Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Shire Hell by Rachel Johnson

Shire Hell

by Rachel Johnson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
282389,858 (2.1)2



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 2 mentions

Showing 2 of 2
In her previous book Rachel Johnson offered a very entertaining account of life in one of the communal garden squares of Notting Hill, where conspicuous expenditure had become virtually a competitive sport, and keeping up with the neighbours dominated every thought. The novel focused on Mimi Fleming and Clare Sturgis, next door neighbours and close friends, ad their different experiences of life in the square.

In 'Shire Hell' Mimi and her family have moved to West Dorset, and are struggling to adapt to a very different , and only slightly less competitive lifestyle. We are given alternating narratives from Mimi and her new friend, Rose, who had also moved down to Dorset a few years earlier. Rose is married to Pierre, an indolent and slovenly husband, who purports to be an artist but hasn't sold any work for years. Perpetually peeved that she has to d support the family almost single-handed, Rose diverts herself with a series of flings with an assortment of different men, and has cultivated a reputation in the village as a 'fallen woman'.

The alternating narrative format works well. Mimi's and Rose's different perspectives lend a verisimilitude to the episodes they recount, and Johnson's sharp observation is at work throughout. While there is very little action, Johnson details a series of social set pieces, including a formal evening dinner, a fortieth birthday lunch, a village fete and a visit to a local eco-village inhabited by environmentalists, before the novel ends with a wedding that cuts across the classes. Each of these events is described with meticulous detail, and is marked by a startling revelation - some very humorous, others quite tragic.

While this lacked the originality of 'Notting Hell' it was entertaining, strewn with pen pictures that were as delicious as they were vicious. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Jan 19, 2016 |
A potboiler from the Johnson household, busy and possibly interesting if you already live in the charmed circle of middle class townies who have left Notting Hill for Somerset, er, I mean Devon.

I did think Rachel Johnson wrote at least one very touching passage and she made me laugh at least three times, so that earns her, ooh, 2 stars at least. ( )
  J.Bryan | Sep 29, 2012 |
Showing 2 of 2
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

Mimi, Ralph and their three children have moved to the Dorset countryside, a place without a world class deli in spitting distance, a place to get away from the awful competitiveness of London life, where no one cares what you wear, there are no politics to speak of, and you can get away from exhaust fumes. Right? Totally wrong!… (more)

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
12 avail.
3 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (2.1)
0.5 1
1 2
2 3
2.5 1
3 2
4 1

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,157,556 books! | Top bar: Always visible