Cover Image: This Lovely City

This Lovely City

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Member Reviews

Not something I would usually buy to read but I'm so glad the publisher accepted my request! A poignant and emotional depiction of post-war London, showing a side of London that I was not familiar with before I read this book. Informative, emotive, beautifully written and a masterful debut. I can't wait to read more from Louise Hare.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the advanced copy to read.
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A slightly lacklustre tale of 1950s London and the newly arrived Windrush generation. There just wasn't enough of anything in here. Not enough London, not enough Jazz, not enough focus. I could have done with more character development as I didn't find a couple of the characters actions very believable. I'm also not a fan of baddies having 'ugly' physical traits.
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A very different book, set in post war England. I really enjoyed this story. The characters are all well rounded and come alive to the reader , all in all a lovely story !
Thank you to Netgalley, Hq and Louise Hare for letting me read this book in exchange for an honest review
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Absolutely gorgeous!! Stunningly written, I would definitely recommend this book. It made me weep, and I couldn't stop thinking about it after I put it down.
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This is the story of Lawrie and Evie.  Lawrie comes over on HMS Windrush and meets Evie who is of mixed race, it tells of the prejudice they faced and the racial tensions.
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This atmospheric and insightful story set in London in the 1950s captures the ethos of post-war Britain still in the grasp of rationing. Lawrie is a young man drawn to England with promises of a better life. The welcome banner in the skies above the Windrush proves to be a cynical publicity stunt.  The reality? Prejudice, poor housing and no jobs. 

Lawrie's secures work as a postman and works as a musician in a Soho club when he can. He has a girlfriend and a future until he offers a helping hand, and his life changes forever. 

This is a well-written story with events and characters that resonate.

I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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London 1948 -1950, some of the first immigrants arrive by invitation, expecting  to be able to get jobs and house. They are disappointed and met with prejudice and intolerance. This was not the promised land they had been led to believe it would be. When they arrive in London Laurie has to find accommodation and a job, neither of which are easy, he meets Evie and they form a relationship, but they are torn apart by untold secrets.
Book has good description of London at that time. The prejudice and inequality is as abhorrent then as it is today.
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I was completely transported to 1950’s London whilst reading this book. I felt it really highlighting the extremely harsh treatment of the Windrush generation who were just trying to make were lives for themselves, and I learnt a lot about their plight. I was completely involved with the main characters and thought they were well developed

I'll look out for more books by this author for sure
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I really loved this book to begin with and thought the London setting was really well portrayed. I loved the idea of Lawrie stalking the jazz clubs, and the whole setting felt very real and atmospheric.

However I felt the novel dragged somewhat and the baby plotline - although obviously vital to the novel - detracted from the more interesting backstories of the characters. I found myself losing interest towards the end.

Gorgeous, gorgeous cover though!
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Set in 1950s London, 'This Lovely City' tells the timely story of the harsh treatment of the Windrush generation.

Having travelled to England's needy shores on the Empire Windrush, Lawrie finds himself living in a small South London room. The racism experienced by him and his girl-next-door, Evie, portrays many of the hardships and abuse that must have been experienced by a generation of people who had come to help rebuild the country after war. Evie has further struggles at home as she suffers the disappointment of her own mother who, as a white woman with a mixed race child, is unable to separate her love for her daughter from society's negative opinion.

However, Lawrie's life particularly,  soon becomes more punishing and unjust, when he discovers the abandoned corpse of a baby at a local pond and finds himself at the centre of a police investigation for murder.

Whilst I see there are many 4/5 star reviews for this book, personally I did not find it such an engaging read. I found the characters slow to develop and the murder plot predictable. 

Nevertheless, I am thankful to netgalley, the publisher and author for sharing an advance copy with me in return for my honest opinion.
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Plot 

The drinks are flowing. The music’s playing. But the party can’t last.

London, 1950. With the Blitz over and London still rebuilding after the war, jazz musician Lawrie Matthews has answered England’s call for help. Arriving from Jamaica aboard the Empire Windrush, he’s taken a tiny room in south London lodgings, and has fallen in love with the girl next door.

Touring Soho’s music halls by night, pacing the streets as a postman by day, Lawrie has poured his heart into his new home — and it’s alive with possibility. Until one morning, while crossing a misty common, he makes a terrible discovery.

As the local community rallies, fingers of blame are pointed at those who had recently been welcomed with open arms. And before long, London’s newest arrivals become the prime suspects in a tragedy which threatens to tear the city apart. Immersive, poignant, and utterly compelling, Louise Hare’s debut examines the complexities of love and belonging, and teaches us that even in the face of anger and fear, there is always hope.

Review 

It’s been a long time since I’ve been totally blown away by a book. 

Louise Hare captures the attitudes and trails of 1950’s London perfectly highlighting the extremely harsh treatment of the Windrush generation who were just trying to male were lives for themselves. Told through the eyes of a native Jamaican and a mixed-race London girl, this story sheds light on the realities of not fitting in and having to hide secrets when the world’s attitudes were somewhat different than they are today. 

Lawrie and Evie’s story and relationship are both equally beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time; both have dreams, both are held back by different factors. Evie’s relationship with her somewhat cold-hearted mother is compelling and draws you in. I will say no more for fear of spoilers. 

The language is sometimes hard to read but none the less important as this is how those looking for a new life were treated. This is not only an amazing read but an important one especially in light of recent events in this world. 

I would never have thought that this was the author’s debut novel. I look forward to her next works and if I don’t see this book on awards lists (if it isn’t already by the time
of posting), I may riot! 

Rating 

Five stars (and another five, and....you get the picture!)

Recommend 

Hell yes!! 

This book was very kindly gifted by Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review. All opinion therein however are my own
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“Friday night in London Town; survivors of war. Who knew better how to live than those who had not so long ago wondered how short that life might be.”

After the Second World War, labour shortage led the UK government to invite people from Jamaica and elsewhere to relocate to Britain. Despite having been invited they were often viewed with suspicion and struggled to find jobs and accommodation.
This book follows a group of Jamaican immigrants, attempting to make a living in London as Jazz musicians. When the body of a young child is discovered in a local pond, suspicion falls on the new arrivals.

I wasn’t sure about this book in the beginning but the mystery of the dead child really hooks you in. The plot is compelling, and the characters are all memorable. Even after I had finished the book I found myself thinking back on the characters and wondering how they were doing.

It’s probably unfair to compare this book to Small Island, but as I read this recently I can’t help it. Small Island absolutely blew me away. Therefore, if you were only planning to read one book on the subject, I would pick that. If you can find the time for two, then this is well worth a read!
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I loved it - all the bluesy heat of cities in the summer. The only problem I had reading it during lockdown was how much it made me miss being in the thrum of a crowd.
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Wow, I loved this historical fiction, romance, thriller book. It's full of complex characters and is wonderfully written. Based on a tragic story, it's a compelling story that I was desperate to read more of, I couldn't put it down. 

Set in post-second world war London and focused on the arrival of boats like Empire Windrush. Highlighting what it was like to arrive under the guise of helping to rebuild the nation but not being welcomed quite as openly by some of the locals.
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Wow, what a poignant, moving and compelling read This Lovely City by Louise Hare is. It captured my heart almost from the very first page, completely blowing me away with the power of the story held within its pages. London of the 1950’s is brought vividly to life, with the harsh treatment of the Windrush generation at the heart of  this beautifully written and heartfelt story.

It begins with Lawrie, a young man who has answered England’s call for help, travelling over on the Empire Windrush and moving into a small room in South London. There he falls in love with girl next door Evie, who is of mixed race heritage. Narrated by both Lawrie and Evie, this is a story that isn’t always an easy read. Racism against them is an almost every day occurrences so life is tough, but as long as they can stay together Lawrie feels that they will be able to overcome anything.

But then something happens that changes everything, with Lawrie becoming the focus of a police investigation that sees him become the prime suspect in a murder case. People begin to turn against him and the other new arrivals, with fights beginning to break out as the local residents use the murder investigation as an excuse to drive Lawrie and his friends from their homes.

This Lovely City is a beautifully written story that opens your eyes to the racism and hardship those of the Windrush generation faced when they came to a country that at first welcomed them with open arms. It’s a tale of a beautiful young love that’s filled with fear and heartache through no fault of the young lovers themselves, but is also a love story that leaves you with an overwhelming feeling of hope.

Louise Hare has captured the essence of the Windrush generation with a powerful story that’s as relevant today as it was all those years ago. It highlights incredibly well why what has been happening in recent years to the Windrush generation and their descendants is so appalling, causing untold harm and heartache to those who were here for our country at a time when we needed them most.

I can’t even begin to describe how much I loved this book! With a cast of memorable characters and a story that will blow you away, this is a time in our history that needed to be told and I honestly can’t recommend this book highly enough.

To put it quite simply, this is a stunning read that will stay with me for a long time to come. Just wow!
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This book is so beautiful. I love historical fiction but it’s a relatively new genre for me as I hadn’t tried it much before last year. Louise writes wonderfully and with knowledge, empathy and heart. I think this is a brilliant story with a brilliant perspective. It’s heartbreaking and heartwarming in the same breath.
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Lawrie, fresh off the boat from Jamaica finds that London does not have streets paved with gold. This is a beautiful story with lively characters that you can imagine and Lawries future starts to look bright.......... However this story twists and turns, it's a tale of love, a thriller and a really enjoyable read. I cannot give more detail without spoiling the readers experience. I recommend this to readers who don't mind a love story that incorporates so much more. I loved it.
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This story takes you back in time, to London after the blitz.  Lawrie Matthews is brought over from Jamaica on the belief of starting a new life where he was needed.

He was sold a lie, not everyone is willing to accept blacks walking the streets and taking up jobs.

Lawrie is a postman but Jazz musician at night who literally falls in love with the girl next door, Evie.

Things are going well for Lawrie until he finds the body of a baby in a local pond.  Lawrie has no connection to this baby but the police are after him because of the colour of his skin.

This was a mix of historical fiction, murder mystery and a story of love.  I just wanted to keep reading, totally absorbed in the characters lives.

This was a brilliant read, i highly recommend it!

Thank you to Netgalley, Louise Hare and the publishers!
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What a great read.  Set in the late 1940's to early 1950 in London.  Based on the Caribbean immigrants off the Windrush ship (and others) and their subsequent assimilation into UK life.  After WWII there was clearly a need for labour and the call was sent out to Jamaica and other UK territories to come to the UK an help rebuild the nation.  Only problem was that an organised welcome was lacking and there was resentment from the locals.  This book describes how poorly the immigrants were treated, the racial tensions, and the misconceptions and poverty that had to be overcome, whilst telling the story of a family's problems brought about by the conceiving of a child by a white girl who'd had a relationship with a black American GI.  The book ends with hope, but we know that racial misconceptions and inequality still exists today.
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I sped through this book in a. couple of days as I really wanted to know how things would turn out for the main characters.It tells the story of Lawrie,a jazz musician who came to London in 1948 on HMS Windrush, and Evie, a mixed race girl from London.Lawrie is caught up in a murder investigation when he finds the body of a baby in a pond, and although he has nothing to do with the murder,he is immediately a suspect because of his race.The story jumps between 1948 and 1950, and gives a very clear picture of the prejudice and racism the new arrivals faced,which completely went against everything they were led to expect when they came from Jamaica..
There is all sorts of period detail about life in post-war London and the characters are well drawn and believable.Definitely recommended.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in return for an honest review which reflects my own opinions.
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