#BookReview By Lou – The Bobby Girls War By Johanna Bell @JoBellAuthor @HodderBooks #BobbyGirlsSeries #WW1 #Saga #TeamBookEnds

The Bobby Girls War
By Johanna Bell

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A series that makes you want to stay with from beginning and each new book that is published. The Bobby Girls War is the latest in the series. Even if this isn’t your normal genre or era to read, I highly recommend giving them a try as there’s so much to them at a fast-pace, and yet they are a good read to relax with in these increasingly colder days. Thanks to Hodder & Staughton for gifting me the book to review. Discover more in the blurb and then my review below.

Blurb

The Bobby Girls War coverCurl up with Book Four in the gorgeous Bobby Girls series now!

1916. Poppy is being transferred to an enormous new munitions complex in Gretna, on the Scottish border. Even though it means moving far away from her best friends Maggie and Annie, she is excited for the challenge.

As a member of the Women’s Police Service, it’s her job to maintain law and order so that the factory workers can safely carry out their vital war work. She soon makes friends, and even starts to open herself up to the possibility of love.

But then she sees something in the dead of night, and suddenly the dangers of the war are no longer far away on distant shores. With the enemy hot on her heels and no idea who to trust, can Poppy save herself – and avert disaster for her country?

 

Review

It is often a delight to read and review from The Bobby Girls series. These are books that are  great for curling up with in the wintry months to find out what the girls are up to next. This one concentrates more on Poppy Davis as she has moved away from being around, her now established, newest friends in London, England, to Gretna, Scotland. There is also still much enjoyment to catch up with her friends Maggie and Annie too, who are also very busy with the Foundling Hospital which is feeling the pressure of increasing intakes of “doorstep” abandoned babies, which Poppy also helps with before she leaves. Maggie and Annie are also busy with the WPS setting up places they can go too.

There are some changes with Alice in munitions and also a new Chief Constable – Chief Constable Jackson, who has a lot to catch up on of what has been happening, particularly in Holborn with continuing work to further reduce prostitutes around the area and abandoned babies.

 The book gives insight to the war through the soldiers and also from what it was like being home, as shown through an emotional, yet beautifully composed letter for Poppy. When Poppy does arrive in Scotland, there’s more to learn than she seems to initially thought from Grace as well as many dangers so many workers face each day, especially with explosive chemicals in the factories where one wrong move could be deadly, which adds some suspense, as does the possibility of a spy…. Once again, the writing is enthralling and as the chapters go on, you just want to know more. There’s more than meets the eye for Poppy to manage, who starts to have her doubts whether she can manage or not, even with Grace’s positivity. Nightshifts bring more dangers, more than she could ever know until there is a highly perilous position with not much time to waste! There are some gaspable moments to say the least and all is riveting.

The book is refreshing as it shows a different side to some males in the force who Poppy meets as it shows that they can (and many were) supportive. This book also shows the developing relationships between the different characters, including one from Christmas, which is so heartwarming. Even though there’s dangers and hardships, there is warmth and some really lovely moments and a bit of romance. She also hasn’t left her London friends completely behind either. It shows that distance doesn’t mean friendships end.

#BookReview by Lou Hope In Liverpool @tracy_traynor @LoveBooksGroup #FamilySaga #HopeInLiverpool #Northerners #RiverMersey #BlogTour

Hope In Liverpool
By T.N. Traynor

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Emotionally charged with courage and hope is what Hope in Liverpool brings to readers eyes and imaginations. FInd out more in the blurb and review below.

Blurb 

Can an alliance of convenience heal two broken hearts?

Liverpool, 1958. Hope Bennett longs to feel safe and wanted. Loyal to an alcoholic mother who gambles away all her hard-earned wages, she’s devastated by the announcement her family is moving and she’s not to follow. But her despondent plan to fling herself off the ferry and succumb to the freezing River Mersey is interrupted by a handsome older man.

John Walker expects to live out the rest of his days drowning in grief, isolated and lonely after the loss of his childhood sweetheart.  When he spots a young woman in distress he is immediately drawn to help her.

Can the fragile dream of a better life out of the slums provide the security and companionship they both crave?

Hope in Liverpool is an emotional foray into historical women’s fiction. If you like compellingly complex characters, light humour woven through heart-wrenching drama, and gripping romantic overtones, then you’ll adore T N Traynor’s poignant story.

Review

Set in Liverpool 1958, Traynor has cut an emotional atmosphere for an involving family drama that unfolds. This could be an utterly depressing story, but Traynor has steered away from this just enough to make it hopeful instead.

Hope’s life is challenging to the max, from practically being abandoned and her mother being an alcoholic who fritters away her wages. Hope however shows courage and a certain amount of resilience through the bleakness and hardships. She also has a certain amount of courage as she allows some romance to enter her life, even though life still seems to have some fragilities within it, which, before romance, had an intention of suicide. This is written in sensitively and isn’t dwelled too much upon, but something some people may be able to relate to. By the end there is hope to be had and nicely shows that even through harrowing and bleak times there can be lightness. Readers can discover through the twists and turns of Hope’s life how that happens.

 

 

#BookReview by Lou – What’s Mine And Yours by Naima Coster @zafatista @eturns_112 @TrapezeBooks #FamilySaga #ContemporaryFiction

What’s Mine And Yours
By Naima Costner

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Powerfully absorbing, moving and full of family ties, love and loss,  in many ways and much more. This is a better book than I expected and is one I recommend to everyone. Discover more in the blurb and my review below.
With thanks to Ellen Turner at Trapeze Books for gifting me a copy to review.

About the Author

Naima Coster is the author of two novels. Her debut, Halsey Street, was a finalist for the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Fiction and recommended as a must-read by People, Essence, Well-Read Black Girl, The Skimm, and the Brooklyn Public Library among others. Naima’s forthcoming novel, What’s Mine and Yours, will be published in March 2021.

Naima’s stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Kweli, The Paris Review Daily, The Cut, The Sunday Times, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. In 2020, she received the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” honor. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Whats Mine And Yours

Blurb

When a county initiative in the Piedmont of North Carolina forces the students at a mostly black public school on the east side to move across town to a nearly all-white high school on the west, the community rises in outrage. For two students, quiet and aloof Gee and headstrong Noelle, these divisions will extend far beyond their schooling. As their paths collide and overlap over the course of thirty years, their two seemingly disconnected families begin to form deeply knotted, messy ties that shape the trajectory of their lives.

On one side of the school integration debate is Jade, Gee’s steely, single, black mother, grieving for her murdered partner, and determined for her son to have the best chance at a better life. On the other, is Noelle’s enterprising mother, Lacey May, who refuses to see her half-Latina daughters as anything but white. The choices these mothers make will resound for years to come. And twenty years later, when Lacey’s daughters return home to visit her in hospital, they’re forced to confront the ways their parents’ decisions continue to affect the life they live and the people they love.

WHAT’S MINE AND YOURS is a sweeping, rich tapestry of familial bond and identity, and a sharp, poignant look at the ways race affects even the closest of relationships. With gorgeous prose, Naima Coster explores the unique organism that is every family: what breaks them apart and how they come back together.

Review

Whats Mine And YoursStarting from 1992 and spanning to 2020, this is an intergenerational fictional book with race and family in America at its heart. The families end up in North Carolina and a story that tells of family, loss, gun crime, romance, love, divorce, race and opportunity and lack of, ensues through the years that pass by with many characters. This isn’t just a book for Americans, this is a book for everyone in the world, no matter what race you are.
It would be identifiable to everyone.

It begins with Ray going to a bakery and what a delicious sounding bakery it is. He has fun plans for his son, Gee. This is quite a sad tale as everyone knows about the gun crime in the USA and this is what occurs. A family with their whole amazing plans that anyone on earth would want to be part of, broken because of a gun. The emotion is as heartbreaking as it gets, in the tenderness and the rawness of what it has done to this family, that is then forever haunted and left devastated.

There’s Lacey May and her family and she wants to get back into the workplace and finds it challenging and people show their attitudes that are at times negative, towards this by some employers who don’t realise she has had a good education. She has also got money problems and issues to deal with, with Robbie. She also her other daughter.

This is also a story of Noelle and Gee, growing up and trying to find their way in the world and discovering themselves as they age. It’s interesting to see Noelle’s attitude to the change in school system is very different to her mother’s and it being far removed from what one may expect, which is refreshing in the way some mother’s etc will recognise some of the attitude Lacey has in how she goes about doing certain things. The issues surrounding race is also not quite what one may assume either, when it comes to potential for romance.

It’s a book that delves right into the nucleus and the inner workings of families in a way that, whether they represent how your family is or not, will touch your heart and be relatable in one way or another, through the love and grief displayed as readers watch the families grow up through the years.

Buy Links

Amazon                       Waterstones                      Bookshop.org

 

#Review by Lou – The Post Office Girls by Poppy Cooper @Kirsten_Hesketh @hodderbooks #HistoricalFiction #WW1

The Post Office Girls
By Poppy Cooper

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Post Office Girls is full of characters you will want to get to know in a fascinating story that feels full of authenticity, with a Sunday period drama feel. Thanks to Hodder and Staughton for inviting me to review and for gifting the book.
Please follow through with the post to the blurb and my review.

Blurb

With the Great War raging, can they keep Britain going?

The Postoffice Girls cover1915. On Beth Healey’s eighteenth birthday, she hopes that she will be able to forget the ghastly war and celebrate. But that evening, her twin brother Ned announces that he has signed up to fight.

No longer able to stand working in her parents’ village shop while others are doing their bit, Beth applies to join the Army Post Office’s new Home Depot on the Regent’s Park, and is astounded to be accepted. She will be responsible for making sure that letters and parcels get through to the troops on the front line.

Beth is thrilled to be a crucial part of the war effort and soon makes friends with fellow post girls Milly and Nora, and meets the handsome James. But just as she begins to feel that her life has finally begun, everything starts falling apart, with devastating consequences for Beth and perhaps even the outcome of the war itself. Can Beth and her new friends keep it all together and find happiness at last?

The Post Office Girls is perfect for fans of Johanna Bell, Daisy Styles and Nancy Revell.

Review

The history that gave the inspiration behind this fictional story, which is the first in a brand new series, is truly fascinating. It’s worth reading the note by the author at the beginning of the book for this.

It’s Beth’s 18th birthday and its 1915 and has the formidable sounding Mrs McBride at the shop, where both of them work, on her case over butter. The scene with the tones of voices opens up magnificently.

It has the nostalgic air that you’d perhaps expect, but just manages not to be saccharine sweet. It does have a Sunday night, gentl-paced period drama feel about it, but doesn’t shy away from certain hard-hitting, home-truths about war here and there. It can be bit slow in places, but stay with it as a whole world opens up and it does become quite hard to put down.

The war is captured well, from those staying at home, in the rationing at the shop, a clever hint of people trying to, not quite bulk buy, but certainly buy a bit more than they need and not thinking of others and leaving enough of even flour to go around and the emotion of Beth from this, it’s like a subtle thought to people today, which I approve of; and Florence who had stepped out with Ralph, a footman from Maitland Hall who went out to fight and the worry about hearing from him and the excitement of letters when she does. It has a feel of authenticity and the scenes are picture perfect in Woodhampstead.

Beth later, travels to London as recruitment in Regent’s Park, where a mailing depot is set- up for army post, and encounters Sergeant Major Cunningham. The reactions of an 18 year old is captured well to the  Major, who had a very different life, as a postal worker before and all is new to Beth, who was a shopworker, now to work in the Home Depot, sorting through the mail coming in from soldiers.
You can feel her coil up a little and then ping into anger as she attempts to stand-up for herself. The empathy of soldiers at war and the letters that show signs of where they are and perhaps been whilst writing, further hits home to her. The details from an envelope and codes add interest and the interesting markings as each new chapter starts is too as are the letters between her brother Ned and her. She does however come across a gentler mannered man – Mr Blackford. Her achievement of getting an interview for the post hasn’t got the reaction she would have liked from her parents, different from today’s times, but very true of the times of the setting. 

There are a few twists that grab you further in, here and there and no more so than near the end, within the characters lives you will want to continue to get to know.

Readers of the book would do well to read the acknowledgements. It gives a fascinating insight into the research that was done for the book and some real-life photos of the women working in the Home-Depot.

#Review Wartime With The Cornish Girls by Betty Walker @AvonBooksUK #BookReview #FamilySaga #WartimeSaga

Wartime With The Cornish Girls
By Betty Walker

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Tense and atmospheric, with sinister moments of unease, this deals with the hardships of motherhood and a burgeoning romance that may be the start of a new life for Hazel, away from her home situation as she takes on a top secret job. It uplifting as well as being an all encompassing, excellent read. Find out more in the blurb and full review and where you can buy it.

I thank Avon Books for gifting me the book.

Blurb

Wartime With The Cornish Girls1941. The Blitz rages over London.
And even in Cornwall, the war is being fought…

When Violet loses her sister in the Blitz, she must take her nieces to safety in Cornwall. On the coast, she meets carefree chorus girl Eva, who is also running from the dangers of London.

But Porthcurno hides a secret military base, and soon Violet and Eva realise there’s a battle to fight in Cornwall, too.

Together with local Hazel, who works on the base, they must come together to help the war effort. But will their friendship be enough to keep them safe?

Wartime With The Cornish Girls

Review

Set in Dagenham, East London, readers first meet Violet and it has a sinister start with Violet, a cafe worker, being followed. It immediately sets an unease, with the way it is written. There is also Fred, who is vying for her attention. There is some dialect such as “meself”, which really places her. It’s not strong and is easy to figure out.

Betsy had married Ernst and it caused quite a stir and now feelings are bubbling to the surface again as he is a German. The story centres a good mix of characters from across the UK and an American.

The plot does move to Cornwall, somewhere near Porthcurno in the south, where there is a hidden army base. It is also where a stubborn teenage boy, Charlie lives there with his parents, Hazel and Bertie, who are married out of convenience. It also demonstrates how unhappy some of those marriages were. It doesn’t shy away from the hardships of motherhood and the challenges some people faced, shown through the eyes of Hazel. Charlie, being a teen also goes to show that even as the decades pass in real life, some things never change or evolve and parents and teachers will certainly be able to relate to his mannerisms and attitude.

The changing scenery when the war began is quite a feature as does the change in life and the meaning of signing an official secrets act as Hazel takes on a top secret job. There is a sense of urgency and upmost responsibility and beyond that spikes through the pages with these top secret job involving codes and so much more and the threat of what could happen if anyone divulges the secrets. It gives a harsh reality.

It’ll take readers on an interesting, windy path with a tense, serious atmosphere of duty and family as the war closes in and the realities emerge and are pretty hard-hitting, cut by the friendship of the women that smudges through, bringing a bit of light relief and a sense them being in it together.
It certainly isn’t a cosy book, but one of a believable plotline that doesn’t sugar-coat anything, and instead, shows anguish and the sacrifices people made, including in their daily lives and how they had a certain resilience and also got on with the job. There is also a touch of romance in the air as well as a bit of desperation for a different life, away from domestic violence, portrayed in Hazel, but also a panic that is captured so well, in what the consequences of the betrayal of her husband and what her son will say and do, which adds to the intensity that grows throughout.

The second book will be coming soon – Christmas With The Cornish Girls.

Wartime With The Cornish Girls

Purchase Links

Waterstones

Bookshop.org 

Amazon

#Review by Lou – A Ration Book Daughter by Jean Fullerton @JeanFullerton_ @rararesources @CorvusBooks #HistoricalFiction #FamilySaga

The Ration Book Daughter
By Jean Fullerton

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This book is charmingly written, showing the juxtopositions of love and war. It is a page-turner and shows great strength over adversity. Discover more in my blog and review. Then find puchase links and social media links below.

About the Author

Portrait_Jean-1022 RNA resized (1)Author Bio – Born and bred in East London Jean is a District Nurse by trade and has worked as a NHS manager and as a senior lecture in Health and Nursing Studies. She left her day job to become a full-time writer in 2015 and has never looked back.

In 2006 she won the Harry Bowling Prize and now has seventeen sagas published over three series with both Orion and Atlantic all of which are set in East London.

She is an experienced public speaker with hundreds of WI and women’s club talks under her belt, plus for the past fifteen years she has sailed all over the world as an enrichment speaker and writing workshop leader on cruise ships.

Blurb

ARBDaughter coverNot even the Blitz can shake a mother’s love.

Cathy was a happy, blushing bride when Britain went to war with Germany three years ago. But her youthful dreams were crushed by her violent husband Stanley’s involvement with the fascist black-shirts, and even when he’s conscripted to fight she knows it’s only a brief respite – divorce is not an option. Cathy, a true Brogan daughter, stays strong for her beloved little son Peter.

When a telegram arrives declaring that her husband is missing in action, Cathy can finally allow herself to hope – she only has to wait 6 months before she is legally a widow and can move on with her life. In the meantime, she has to keep Peter safe and fed. So she advertises for a lodger, and Sergeant Archie McIntosh of the Royal Engineers’ Bomb Disposal Squad turns up. He is kind, clever and thoughtful; their mutual attraction is instant. But with Stanley’s fate still unclear, and the Blitz raging on over London’s East End, will Cathy ever have the love she deserves?

ARBDaughter cover

Review

A Ration Book Daughter tells it how it was for some families and the soldiers in the middle of the times of the blitz. Although the book deals with the hardest of times of the war, it is easy to find some escapism within the book as the easy to follow plot is absorbing and has great characters within it. There are also some controversial characters too as one of them, even though declared a hero, is also accused by some people of loving the Nazis. This puts rather an intriguing spin on things.

Other main characters are Cathy and Vi who don’t always see eye-to-eye and have some heated exchanges.
There’s also Sergeant McIntosh of The Royal Engineer’s Bomb Disposal Squad, who is charming and who she gets to know very well indeed.

There are the hardships and darkness that war brings, but there are also glimmers of hope and bravery, that is unique to only the harshest of times. It tells things how they were and that gives the book strenghth and people’s learning a bit of strength and a bit of prodding in a sense, as they can see that no matter how bad things get, there are times that can actually be surprisingly uplifting.

This book shows love over adversity and strength of character in even the most troubling of times and when life and death hang in the balance. It shows that when there’s an enemy and also certain predjudices are around; that life goes on and nothing can stop the love of your child or romance from blossoming.

Purchase Links

Amazon    Bookshop.org

Social Media Links 

Website: http://jeanfullerton.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jean-Fullerton

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JeanFullerton_

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