The war is over, but there’s heartbreak ahead…
Liverpool, 1945. As the war draws to a close, Alice and Terry Lomax are building a new life with their young daughter Cathy. After years away fighting, Terry is a stranger to his daughter and must work hard to win her trust and love.
Alice and old friend Sadie work in the haberdashery of Lewis’s department store, where bomb damage scars the walls and rationing is still in force. Yet Lewis’s remains open, a sign of strength in the midst of Liverpool’s post-war ruins.
Though memories of those lost in the war are fresh, Alice and Sadie look forward to the future. But then a tragic accident leaves Alice a widow, and the father of Sadie’s child – a man she hoped never to see again – is back in Liverpool…
With Alice struggling to start again alone, and Sadie desperate to protect her son, can these two shop girls overcome their troubles and keep their hopes alive – even with all the odds against them?
The Shop Girls of Lark Lane is a heart-wrenching family saga about the strength of friendship and the costs of war. If you love Nadine Dorries, Diney Costeloe and Kitty Neale, you won’t want to miss Pam Howes!
What readers are saying about The Shop Girls of Lark Lane:
‘What I love about this story is the bond of friendship and family… Another enthralling read… As usual with this author’s books, from picking it up, I never want to put it down until I’ve reached the last page… Even then, the characters stay with me… An unforgettable and engrossing read.’ By the Letter Book Reviewer, 5 stars
‘Absolutely brilliant, five-star read… Wonderful… Perfect for reading curled with by the fire… You will be hooked and won’t want to put this book down.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
‘Truly wonderful… Heart-warming… I loved following their story. I read this book in almost one sitting.’ Goodreads reviewer
‘A lovely read!… Will definitely stay with me for a while… A heart-warming and heart-wrenchingread!’ Goodreads reviewer
‘I have smiled, laughed, and cried… The best one yet… Read this book. It's worth more than 5*.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
‘A terrific read.’ Goodreads reviewer
‘Drew me right in… Love the people, the families, the drama, the friendships, romance… Highly recommend a large box of tissues for this… Emotional read.’ NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars
‘A wonderful read!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The first I’ve read from Pam Howes, I found that not reading the first in this trilogy wasn’t a hardship, as backstories and relationships for our main characters have been given context, and while I’m going to read the first, it didn’t affect my enjoyment of this one. War has ended and while the air is filled with hope, the adjustments aren’t always straightforward. Alice and Terry, having only spent one night as a married couple are back together, with Terry desperately trying to find a connection to the daughter he’s never met. But they are happy, if scraping to make ends meet, with Alice working in a shop downtown and also at a local pub on Saturday nights. With Terry finding work amidst the thousands of men searching, he’s decided he needs to get his motorcycle road worthy and starts (against Alice’s and his own mother’s wishes) to start the repairs with the help of Jack, the second in command at the pub where Alice works. Jack did not serve, an ‘injury’ that took half his foot made him unfit – and the first questions about Jack and his ‘honor’ enter the story. Alice’s best friends, Millie and Sadie are also featured: Millie had met her new man at Alice’s wedding, and now they are marrying and moving to Bristol with plans to emigrate to Canada while Sadie is worried that the father of her child will return to take him away, a circus performer and Italian, the family and circus left when being Italian in England often meant being ‘secured’ in camps for national security. But with Sadie’s worries, and Millie’s moving away, Alice is steadily working to piece back her family and enjoy their time together. Everything is moving forward nicely until Terry is killed in an accident during his first ride on the bike. Cue Alice into ‘survival mode, working and struggling to make the life for her daughter and her younger brother who she has cared for since her mother’s death. With Jack stepping up and making it clear that friendship is not all he wants, it is decided that he and Alice will marry, and she’ll sell her house, investing her share of the money into a bond for the pub, so Jack can ‘take over” and with the flat above the business, everything looks like they can put money away, Alice’s dreams take a new direction. Much to the dismay of her mother-in-law and side-eye from many people in the neighborhood. Here is where Alice lost me a bit – she’s so unwilling to question Jack, or see his controlling and often erratic behavior as red flags – and his determination (and frequent statements) that kids are nothing he wants don’t deter her forward progress with their marriage. Clearly pointing out the struggles and the limited choices available to women of the time, forget the additional pressures from wartime recoveries. It truly was a time when the best, and perhaps only, protections a woman had were those of husband and family – and Alice makes a choice, despite her own worries, to move forward and take a chance that life will improve. Where I understand the conditioning to allow the husband be the man of the house, Alice survived and managed a house, 2 children and a job while Terry was away at war, yet she’s willing to ‘let’ Jack be the lead in everything…. Surprisingly enough, she had kept paperwork and proof that if used, will allow her a bit of a say in the business and their life moving forward, and with a promotion at work, and that feeding her self-esteem and confidence, all is moving forward, if cautiously
This was a quick easy read that I really enjoyed. The story takes place after World War II ends when Alice Lomax is reunited with her husband, Terry, who had to leave right after they were married. Their brief time together before he left for war produced a baby girl, Cathy. After he was home for a short time, tragedy strikes and Alice has to make some lifestyle changes and decisions that may or may not be good for her, Cathy and her brother Brian who she is raising. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of this very interesting book in exchange for an honest review.