Brighton 1930: Maureen O’Connell is a carefree girl, but her family is on the brink of tragedy, war is looming and life will never be the same again.
Jack and Nelson have always been dear friends to Maureen. Despite their different backgrounds, they’ve seen each other through thick and thin.
As Maureen blossoms from a little girl into a young woman, the candle she’s always held for Jack burns bright. But just as she’s found love, war wrenches them apart. The man she cherishes with all her heart is leaving.
When the bombs start to fall, Maureen and her family find themselves living in the most dangerous of times. With Jack no longer by her side and Nelson at war, Maureen has never felt more alone. Can she look to a brighter future? And will she find the true happiness she’s dreamt of?
What does TWG think?
Kicking off a brand new month at TWG HQ is an author’s blog tour courtesy of the rather popular (and fabulous) publishers, Bookouture! Bookouture authors have appeared on TWG once…or twice (cough, cough), so it gives me great pleasure to introduce author of ‘The Brighton Girls Triology’, Sandy Taylor, to TWG for the very first time! Today I have the pleasure of being one of the tour blog tour stops on Sandy’s blog tour for her new book, ‘When We Danced at the End of the Pier’. Hope you enjoy my review!
Sandy Taylor is a brand new author for me, I hadn’t come across her work before but seeing as I have become a huge fan of the historical fiction genre, her book was recommended to me so I gave it a go. What drew me to the storyline at the start was the fact it was predominantly set in Brighton. My family had a lot of ties to Brighton many moons ago so even though I wasn’t the family member to grow up there, reading Sandy Taylor’s novel made me feel as though I was going home. Strange huh.
Unfortunately I struggled with the first quarter of this novel, as I couldn’t quite get to grips with where the storyline was supposed to be heading. At first the storyline was centred around Maureen as a child, living her childhood with her new found friends, as well as trying to understand her family’s issues. Whilst that was still pleasant enough to read, I couldn’t help but want that little bit extra depth.
As the storyline started to unfold, the gritty nature within the book became more apparent. Maureen had become an adult and the war was just around the corner. Whilst the historical factor of the novel was bold, I found that the storyline seemed to focus more on the personal relationships, as well as dealing with a loved one being called up to serve in the war. I loved how it all seemed to personal and, seeing as most historical fiction novels put the history first as opposed to relationships, it was really refreshing to read a book in that genre from a completely different angle. We are all aware of the war times, we can find out the main facts in a couple of seconds thanks to Google, however, we aren’t aware of the personal side. How did the women feel to have their sons/brothers/boyfriends/husbands/friends called up to serve in the war? Who would be the one to let their loved ones know that they had died in combat or were missing in action? What if they were injured and unable to fight in the war, would they be brought back to their loved ones at home?
They are all questions that google can’t really answer unless someone from the war sat down and had an interview. Well, until Sandy Taylor’s novel came along. Yes I struggled with the book at first, but at least I’m honest about that. I also need to be honest that once the storyline showed more love and emotion than ever before, I fell in love with the characters and their lives. Struggling with the novel was a thing of the past. When Sandy Taylor wrote about the bombs falling and loved ones getting caught up in the devastation, I actually became quite emotional as I had never read about the war times so black and white before. Reading the emotional words that the author had given her characters to say gave me goose bumps. I can’t even begin to imagine what on Earth was going through their heads at the time of the bombing. All I do know is that the author has captured those devastating, real and emotional moments rather poignantly, and beautifully.
‘When We Danced at the End of the Pier’ is a truly humbling and emotional read which will leave you thinking about those who fought for our country and for what they believed in.
Such a heart warming and spell binding novel, full of raw emotion, devastating circumstances and friendships strong enough to last a lifetime.
Thank you Bookouture.
Make sure you follow the rest of the blog tour for Sandy Taylor’s new novel, all of the bloggers on the tour are listed below. Huge thanks to Bookouture & Kim Nash for inviting me on such an eye-opening blog tour.