The Girls of Mulberry Lane by Rosie Clarke
Published: 1st August 2017
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
BlurbLove, marriage, birth, death and betrayal make up life in Mulberry Lane, perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries and Cathy Sharp.
Maureen Jackson is a prisoner of her father's blackmail. Three years ago, she'd been hoping to marry Rory, the man of her dreams. However after her mother's death Maureen was left to care and work for the overbearing father who claimed he couldn't manage without her. Now Rory is back in London with a pregnant wife in tow and reminds Maureen of the life that should have been hers.
Janet Ashley is the daughter of Peggy and Laurence, landlords of the local pub The Dog and Pheasant on Mulberry Lane. With the war looming, Janet hopes to marry her sweetheart Mike, but her father refuses to grant them his blessing. Going against his wishes Janet finds herself pregnant and Peggy is determined to hold her family together at all costs.
The Girls of Mulberry Lane is the first in a series set in London's East End during WW2.
The Girls of Mulberry Lane is the first novel I’ve read by Rosie Clarke and it tells the tale of three women who live on the lane Maureen, Peggy and her daughter Janet and their changing lives as war breaks out.
Maureen lives with her father and runs the local grocery store. Maureen gave up her dreams of marrying Rory the love of her life when her mother died and her father begged her to stay with him. Years later Maureen is regretting the decision as she’s beginning to feel trapped and when she meets Rory again and finds out he’s married someone else her heart breaks a little more. Maureen tries to open her heart to other men but despite his unavailability its Rory she still yearns for.
Peggy runs the local pub the Pig & Whistle with her husband Laurence. She’s an optimistic and hard-working women who just wants the best for her family, keeping them happy and safe when the war breaks out. Peggy seems the typical lovable landlady and is a favourite among the residents of Mulberry Lane as she is always seeming to be helping someone.
Peggy’s daughter Janet is eighteen and desperately in love with Mike, she’s looking forward to being married to Mike and living round the corner from her mum and being settled and happy. When Mike’s brother returns from the Navy and convinces Mike it’s something he should do to Janet’s future plans look set to be destroyed.
As war breaks out things change on Mulberry Lane and all three of these women have life changing journeys to work through. Janet is the one who has to face the biggest changes in her life as her love for Mike means she must make some difficult decisions which lead her through some traumatic times. I loved that despite the difficulties she faces Janet remains optimistic for her happy ever after and shows she may be young but she has an incredible amount of inner strength.
Maureen also faces big changes in her life as she tries to move on from loving Rory. I loved how much more confident she grew with wise words from her gran and friend Anne. Maureen’s gran was one of my favourite additional characters and regardless of her age she seems to go on and on. I loved how she wasn’t won over by her son’s devious ways and looking out for Maureen was her number one priority.
Peggy’s changes are not as dramatic as the other two girls as she realises her happy marriage is not as it seems but perhaps Peggy has further to go on her journey in the next Mulberry Lane book (fingers crossed).
I loved the way Rosie Clarke has totally captured the spirit of East End life in this book, warts and all. Even though the majority of the plot is just ordinary life as the residents adapt to the new wartime ways I found it fascinating. Among the more loveable characters such as Peggy, Maureen and Janet there are also some devious and truly awful people brought to life just as well, Rory’s wife Velma being at the top, she was such a heartless character with no shame.
As the book drew to a close each characters story is tied up loosely enough to end the book well but there is also things left which can be developed into another book which I loved. I enjoyed everything about this book and it was full of drama, romance and secrets and I found it a perfect example of its genre.
Thank you so much to Aria for the copy to review and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.