Book number 33 in my Goodreads Reading Challenge (and book 1 of my holiday reads) is The Girls of Mulberry Lane by Rosie Clarke.
‘1938, Mulberry Lane, London. War is looming, but on Mulberry Lane there are different battles being fought… Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries and Cathy Sharp.
Maureen Jackson is a prisoner of her father’s blackmail. Three years earlier, she’d been hoping to marry Rory, the man of her dreams. However, after her mother’s death, she was left to care for her overbearing father. Now Rory is back in London with a pregnant wife in tow to remind Maureen of the life that should have been hers.
As war threatens, Janet Ashley hopes to marry her sweetheart Mike, but her father refuses to grant them his blessing. Defying his wishes, Janet finds herself pregnant and her mother Peggy is determined to hold her family together at all costs.
Will the girls of Mulberry Lane manage to snatch happiness before the darkness of World War II descends?’ (Thanks Amazon!)
The Girls of Mulberry Lane – Peggy, Maureen, Janet and Anne are our ladies of Mulberry Lane. Peggy is a hardworking landlady, wife to Laurence and mother to Pip and Janet. Maureen is a young woman who lost the love of her life Rory after being blackmailed by her controlling father. Janet is the daughter of Peggy, in love with Mike but held back by her father who refuses to allow her to marry. Finally we have Anne, a schoolteacher involved in child evacuations who is in love with her married headteacher.
This novel is set in the run up to World War II, and as my loyal followers will know, this is my favourite time period for historical fiction. Conscription is in its infancy, and young men such Pip eagerly wait to come of age so that they can sign up to fight in what they deem to be an exciting war. For others, such as Laurence, the memories of the Great War are still too raw and feelings of dread are flooding them.
I enjoyed following the stories of these women, particularly Peggy and Maureen, as they entered the uncertainty of wartime. I really understood what they were feeling, and I wanted to follow their stories. I felt that The Girls of Mulberry Lane gave a realistic depiction of women during early wartime Britain, as we learnt their hopes and fears for their friends, family and the future. The strength these women showed during this time is very clearly exhibited in this novel.
If I have any criticism it would only be for the ending – without wanting to give too much away I finished the novel wanting to know more about how the story ended for Peggy, Maureen and Janet. I felt it ended a little too abruptly for my liking. This however is the sign of a good novel…I didn’t want it to end!
Published in August 2017, this is a fabulous piece of historical fiction for 2017 – it’ll be hard to beat this in my opinion!
Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖
Thanks to Netgalley for my advance reading copy, in exchange for my honest review.