REVIEW OF THE GIRLS FROM SEE SAW LANE BY SANDY TAYLOR

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Brighton 1963. Mary Pickles and I walked along the street with our arms linked, looking in shop windows. We were best friends and together we were invincible.

Dottie and Mary forged a friendship over a bag of penny sweets when they were eight years old. They’ve shared everything together since then – the highs and lows of school, family dramas, hopes and dreams and now, at seventeen, they’re both shop girls, working at Woolworths.

As they go out in the world in pursuit of love and happiness, the simplicity of their childhood dissolves as life becomes more complicated. The heady excitement of first love will consume them both, but the pain of unintentional betrayal will test their friendship in ways neither of them could ever imagine…

A charming, heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting novel which brings a bygone era vividly to life. Fans of Nadine Dorries, Mary Gibson and Pam Weaver will love The Girls from See Saw LaneCounting Chimneys coming soon.

MY REVIEW 

Dottie and Mary have different ambitions.  Mary is artistic, she wants to study in Paris while Dottie wants nothing more than to settle down and marry. Elton Briggs and Ralph Bennett also have very different aspirations for the future.  One hopes to make it in the music business while the other’s horizons are fixed on training to become a plumber.

Mary is besotted with Elton’s dark, good looks and ‘give a damn’ attitude.  Ralph’s kind, quiet steadiness appeals to Dottie. While a determined Mary hopes to persuade the elusive Elton to go steady with her, Dottie and Ralph’s gentle friendship begins to develop into something more meaningful. But when fate takes a hand on the night of Ralph’s eighteenth birthday party everything changes.

As a child growing up in the sixties, I could really relate not only to the time but also the kind of hopes and dreams these four characters had.  I loved the close friendship between the two girls and the writer’s cleverly crafted and totally authentic description of daily life in 1963.  Although this was written from Dottie’s point of view, we see Mary’s thoughts as a diary entry at the beginning of each chapter. In this way we do get a feel for both of the characters. The writing style is easy and the plot takes you with it…you really want to know what happens next.

Mary, with six brothers, is pretty, clever and determined to eventually realise her dream of travelling to Paris to train to become an artist. She is also in love with Elton Briggs. Dottie feels she is an ordinary girl with average looks but as the book progresses you see how amazing she really is.

I thought the interaction between the members of the Perkins family was excellent and what a bunch they were – prima donna older sister Rita, planning her wedding and annoying little brother Clark, always quick with his witty comments (usually while sitting at the meal table). Dottie’s parents too produced some amusing and sometimes laugh out loud moments…and of course there was Aunty Brenda with her controversial comments.

As a reviewer I read an awful lot of books and, yes, there have been those with sad moments. It takes a rare book for me to reach for the tissues, but The Girls from See Saw Lane did just that and that’s what for me made this book very special.

Being the first of a trilogy, I’m now looking forward to the next chapter in the lives of these characters in Counting Chimneys which is out  next year. In the meantime my Amazon and Goodreads reviews will award The Girls from See Saw Lane a very well deserved five stars.

My thanks to Bookouture for giving me a free copy of The Girls of See Saw Lane in exchange for an honest review.

 

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