Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Released: 20th of April 2017
Ballroom dancer Alice Rooney seduces Jack Wood, a local boy from a good Tyneside family. With a little one on the way, Jack is forced in to a shotgun marriage. He vows to protect his baby daughter but his marriage is volatile from the start.
Damaged by her own dysfunctional childhood Alice shows not a scrap of affection towards little Lizzie. As Alice feels more trapped and unhappy, Lizzie becomes the focus of her frustration and anger. Lizzie's saving grace is her loving grandmother, Mrs Wood, who does her best to improve life for her whenever she can.
When Jack is drafted in to the Air Force at the start of WWII, Lizzie is left alone with her unstable mother and life becomes almost unbearable.
It's only when Mrs Wood steps in and introduce Lizzie to the Madame Bella's Academy for the theatrical arts, that Lizzie blossoms. Though still very young and innocent, will Lizzie fulfil her dream to escape her mother's clutches and leave Newcastle behind to pursue a glittering theatrical future? And will she be safe, if she does?
What I Have to Say
I think I just prefer books with a more defined plot arc. Books like this where there isn't one are all well and good, but I spent most of the book waiting for the story to really start, not realising that it actually already had. I mean it wasn't a bad story. It was interesting to see Lizzie grow up and the way that the abuse of her mother had an effect on her.
I do think that Lizzie grew up into a surprisingly good kid considering the lack of affection and the critical way her mother was towards her. I mean the amount of times Lizzie skipped meals to avoid conflict or was sent to bed without, I feel she probably should have been severely undernourished. Either way, I think that it was probably inaccurate that she would be such a put together person having grown up with a mother like that.
It was interesting to see how the family all banded together to try and look after Lizzie as much as they could though. I've never thought about how things were before child services and how kids could just suffer all on their own like that, so it was nice that they showed that, but also showed the father and his family doing what they could to support Lizzie and give her time away from her mother.
I would have enjoyed it better if it had been a more focused plot but it was a fairly good book overall.
My thanks go to Bonnier Zaffre and Netgalley for providing me with this copy for review.