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Ratings and Book Reviews (2 24 star ratings
2 reviews

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4.5 out of 5
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    A Vivid, True-to-Life Tale!

    A superb third novel in what is a beautifully written and meticulously researched series! With the blitz hitting London hard, the Brogan family are struggling through the war along with everyone else, suffering from lack of almost everything which makes life worth living. In true British fashion, they are digging their heels in and making the very best of things but severe hardships lie ahead . . . I'm very fond of a wartime domestic saga - and this is undoubtedly one of the best! Jean Fullerton creates wonderful family dynamics and, with skilful writing and a chain of believable events, has produced a terrific family saga. The Brogan family is filled with individual characters each with their own personalities, trials and tribulations and as a new generation arrives they are expanding in several directions. As anyone knows, life is not always rosy and Ida Brogan has more than her fair share of worries. This is a very observant piece of work from an author who obviously understands what it takes to keep a reader's attention, and it's a very satisfying novel. Being that there's a considerable chunk of the war still to go, I expect there will be more to come and I'm already fizzing with anticipation! A vivid, true-to-life tale with plenty of surprises along the ways and totally deserving of a full five stars - which I'm more than happy to give!
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    Just Getting By

    3.5 Stars This isn't my usual choice of reading matter and it is a genre that I generally give a fairly wide berth to; for some reason it has a tendency to make me feel a little uncomfortable. When written well there is a feeling that can only be likened to voyeurism about these books (for this reader anyway) - and this book has that feeling to it. Maybe this is because WWII is still in our collective consciousness or because I remember my grandparents stories of being in their late teens/early twenties during the conflict and how it impacted their lives. Somehow it all feels terribly close and undeniably scary and I readily admit this colours my judgements of the tale. The story itself is actually pretty much as you would expect - the overarcing theme being the love between an Irish Catholic girl (Jo) and a ne'er do well East Londoner (Tommy) from a decidedly "dodgy" family. The characters are both told with empathy and you do find yourself interested in their lives - although I found Tommy's family, the Brogans, a little bit much - almost heavy handed portrayals of the mother's alcoholism and elder brother's villany. The plus points for the book do outweigh those reservations though. It touches on how evacuation was not always the best thing for the people involved and how some of the people that took the evacuees in did so under duress and how whole communities could turn against these children just by virtue of them being from London. It also covers something pretty much glossed over - the looting of bombed out homes and how there was a thriving trade in stolen goods on the back of it, not so much a bombers moon as a thieves blackout. The best best bits of the book are undeniably those that cover the actual bombing raids. You can feel the grit in the air, the smell of the smoke in your nostrils so evocative are the descriptions. Even more importantly there is real in depth knowledge of how the various Home Front Forces worked together to help people - the WVS, the ARP, the Heavy Lifting Teams - it is these sections that made the book enjoyable for me. Unfortunately, this meant that the plot and the characters were far less important to me and I did end up reading it more as a social history text than a tale about the families involved as I did find that the plotting was easy to predict throughout. THIS IS AN HONEST AND UNBIASED REVIEW OF A FREE COPY OF THE BOOK RECEIVED VIA THE PIGEONHOLE.

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