From the bestselling author of The Angels of Lovely Lane, The Four Streets and Ruby Flynn.
Noleen Delaney is one of an army of night cleaners at St Angelus hospital in Liverpool. Since her husband was injured in the war, she has supported her five children. With help from her eldest, Bryan – a porter’s lad – the family just about gets by.
When Finn, her youngest, passes the eleven plus exam, Noleen feels faint. Allowing Finn to attend the grammar will stretch her purse too far.
When Bryan steps in to help, the results rock the St Angelus community. As the nurses of Lovely Lane near their final exams, Noleen will find herself tested, and her heart broken. Just how far can a mother’s love stretch?
What does TWG think?
I don’t think I had ever read a Nadine Dorries book before this one. I had heard of the author and I was aware of her literary success, but still I hadn’t picked up one of her books. Shameful. Utterly shameful.
Because ‘The Mothers of Lovely Lane’ is book number three of the ‘lovely lane’ series, I was a bit anxious about reading it just incase I should have read the previous books beforehand. Luckily there didn’t seem to be an issue, which meant that I was able to enjoy the storyline without feeling like I was missing something important. That said, there were a lot of characters to keep track of, and just like any other storyline with a lot of people, I did end up confused. Not that hard to do, to be honest!
Recently, sagas and historical fiction novels have been high on my list of favourite genres due to the complexity of knowledge that just oozes from every page. Reading ‘The Mothers of Lovely Lane’ made me feel as though I was constantly learning something due to the fantastic attention to detail, and the level of historical knowledge.
Set in Liverpool just after the war, ‘The Mothers of Lovely Lane’ is mostly centred around the national health service, and the various changes surrounding the health care during the war and after. I found those parts quite hard to read as they were so raw and incredibly poignant. When you sit back and think about it, it’s crazy to think that our country was once like that. It really hit home. Just by reading the book, it made me realise exactly how difficult and emotional those times were.
On the other side of the coin, I was moved by the level of community spirit within this novel. I have never, ever, seen anything like it. It really made me quite emotional that the characters went to such lengths to protect their own, and support who they loved. Absolutely incredible.
Hats off to Nadine Dorries for creating such an incredible main character in Noleen. When you read this book, you’ll see exactly what I mean, but, hand on heart, Noleen is the type of person who would walk around naked just to ensure her children had clothes. Even now, days after finishing the book, Noleen still has a hold over me. If you have someone in your life like Noleen, treasure them.
Such a heart-breaking, poignant, and emotional read which will no doubt stay in your heart for a very, very long time. Wow.
‘There’s a change, Lorraine. Is there any reason why you spend more time in the Delaneys’ kitchen these days than you do in your own?’
Lorraine had the good grace to blush. ‘Mam, Mary is my best friend, that’s why I go there. She has to help her mam a lot with all they have going on and her mam working nights.’
‘Don’t give me that, Lorraine. I gave birth to you, I know you. I think your attraction down at the Delaney house has more to do with their Bryan than your mate Mary.’
‘Mam!’ Lorraine almost shouted. ‘Don’t say that so little Stan can hear.’
Maisie wrung out her dishcloth and began clearing away the detritus of the Tanner breakfast table. She piled the bowls in the sink then took a packet of cigarettes out of her apron pocket. It might only be eight thirty but her hair was neat – hard from six days’ application of Get Set hairspray – and her lipstick fully applied. ‘Don’t be daft, love, I won’t. But I am right, aren’t I?’
She leant her back against the range and, tipping her cigarette packet upside down, tapped the bottom until one fell out. She lit it on the ame from the pilot light. Blowing the smoke upwards, she said, ‘Look, love, all I would say is take care. You are only young. Bryan has a lot of responsibilities and he is keen to get on. I don’t want you to be having a broken heart.’ She blew her smoke into the air.
Lorraine placed her school books into her wicker basket. ‘Do you like him though, Mam?’
‘Lorraine, I’ve changed his nappy and wiped his nose enough times, of course I like him. I like all the kids around here. We are really just one big family. It’s not that. You are still at school and he is working now, up at the hospital, and he has his da to look after. I just don’t want you to go getting hurt, that’s all. Have you told Mary?’
‘Well, love, if I can give you any advice, it is this, never let a fella know you fancy him. Even one who pushed your pram when you were in it.’
‘Oh, God, he didn’t, did he, Mam?’
‘Of course he did. We used to put you and Mary next to each other and send Bryan off to push you up and down Vince
Street so we could get the washing done. Play hard to get, it’s the only way.’ Maisie turned back to the sink to ick her ash down the plug hole and looked out of the window. ‘Oh, here we go, your hairband is walking up the path. I bet little Stan swapped it for little Finn’s comic. Now let’s see what a good mate Mary Delaney is.’
Lorraine looked up from her basket and out of the kitchen window, into the back yard. ‘Stanley!’ she screamed at the top of her voice, as Mary Delaney walked in through the back gate, proudly wearing Lorraine’s hairband.