Ferney by James Long

By accident, Mike and Gally Martin stumble across a dilapidated house in the village of Penselwood, Somerset.  Gally is immediately drawn to the property, and they buy it with the intention of refurbishing it and living there.  However, they soon encounter an elderly man named Ferney, who knows all about the history of the house – and seemingly all about Gally.

There is an instant connection between Gally and Ferney, which he understands, but she struggles to do so.  As she learns more about Ferney and about herself, she discovers that theirs is a story which transcends time, and she finds herself torn between her life with Mike and her attachment to Ferney.


I should mention that since finishing the book, I have read several reviews of it – most of them are glowing and extremely complimentary.  However, I would hesitate to go that far.  There was plenty to enjoy in the book – the writing itself was a joy to read, but the content sometimes let it down.

The main issue I had was that I could not feel any empathy or sympathy towards Gally or Ferney for their predicament.  In any kind of love story it seems quite important to at least like the characters.  However, I felt that Ferney was selfish and thoughtless, and Gally was exasperating.

There are some good points – there are a number of historical events vividly depicted in the book, and the village of Penselwood itself is made extremely easy to picture for someone who has never been there.

Overall, the idea was an interesting one.  However, the story was a little slow moving for me – if the book had been about 100 pages shorter, it would have been more enjoyable.

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