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Ellie and Bonny have big ambitions and dream of being household names on the stage. After both going through wildly differing experiences of both evacuation and World War II itself, they meet in the post-war era and immediately bond. As they struggle to live out their dreams and find singing, dancing and acting work, their friendship is at times tested but their bond remains strong. Will either girl reach her ambitions in the precarious world of entertainment?
Although the book is titled 'Ellie', we learn a great deal about Bonny both before and after she comes into Ellie's life. The girls are very different entities, with Bonny being incredibly spoilt by her indulgent parents and having not too nice a nature. Both girls come from working class backgrounds (Ellie from London, and Bonny from Dagenham) but while Ellie is not afraid to play up her roots, Bonny is desperate to better herself and move on from her unexciting life. Ellie was a lovely girl and I took to her character straight away but Bonny was harder to like, although I still felt some empathy for her at times. Ellie is much gentler and often picks up the slack for Bonny's actions. Their friendship is very endearing and heart-warming. Both girls grow as people as the plot progresses through the years following WW2 and as their lives develop.
The book is written in the third person and frequently switches between the two girls. To a lesser extent, there is narration from more peripheral characters but there is much less frequent and the plot focuses predominantly on Ellie and Bonny.
All in all, it was a great read and offered interesting insight into both the war and post-war periods as part of the main plot. I really enjoyed the ins and outs of their lives as they struggled to find work in their chosen field and the relationships that they strike up along the way.
I love all of Lesley Pearse's books, so after reading her book 'Ellie' it came to no surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although most of her books are based on roughly the same idea of a tragic story of a girls life, the story of 'Ellie' still filled me with emotions and surprised me as each page was turned.
From the very start of the book, I immediately felt attached to the main character Ellie, a young, naïve girl brought up through the hardship of her families poverty and the 2nd world war. You see Ellie grow up into a mature and strong woman as she survives each of the tragedies thrown at her. I felt inspired by the determination Lesley Pearse gave her to use these hard parts in Ellies life for strength to achieve the ultimate dream of being a star.
But Lesley pearse not only wrote about the strong character of Ellie but also showed the life of bonny. Ellie's best friend. From a working class family, Bonny is ashamed of her less impressive past. Although beautiful, she is overly spoilt. You not only see how these girls changed through their life and to see their achievement but it show how much impact two friends can make on each other.
Through the struggle the 2nd world war and the result of falling for the seduction of two American airmen their relationship only gets stronger as they both use their talents to achieve the glamorous life they desire.
I never grew tired of this story as whenever I thought this book couldn't get any more exciting, Lesley Pearse would add more thrilling story lines so you would never want to put the book down. It made me feel greedy in the way that I wanted to get to the very end to see what would happen to these girls but I didn't want it to be over!
Overall I found this epic story inspiring yet heartbreaking and a pleasure to read. I hope that I am one of many to fall in love with this book and any others that Lesley pearse has wrote
Thanks for reading!
Ellie is a sweet-natured brunette, generous of heart with a sparkling smile and an accent which reveals her East End background. Bonny is beautiful and spoilt, with cascades of blonde hair, the brightest pair of blue eyes and a mouth like Cupid's bow. The two girls meet in London at the end of the war when, seduced by two American airmen, they pool their wits and resources and set off to make a living on the stage. Set against the hardship and austerity of post-war Britain, and the glamour and ruthlessness of life in variety theatre, their story is one of sacrifice and burning ambition. But most of all of a powerful friendship that lasts against all odds.