Award: Awesome Indies: APPROVED
Author: Rosaline Riley
This is a coming-of-age novel set in the 1950s and 60s in Lancashire. Its point-of-view protagonist is Ellen, a working class girl who becomes friends with middle class Erica when she goes to the convent school in the neighbouring town. Focussing on both Ellen’s home life and her school life (which she tries to keep separate), the novel explores the gains and the losses that education and religion provide over the course of her school years. Thematically, it’s a novel about friendship, love, loss, and death. Social class is also dealt with lightly. There are dark passages in the novel, but also much humour. Each chapter is a month of the year – beginning with September to reflect the structure of the school year. This framework also allows for treatment of the seasons and the liturgical year. The months are sequential but the years are not. Between September 1959 and September 1966 the years go back and forth (with some flashbacks to earlier years).
Tags: Family memoir, Finnish foreigners, Married love, New life, Nordic book, Sisterly secret, Swedish language
Author: Helena Halme
A fascinating Nordic story of immigration, family secrets and sisterly love, set in Finland and Sweden in the 1970’s and now. ‘In Stockholm everything is bigger and better.’ When Pappa announces the family is to leave their small Finnish town for a new life in Sweden, 11-year-old Eeva is elated. But in Stockholm Mamma finds feminism, Eeva’s sister, Anja pretends to be Swedish and Pappa struggles to adapt. And one night, Eeva’s world falls apart. Fast forward 30 years. Now teaching Swedish to foreigners, Eeva travels back to Finland when her beloved grandmother becomes ill. On the overnight ferry, a chance meeting with her married ex-lover, Yri, prompts family secrets to unravel and buried memories to come flooding back. It’s time for Eeva to find out what really happened all those years ago…
Assessed for Awesome Indies
Tags: 1980’s books, Cold War submarines, Finnish language, Long Distance Relationships, Nordic Love, Royal Navy romance, True story
Series: The Nordic Heart Series
Publisher: Newhurst Press;
Author: Helena Halme
A stylish 1980’s Cold War love story based on true events. Young Finnish student Kaisa falls head over heals in love with Peter, a dashing newly qualified naval officer. Kaisa realised she’d never felt like this before. This was love. The stuff she’d read about in books since she was a teenager; the films she’d watched. This was how Ryan O’Neal felt about Ali MacGraw in Love Story, and Barbra Streisand about Robert Redford in The Way We Were. Kaisa grinned. She’d wanted to pose the same question to the Englishman that Katie had to Hubbell, ‘Do you smile ALL the time?’ ” When a young Finnish student, Kaisa, is invited to the British Embassy cocktail party in Helsinki to celebrate a Royal Navy visit to Finland, she’s not looking for romance. After all, her future has been carefully planned: she’s to complete her degree, marry her respectable, well-to-do Finnish fiancé Matti, and live happily ever after. Enter the dashing Peter, a newly qualified naval officer. Like a moth to a flame, Kaisa falls head over heels in love. Kaisa and Peter embark on a long-distance relationship, but at the height of the Cold War, while the Englishman chases Russian submarines, Kaisa is stuck in Finland, a country friendly with the Soviet Union. Can they trust each other? Can their love go the distance? A stylish 1980s Nordic love story based on true events.
Assessed for Awesome Indies (Previous title: The Englishman)
Publisher: Hardwick Press
Author: Carol Cooper
The lives of a disparate group of Londoners intersect one night as they each search for someone special. Dan is trying to conceal a stretch in jail, while time is running out for cancer-stricken Sanjay. Geoff is a stressed doctor with erectile trouble, and Michael is the kind of man best avoided. Lawyer Laure is desperate to rewrite her abusive past but, for single mother Karen, sex is a distant memory she hopes to relive. Undercover journalist Harriet doesn’t have an agenda, other than writing articles to repay her debt to her live-in lover. She’s only there on assignment, but soon she has to choose between the comfortable life she knows and a bumpy road that could lead to happiness. As they all discover, finding happiness with someone special means finding yourself as well.
Publisher: Keyes Ink
Author: Josa Young
A tale of love and loss told through four generations of English women, Sail Upon the Land traces 80 years of social turmoil. The story of an English family is told through the experiences of its mothers and children over the last eighty years. The book opens with Damson being raped in India during her Gap Year in the 1980s. She runs away, goes up to Cambridge to train as a medical student and discovers she is pregnant. The plot then goes back to Sarah in 1938. Desperately bored by her mother’s snobbish inertia she learns to cook and then becomes a VAD, falling in love with a doctor who treats wounded soldiers in her requisitioned family home. They have a fragile daughter, Melissa, who emerges into womanhood during the 1960s, marries a lonely and unhappy young man as shy as herself, and in turn produces another daughter – Damson. One after another, these mothers and daughters fail to understand and help each other until the third, Damson, is given a second chance.
Series: Silverman Saga
Author: Marilyn Cohen de Villiers
When Johannesburg socialite Brenda Silverman dies in mysterious circumstance in her palatial, well secured home, questions are inevitable. Did she commit suicide? Was it an accidental drug overdose? Or did her death have something to do with her husband? Alan Silverman is a handsome, charming businessman with impeccable credentials: a former political activist who fled South Africa in the 1980s and returned to help build the new democracy; a loving husband and devoted father; a pillar of Johannesburg’s orthodox Jewish community; and an intimate of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress elite. He is also a man hiding a terrible secret. Tracy Jacobs, a young journalist, is assigned to cover the story but as her investigations start to uncover cracks in the beautiful Silverman family facade, she finds herself in conflict with her own community. Will Brenda’s inquest finally reveal the truth? Spanning nearly forty years and three continents, A Beautiful Family confirms a horrible reality: that “things like that” can and do happen to people just like us.
Tags: Coming of Age, dating and relationships, family life, feminist fiction, humor, psychological fiction, rape fiction, sex and intimacy
Publisher: Sheer Hubris Press
Author: Sandra Hutchison
Will they or won’t they? Should they or shouldn’t they? It’s the summer of 1977 in a small college town, and physics professor David Asken has just lost his young family in a plane crash he somehow survived. Sixteen-year-old neighbor Molly Carmichael used to be the babysitter, but now will be keeping house for him while he recuperates. David’s quietly planning to end his life just as soon as he can drive again. Molly’s trying to cope with being known as Tampon Girl, thanks to a sculpture by her notorious artist mother, but she will have to deal with much worse after a drunken teenage party. In this engrossing coming-of-age novel by the author of The Awful Mess, both man and girl must grow up the hard way, and it’s their unexpectedly tender connection, fraught with potential scandal, that may just help them do it. This provocative novel asks: Is there ever a time when doing the wrong thing might be exactly right? Warning: Offers adult themes, bad language, violence, and a blistering feminist critique of how men always leave that crap in the bottom of the sink. May also keep you reading way too late into the night.
Author: Janet O’Kane
A Scottish village. A burning corpse. Some very dark secrets. Can recently-widowed Doctor Zoe Moreland discover who’s killing her patients in time to save herself from becoming the next victim? Recently-widowed Doctor Zoe Moreland moves from an English city to a village in the Scottish Borders for a fresh start among strangers unaware of her tragic past. However, any hopes she had of a quiet life are dashed by her dog finding a woman’s body in the remains of a Guy Fawkes bonfire. Although the last thing Zoe wants is to get caught up in a murder investigation, this changes when someone else dies unexpectedly and she herself narrowly escapes death. Determined not to become the killer’s next victim, she digs beneath the tranquil surface of the close-knit community to find out who is committing these horrible acts. And discovers that some secrets can be deadly.
Tags: contemporary women, humor, Literary Fiction, religion and spirituality, small town fiction, YA Romance
Publisher: Sheer Hubris Press
Author: Sandra Hutchison
In this witty and affectionate debut, a “heathen” divorcee, an unhappily-married priest, and a handsome cop get into an awful mess in a very small town.