4 March 2021
My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book
1905: Ruby Caselton may only be twenty-five years old but she already has the weight of the world on her shoulders. Heavily pregnant with her second child, penniless and exhausted, she is moving her family into a new home. The Caseltons left their last place when they couldn’t pay the rent, but Ruby’s husband Eddie has promised this will be a fresh start for them all. And Ruby desperately hopes that this time he will keep his word. With five-year-old George at her feet and her mother having a cross word for everyone and everything, life is never dull at number thirteen Alexandra Road. It doesn’t take long before Eddie loses another job and once again hits the bottle. It’s up to Ruby to hold them all together, through thick and thin. She remembers the kind, caring man Eddie once was and just can’t give up on him entirely. What she doesn’t know is that Eddie has a secret, one so dark that he can’t bear to tell even Ruby . . .
Through Ruby’s grit and determination, she keeps food on the table and finds herself a community of neighbours on Alexandra Road. Stella, the matriarch from across the way, soon becomes a friend and confidante. She even dreams that Ruby will ditch the useless Eddie and take up with her eldest son, Frank. But when war breaks out in 1914, the heartbreaks and losses that follow will fracture their community, driving both Stella and Ruby to breaking point. Will their men ever return to them?
📖 My thoughts..
Ruby Caselton moves into a new house in Erith in Kent, but it's not long before her ne'er do well husband, Eddie, and his wastrel ways make life really difficult for Ruby, her son George and Ruby's mother who lives with them. Times are unbearably difficult for Ruby but her friendship with the motherly neighbour, Stella Green, makes life just a little bit more bearable for Ruby and her family.
The years just before the outbreak of WW1 are brought to life with a stark reminder of just how hard it was to make ends meet when jobs were scarce and it was all to easy to get drawn in with the wrong sort of people. Ruby is a feisty and likable heroine, filled with grit and determination she pulls her her family through all manner of tragedies.
Those who have read this author's series of books about The Woolworth Girls will undoubtedly recognise a few of the characters, albeit their younger selves, in A Mother Forever and it was lovely to see them at the start of their lives, particularly, Ruby and her family.
A Mother Forever is a beautifully written historical saga which has all the trademarks of this talented author's fine writing, a strong story line, interesting characters and an authentic sense of time and place.
About the Author
Elaine Everest, author of bestselling novels The Woolworths Girls, The Butlins Girls, Christmas at Woolworths and Wartime at Woolworths, was born and brought up in noth-west Kent, where many of her books are set. She has been a freelance writer for twenty years and has written widely for women’s magazines and national newspapers, both short stories and features. Her non-fiction books for dog owners have been very popular and led to her broadcasting on radio about our four-legged friends. Elaine has been heard discussing many topics on radio, from canine subjects to living with a husband under her feet when redundancy looms. When she isn’t writing, Elaine runs The Write Place creative writing school in Hextable, Kent, and has a long list of published students. Elaine lives with her husband, Michael, and their Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, in Swanley, Kent, and is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Crime Writers’ Association, the Society of Women Writers and Journalists, and the Society of Authors.
You can find out more about Elaine on Twitter @ElaineEverest or Facebook @ElaineEverestAuthor
Twitter @panmacmillan #AMotherForever