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All Change cover art

All Change

By: Elizabeth Jane Howard
Narrated by: Penelope Wilton
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Summary

As featured on BBC Radio 4 Open Book

As the old world begins to fade from view and a new dawn emerges, All Change marks the fifth and final volume in Elizabeth Jane Howard's bestselling The Cazalet Chronicles.

It is the 1950s and as the Duchy, the Cazalets’ beloved matriarch, dies, she takes with her the last remnants of a disappearing world – houses with servants, class, and tradition – in which the Cazalets have thrived.

Louise, now divorced, becomes entangled in a painful affair, while Polly and Clary must balance marriage and motherhood with their own ideas and ambitions. Hugh and Edward, now in their sixties, are feeling ill-equipped for this modern world, while Villy, long abandoned by her husband, must at last learn to live independently. But it is Rachel, who has always lived for others, who will face her greatest challenges yet.

As the Cazalets descend on Home Place for Christmas, only one thing is certain: nothing will ever be the same again.

This is the heartbreaking and heartwarming final instalment of Elizabeth Jane Howard's bestselling series.

©2013 Elizabeth Jane Howard (P)2013 Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Critic reviews

"Elizabeth Jane Howard is one of those novelists who shows, through her work, what the novel is for... She helps us to do the necessary thing - open our eyes and our hearts" (Hilary Mantel)

“Reassuring without becoming dim-witted or simplistic, largely because Howard is such an astute observer of human behaviour. She conveys volumes with tiny, brilliant touches ... I found myself at one in the morning, weeping over a death-bed scene, unable to put the book down. This is Howard’s true magic: her humanity transcends the individual. All Change really is the gold standard of comfort reads” (Lucy Atkins, Sunday Times - plus featured in their 'Must Reads' section)

“Beautifully written and utterly engrossing” (Fanny Blake, Woman & Home)

What listeners say about All Change

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Mmmmm

The author's style of writing, especially the children's voices, is charmingly amusing, and moving at the same time. A delight.

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Superb close to The Cazalet Chronicles

I am bereft at having to say goodbye. Incomparable storytelling. Wish there was another instalment.

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Epic

It's probably twice as long as it should be, but it is an epic tale about largely vacuous people who don't deserve the easy lives that fate dealt them. However, it's like a warm blanket on a frosty morning... V agreeable

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very relaxing

A beautifully written and narrated end to the story of the Cazalets a great escape

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Lovely Book

I have just finished the final and fifth book in the Cazalets series.
I am upset that I have finished these fantastic books (in my opinion).
I have really enjoyed the stories of a more simpler time but no doubt harder time particularly for the working class.
I thoroughly enjoyed all the book although being honest this was my least favourite. It didn't seem as good as the other books and although the narrator was excellent I really didn't enjoy having to listen to a 'changed' author. I particularly enjoyed the first narrator and had got used to her and all of her voices for the various characters.
I didn't enjoy in this book how characters seemed to change. For example Edward went from being a confident funny big character into a smaller man, although I suppose you could argue that he would change after want he went through, I won't spoil it for others by saying anymore. This book felt more disjointed than the others. I wish the ending hadn't left me wondering what happened to most of them.
However having said that I did still enjoy the book, and did not want the series to end. I really felt that I knew all of the characters. I have recommended this book to many people as I think it's is a timeless classic. I will leave it a year and listen to it again. I think this series is a little gem and I hardly ever give five stars so that says it all. Enjoy.

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A joy

Have thoroughly enjoyed all of these books - such detail - I felt I was part of it -
I was actually surprised to see that they were written in the 90’s as I felt it really captured the era .
Finishing “ All Change” brought tears to my eyes - I would love another book- but I feel perhaps Elizabeth Jane Howard has finished the series at exactly the right time
If you like a “saga” as I do you will love this
I’m bereft without these characters in my life

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Elizabeth Jane Howard does it again

Following this family through talk the Cazalet books makes you completely know these characters.
Iv loved every minute of listening.

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I loved every single one of the 5 books in this series

I highly recommend listening to all 5 of the series, in order. I shall miss every single one of the Cazelet family

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Hard times, but not much left to care about

What did you like most about All Change?

Narration excellent, as per the BBC radio 4 adaptations. I enjoyed meeting old characters such as Clary and Rachel from the previous books. Rachel and Diana's charactesr were very convincingly portrayed. Villy is redeemed from her self loathing and self pitying stance. Social history details in the background added interest.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Most interesting: the relationship between Sid and Rachel, and the timber firm, Cazalet's progress. We were told more about the day to day running of a timber firm than in previous novels.

What about Penelope Wilton’s performance did you like?

It's crisp, pace does not lag, accent is suited to the characters

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Mainly I was bored, and annoyed at the way the plot kept jumping from one set of characters to another, with very short chapters. I was also amazed at the description of every single meal anyone ever ate. Too much of a good thing can be as dull as poached chicken.

Any additional comments?

There were far too many minor characters (grandchildren and great-granchildren) to care about them all. I had to keep referring to the printed family tree in the previous books.
Disturbing lack of continuity between this fifth volume and the previous four; for example, in the fourth volume, Simon seems set to become a doctor, but in the fifth book he seems to have no ambition or career ideas. There is also a glaring error about the identity of the twin who died earlier on in the quintet.The characters are, with notable exceptions, thinly drawn and seem more like stereotypes of upper class English people than real ones. Makes me wonder why EJH bothered to write this: low bank balance, perhaps?

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Loved this book AND THE NARRATION!

When reading the reviews I was quite surprised by the derisive comments regarding the narration and almost didn't continue. However, I loved the first 4 books so much, I decided to proceed. I am so pleased I did. I loved the narration by Penelope Wilton. I thought she did an excellent job.

If you enjoyed the first four books then don't let the negative comments of others put you off reading this final book. It is just lovely. :)

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