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It's February 1954 and nine-year-old Georgia is living in an orphanage run by nuns. Having been there for years after her mixed race background put off prospective foster parents, Georgia is taken on by kindly Celia and her husband. Fast forward a few short years and her world is turned upside down when she is cruelly betrayed by her foster father. Unable to stay in the house, she takes to the streets and starts a whole new life. Determined to use her vocal talents to her advantage, Georgia sets her sights at topping the charts but is it really so easy to turn your back on the past?
I have read quite a few Lesley Pearse books now and with the exception of Stolen, (which I wasn't very enamoured with and which was quite a departure from her tried-and-tested formula) I have enjoyed them all. This is another that didn't fail to disappoint. Georgia's relentless quest for success and fame made for a gripping read and was interspersed with many trials and tribulations, not least two deaths. As with most of the author's heroines, Georgia is a strong and likeable character. I loved her close friendship with Helen, who she meets soon after leaving home.
It's not the easiest of books to read at times though and there are some uncomfortable moments, including the events that lead to Georgia leaving home and the aftermath of this but thankfully it's not all like this and there are some heart-warming scenes too to balance things out, especially near the end with the introduction of a new character.
This is my first "adult", book review, so please be gently with your comments!!
The book I will try to review is Georgia by Lesley Pearse, the story begins like so -
It's February 1954 and the story begins in a south London orphanage run by nun's.
Georgia is the feisty nine year old at the centre of this story, due to era and the fact that she is half caste, Georgia was apparently abandoned as a baby and like so many other orphans has no sense of identity. After one of the many beatings that were regularly given out to the children, Georgia's path crosses with social worker Celia Anderson.
After falling in love with Georgia Celia fosters her immediately and for six years are blissfully happy along with Celia's husband and Georgia's foster father, Brian.
By the time it gets to Georgia's fifteenth birthday, she has bloomed and grew into a beautiful young lady, well cared for, loved by her foster parents and with a blossoming first love with a young man named Peter, that is until after her fifteenth birthday party, Georgia suffers the cruellest betrayal at the hands of her foster father, forcing her to run away leaving her foster mother and her true love, to pick up the pieces.
Georgia runs away to Soho and after a few very scary nights on the streets meets a disabled girl called Helen. They become roommate's and she is introduced to a world of strippers, prostitutes and salt of the earth characters that bring her out of her shell and become her new family.
After a few years and fired by a fierce ambition she becomes a singer, well known and wealthy , she has everything her heart could desire, until the skeletons that were well hidden in the back of her closet start to emerge, ( as they so often do with celebrities!), and turn her whole life around. She is forced to face the demons that she had so far avoided!!
This story is very addictive, one of those books that once opened has to be read from cover to cover. It is also very difficult to read in places, there is a far amount of brutality and death, so I spent half the time laughing out loud and half the time absolutely miserable and crying! (I became completely immersed in the story, so what ever emotions the author portrayed through the characters I felt deeply!).There was also a far amount of sex, which I feel adds to the story!! (I call these sort of books throbbers!!)
This book ,I was very lucky to purchase second hand from a book sale in my local library, it cost me the very delightful sum of 20 pence, but I would recommend buying this full price I enjoyed it that much.
The book can be purchased from - www.randomhouse.co.uk and the recommended retail price is £6.99.
Thanks for reading my review!
From the seedy backstreets of London's Soho in the 60s to the tough, sexy world of international rock-stardom in the 70s, Georgia sees it all-When nine-year-old orphan Georgia James is unexpectedly fostered by the kindly Celia and her bank manager husband she can hardly believe her luck. But then - on her fifteenth birthday - she suffers the cruellest betrayal of all at the hands of her foster father and is forced to run away, leaving everything she loves behind her. Penniless, sleeping rough, Georgia is soon introduced to the sleazy Soho world of brassy strippers, sweat shops, camaraderie and hardship. Fired by a fierce ambition, blessed with an extraordinary voice, her long struggle for fame and fortune begins. But even when she reaches the top she finds that the scars of the past can open up to ruin her-Steeped in atmosphere and raw emotion, Georgia is the story of a determination to succeed against all the odds and of a burning first love.