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After finally getting around to reading a book by my mother in laws favourite author, I was delighted to find that she was right after all, don't you jut hate it when that happens!
The book in question is - "Dancing till midnight by Rosie Godwin".
Grace Collins has always had a hard life. Orphaned at a very young age, and losing both of her parents in the Coventry blitz at the same time, she now finds herself being brought up by her spinster aunt Emily.
Emily promotes herself as a god fearing and upstanding member of the community, but behind closed doors she beats Grace and starves of her of not only food but also affection, could there be more to the care of the chid than she lets on?
Just as Grace feels she will never have a life of her own, she meets a wonderful and gentle man called Barry, but will he ever be enough......
I have to say before reading this I was looking forward to it being a wonderful and of course heartbreaking post war romance story, with the obligatory heart break and (hopefully!) make up, these type of books pull on my heart strings and keep me entertained and enthralled.
What I got was that and more!
The book is beautifully written, with an immense amount of detail and feeling, (I did cry a couple of times at the abuse of Grace as a child, though it is not gratuitous), with the story being told from a third party perspective.
There are random moments where the story (especially in Grace's adulthood) flips back to her troubled childhood, this is done in the form of a small chapter with the child's feelings written down rather than the actual scene, this is really lovely to read and gives a truer insight into her.
I have to say I started the book feeling a softness towards the main character, she is constantly searching and seeking her aunt's approval and affection and of course receiving neither, so when she meets someone who does give her a little affection she almost throws herself to him, which again is quite understandable, but what she does next (sorry, no spoilers here!) is unforgivable and makes me really dislike the character, though it did make me want to whizz through the book to discover what finally happens!
The characters are fantastic, there is a selection of either well to do'ers, or salt of the earth (my favourite's), who find that whatever life throws at them the only solution at times, is a cup of tea!
This is a fantastic book in it's own right, but for me the most fascinating part would be where the book is set....my hometown of Nuneaton.
I knew that Rosie Goodwin was a local author, with my mother in law saying she knew her from her childhood and rating her story writing abilities more than highly, what I hadn't expected was to know the person who had live in "Aunt Emily's" house, or even know the entire area that is featured within the book, an absolute delight for me to read, though I did get the impression that someone who wasn't familiar with the area would get a little annoyed at the constant reference to the surrounding areas and names of all the little places the characters visit within the book, there was an exceptional amount of detail in that respect.
But for me this added more depth and sincerity to the book, though at times I was more interested with the areas the scenes were set than the main character!
The underlying theme of the book is ballroom dancing, with there being a small paragraph in the back of the book, where Rosie refers to "strictly come dancing", a clever ploy I feel as it not only would appeal to the younger generation of reader (lets be honest it's one of the bigger Saturday night shows!) but also ties in with the times the book is set, my grandparents were both professional dancers, with many of these dances being available to hone their talents!
Price wise this would set you back around the £7.00 mark and is available from www.amazon.co.uk or www.waterstones.co.uk (for a little more!).
This really is quite a good book that with the inclusion of my hometown made it much more for me, recommended!
Thanks for reading x