Read The Brimstone Wedding by Barbara Vine Ruth Rendell Online


A wise and unsettling tale of the power and poison of love, from the acknowledged queen of the English psychological mystery....

Title : The Brimstone Wedding
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780517703397
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 330 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Brimstone Wedding Reviews

  • Sue
    2018-10-01 20:14

    There is something very addictive about this story of love affairs and bad marriages set in the past and the present. Vine certainly knows how to keep her reader interested even as she slowly feeds out more plot details and that reader begins to see the inevitable conclusion. Stella is a 70 year old woman who has come to a residence home to die, having late stage cancer. She forms a bond with Jenny who she calls Genevieve, who is her caregiver, or carer as they are called.The two form a bond, both having gaps in their lives, and through that bond we learn of Stells's past and Jenny's presence in her unhappy marriage. This is a suspense novel, as all of Vine's seem to be. The reader is led on a twisted path to find the "truth". Highly recommended.

  • Bandit
    2018-10-06 22:03

    You can't go wrong with Ruth Rendell. The late great Baroness Rendell has left behind a hugely impressive body of work when it comes to psychological thrillers. Barbara Vine is slightly trickier. Rendell has used that pseudonym for her more serious, more dramatic work and some of the books lack the delicious dynamic of her other ones. This one was definitely a winner, though. A story about affairs, specifically affairs of married individuals, different players, different timelines, invariably well mannered individuals doing terrible things politely (the British way), various, variously devastating results. After all, building one's happiness on unhappiness of others is a tricky business. This book has all the standard Rendellian props...strong atmospheric writing, terrific attention to details, meticulously rendered psychological states, even a body or two...and as a bonus features notably likeable characters (not all, of course, this isn't Downton Abbey). It isn't always the case, the author's known for some genuinely abysmal amoral scum of main players, but here, refreshingly so, it isn't the case. You'll actually care about them. Lovely read and a delight for any fan of dark psychological fiction. Strongly recommended.

  • Nick
    2018-10-10 15:18

    What makes ordinary people do creepy, psychologically disturbing things, and then retreat to a life of the ordinary, covering up the events of their past?Jenny works at a retirement home and becomes close to Stella, one of the patients. They both have their secrets, and this brings them closer as they reveal to the other. Jenny is just beginning her secret life, but dreams of being close to the unordinary, in touch with superstition and the macabre. In the unfolding events of the story she loses this particular yen, accepting the more mundane even she becomes more ill at ease with the events of her life.Stella's past is the kicker. As she little by little explains her secrets to Jenny, we see how an ordinary person can get swept up in larger events and things can turn ugly in a moment's notice.And love is the key to both of these stories, illicit love with men already married, promises that are made, but with little intention from the beginning of being kept. And the hurt that results makes the subsequent events inevitable.It's great Gothic stuff, complete with a spooky old house in the country where much of both stories is set.

  • Kat
    2018-10-17 22:02

    I am loss for words at the moment as I try conclude this book for a review. Right now I just want to savor what I just read.First of. all I love the title. Very fitting after learning the meaning of it.Secondly, I love how the author took her time presenting the stories especially with two women whose lives seem somewhat similar.Third of all, I'm very well pleased how well it was written in order to bring English county, characters. and etc come alive and vividly. I also love how the author was able to do the past and present without losing me. I'm surprised the reviewers were saying the story could have been fast paced or shorter. The purpose is seeing through those ladies' perspectives. It wasn't supposed to be a story to be solved. it was a tragic secret which needed to be confessed to someone before she died. This is the first book I've read by this author. If she writes this well, then I look forward to reading her other books.

  • Rick
    2018-10-02 15:59

    Vine (Rendell)at her very best. Unputdownable.

  • Karen
    2018-10-19 15:25

    This is the first Barbara Vine, aka Ruth Rendell, book that I've read. It is a total departure from Rendell's other books; that's what a brilliant writer she was. There will never be another like her, as she had her own unique style and literary talent. The story was very detailed and drew me in immediately. There are two main characters. Genevieve "Jenny" is the thirty-two-year-old who works at an upscale retirement home and sees to the needs of the tenants. Stella is 72 and is suffering from lung cancer. The two develop a bond and love for one another. Genevieve (Stella is the only one who calls her that) spends time with Stella after work, listening to her story of a not so happy marriage with an unfaithful husband and the man who was the love of her life. Genevieve confides in Stella that she, too, is in love with a man other than her husband. She plans to leave her husband and marry her lover Ned. It takes the entirety of the book for Stella to tell the complete story of what happened with her and her married lover Alan, and the conclusion is secretly taped for Genevieve to discover later after her death. There is a rundown cottage, hidden away in the countryside, that also factors into the story. Basically, this book is about deception, unfaithfulness, and consequences. There were some pretty miserable, unlikable, but colorful characters and also some very likable ones. There are a lot of superstitious notions passed down to Genevieve from her nan and her mum. Vine's descriptions of the English countryside are marvelous and reminiscent of Mary Stewart's Thornyhold. I loved this book, but it was a little depressing. One comes away with the knowledge that secret affairs and unfaithfulness can cause a lot of damage and hurt a lot of people.

  • Kelly
    2018-10-14 15:16

    Barbara Vine (and alter-ego Ruth Rendell) often starts her books at the end.* It's a brilliant device in her hands, making her novels whydunits rather then whodunits. The dark stories become darker as the narrative unfolds.My favorite Rendell opening line, from A Judgement in Stone, is: "Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write." There's the ending, right there. But as you read on, not only do you have even more questions (Why is she going to kill them? Why all of them? And what does it have to do with reading or writing?), but the sense of doom in knowing that the whole family is going to die is pervasive. The Brimstone Wedding doesn't quite give away the ending at the beginning, but the hints are far from subtle. It does become pretty obvious pretty early on that someone was murdered, and it's fairly obvious who, and it's not a hard guess as to why. But there's the genius of Vine/Rendell -- it's in racing to the end to see if you're right. And there's always enough gruesome detail to make it really worth your while to get there and see how it all went down.There's a moment in this book when I honestly felt gut-punched. It may be for personal reasons that made me identify strongly with one of the women, but it's testament to the world she creates. I was emotionally invested enough to feel physical pain. This isn't Vine's best -- it's a little simpler than some of the others, but it's solid. *The Wexford mysteries excepted. While well-written, they usually follow a traditional forward-moving storyline.

  • Cristina
    2018-09-22 20:05

    It's official now. Ruth Rendell is now one of my very favorite authors. At first blush, the premise of this story is a bit hokey. THE BRIMSTONE WEDDING is about a seemingly reserved and proper housewife, Stella Newland, who begins to confide in her carer, Geneieve Warner, about her secrets. They are both women of secrets: Stella's 30 year old love affair and Geneieve's brand-new one. Stella reminsence of the past, however, isn't all roses: she hints that she knows about the disappearance of Gild Brent, a hasbeen movie star from British war films of the 40s. The heart of this book can be summed up by a simple line: "Love justifies everything." This story is really about how far people will go for love.Other than Rendell's astute observations on love, I must say ... she knows how to write old people. Stella is one of the most remarkable characters I've seen in a mystery novel. She is a perfect example of an otherwise normal individual with morals and education who gets entangled in a bloody situation. Unlike the other Rendell novels I've read, Stella is the furthest thing from creepy. She's that nice next-door neighbor who finds herself in a horrible situation and makes a decision based on love and ... well, I'll let you find out. Moreoever, Rendell's handy trick of mixing retrospective and contemporaneous storytelling is amazingly effective here. Reading the parallels between Stella's and Geneieve's lives is startlingly moving. This is a lyrical, engrossing, and atmospheric mystery for anyone who likes to think about the mystery of the soul rather than psychopaths.

  • Lina Simoni
    2018-09-25 22:22

    Before I share my opinion about this book, I must confess that I did not read the actual writing at first. I listened instead to the audiobook. It is read by Juliet Stevenson, a fantastic British actress. In fact, I found The Brimstone Wedding on Audible as I was looking for recordings by Stevenson. Her rendition of the book is so fantastic that I bought the book afterwards and went through it again. This is the first story by Barbara Vine I took on, so I did not quite know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised by the evolving relationship between the two main characters: Stella, a sophisticated, older woman on the verge of death living in a home; and Genevieve, her unsophisticated caregiver. As different in age and social milieu as they are, the two share a deep, devoted companionship and, yes, secrets. I'll say no more or I'll spoil your reading. This is a book that should be read twice to appreciate all the foreshadowing and the intriguing details the author masterfully weaves into the story.

  • Syl
    2018-10-15 18:16

    Not the typical Barbara Vine, nevertheless an enjoyable read.A story about dull marriages, uninterested husbands and philandering wives.A story of2 marriages separated by at least a score of years, the connecting thread being the same house used for rendezvous by the wives with their married lovers.The older lady is now a terminal cancer patient in an institute being taken care of by he younger lady. the events take time to untold, as conversations between the two,as well as soliloquy by the younger lady.there is deceit, disappearance, death and lots of quaint superstitions.Was an enjoyable, but slightly meandering tale.

  • Maria
    2018-09-27 22:01

    This is a new author for me and I'm torn between a 2 and 3 as a rating. It's a charming mystery that will appeal to anglophiles & I foresee an addiction to Rendell shortly despite the rating. I won't classify this as a "beach" read, as this author is so highly enjoyable & readable & perceptive it seems to be more than that. She knows human nature, all right. I see a few similarities with Iris Murdoch who was, I vaguely recall, darker.

  • Nina
    2018-10-09 14:17

    Deeply revealing and personal. Totally absorbing.Favourite quotes:'Love is a frightening thing. I realise that I'm frightened so much of the time, afraid of losing him, afarid of discovery...infear of not being his equal, of not matching up to what he wants, of him changing because he is disillusioned'. p.185

  • Todd Ackerman
    2018-09-29 21:25

    Not my usual....was beautifully slow, revealing the main characters slowly and almost as an after thought. It's a mystery....kind of. A romance...kind of. A glimpse into two peoples' lives who had secrets upon secrets. Highly recommend.

  • Angela
    2018-10-18 21:10

    I did enjoy this...but was not happy about Ned. The writing at the end left me a bit disappointed. But overall I do like her writing.

  • Philip
    2018-10-07 17:03

    This is one of my very favorite Vines, one I seem drawn to re-read every two or three years - I just re-read it this past January - it "called" to me whilst I was in the midst of reading another book, and I couldn't resist!As with many Vines, there are parallel stories - Jenny is in the thrall of her first extra-marital affair, when Stella Newland, one of the patients in the nursing home where Jenny works, reveals a secret to Jenny that not even her children know: she owns a house a few miles away that she hasn't been to in decades, and begins revealing to Jenny the details of her own marriage and affair, which led to tragic consequences.As always with Vine, the past casts its shadow on the present, clouding the happiness of the participants. No one ever really gets away with anything in a Vine novel, even if the "crime" is something no one else knows about.This is an excellent portrait of village life in England, in which some of the characters, while firmly rooted in the present, still have a finger or two in the past, as the women in Jenny's family still hold with various superstitions and spells. By the end of the novel, though, Jenny's experiences will cause her to re-think the superstitious beliefs she's continued to hold. It's also an interesting examination of various female relationships and their strengths and weaknesses - sister/sister, mother/daughter, friend/friend. The male/female relationships here are much more dangerous!I'd have to rate this as my second favorite Vine, right after ASTA'S BOOK. I'd love to see it made into a film with Kate Winslet as Jenny.12/26/11: And here I am, in the midst of another re-read of THE BRIMSTONE WEDDING, last re-read in January 2009 - I'm not having much luck with anything else, and enjoyed my re-reads of ASTA'S BOOK and THE KEYS TO THE STREET so, oh well, why not?12/30/11: Masterful.

  • Amanda Lukacs
    2018-10-12 21:04

    I never write reviews but this book sucked. I read it because I was out of books and it came up on an Amazon list for the week or month's lower priced books for my Kindle. The summary seemed interesting enough but the book was written in such a confusing way. There are 2 points of view throughout the story- Stella and Jenny. Normally, that's not a problem in a book if its made clear when the POV is changing but with this book, I found myself rereading sections because I'd realize that I had been envisioning the wrong person as the narrator. It's not hard to stick a name at the beginning of a POV change as a new chapter. I had an easier time understanding The Time Traveler's Wife with its changing timeframe and older/younger version of the same character overlapping. The summary suggests that there is a surprising plot twist at the end. The surprise ending was so lame and so short that I read over it without even realizing what it was (partly because I thought the wrong person was talking). I was hoping the book would get better when this big finale came but it was a dud and was why I ultimately gave this book 1 star. No redeeming qualities. Womp.

  • Tony
    2018-10-13 18:28

    THE BRIMSTONE WEDDING. (1995). Barbara Vine. ****.This novel by Ms. Vine, a.k.a. Ruth Rendell, is a subtly plotted tale of the secrets many of us have hidden in our pasts. Genevieve is a care giver working at a retirement home. One of the ladies in her care is Stella. She is over seventy-years old and is constantly bragging about how she has beaten the allotted three-score-and-ten specified in the Bible. Genevieve is in her early thirties, and comes directly from the village’s local class. She and her family – mostly her mother who owns the local pub – are adherents of a vast array of superstitions that they refer to as often as they can. It turns out that both women have secrets in their pasts that have to do with their love lives. We all have some secrets about our past amours, but, it turns out, not a bit like these two ladies. I was very impressed about how Ms. Vine managed to make all of the incidents in the story hang together. This was the first book I’ve read by Ms. Vine, but will certainly not be the last. Unfortunately, Ruth Rendell passed away earlier this year, and took Barbara Vine with her. Recommended.

  • Chana
    2018-10-23 17:06

    I love reading Barbara Vine books but I knew there was a reason it has been awhile. That reason is that they are so ultimately grim!The ending on this one was just awful, more awful than I could have predicted. Not badly written of course, just devastating as a story. It was enough to make me go off the idea of romantic love. This is a very sad and disturbing story! An old woman in a nursing home and a young woman who cares for her become friends, sharing confidences as time goes on. The older woman is dying of lung cancer and there is not much time left. There are some similarities in their stories and they have compassion for each other. The older woman tells the end of her long ago love story on two cassette tapes that she leaves to the younger woman. When the younger woman finally listens to these cassettes we hear how that love story ended and the unlikely link between the two women.I was left wondering if love ever really works out or if one just grabs the momentary happiness when it happens.

  • Marie France Asselbergh
    2018-10-06 22:10

    May contain spoilers if you intend to read, but I wouldn't recommend wasting the time.After reading 2-3 books by Barbara Vine and thoroughly liking them, expectations were high but ultimately doomed.After some fifty pages into the story the outline of the tale and unfortunately even its outcome were all too clear and no real surprises in store.Two female protagonists, contemporary, drab Jenny and the more sophisticated... already her name escapes me?! share a certain naiveté towards life, love and men. The whole tale is hung up on these parallels and -spoiler alert!- neither gets what she wants.Background is rural East Anglia, a flat country (my least favourite in the UK) and the book is riddled with isolated, uncommunicative characters that I found hard to empathise with.The 'bad' woman is an over the top dragon, it's quite the enigma why she survives that long in a murder mistery and her actual end is half an accident anyway, forever shrouded in a bit of a mystery that I couldn't feel bothered about.Sorely dissapointed, yes.

  • Jayne Charles
    2018-10-04 18:24

    I read on the back of Barbara Vine's books (Grasshopper I think it was) that she 'writes very well about young people'. I thought they had that the wrong way round - I'd say she writes very well about old people. Both in this and in Asta's Book she creates very credible, interesting elderly characters. This has two stories - Stella, the old lady in a nursing home and what happened to her in her youth, and the story of Jenny who works in the nursing home, unravels the mystery, and has an affair with a married man newly arrived in the village. I found both equally enjoyable, both brought to a good conclusion. The final 'twist' was a nice touch.

  • Toni
    2018-10-01 20:04

    I find as I read more of Rendell’s “Vine” thrillers the more I like them. This one is one of my favorites. The only one I could not get into was The House of Stairs, which I will try again someday. I found this book a little slow in parts but did not mind because I knew there was something, that when revealed, would make it worthwhile. Probably because of the way I read, each word, I was able to figure out the mystery of Gilda’s disappearance but there was still one thing I had not anticipated -- why Stella chose Middleton Hall nursing home and specifically Genevieve or Jenny as her attendant. How I could have missed it, is beyond me, but that added to my enjoyment of the book.

  • Margaret
    2018-09-24 22:03

    This turned out to be a Vine that worked for me quite well (unlike The Birthday Present: A Novel, which I'd just read). Jenny Warner is a caregiver at a retirement home, where she comes to know Stella Newland, who is dying of lung cancer. Stella has long held on to secrets about her life, which she eventually reveals to Jenny, secrets which resonate with Jenny's own life. Vine intertwines her narrative threads masterfully, slowly uncovering the truth behind Stella's past and Jenny's present and building both stories to a shattering climax.

  • Margie
    2018-10-19 16:11

    It had been quite some time between drinks for me and Barbara Vine. Despite many paperback culls over the years, I could never quite bring myself to recycle the Vines/Rendells. I was drawn to this book because it was narrated by the awesomely gifted Juliet Stevenson. Had I read it myself, I would have enjoyed it, but having it read to me by Juliet made it a sublime experience. I'd forgotten how deftly Vine captures her characters. Every utterance and action is absolutely authentic, and the writing was elevated by the performance. A most enjoyable way to spend 12 or so hours.

  • Cheryl
    2018-09-23 17:08

    I buy a lot of Kindle Daily Deals on Amazon. I check out the synopsis and reviews before I buy them....but I have over 50 books to read on my Kindle. I like it this way because when I choose a book to read on my Kindle, I almost never remember what it's about.And that's how it was with this one. I went in blind and I enjoyed the ride. It's not an action driven, it's definitely dialogue driven, but that was enough for me. I wish it had been about 50 pages started to drag at the end...but, all in all, it's an enjoyable story.

  • Laura Alderson
    2018-10-18 20:01

    Normally I like Barbara Vine but this one just didn't do it for me. Jenny works in an old people's home as a carer for Stella. You find out early on that Stella had, and Jenny is having, an affair. But it just plods on from there. Some shocking revelation is supposed to be revealed from Stella's past but I didn't get that far. In some chapters nothing at all happened. I also found the characters confusing and one dimensional, and was constantly having to check who was who. Didn't finish it.

  • Dark-Draco
    2018-10-12 18:06

    I really enjoyed this book, even though I found it a bit predictable in places. The way Stella's and Jenny's stories weave together was great, and the descriptive writing really brought it all alive. Despite the ending not being all that happy - in that the characters didn't get all the wanted - I thought it was the best ending it could have. I'm sure it will stay with me for a while. My Mum read it too and she liked it just as much.

  • Jennifer
    2018-10-01 18:01

    This is the first book I’ve read by Barbara Vine / Ruth Rendell. I found it very slow-moving, the story just seemed to drag on and on. I felt I was reading the same thing over and over. I didn’t relate at all to the characters or setting, particularly because it was set in England. I am surprised by all the rave reviews, but I think this just isn’t my type of book. I prefer more action, romance and mystery, all of which this book lacked.

  • Anna
    2018-09-29 18:25

    Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine. I picked this up to read on my way to Florida. Couldn't put it down. I love a mystery and I particularly love Ruth Rendell. The Brimstone Wedding is two stories in one, Jenny Warner is a caregive for Stella Newland who is dying of cancer. It's a love story, a mystery, "an exquisitely crafted novel of murder, betrayal, and forbidden desire."

  • Pat
    2018-10-11 15:15

    Chilling and tragic. The story teller drops many hints of the tragedy that changed her life. And even though you know what will be finally revealed, you are not prepared for the detail and description of it. A haunting tale told masterfully.

  • Clare Snow
    2018-10-14 20:01

    That last twist was very clever and I never saw it coming