The Mothers of Lovely Lane by Nadine Dorries
Published: 15th June 2017
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Available in Hardback or on Kindle
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 porters' 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 byword for chaotic squalor. And now one son is in prison. Her youngest, 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, jealousies, rivalries and betrayals are woven into a rich tapestry – the latest instalment in Nadine's great series about poverty, sacrifice and community spirit in post-war Liverpool and the early days of the NHS.
Did your man nd his other leg, Noleen?’ Biddy Kennedy shouted across to the opposite side of Arthur Street, without any apparent consideration for those still asleep at that early hour of the morning.
Noleen Delaney failed to reply. She was lost in her own deep and tired thoughts as she hurried along in the half light towards St Chad’s. Her head was set against the wet early- morning breeze which ew up from the Mersey and whistled down Arthur Street, slipping into the bedrooms and kitchens of the blackened red-brick houses along the way. Noleen’s thin, cold hands were thrust deep into her pockets, her mind busy with the tasks of the day ahead. The soles of her shoes were so worn that she felt every chip of stone and discarded cigarette butt she trod on; they dug into her painful, corn- covered feet as she scurried along.
The night was reluctant to release its grip on the dockside streets. Morning fought to throw the rst shaft of light and pierce the gloom, and the cobbled roads glistened beneath the street lamps, freshly washed from the heavy rain that had fallen during the night. The clear plastic cover that Noleen had tied over her headscarf to protect herself from the rain as she left her night shift at St Angelus had now slipped down and hung like a hammock across the shoulders of her thin coat. It apped in protest as it strained at the damp string ties, cha ng her neck. She had resettled the cover on her hair twice already and there was no point bothering again. She abandoned any attempt to return home dry. What hair the wind didn’t claim, the mist would atten against her scalp before she had laid all her sinful thoughts and deeds before God, on her knees in St Chad’s.
Biddy frowned and placed her wicker basket down on the pavement. ‘Noleen, wait up, would you.’ She hurriedly slipped her front-door key, tied to the end of a long piece of string, back through the letter box and then slammed the door shut. ‘Noleen, wait!’ she called out, but again there was no response.
The air was lled with the sound of the rst tugs of the morning blowing their horns as they made their way out to the container ships that had been bobbing at the bar over- night. The tugs would lead them, steady as she goes, through the thick grey river mist that rested in a lazy haze on the surface of the dirty water and safely into dock. By the time the rst tug had completed its journey, the klaxon would have sounded, calling the men from Arthur, George, Stanley and Vince streets to the docks. Their boots would thud across the cobbles and down the worn sandstone dockers’ steps to the stand, and there the men would wait, hoping to be chosen to help unload one of the vast, cold, lthy holds of jute, wood or our for an honest day’s pay.
The Mothers of Lovely Lane is the first book by Nadine Dorries that I have read but I believe it is the fourth book in her Lovely Lane series of books. This did mean it took me a while to get into the story as there are so many characters to get to know, but once I had my head round who was who I loved this book and became totally absorbed in the world of St. Angelous and its staff.
Pammy, Victoria, Beth and Dana are all students nurses at St. Angelous and are currently splitting their time between the casualty ward and assisting the notorious Dr. Oliver Gaskell in the hospitals new operating theatre. Although we hear from each of these girls throughout the book I’d say the dominant storylines belong to Victoria who has to make difficult decisions regarding her future and Beth who is experiencing her first foray into dating.
Interwoven into the girls’ stories are those of other members of the hospital staff. Lorcan Ryan a newly appointed porter assistant is determined to make a better life for himself and his mother and not end up like his brother JT. Noleen Delaney is working herself ragged supporting her family of seven while husband Paddy mopes with his bad leg, she’s praying for a miracle.
I loved how all of the different characters each had their own unique voice but somehow they all worked together to create a thoroughly enjoyable read. I would love to have read her previous books in this series to learn more about some of the other characters but that’s purely because I enjoyed this so much.
One minor thing which bugged was I felt the ending left a lot of things unanswered with some characters, but I’m hoping that is because Nadine Dorries is planning another book in this series. If you’re a fan of Lyn Andrews, Diney Costello or Kate Thompson you are sure to enjoy this book.
Thank you to Head of Zeus for sending me this copy to review and also for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.