist has three fluffy ones and now I also do too! It did annoy me that the baby is called 'The Beauty' throughout, as I really wanted to know her name, but I can let that go! (If the author would like to drop me a line and enlighten me I'd be very grateful!).

I love everything about this book, the alcohol loving mother, country picnics, and the wild family. Perfect book for garden and countryside lovers. A witty book I will turn to time and time again when I need a good escape into someone else's shambolic lifestyle!

More about the author:

Raffaella Barker was born in London in 1964 and moved to Norfolk when she was three. She spent her childhood in Norfolk sulking and refusing to get dressed, going everywhere in her nightie.

Her house was always full of her parent's friends and family and from the age of six she was constantly running away from home with her siblings in a bid for attention. It was always her idea: "We usually took the dog, left the baby, but then invariably we ran back again a few hours later because in the melee at home no one had even noticed we were gone."

The Norfolk landscape which provided her childhood self with a playground of infinite possibility would later feature as the backdrop and inspiration for her novels when she returned to Norfolk as an adult in 1992: "The adventures we had were all played out in the fields and woodland behind our house, and were the foundation of so much of what I love still today, in terms of storytelling, nature and the worlds that lie within the imagination."

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