Cover Image: This Lovely City

This Lovely City

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Great story. Easy read.Great story. Easy read.Great story. Easy read.Great story. Easy read.Great story. Easy read.Great story. Easy read.Great story. Easy read.Great story. Easy read.Great story. Easy read.
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Deftly Crafted..
A tragedy threatens to rip everything and everyone apart in this keenly observed piece of historical fiction. With a pitch perfect sense of atmosphere and of time and place together with deftly crafted characters. The distressing and disturbing storyline is managed well.
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Lawrie Matthews, a postman by day and a jazz musician by night, hasn’t been in England for very long before he becomes entangled in a mess that could cost him his life. On his early morning rounds in London he makes a grim discovery, the body of a baby is floating in the reeds, and he can’t just leave it there. However as a black immigrant and one of the newest residents of the city, he quickly becomes the top suspect and is taken in for questioning. The detective is determined to see Lawrie hang for this crime, and begins hounding him to find the evidence he needs to secure his conviction. As the community closes ranks, and racism begins to read its ugly head, Lawrie finds himself in trouble that he’s not sure he’ll make it out of alive.

I started reading this book for the first time back in 2020 but quickly put it down after the baby was found. I think with my own children being small it was too much at the time and I thought I’d find it too traumatic but for some reason I came back to it in 2022 and I’m so glad I did. I absolutely loved this story, loved the characters and love the setting. London came alive for me here, a melting pot of good and bad people from all walks of life. I thought the central mystery about the identity of the baby and her killer was well constructed too and I was kept guessing up until the end. 

As for the characters I really felt for Lawrie and Evie and was rooting for them all the way through, they are both so sweet and likeable. I wanted to shake the characters who treated them so poorly and it really made me think about how I speak to others too. The detective beep is a slippery wretch that you love to hate, an excellent villain, perhaps because you know there would absolutely have been people exactly like him out there and so, sadly, he’s very realistic. I was pleased with the ending and liked the way everything was eventually resolved. 

I listened to the audio version of this and thought the narrator was excellent. His pacing and his different voices were great and he was very easy to listen along to. I also loved the music that prefaced each chapter, it really helped to set the scene and made it stand out as an audiobook for me.

Overall I loved this book and now wish I’d read it sooner! It’s well-constructed, thought-provoking and moving and I’m sure it’ll be added to the text lists on many a History classroom in the future. Five stars from me!
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This novel is set against a backdrop of music gigs in post war London when the Windrush generation arrived in the UK. The government at the time needed help to fill post war labour shortages but the arrival of people from the Caribbean was not embraced by everyone. 

Laurie is an up and coming musician by night, postman by day who is inadvertently involved in the shock discovery of a dead baby in a pond on Clapham Common. While his girlfriend Evie plans a new outfit for his next gig, he is in a police interrogation room being questioned. 

The murder of an innocent child becomes major news particularly when it is revealed that the baby girl was not a new born but one who had lived at least a year before their untimely death. Particularly worrying for Lawrie is how keen the police are to involve him. Ultimately all he wants is to marry Evie but are the odds against him? Evie however has a secret of her own which has the potential to change everything. Amid the tangle of standing up to prejudice even with the law and their own perceived shortcomings, I could only hope for the happily ever after. 

The story which unfolded tugged at me more emotionally than I expected it to. On reflection I’d  be interested in why the title was chosen - was irony intended? Although I liked the cover design, I felt the title combined with the cover implied a more upbeat book than what I read. This is not a criticism however because the story was absorbing and I enjoyed reading it. I was absorbed particularly in the relationship between Lawrie and Evie and would recommend reading it to anyone who loves London, history and romance.
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An utterly brilliant story. I loved the setting and was drawn in immediately. Just absolutely enthralling.
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This Lovely City by Louise Hare is set in 1948 and 1950s, and is about Lawrie Matthews, who came over from Jamaica to England as part of Windrush.  We see his daily life, how he's making a living, and the racism he deals with every day.  He's in love with Evie, the girl next door, and we meet his friends.  

Lawrie discovers the body of a baby in a pond, and so the police immediately suspect him of being involved with the death of the baby. 

This is a story of homesickness, discrimination, power corrupting, and family.  It is well told, with flashbacks to 1948.  I thought this was well told, and kept me hooked!

This Lovely City was published on 12th March 2020 and is available from Amazon, Waterstones and Bookshop.org.

You can follow Louise Hare on Twitter and her website.

I was given this book in exchange for an unbiased review, so my thanks to NetGalley and to HQ.
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I looked forward to this for ages and it didn’t disappoint! 
A wonderful read, full of life and heart!


Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me access an advance copy of this book in exchange for my feedback.
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THIS LOVELY CITY follows a group of Windrush immigrants, recently arrived in the UK from Jamaica. This is a historical tale that promises the reader a sense of hope against tragedy and trauma. Beautifully written, memorable, and engaging.
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I loved this book! Set in the 1940s and highlighted the way people of different skin colour etc were treated and often unfairly blamed! It was fast paced and I really didn’t want it to end. Would be interested in reading more of this authors books
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I received this book free from NetGalley, this is my honest opinion. 

I chose this book because I was drawn to the cover and I don’t think I realised what the plot was (or the genre!) before I started to read it. As such, it’s not the sort of thing that I would usually  read. I did end up enjoying the story and the delightful characters though and can definitely tecommend.
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I was enjoying this, but then I put the book down and had no real urge to pick it back up. I will definitely return to this, but when I’m in the right frame of mind.
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As usual in my reviews I will not rehash the plot (plenty of reviews like that out there already if that's what you are looking for!)

This is an accomplished debut novel.  The plot has several strands to it, including a love story, a murder, mysterious family secrets, the lives of a Jamaican community in post-war London, music, and more. The characters are so well written that you can picture them, and their surroundings (I think it would make a superb TV series).  

The writing is extremely evocative and the story is told from the viewpoint of several main characters. Some sections were so poignant it brought tears to my eyes; others made me feel very angry at how some people behaved towards others.

I was completely absorbed by this book, and will look out for others by this author. Top marks for her debut!

Warning: The book contains issues relating to babies and single mothers, so might be upsetting for some readers.

My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for an ARC.  All opinions my own.
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This was a really brilliant and captivating look at the wind rush generation in post war Britain. I really enjoyed the vivid descriptions of post war London.
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Lovely book with extremely appealing characters that highlights important issues. Would highly recommend!
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I enjoyed the intricacies and the nuances that really helped to immerse readers in the atmosphere of the 50s post-Windrush. I loved so many of the characters, too! But this book felt way longer than it needed to be. Though the plot twist was great, it came a bit too late for me - I would’ve loved this more had it been shorter. I was able to listen to the audiobook on Scribd which really helped move it along a little. Not perfect, but enjoyable at the very least.
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A story about post-war time, it was sometimes hard to relate to the characters and their struggles. I persevered with this book and enjoyed it in the end
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Many West Indians answered the call when the Mother country said it needed help. In 1948 a ship docked in Tilbury docks with mostly Jamaicans on board. These people didn't realise how broken the country actually was neither did they realise that they'd face hostility as well as prejudice.
Lawrie arrived in South London with very little. He had left his beloved country for a better life and to make something of himself. He meets a young girl called Evie; who herself had faced prejudice her whole life. 
We read the story of how life was for these original Windrush settlers. How they created new opportunities, made friendships, formed relationships but faced racial hatred on a daily basis.
A moving and heartbreaking story that only touches the surface of life after the war.
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I had heard so much positive news about this book I was so excited to start reading it. 

It took me a couple of goes to get into, but that's nothing to do with the book and everything to do with my pandemic brain not being able to cope with seeing things through! But I am SO GLAD I did. 

This Lovely City follows the story of Lawrie, postman by day, and jazz musician by night, who is accused of a crime because of his skin colour.

A poignant tale about race in the 1940s and 50s. And how there's always hope amidst all the negativity and accusations. 

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Louise Hare for the opportunity to read and review.
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This is the story of a couple from the Windrush generation, and their friends and families, and the prejudices and problems they face in post war London. How awful that in this day and age, BLM still has to be a thing. 

The sheer helplessness they feel when they’re accused of crimes by the police, when there’s no one else to go to, is so troubling. 

Although I enjoyed the book a lot, it did drag a bit in the middle - I would’ve liked to hear more about Lawrie’s experiences as a band musician in Soho.
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I received a digital review copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I am leaving this review voluntarily. 
This Lovely City is a beautifully written novel about a Jamaican immigrant living in post-war London. Lawrie Matthews answered England's post-war call for labour, arriving on the Empire Windrush, renting a tiny room in South London and falling in love with the girl next door. Laurie spends his nights playing Soho's Jazz clubs, and pacing the streets as a postman by day, pouring his soul into his new home. Until one morning, walking across a misty common he makes a terrible discovery. The local community rallies together, against the fingers of blame that are pointed at the recent arrivals who were previously welcomed with open arms. 
I loved reading this book so much, the imagery and the characters were vivid and felt incredibly real. The story was immersive and compelling, I was desperate to know what would happen in the end! 
Laurie and Evie were both such sweet characters. The way their relationship progressed through the novel was really good. They received a lot of sympathy from me during this book, especially Evie! 
Louise Hare's depiction of post-war London was fantastic, with bombed-out buildings and continued rationing, it was great to read something which doesn't massively romanticise post-war Britain. I especially loved the reference to the extravagance of the typical 1950s circle skirts! 
I just loved reading this so much, and I would recommend to fans of historical fiction or mysteries as well as romance novels. 
Thanks again to Netgalley and the publisher, HQ, for my review copy.
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