The Mothers Of Lovely Lane – Nadine Dorries

Bestselling author, Nadine Dorries draws on her Liverpool roots and her early experiences as a student nurse in the third novel starring the Angels of Lovely Lane. 

About Author 

Nadine grew up in a working class family in Liverpool. She trained as a nurse at the age of 18. It was the only pathway open to her from the concrete housing estate and poor background she desperately wanted to escape. Having a caring nature, it was a natural career choice. Nadine has been the MP for Mid-Bedfordshire since 2005. She has three daughters. 

Lovely Lane is a real place in Warrington. The books combine and knit together memories of Nadine’s memories of Warrington Hospital, Lovely Lane, Bewsey Road Nurses Home, where she lived and laughed and most importantly survived and the hospitals across Liverpool where she worked. 

The people who have inspired this series of books most of all are the patients she nursed. 

Other books available in the series:

The Angels of Lovely Lane

The Children of Lovely Lane 

The Mothers of Lovely Lane 

Information on Book

Noleen Delaney is one of an army of night cleaners at St Angelus Hospital. Son, Bryan has a good job as one of the hospital’s porter’s boys, but Finn has done something unheard of and passed his Eleven Plus exam. How on earth will they pay for his books, his grammar school uniform and shoes?

Bronia Ryan has battled depression since her husband died. Even in that poor neighbourhood her house is a by word for chaotic squalor. And now one son is in prison. Her youngest son, Lorcan, wants no part of a life of crime, but how can he ever escape? Or protect his mother from her vicious eldest son?

As usual, St Angelus is at the heart of things. Life and death, love and loss, jealously, rivalries and betrayals are woven into a rich tapestry. 

Extracts From Book 

pg. 45

“Both women turned their heads once again towards the window and looked out, each thinking about the past. The brakes on the bus squealed as they rounded the corner and the masts of the ships in the docks reached out from the blackness of the Mersey like fingers on the hand of a drowning man. The bus trundled away from the dockside and on up towards the steep incline that led to the hospital and Lovely Lane. The black glass eyes of windows shut tight in sleeping houses reflected the light from inside the bus and mirrored back the two women with their powdery pink cheeks and pale white faces, headscarves tired under their chins, each deep in her own thoughts. They looked on as shop worders pulled open their shutters and a very portly lady struggled up the steps to a processing plant and did battle with the huge mortice locks on the door.”

My Views 

I have to confess with this book, I did suffer a mid book slump. Does anyone else get this? However, once I had read another book, I did return back and completed it within a day or so. 

Nadine cleverly in her writing transported me back in time and placed me in to Lovely Lane where I watched the story unfold before my very eyes. It was almost as if I could touch the characters, smell the characters even. 

The story captured the difficulties with communities returning back to some form of normality after the war with the men returning and trying to find their place back in to society. It also reflected the great loss in people’s lives, not just with soldiers dying in the war but people dying when bombs were dropping over England. The community were slowly rebuilding their lives, however, there still was a massive scar within the community and the war in someway played a part in their lives everyday for example living with injuries or living within a stones throw of bombed out buildings. 

The female characters within this book are strong both physically and emotionally and almost keep the community together and look out for others, without any judgement which I only wished happened now more often. 

There was a strong community spirit which was overwhelming and so positive. You could feel the love and compassion which oozes out of the book. 

This is the first in the series I have read. But, I will be purchasing the others as I need to know what happened previously. I didn’t get the impression that you need to read the previous books to understand what is going on. 

Just a warning, you will go on the emotional rollarcoaster with some of the characters and you will go through a range of emotions, with one particular character, I just wanted to shout at them and tell them to pull themselves together (I don’t want to say who, as it will give away the story). 

At the conclusion of the book, I felt part of the community and they welcomed me into their lives.

Other Information 

Price 18.99

Copy of the book is available here.

Many Thanks to Nadine Dorries and Head of Zeus 

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Dear You – Tessa Broad

About Author 

Tessa Broad - novelist

Tessa was born in Suffolk and spent her early career in London working in marketing and event management for a number of different publishers and a children’s charity. She now lives in deepest rural Cornwall in an old farmhouse with her second husband and their cocker spaniel. She loves gardening, football and baking and has a passion for fashion and interior design.

Information on Book 

Tessa wanted children. At least two, possibly three but her body simply wasn’t playing ball. She embarked on the relentless treadmill of infertility treatment but to no avail. Tessa remained childless.

In this candid and moving memoir, Tessa writes to the children she never had. She writes to them as their adult selves with humour and honesty about her quest to have them, of the childhood she envisaged for them and the mother she believed she could be. Tessa shares what she lost and gained along the way and tells how she grew from a woebegone, wannabe mummy, to the woman she is now; childless but chilled, sailing through Mother’s Day with a smile on her face.

Despite this, we live in a world where women are still often defined by their fertility, and Tessa can still struggle to answer the simple question ‘Do you have children?’. The highs and lows, tears and laughter she describes in Dear You will give comfort and home to anyone touched by infertility.

Extract From Book 

‘So this lifestyle just makes sense to me; it suits me and my body. I have privately named this the ‘Kate; Nigella Principle’. Since my stint on the 5:2 regimen I now eat this way without paying it much attention. The leaner days are the Kate Moss ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ days but without the vodka and fags Actually the skinny quote doesn’t really apply but I do feel ‘light’ on these days and it feels good.’

My Views

Well, this book was a bit close to home. I know I now have two children, but initially I had a long struggle to conceive my two small humans. I had come to terms with the fact that I would be childless.

This book is brutally honest, but with compassion – a book, I feel couples who are currently either going through fertility problems or have made the decision to stop trying should read as they will realise you are not alone. Tessa’s story is so familiar it made me smile quite a lot and I made my husband read parts of the book as I was getting a sense groundhog day.

I hope Tessa continues to raise awareness around infertility as it remains a subject people do not want to talk about, and can be a lonely, daunting process which very few people understand.

I laughed, nodded in agreement and cried whilst reading this book and by the end angry at the ignorance people have not just joe blogs general public but even health professionals lack any empathy at how you feel during your “fertility journey”.

I just want to applaud Tessa and hope health professionals use your book and Tessa as an amazing resource to support couples going through fertility treatments to give a helpful insight to what it is really like. Well done Tessa !!!!

Other Information 

Price – £9.99

Book release date – 29 June 2017

Tessa’s website is available here.

Copy of book is available here.

Many thanks to Tessa Broad and Red Door Publishing 

 

 

 

This Family Of Things – Alison Jameson

About Author 

Photo by Leah Verwey

Alison Jameson grew up on a farm in the Irish Midlands, a secluded and beautiful place that continues to inspire her work. She is the bestselling author of This Man and Me, which was nominated for the IMPAC Literary Award, and Under My Skin. Her third novel, Little Beauty was published by Doubleday Ireland in 2013.

An English and History Graduate of University College Dublin. She worked in advertising for many years before becoming an author. Home is Dublin where she lives with her husband and son.

Information On Book 

On the day Midge O’Connor comes hurtling into Bird Keegan’s life, she flings open his small, quiet world. He and his two sisters, Olive and Margaret, have lived in the same isolated community all their lives, each one more alone than the others can know.

Taking in damage, sharped-edged Midge, Bird invites the scorn of his neighbours and siblings. And as they slowly mend each other, family binds – and the tie of the land – begin to weigh down on their tentative relationship. Can it survive the misunderstandings, contempt and violence of others?

A poignant and powerful study of the emotional lives of three siblings and the girl who breaks through their solitude.

Extract From Book 

pg. 186

‘They say drowning is one of the easiest ways to go’ Midge said and she was still on the ice but her hands were in her pockets and she was looking out towards the islands and the deeper water now as if that was her future. 

Bird did not reply but a thin vein of fear ran through him. The girl was in particular mood and he was worried about her. He felt like grabbing her and pulling her back but something stopped him. He did not want to show his own sudden panic, the terror he felt of losing her. 

They did not speak for a moment and Bird heard an owl whistling. God’s creatures, he thought. Out on the coldest of nights, a sweep of wings then as the owl descended to a mouse in a field, already dead and frozen.’

pg. 271

‘Her voice was raspy and wet from the cold of the water, her Irish accent still peculiar as it echoed around the tree lined valley. Michael fell first and then the woman, her red hair lifting upwards in a sudden umbrella on the surface of the water and then Midge knew what had happened, knew immediately that the woman’s older boys were missing, that they had strayed past the hidden shelf, perhaps following Midge out to where she was swimming.’

My Views 

This is the first book I have read by Alison. Initially, I was completely sucked in by the book. However, when the book split and Midge moved (I do not want to give too much away), I felt it was rushed and there was so much missed and I just wanted to learn more – that is how much the book sucked me in. I felt a little empty and dissatisfied as there was so much detail at the beginning of the book and towards the conclusion this was lacking.The story line is gripping at the beginning, however, part two could have easily been a separate book.

With regardsthe characters, I felt they needed more detail as the impression I had was these characters were incredibly complex. They were a little two dimensional and lacking in emotion.

It has not put me off from reading any further books by Alison. Remember, this is my views and you may enjoy the book more then I did and be left feeling something different. That is the joy of reading books, everyone feels different things.

Other Information

Price £13.99

Book Release Date 8 June 2017

Author Website available here.

Copy of Book available here.

Many thanks to Penguin Random House and Alison Jameson

Do No Harm – Henry Marsh

About Author

Henry Marsh has been one of the UK’s foremost neurosurgeons for thirty years. He has been subject to two major documentary films, Your Life In Their Hands and The English Surgeon, which won an Emmy. He was made a CBE in 2010.

Information on Book 

What is it like to be a brain surgeon?

How does it feel to hold someone’s life in your hands, to cut through the stuff that creates thought, feeling and reason?

How do you live with the consequences when it all goes wrong?

Do No Harm offers an unforgettable insight into the highs and lows of a life dedicated to operating on the human brain, in all its exquisite complexity. With astonishing candour and compassion, Henry Marsh reveals the exhilarating drama of surgery, the chaos and confusion of a busy modern hospital, and above all the need for hope when faced with life’s most agonising decisions.

Extract from Book 

‘Every surgeon comes within himself a small cemetery, where from time to time he goes to pray a place of bitterness and regret, where he must look for an explanation for his failures.’ 

Preface xi

‘If we are ill and in hospital, fearing for our life, awaiting terrifying surgery, we have to trust the doctors treating us- at least, life is very difficult if we don’t. It is not surprising that we invest doctors with superhuman qualities as a way of overcoming our fears. If the operation succeeds the surgeon is a hero, but if it fails he is a villain.

A brain surgeon’s life is never boring and can be profoundly rewarding but it comes at a price. You will inevitably make mistakes and you must learn to live with the occasional awful consequences. You must learn to be objective about what you see, and yet not lose your humanity in the process.’ 

pg. 81

‘It was busy work with more responsibility than my first job as a house surgeon, and with much less supervision. I learnt a lot of practical medicine very quickly but they were not always enjoyable lessons. I was at the bottom of a little hierarchy in the ‘firm’. My job was to see all the patients – most of whom were admitted as emergencies through the casualty department – when they arrived and to look after the ones already on the wards. I learnt very quickly that I did not ring up my seniors about a patient without having first seen the patient myself. I had done this on my first night on call, asking my registrar’s advice in advance of going to see a patient the nurse had called me about, and received a torrent of abuse in reply. So, anxious and inexperienced I would see all the patients, try to decide what to do and only dare to ring my seniors up if I was really very uncertain indeed.’

My Views 

I am fiercely protective of the NHS having worked for them for many, many years. Henry Marsh is one of the many doctors who keeps the NHS going and you can feel his passion and frustration about the NHS and first and foremost his passion with looking after each and every one of his patients. The brutal honesty, I deeply respected throughout this book.

You would think when initially picking up this book that it would be gruesome and you would be put off having any surgery, but instead it made me feel safe and proud that we have a free health system with health professionals working hard to maintain it despite what is going on politically and with management within the hospital.

You can hear Henry’s voice throughout his book and his truth about his own mistakes as well as his junior, didn’t make me cross or angry but instead just made me respect him even more. I only wish more healthcare professionals were as honest.

Henry has broken down each chapter with a different diagnosis and explains it in layman’s terms of what this means and discusses a patient he has had who has experienced this and the outcome. You are on the roller coaster ride with Henry the positives the negatives his happiness and sadness – but again, it is not a sad read it is inspirational and a book that you should all read. It will potentially make people feel very differently about the NHS.

Other Information

Price £6.29

Copy of Book available here.