Friday 31 March 2023

 A Mother's War


Mollie Walton

North Yorkshire, September 1939.

Rosina Calvert-Lazenby, the widowed matriarch of Raven Hall, must be strong for her five daughters as the war approaches. When the RAF come to stay, Rosina is intrigued by their charismatic – albeit young – sergeant. But is there time for love with the war looming?

Grace Calvert-Lazenby is twenty-one years old and ready for a new adventure. Joining the Women's Royal Naval Service, she trades the safety of Raven Hall for exhausting drills and conflicting acts of secrecy. It's not easy, but Grace knows that everyone has a part to play in what's to come.

With so much on the line, will Rosina and Grace have the courage to lead those around them into the unknown?


This first instalment tells the story of Rosina Calvert-Lazenby and her daughter Grace who joins the WRENS at the outbreak of WWII. They have had a privileged life until now and when Grace and her siblings are sent to different parts of the country, it is her mother Rosina who is left to look after the great house with minimal staff to help.

The army ask Rosina if they can use Raven Hall for some of their officers to have their meals and Rosina is only too willing to help the war effort, but also to have company and bring life back into the house. When a dashing young officer called Harry comes to the house, Rosina instantly takes a shine to him and he to her, but she is instantly aware that he is much younger than her and what will people think.

Grace trains to become a morse code breaker and becomes great friends with Nancy, who just happened to be one of the maids at Raven Hall before the war! Together they work hard, but also go to dances together and poor Grace, who isn't very street wise at first, learns the hard way that not everyone is as nice as they seem, even if there is a war on!

This was a thoroughly researched book and kept me interested from the very first page and as I love wartime sagas, this was right up my street! This was powerful, moving, beautifully written and I really can't recommend it enough.

I am off now to read the second instalment, A Daughter's Gift! 

Wednesday 15 March 2023

 Queen of Clubs


Beezy Marsh


This is the follow up to the fabulous Queen of Thieves and I couldn't wait to catch up on the women of South East London who earned their living thieving from the department stores in the West End of London.

This book starts with Zoe who is evacuated to the country during the war and is so excited to be leaving London and her uncaring mother. She loves her life in the country and when her mother decides it's time for her to come home, she knows she is going to hate it. 

Zoe wants to make a life for herself without her mother and so decides she wants to be a dancer and comes across Nell who is the owner of a nightclub called Rubies. Little does Zoe know that Nell is the leader of the female gang known as the Forty Thieves and it isn't long before Zoe is drawn in to a world which will test her to the very core.

Nell runs the nightclub Rubies (named after her daughter) with her partner Jimmy, who is well known on the London gangland scene. Zoe is smitten with Jimmy and it doesn't take long for Nell to notice this and this can only mean one thing. Trouble.

What a real page turner this book is. Full of suspense and sometimes difficult storylines to read about, but written superbly and with great insight into the world of the forty thieves, so hats off to the author for her thorough research. I said it about the first book (Queen of Thieves), but this would truly make a great film and I am chomping at the bit to read the next instalment!

 Thank you Beezy Marsh for taking me back to my birth place of South East London. It was a real treat!