|Harper Collins UK|
This is one of those lovely seasonal stories which combines the best of story telling with the added bonus, for me , of including references to knitting!
After being jilted at the altar, Sybil has been saved by her desire to take out her despair in the garments that she lovingly knits. But as the many knitted bobble hats and tea cosies threaten to engulf her, Sybil finds that life sometimes throws up an unexpected salvation. Forced to make a hasty exit from work, Sybil runs away to the idyllically named village of Tindledale. There she finds her heart’s desire in the shape of Hettie’s House of Haberdashery where in the world of needle craft and knitting, Sybil finds her true raison d’être.
I loved this book from the start, it’s heart warming without being clichéd, and shows that escaping into a good book really does take away the blues.
|Penguin Books UK|
Following on from The Midwife's Daughter, Aren't We Sisters? is a gripping novel about buried secrets and unlikely friendship.
Using her medical skills in the controversial subject of birth control, Lettie Quick is inspired by the work of Dr Marie Stopes, whose pioneering work on the subject of female contraception was deemed to be contentious in the extreme. But Lettie cares passionately for the women who are brave enough to visit her and tries to make the experience as pleasant as possible. Spinster, Norah Thornby is facing the dilemma of being unable to afford to live in her grand family home. She wonders whether taking in a lodger would help to alleviate the problem. Beautiful, Rae Granger needs a place to say and an isolated house which is miles away from civilisation is the perfect place for her to stay until her secret can be taken away. On the surface, these three women have little in common, but when killer starts to circulate, the web of deadly secrets start to become tangled together.
What then follows is an insightful look at British attitudes to relationships during the 1930s. It shows how the difference in class and culture very often marked the way that life treated women and yet there were often similarities in the way they were perceived by society.
I think Aren't We Sisters would be better enjoyed if you read The Midwife’s Story first as it gives a better understanding of both time and place.
|Random House UK, Transworld Publishers|
When ten year old Noel Bostock is evacuated out of London during the Blitz, he is sent to live with Vera Sedge, whose own precarious position suggests that she is not the ideal companion for an impressionable child. However, the strange combination works and Vera, ever one for seizing the main chance, finds an unlikely ally in Noel, as together they devise a plan to make some money. But their plan is not without danger and unscrupulous forces, also out to profit by the war, are out to get them.
I loved the relationship between Vera and Noel, both are deeply flawed characters, but together there is the recognition of two kindred spirits finding each other in the most unlikely of circumstances.
Wartime London is captured perfectly, as is the indecisiveness of living through such an uncomfortable time. The need we all have for love and support comes across very well, as does the humour, both poignant and emotional, and of the extraordinary lengths people will go to in order to survive the worst of chaos.
My thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read these books.