Pam Howes returns to the blog with the third book in the Lark Lane series, and now the children we met in the earlier books are ‘all grown up
The Nurses of Lark Lane
A story that still is mostly focused on Cathy and her mum Alice: it’s been quiet in their little house with Alice’s husband in hospital after his foot injury during the war resulted in amputation. They aren’t quite living in clover, but without Jack and his abusive behavior and slovenly ways, things are ‘settled’ and everyone is happy. Cathy is getting ready to enter her O Level year – a critical step on her way to becoming a nurse. But, as things happen, Jack is released from the hospital and comes home to cause disruption and discord, sneaking in his girlfriend when Alice is at work and generally terrorizing the household.
Cathy is determined to go to nursing school, and with support and often firm talk from her Granny Lomax, her father’s mother, she’s torn between helping out the family and making her own way in the world. She’d given up her O Level plans already, working in cosmetics with her best friend in the large department store in town: and Jack is constantly harassing her for her pay, demanding that she pay her fair share of the expenses, while he uses his money for himself. With a new baby, Alice is not only depressed but she is beaten down, and nothing seems to bring a smile. Cathy is almost at the end of her rope, the only thing keeping her sane is Gianni and their new relationship, until she is accepted into a nurse’s training program at the hospital. She’s soon off for the first of the three years of courses, leaving the home mess behind.
Oh this was so typical Hawes in style and form – instantly you have people to cheer or jeer for, to empathize with, and are soon as close to them and their changing fortunes as if you are a neighbor over the garden wall. Post war Britain is still a struggle, although things have improved in the years since the last book ended: and there are plenty of pop-culture references, attitudes and even the dress to feel as if times are changing – and perhaps more quickly than some would like. I’ve loved the two books I’ve read in this series: the characters, their situations and even their struggles are clearly defined and easy to visualize, and caring about them is just like one would for friends. I’m determined to gather all of this author’s books and read them all when I want to get ‘away’ from the world and enter the one she’s created and borrowed from.
Title: The Nurses of Lark Lane
Author: Pam Howes
Genre: British, Family Saga, Friendship, Historic Elements, Historic Woman's Fiction, Post World War II, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Setting: Britain
Published by: Bookouture
Published on: 13 June, 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 33 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦Audible
Can she follow her dreams – against all the odds?
Liverpool, 1955. With her abusive husband drinking all her wages, Alice faces a daily struggle to provide for her family. Her eldest daughter Cathy has always longed to be a nurse, but when the family’s poverty means she’s forced to leave school and get a job – without the qualifications she needs – it looks like her dreams are over.
But Cathy isn’t willing to give up without a fight, and with the support of old friend – and new love – Gianni, she manages to secure a place as a cadet nurse, learning as she works.
Cathy knows that without her around, her mam must stand up to her violent husband alone – and that with less money coming in, Alice will be in danger of losing everything. What’s more, since nursing students must be unmarried, and Gianni is desperate to settle down, it’s not just her mam who hopes that Cathy will come home…
Can Cathy find a way to have it all, or will becoming a nurse mean leaving her family – and love – behind her?
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.