Lynda Page comes to the blog with the second book in the Grundy Family Saga, and delving into the world of traveling fun fairs in
All is Fair
Told from multiple perspectives but all centering on the Grundy Family, the concept of ‘family saga’ has been enlarged to include the many different workers and families who move with the fair during the season, and becoming like family as they share successes and failures, hard work and new environs every week. Hard to solidly date, but feeling very post-war England in the 50’s perhaps, the story mixes these tales of each highlighted character with the camaraderie, secret sharing and support that one would hope for.
For Julie – all her dreams are still to be realized as her husband isn’t the man she hoped for, and her life is rarely in her own control. He’s the lead rider in the daredevil motorcycle act, egotistical, sharp tongued with an even sharper temper, and her embarrassment at his maltreatment has left her silent, despite some having ‘feelings’ that all was not as it seemed, or that her best friend actually witnessed her abuse and later confirmed her husband’s adultery. It’s not until he’s killed in a training run, a ‘mishap’ with one of the newly tweaked bikes leading to his death, and Julie’s subsequent rise to ‘leader’ of the team (after much ‘stern’ talk from the women in Sol Gundy’s life. There’s his wife Gem and daughter Jenny – newly discovering her birth parents after being given away to adoption as an infant by her maternal grandmother. Sol’s still struggling with the tumult and grief following his own father’s death, and his older brother’s fury at not being named heir to the fair. Self-doubt and the struggle of juggling all aspects of the fair have him feeling inferior – and it’s not until the very unusual Velda, the fortune teller, gets him to speak of his fears that his more than capable wife helps him to see sense.
There’s Tom, new to the fair and sounding more like the lord of the manor than any other of the casual men – with impeccable manners, hardworking and an instant attraction to Jenny. The Grundy brothers Robert and Jimmy – both solidly supportive brothers with Jimmy more in the footsteps of his uncle, one who couldn’t keep one woman but needed many, and Robert who quietly goes about doing the right thing and believing that Jimmy is so ‘flash’ that he’s got nothing to offer a girl he may fancy, until he does. Then there’s Renata who runs a sweets stand and is finally utterly in love and living with her man Donny – she’s a little person with a big heart, big sense of humor, plenty of nosiness and a love of laughter and gossip. When you add in Velda – the fortune teller who’s just a bit different from the expected, and her close friendship with Gem and her supportive words full of kindness and sense to all – there are plenty of people that you come to know, all falling into place in ways that make it feel as if you are there amongst them.
A lovely and light read where secrets kept close feel so much more ominous than they actually are once shared, plenty of support and a touch of intrigue with the fair being conned twice in one season – the story reads easily and holds interest throughout. From modern and innovative ways of dealing with personnel, as well as a determination to provide loyalty, fun and a supportive shoulder to the workers, the story is intriguing and a clever glimpse into a world that feels so very foreign, yet without the moving about, is familiar to all.
Title: All is Fair
Author: Lynda Page
Series: Grundy Family Saga #2
Genre: Family Saga, Historic Woman's Fiction, Setting: Britain
Published by: Canelo
Published on: 29 November, 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google
Through highs and the lows, good times and the bad, life on the fair is unforgettable
Julie and Dicky Otterman arrive at Grundy’s fair with an extraordinary new act: the motorcycle extravaganza, The Wall of Death. This seemingly happy couple are the talk of the town, but all is not as it seems, and Dicky’s dark and violent nature means Julie lives in constant fear.
There's always plenty happening at Grundy’s fair: Gemma knows Velda's secret. Renata is finally with Donny. New member, the well-spoken Tom, catches the eye of Jenny, the Grundy’s lost daughter, returned to the fair very recently...
Meanwhile, Sonny is away, angry and plotting. Amidst all the challenges the most worrying of all is betrayal from those closest to you. One thing is for sure: life on the fair is never simple.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.