Christmas at Liberty's
When I first saw the cover of this book, I just knew I had to read it. What a fabulous, Christmassy feel it has!
This is the first book I have read by Fiona Ford and this one is the first in a series and after reading it, I honestly can't wait for the next instalment!
Mary thought she had an idyllic family life with her parents and sister, but when she is unceremoniously discharged from the Army and turns to her family to help her in her hour of need, they point blank refuse and cut her off, without even listening to her side of the story.
We don't find out what really happened to Mary before until later in the book, but throughout, her past catches up with her present and threatens to destroy her future as well.
Mary comes to London to find new lodgings and a job and sees an advert for a room with a lady called Dot in Elephant & Castle.
Alice also lives with Dot, but is pregnant with her first child and is struggling to cope with working at Liberty's and accepting the news that her husband is missing in action and doesn't know whether he is dead or alive.
Dot and Alice take Mary at face value and Alice manages to get Mary an interview at Liberty's in the fabric department. The only drawback to this, is that Mary cannot sew and doesn't know one end of a needle from the other!
Mary is interviewed by Mabel Matravers, who is notorious for giving new girls at Liberty's a hard time, but even Mary is in for a shock when Mabel finds out that Mary was discharged from the Army and makes it her mission to find out why and to make Mary's life hell in the process.
When Mary is put on a months' trial and is put under Flo's wing in the fabric department, little did Mary know that the next four weeks were going to be the hardest of her life and that so much would happen, both good and bad, but with the help of Dot, Alice, Flo and another Liberty's worker, Rose, the ladies would come to depend on each other in more ways than they could possibly imagine.
All the characters in this book were fabulous in their own way. Mrs Matravers was a conniving, manipulative, yet lost soul, who in some ways, you couldn't help but feel sorry for.
Excellently written and researched and this book leads us into what I hope will be a saga that could go on for another few books and I certainly can't wait for the next one!
Thank you Fiona Ford for writing a wonderful saga of London during WWII and especially as some of it is based around my hometown, South East London!
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