I read five 5 star books in April, so choosing this Book of the Month was a little harder than previous months. However, this is one of my all time favourite trilogies, so this had to be my book of choice. I’ll miss not having another book in this trilogy to look forward to. This is such a wonderful, nostalgic and emotional book. I highly recommend this whole trilogy to you all 🙂
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?
An utterly gripping and heart-wrenching story about the enduring power of love, hope and friendship during the darkest of days. Perfect for fans of Pam Jenoff, Nadine Dorries and Diney Costeloe.
Having absolutely loved the other two books in this trilogy, in fact they made it into my top ten books read in 2016, I was so incredibly excited about this book. At first I was a little disappointed to discover the third book to be published was actually becoming the first book in the trilogy. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about going back in time to before the two books I had already read and loved. However, any concerns I had were completely forgotten within minutes of starting this book, as I was reminded of why I love this author so much. Yet again, I was transported into the emotional fictional world the author had created and fell in love with the characters.
Set in the 1930s, this story has a feeling of fun and innocence to it at first, but as the characters grow up and the Second World War approaches, the story takes a far more serious turn.
Right at the beginning of the story I was already laughing about the smell of boy. I tease my husband for smelling of boy, so I told him what I’d just read and that I wished he smelt of strawberry jam and lemons, and was promptly told to shut up and get on with my reading, ha ha. I did love the humour. Sometimes the humour was dark, but it still made me smile.
I was so touched by the adorable observations of a 6 year old Brenda. I just wanted to squish her with cuddles:
‘I am too happy for my body.’
‘It’s the beautifulness of it, Maureen,’ she’d said very wisely. ‘Beautifulness can make you cry sometimes, don’t you think?’
While one side of the story was quite fun, there are some very serious situations these young characters are made to face and deal with throughout the story, which at times broke my heart. I felt like I was going through everything with them. It made me feel grateful I didn’t grow up during wartime. I did get my first job, working at a dog kennels and cattery on a farm, at 14 years old (working 48 hours a week in the summer holidays, and 8 hours a week during term time for 50p an hour), but I’m grateful that I didn’t have to and that it was something I chose to do. However, I did love the job Maureen got to do when she left school, and felt a little jealous, as I was eager to get involved with the sorting, dusting and rearranging with her.
Having read the later books, there was a moment in bed after starting this book, that I suddenly sat up and thought I had worked out the ending of the book in advance, as I remembered a surname of one of the characters in the later books. Needless to say it took me quite some time to calm my excitable mind and fall back asleep. I was right, but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book. In fact, I had tears in my eyes near the end, and I’m sure it’s because I already knew the later characters and what the future held for them. However, if you haven’t read any of this trilogy yet, I do recommend you read it in order, reading this book first.
This is beautiful and emotional story about growing up, friendship, love, grief and hope, and despite having finished this book a couple of days ago I’m still not quite ready to leave it behind me.
Where to find this book:
Click here to read my 5 star review of book 2: The Girls from See Saw Lane
Click here to read my 5 star review of book 3: Counting Chimneys
About the Author: