For transparency I received this book as a prize for being selected as the best story in the Dandelion Anthology’s Love Ever After which I am part of, it in no way has affected my review or influenced the final rating I give it…
We begin as always with the blurb taken from Goodreads.
Kerry tries to protect her sister but she can’t protect her mum or herself from Bill, her stepfather. He’s mean and volatile and likes to drink.
When she meets Tommy, they fall in love and she finds out his last girlfriend brought trouble to his nice normal family. Not wanting to jeopardise their relationship and do the same, Kerry tries to keep her secrets behind closed doors.
Eventually, the bruises and the lies tell their own story. She can’t hide the fact Bill is wrecking their family and deeper family issues threaten to destroy the best thing that ever happened to her – Tommy.
A coming of age story set to a backdrop of seventies music and fashion.
I was born in 71 so although my teenage years were spent in the 80’s there are many things that were not that different, Although there was no abuse in my house, I can certainly relate to a time where dad held all the family finances and mum received an amount of cash each week to pay the bills and take care of the house. I remember the cheesecloth tops, and my dad telling me I was not leaving the house when he judged a skirt to be too short, the reality for my generation as well as the previous ones was that it was normal for a parent to give you a backhander or a clip round the ear, that parents demanded respect and the phrase ‘living under my roof’ was one every teenager heard at some point,
Luckily Kerry finds a knight in shining armour, not a trope I normally like but I fully appreciate in this time it was almost impossible for a female to escape an abuse patriarchal figure alone. I was fully immersed in this book and read it in one sitting, however there were two small niggles.
First, was Howard, he is introduced as Kerry’s boring boyfriend, a complete contrast to the sexy hero Tommy, but within few days of their break up he is suddenly at a house party thrown by friends of Tommy, it just jarred slightly because if he had been the party type Kerry might never have looked at Tommy (well okay she might still have had a sneaky peek but she wouldn’t have dumped Howard and flirted). The second was the Irish Issue, it is brought up that they are on opposite sides of the religious divide, yet neither set of parent raises this issue, and as Catholics I would certainly have expected Tommy’s parents to at least talk about it even if the were not practising Catholics, especially when he moves to join her in Ireland and proposes, this is the 70’s after the Bloody Sunday Massacre, so even if neither parent cared about their different religions they would certainly have been scared for them.
All that being said, these were not niggles that I thought about until after I finished the book, and let me say, it should have a warning on the front, telling you to grab the tissues befoer you start reading, because you are going to need them.
So the final rating is a blubbering five out of 5 stars.