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Saturday, 17 May 2014

Maureen Lee - The September Girls & Au Revoir Liverpool

These reviews were written by Maggie Perkovic and read live on the bookshow 15th May 2014
The September Girls
This is a quite riveting story of a family that decides to move to Liverpool
in 1920 because times were hard back in the "ol' country" and they had had a
bit of unexpected luck which provided them with enough cash for the ferry fare,
and to send money to Col's brother to get accommodation in Liverpool.
The description of their arrival is one of the best openings to a story I have
ever read, with the rain pouring down, them shivering in their thin clothes,
it was September, and the  brother not meeting them  as promised. So they
start to walk, no money left for fares, to find where he is. Colm, Brenna, very pregnant,
two little boys Fergus and Tyrone all weary and hungry when suddenly Brenna goes
into labour. She sends Colm off to find a policeman and Tyrone bangs on a basement door
to try and get some help.Nancy Gates, Housekeeper to the wealthy Allardyce family
opens the door and provides shelter and help for the stranded family.
Brenna gives birth that night as does the lady upstairs but the circumstances could
not be different. However as the story progresses Nancy becomes an honary grandma
to the family and eventually their lives become entwined with the family upstairs.
When war comes the two babies, now grown up serve in the forces together
and their mothers become good friends. Colm is involved in the new labour movement
and Brenna is unable to keep her little family together.
It was a good story and kept me interested right to the end.
Any criticism I had was that towards the end the author seemed to skip a few years
to fast forward the happenings and I was a bit suprised as she was meticulous in
her story telling at the beginning!!!Recommended even so.
Au Revoir Liverpool
Again set in Liverpool tells of an unhappy housewife with a domineering husband
who makes an error of judgement with her Step father which leads to her losing her children, and making a new life for herself in France where a former school friend lives.
With the collapse of France and the Resistance movement in situ she lives in a very
dangerous and decision making existence, a long way from her obedient perfect
wife back home. How she is reunited with her family and finds a true love among
the bombs is well written and quite absorbing. Also recommended. Maggie Perkovic

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