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The Golden Rule Reviews

The Golden Rule  by Amanda Craig

The Golden Rule

Amanda Craig

4.25 out of 5

6 reviews

Publisher: Little, Brown
Publication date: 11 Jun 2020
ISBN: 9781408711521

When Hannah is invited into the First-Class carriage of the London to Penzance train by Jinni, she walks into a spider's web. Now a poor young single mother, Hannah once escaped Cornwall to go to university. But once she married Jake and had his child, her dreams were crushed into bitter disillusion.

  • The BooksellerEditor's Choice
5 stars out of 5
Alice O'Keeffe
6 Mar 2020

"had me turning the pages until the small hours"

Drawing on Patricia Highsmith's Strangers on a Train and the fairytale Beauty and the Beast, this is a terrific state-of-the-nation novel about the haves and have nots. Hannah is struggling; left by her financially abusive husband for another woman and barely making ends meet. On a train to Cornwall she meets wealthy Jinni, whose husband has also treated her badly-and over the course of their journey the two women agree to murder each other's husbands. What follows had me turning the pages until the small hours, quite unable to put it down.

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
Hephzibah Anderson
29 Jun 2020

"comfort and wit, compassion and philosophical stimulation"

With this year’s getaways so uncertain, summer reading feels less of an indulgence than a vital source of escape. Amanda Craig’s new novel, The Golden Rule, is an ideal contender for such times, offering comfort and wit, compassion and philosophical stimulation, all played out against the backdrop of Cornwall’s subtropical splendour.

4 stars out of 5
Mika Ross-Southall
28 Jun 2020

"a highly enjoyable story about female resilience and finding fulfilment on your own terms"

The Golden Rule is part of Craig’s interconnected series of novels examining the stark divide between rich and poor, countryside and city in contemporary Britain. Minor characters in her previous books become major characters in the next and vice versa. (Hannah first appeared fleetingly as a child in A Private Place, 1991.) These inspired overlaps create the feeling that everyone is knowingly or unknowingly linked. Even more reason, then, to “do as you would be done by”. That’s the “golden rule” worth holding on to, Hannah realises.

3 stars out of 5
27 Jun 2020

"What could be more fun than a book like this?"

Well. The set-up is deeply implausible, though as the book bubbles on and boils over there are twists and reversals that retrospectively help it all make more sense. At times the balance between comedy, social observation and plot feels uneven, but if you think of it as a big Dickensian mixing bowl of literary ingredients, it makes sense. All Craig’s novels are about how people connect with one another, which might sound blindingly obvious, but most writers limit the canvas of connections to a handful of people. Craig’s big cast of characters — extended family, old schoolfriends, new enemies — gives the book a rolling flow which manages to keep a handle on its themes of wealth, class and inequity while directing the story of Hannah and Jinni’s murder plot ever onward.

  • The GuardianBook of the Day
5 stars out of 5
Elizabeth Lowry
17 Jun 2020

" the ambitious scope of The Golden Rule is buttressed by an old-fashioned faith in the educative function of literature itself"

It is a lot for one book to take on, but the ambitious scope of The Golden Rule is buttressed by an old-fashioned faith in the educative function of literature itself. The story is packed with allusions to great novels by women, which serve as its moral touchstones. Like Lizzie Bennet, Hannah must overcome her adverse first impressions of Stan, and her reflex class assumptions, before they can have an authentic relationship. It’s Beauty and the Beast revamped, but then, that was Austen’s template in Pride and Prejudice too, and like Austen, Craig has a sharp eye for the inequalities and idiosyncrasies of British society... As its title suggests, The Golden Rule has that rare thing: an ethical framework that’s not just implied, but explicit, and is neatly summed up as “Do as you would be done by”. It may be implausible and fantastical, but it makes you want to live a better life.

  • The BooksellerEditor's Choice
4 stars out of 5
Alice O'Keeffe
6 Mar 2020

"'What follows had me turning the pages until the small hours'"

Drawing on Patricia Highsmith's Strangers on a Train and the fairytale Beauty and the Beast, this is a terrific state-of-the-nation novel about the haves and have nots. Hannah is struggling; left by her financially abusive husband for another woman and barely making ends meet. On a train to Cornwall she meets wealthy Jinni, whose husband has also treated her badly-and over the course of their journey the two women agree to murder each other's husbands. What follows had me turning the pages until the small hours, quite unable to put it down.