Would you like a garden gnome?

Ian Pemberton - Steven Hugh

Having finished the sequel, Ian Pemberton, I felt that these books are less a series and more a collection of character pieces. There is the briefest mention of Barbara and Roy from the first book but besides that this is a standalone piece. Ian Pemberton revolves around a couple who move from Leicester to Spain to start up a garden furniture business. No, I'm not making this up. The entire book is about a couple trying to make it in Spain selling statues, fountains, and garden gnomes. I found the wife, Madeleine, the most annoying character I've encountered in literature in quite some time. She's vapid, self-obsessed, and obnoxious. Hugh has a gift for descriptive prose and characterization. It's obvious that the locations that are described are very familiar to the author. Despite not finding the majority of the characters in this book likable they all felt believable. Downside: Many passages were in Spanish without direct translation. I found this device tedious but I understand why it was used (they are in Spain after all). Also, there is an undercurrent of racism against Muslims in both this book and its predecessor which I feel needs to be mentioned.

Source: http://readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com