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A wonderfully involving family story that begins in Liverpool at the beginning of the Second World War and spans forty turbulent years. Liverpool, 1939. The Second World War is about to start when pretty Laura Oliver meets Queenie Todd. Laura is twenty-one and happily married. At fourteen, Queenie lacks Laura's confidence and has been deserted by her good-time mother. The two become friends, but when the air raids begin Queenie is trusted to look after two young children, and the three of them are evacuated to a small town on the coast of Wales. At first, it is a haven of peace and quiet. The girls have a wonderful time - and then something happens, so terrifying that it will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780752858913
ISBN-10: 0752858912
Format: Paperback
(196mm x 129mm x 39mm)
Pages: 608
Imprint: Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publish Date: 1-Apr-2004
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » If you love family sagas then this latest drama from award-winning author Maureen Lee is a must. Set in Liverpool in the Second World War, it follows the fortunes of Queenie, abused and then abandoned by her mother, who finds compassion, friendship and eventually love amongst the people who take care of her. When she is given the charge of two little girls as they are evacuated to Wales she shields them from a traumatic incident but the tragedy will haunt them for the rest of their lives. What makes this type of novel a compelling read is the opportunity to watch many different characters' lives unfold as they grow up, fall in love, raise families, suffer betrayals and great sorrow. Maureen Lee successfully weaves together the fates of rich and poor in war as well as the decades of peace which follow and this makes for a substantial read. Most of the characters have flaws and weaknesses which add to their appeal and there is a sense of life lifting off each page. Lee has written many books set in Liverpool and captures the character and voice of the city accurately. She also taps into what all fans of this genre enjoy - a nostalgia for the past which doesn't gloss over its failings. The pace of the action is fast and wide-ranging which does not really allow for great insights into human nature or hidden depths for character, but to be frank that's not the book's aim. It's great story-telling about family life and as such will be enjoyed by women of all ages who like to escape from the present into the past in the company of lively sympathetic characters. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Maureen Lee

Maureen Lee was born in Liverpool and had numerous short stories published and a play professionally staged before her first novel was published. Her award-winning novels have earned her many fans. Her latest novel, The Leaving of Liverpool, was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller. She is an RNA winner, and writes full time. Maureen now lives in Colchester, Essex. To find out more, visit

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The Kelly Sisters

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Seven Streets of Liverpool by Maureen Lee

The Seven Streets of Liverpool

Paperback, December 2014
Flora and Grace by Maureen Lee

Flora and Grace

Paperback, November 2013