The Girls of Mulberry Lane
Book 1, The Mulberry Lane Series - A heart-warming, war time family saga
This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.
1938, Mulberry Lane, London. War is looming, but on Mulberry Lane there are different battles being fought... Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries and Cathy Sharp.
Maureen Jackson is a prisoner of her father's blackmail. Three years earlier, she'd been hoping to marry Rory, the man of her dreams. However, after her mother's death, she was left to care for her overbearing father. Now Rory is back in London with a pregnant wife in tow to remind Maureen of the life that should have been hers.
As war threatens, Janet ashley hopes to marry her sweetheart Mike, but her father refuses to grant them his blessing. Defying his wishes, Janet finds herself pregnant and her mother Peggy is determined to hold her family together at all costs.
Will the girls of Mulberry Lane manage to snatch happiness before the darkness of World War II descends?
Order the next book in the series out JANUARY 2018 - A Wedding at Mulberry Lane.
these are characters that stay with you, and call you back.
London is preparing for a war, with the drumbeats on the horizon in 1938, Mulberry Lane and her residents in London’s East End have just started to find some sort of normalcy in life, but after the last war, nothing is ever quite the same. Spanning a 2 year period, the story focuses on Maureen, stuck caring for (and managed by) an overbearing father, she’s lost much of the hope she had in love and its power to transform her life. Returning to Mulberry Lane we also meet Rory, love of Maureen’s life but with a new, and pregnant, wife in tow. Janet, with her parents Peggy and Laurence run the Dog and Pheasant, the pub on the lane. Janet wants to marry Mike and start her life, but her father refuses to let them marry. Laurence was never quite the same after returning from the last war, and the last thing he wants is for any of his children to know that heartbreak and hardship. Both of his sons want to sign up, and his daughter wants a man who will more than likely go to war as well. With his own worries about being returned to duty, and his fear for his own children, Laurence is adamant that life stay the same for his little family, and the war doesn’t intrude.
As in most places, there is a center for the activity, advice, conversations and dream sharing, and that just happens to be the local pub. See Mulberry Lane is like most of its day: a small neighborhood within the city, where everyone knows everyone else, friendships are a given, and advice is free flowing. Quickly Clarke develops the story and presents the characters, flaws and all, to the reader, allowing us to see the spoken and unspoken, interactions and avoidances, and even the gossip and worry that the war will bring to the country and the lives of those we are getting to know.
While Maureen is dealing with love lost and her own family issues, Janet overrode her father’s refusal to marry and has ended up pregnant, now married to a serviceman and realizing that life as she imagined it is a far cry from her often romantic fantasies. Her mother Peggy is always willing to listen and lend a hand, with advice and time, but Janet’s realization that marriage, particularly in these troubled times isn’t easy, and she isn’t quite mature enough to actually find her own coping mechanisms, relying on Peggy who has plenty to deal with when it comes to her own marriage.
Each character is well-rounded and presented as a functional being, we see them change and grow, feel their slights and the slow adjustment of their dreams, struggles and actions. Yes, despite his wife, Maureen still yearns for Rory, although tied into caring for her father and discovering his misdeeds becomes more of a burden, daily. A true ‘slice of life’ story that keeps readers wondering and learning, providing answers and new questions nearly every page. While not a particularly action-packed read, it is character and motivation driven, with enough drama to keep readers engaged while telling the story. Yes, there are still some questions and some situations that aren’t fully resolved, but these are characters that stay with you, and call you back. I’m ready for the next.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
First book in a new British historical series!
The Girls of Mulberry Lane by Rosie Clarke is the first book in The Mulberry Lane series (1938). We are swept back to London’s East End on Mulberry Lane in 1938. War will be breaking out across Europe and England will soon be getting into the fight. Peggy Ashley and her husband, Laurence own the Pig and Whistle pub in London’s East End. Peggy is the mother figure to the people of Mulberry Lane. Maureen Jackson is Peggy’s closet friend. Maureen wanted to marry Rory Mackness after her mother passed away, but her father used emotional blackmail (playing sick) to keep her at his side. Maureen takes care of her father and runs their little discount store on Mulberry Lane. She still loves Rory, but he moved on when she would not leave her father. Rory is now married and full of regrets. Janet Ashley is eighteen years old and is in love with Mike Rowan. Mike is ready to enlist in the Navy, but he wants to marry Janet before he departs. Laurence refuses to give his blessing and sign the necessary papers (Janet is underage). Mike knows there is one way to ensure they are able to wed. Two young people in love cannot be denied their passions. Janet ends up pregnant and quickly wed with Peggy’s blessing. The Ashley family is divided and Peggy wants to find a way to bring them back together. Is there a chance of happiness for Maureen? Will Peggy be able to heal the rift in the Ashley family?
The Girls of Mulberry Lane is a well-crafted novel. It contains good writing and the book is realistic of the time period. You can tell the author did her research for this novel. The book has a slower pace, but it suits the story. The characters were brought to life. As a reader, I could feel their struggles, heartaches, love, joy and regrets. The book contains British slang that was common during that time period. It added realism and flavor to the story (did not feel like an add in). My rating for The Girls of Mulberry Lane 4.5 out of 5 stars. I was drawn into the story and my attention (for the most part) was held. There were a couple of slow areas, but they were few. I like this gritty yet hopeful novel. It contains real life struggles that people encountered during this era (as they prepare for another war). We get to see the characters overcoming adversity. The book has hope, love, friendship, secrets, sacrifice, and the ties of family. The Girls of Mulberry Lane is a lovely, wholesome story that I enjoyed reading. I am looking forward to reading A Wedding at Mulberry Lane when it comes out.