December 2016

‘London Calling’ by Helen Carey

It will take more than Hitler’s Luftwaffe to break the spirit of the residents of Lavender Road. If courage and resilience could win wars, the conflict would already be over.

It’s not all harmony, though. Nurse Molly Coogan and would-be actress Jen Carter certainly don’t see eye to eye. Molly, despite hating the discipline of wartime hospital life, is unimpressed by Jen’s prima donna ways. Jen, unaware of Molly’s secret heartache, can’t resist taking her own frustrations out on Molly. It’s just as well that no one knows what challenges lie ahead…

From stolen glasses in the Flag and Garter to fancy dinners in the heart of the West End, from a desperate battle for survival on a hospital ward to a torpedo hitting its target in the Mediterranean Sea, LONDON CALLING takes readers into a world of ordinary people living extraordinary lives.

This is the fourth book in the increasingly popular ‘Lavender Road’ series.  I am a huge fan of Helen’s work and I have read the first book in the series called ‘Lavender Road’.  When I was invited to take part in the blog tour for ‘London Calling’ I  leapt at the chance and relished the opportunity to reunite with the residents of ‘Lavender Road’.

I love the time period that ‘London Calling’ is set in as I am very interested in the Second World War and in Modern British History.  I didn’t really know my grandparents so I couldn’t ask them what the war was like.  Reading Helen’s book really gave me a sense of the conditions of wartime Britain and the ways in which people suffered during the course of the war.  The book starts in 1942 when Britain was midway through the way, belts had been tightened and each household was suffering in one way or another.

I loved each and every character in ‘London Calling’ but I must admit that I developed a soft spot for the characters of Katy, Molly, Ward, Helen and Joyce.  Katy is the feisty landlady of ‘The Flag & Garter’, she works really hard and she is a good friend and a dedicated mother.  Katy is married to the adorable Ward Frazer.  (I am so jealous of Katy).  Ward is an all round good egg- he is a dedicated family man, he is passionate in everything he does be it work or a family life, he is handsome, he has women falling at his feet but he remains faithful to Katy, he is dedicated and he has a strong sense of right and wrong.  I really felt for Molly as she is a dedicated nurse but she is stuck on a ward where treatment does not often lead to success, in her eyes she thinks that she is not very pretty and she doesn’t have a lot of self confidence, which is not helped by Jen making sarcastic comments at Molly’s expense.  I could really identify with how Molly feels.  Again Molly is dedicated to her friends, her job and she refuses to be dissuaded from a particular course of action, if she thinks that she is in the right.  Joyce is a middle aged lady, who has survived an abusive marriage, she works hard in the café and manages to stretch rations far further than most people would even think possible.  She loves her children even though one of them treats her like dirt.  Joyce has a romantic interest but Joyce is a bit reluctant to get involved with him and I think that this could be self preservation as she doesn’t want to get hurt mentally or physically.  As to whether Joyce and her potential love interest actually do get another- well you are just going to have to read the book and find out.

This book is really well written and could easily be the basis for a television series.  Each character has their own little story but all of the mini-stories seamlessly link together to form the bigger picture. I don’t really want to say anything further about the storylines as I don’t want to spoil the enjoyment of ‘London Calling’ for anybody.   I think that ‘London Calling’ (& in fact the whole ‘Lavender Road’ series) would be ideal for TV adaptation.  All fans of period dramas such as ‘Call The Midwife’ or ‘The Nightingale Series’ of books by Donna Douglas would love it.  I found this book to be a real page turner and a ‘CPID’ (can’t put it down) book.  Even though the book is longer than most, I really didn’t notice the page numbers flying past and it was almost as if the pages were turning themselves over.

I LOVED this book and I would definitely recommend it to anybody.  I can’t wait to read the next book in the series ‘The Other Side Of The Street’, which is scheduled for release on April 6th 2017.  I have already pre-ordered it and I am counting down the days.  I would award ‘London Calling’ a very solid 5* out of 5*.

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