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Lovers and Liars - Josephine Cox
**How The Story Begins......**
Emily Ramsden lives at Potts End Farm with her mother and grandfather and her mother's brother. Her father deserted the family after his own mother died, his child died and the business started to fail due to bad seasons. For financial takeover Uncle Clem came to stay on the farm and paid off the outstanding debts. It is quickly evident in the book that Uncle Clem is not well liked.
Young Emily, who is around 16 years when the books opens in 1902, befriends and falls in love with John Hanley, a lad who repairs the farm vehicles. They keep their relationship a secret because they do not think that they will be taken seriously and know that particularly Emily's family will not like it. They talk a lot about the future, getting married, having children, getting rid of Uncle Clem and John decides to leave the area and go in search of work, long enough to raise funds enough to buy Potts End Farm off Uncle Clem and have a wedding with Emily. Emily hates the idea but John goes anyway, both knowing full well that he could be gone for a year or more.
The night John leaves Emily conceives a child (... and I am not telling you 'how' or who by - its relatively early on in the book still but I do not want any spoilers). Emily's love for John never failing she waits more than two years for his return but he does not come back to her. She becomes friendly with Danny who delivers the family's' milk each day - he is infatuated with her and Emily's child, Cathleen wants him as her Daddy.
The story continues, following both John and Emily living their separate lives, yearning for one another.
**How I Feel About This Novel**
I bought this book from a charity shop after having read Songbird by the same author and enjoying it.
One of the first things I noticed about this novel was the accented vocabulary. The family are living near Blackburn and as Cox writes as they would talk there are a lot of 'yer' (you), 'tekken' (taking) and 'allus' (always) thrown in to the vocab. This did make me feel like I too lived on Potts End farm as I read with the accent but also made it difficult at times, but to be more realistic it had to be done.
The book opens up all sorts of questions around how far you would go for a loved one. Would you keep loving or would you lie because you think its the right think to do? There is a great deal of both here and the consequences change lives forever.
I found myself endeared to Emily and desperately wanting her to be happy and for her John to return to her.
All in all it is a very 'nice' love story with a lot of reality thrown in. The novel being set in the very early 1900's also shows a lot about the lifestyle of folks back and what means they had to take to survive.
I really enjoyed this book and wanted to finish it to find out what happens. It was a great break for me from my usual style of books of true crime and fictional thrillers. I would definitely read more of Cox's books and would recommend this one.