by David Wharton
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 19 Oct 2020 | Archive Date 25 Oct 2020
London: 1963. The lives of a professional shoplifter and a young art student collide.
Delia must atone for a terrible mistake; Tess is desperate to be a real artist. With the threat of the criminal underworld encroaching, only their friendship can save them from disaster.
A Note From the Publisher
‘A vivid, atmospheric read which is as much an examination of the difficulties of creating your own life as it is a story of crime and possible redemption.’ -i Newspaper, Best Crime Books for 2019
‘Strong characters and a vivid recreation of the times.’ -The Herald
‘Vibrant, absorbing and bursting with the unexpected, Finer Things is a sideways look at 1960s London, in which art school bohemia meets the gangster underworld. It is full of spot-on observations about the subtle power play in human interaction. I was immediately drawn into its vivid world.’ -Catherine Simpson
‘An evocative portrait of two women navigating 1960's London.’ -Mahsuda Snaith
‘David Wharton's novel unfolds with all the style, pace and drama of a British New Wave movie. It is a very fine thing indeed.’ -Jonathan Taylor
Average rating from 18 members
Thank you to NetGalley, for letting me read this book. I enjoyed it so much. Set in the 1960s, in London, this is such a well-written book, that gently pulls you in to the lives of Delia, a professional hoister, and Tess, an art student. They are women who shouldn't really meet, but they do, and they develop a friendship that works. Both women are well-drawn - Tess is from Dewsbury, set free in London, learning how to be herself. Delia is from the East End, but can pass herself off as just about anybody. The rest of the cast are great, too - Penny, all image; Jimmy, with his secrets; the various gangsters - male and female; and the art teachers. It's very atmospheric, and very visual. I highly recommend this one.
London in the 1960's who wouldn't love it. . The time period the clothes the art. Characters who are friends but come from different parts of London.. Tess the artist who cannot wait to get to London and away from her family, especially her mother who cannot find any good in what her daughter wants to do with her life and running off to college in London. Jimmy who becomes best friends with Tess and they both are artist looking for a purpose. Even though Jimmy has a deep dark secret that even his best friend Tess doesn't know right away. Then Delia and her live on the wrong side of the tracks. She becomes friends with Jimmy and Tess even through the life style she has chosen would not suit any proper English woman. I loved the characters and how well the author brought these colorful characters to life. The clothes of the 60's the college experience of that time.brought you back to that time and era. You need to find out what happens to these characters and how they find each other. The author makes you want more. His description of the time Delias life and where she comes from makes you want to hope Delia frinds peace and that Tess and Jimmy figure out how they will make their life together work out. Highly recommend this book..
A self-assured debut that beautifully evokes London in the early 1960s, Finer Things is a smooth, fast read. I didn't buy a few of the coincidences/plot twists that were obvious deus ex machinas (why was Tess so intrigued by Diana over anyone else as a potential portrait subject? and the third-act interplay between Tess and Jimmy was both blatant and silly, imo). Because the writing and the setting were so enjoyable, though, those plot devices did not bother me as much as they would have in a less-engaging book. Thank you, NetGalley and Sandstone Press, for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
It was the cover of the book that grabbed my attention! Finer Things by David Wharton is an excellent book, I enjoyed it! The author writes beautifully, I always appreciate vivid descriptions and well-constructed sentences. And then the plot! Intriguing characters, an interesting premise, and the fact this takes place in London during the 1960s was just the cherry on top! Delia is part of a shoplifting ring who steals from fancy shops. She’s street smart and savvy. Tess is new to the city, she’s a first-year art student who is getting used to living in London. The two couldn’t be more different yet when their worlds collide, it makes perfect sense. The story is written from each of their points-of-view. Witty and engaging, with characters that are lovely, and I found myself fully immersed in the lives of Delia and Tess. Highly recommended, Finer Things is out now so get your copy today!
Beautifully written, this is such a visual book that it would be a joy to make a film of it. Delia is a great character, strong and brave but with a shady job that keeps her in debt to Stella, a sort of underworld gang leader. Tess is an art student, fascinated by life and all its many experiences. Their meeting is unexpected and their friendship more so. They both take unconventional paths but 1960s London provides a wonderful backdrop to a changing world. Delightful.
An interesting book. This story takes place in the '60s in London. Tess, a young woman, arrives in this great city intending to enter one of the most prestigious art schools in the country. On this visit, Tess meets a woman with whom she makes a deal to live together. Delia is a girl who needs to correct a mistake made in the past. Tess is desperate to convince herself that she is a real artist. In another area of the city, they meet the Krays, a gang who are ready to wage war. I liked this story because it describes complex relationships. Wharton, the author, not only tells the tale of one character but of many. I think the description of that time is magnificent. The book narrates the actions of Delia, who all she wants is to be able to survive. I like that the conversations were clear and that there was no dull moment for me. It is a perfect book to learn about the emotions that many people felt during this time that is worth reading. I thank NetGalley and Sandstone Press for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
Delia is a "hoister," or common shoplifter, working for a petty crime ring that specializes in having its girls lift things from high end department stores to resell. Through the job, Delia is sent to hang out a club one night to gather information from one of its frequent high rolling customers. While there, she meets Tess, an art student who is desperately trying to escape the rural, small-town life of her childhood and become a successful, independent artist. I am always partial to books set in Great Britain and I am falling more and more in love with historical fiction everyday, so this book had two things going for it before I even started reading it. I loved the 1960s setting and the story of Delia, a tough, street-smart girl trying to take care of herself in that era which generally saw women in the roles of wives and mothers. This was also the theme of Tess's storyline, too - searching for independence, but wanting to do so through her passion and talent for art. I always find it interesting when a male author writes from a female character's perspective; many times the female character seems "harder" and do not have quite the emotional perspective and thoughts. I found this true in this story, but that is not to say the characters were not well-developed or empathetic to the reader. It was easy to root for the characters and understand their choices, fears, and motives. I will be on the look out for more books by this author.
I really, really enjoyed this book! The 1960s setting was perfect. Historical fiction set in the U.K. is always particularly appealing to me, so I was very much so looking forward to this one. It's hard to believe this was Wharton's debut novel. The writing was excellent -- there was so much intrigue and excellent prose. The writing was atmospheric and so descriptive that I could see it in my head like a movie. Both lead characters -- Tess and Delia -- were equally compelling, albeit in different ways. I will most certainly be on the lookout for other works by this author in the future!
The first thing that caught my eye about this book was the cover and the title. There was something familiar about it, and on that alone, I opened it up to start reading. Right from go, I was hooked. London in the 60s. David Wharton's ability to worldbuild is exquisite. I found myself pausing to imagine walking the streets of London alongside Delia and Tess. Overall I found the narrative funny, and relatable, and the story timeless. Thank you so much to Sandstone Press and NetGalley for the advanced read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and recommend it to anyone who needs to get away, even in their imaginations.
This is an engaging read with a well crafted plot. The setting of 60s London has been researched and portrayed well within the story. I'd recommend this book to anyone looking to get absorbed in a story and enjoy a bit of escapism.
Sharp and quick witted! I am curious to read Wharton's other novels now. Very stylish and character driven writing.
David Wharton has created a layered, fabulous novel set in London in the 1960s. It is a wonderful portrait of thirty-eight-year-old Delia, and Tess Green whose worlds come together though they normally move in different circles. Delia is a shoplifter who is part of a crime ring, stealing goods from high-end shops for reselling. Sent to a club, the Ferrara, one night to watch customers for information gathering, she meets Tess. The characters had so much intrigue about them and David Wharton's portrayal of the 60s without taking anything from their integrity was very much appreciated. All the characters had a vividness and appeal, not just the put-upon Delia, or Tess as she tried so hard to be individualist, but the secondary ones as well. A super, sharp, well-delivered début! I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Sandstone Press via NetGalley at my request, and this review is my own unbiased opinion.