This is a review of the 2004 book 'Against the Odds' by Lynda Page. I wasn't expecting a lot from it as it was promoted on the back cover as a must read for Catherine Cookson fans (of which I am not particularly!). I do, however like the odd flutter on the horses so a book about betting is what sparked my interest.
A bit about
The book is set in the mid 1960s and begins with the main protagonist Lynnie Downs and her friends having a quick gas after work before their tea and we immediately have a bit of insight in to their lives as they are tempted to buy cheap goods from the local woman who cheats the system by stealing catalogue items. Lynnie's brother Ray is in prison having been caught out in one crime too many and the family are hoping he will be let out in time for Lynnie's marriage to her fiancé Ozzie. Lynnie's job is also a main setting in the story, at the local bookies where she works on the counter taking the bets.
This book was a really steady read and certainly not too challenging. It was interesting to read how the families made ends meet by using their local contacts wisely but the family's turn to honesty was also quite refreshing even if it meant they had to eat cheap sausages.
Whilst the book held a gentle pace throughout, a few themes were covered, including Lynnie's efforts to get the neighbours to accept a mixed race couple and their children - hard to believe now but it showed the ignorance of the masses at the time. Crime and punishment is also touched upon, with harsh realities for those who are caught on the wrong side of the law.
I loved the description of the night before Lynnie's wedding when her mother and friends are putting together the wedding buffet. Times are hard but everyone pitches in to help send her off in a respectable manner.
Twists and turns
There are a few surprises in the book which I didn't really guess so it's worth reading just for the few revelations that are made.
I found I have read one other book by this author which I mildly enjoyed ('A cut above') and I would say this one was about the same, an interesting light hearted read that definitely did not challenge me enough! Nice to pass the time of day but not one that rocked my world.