Posted 20 hours ago

Old Baggage

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This was my first novel by Lissa Evans – but it certainly won’t be my last. I recently saw the film Their Finest – (which I loved) but only learned later that it was adapted from a novel by Lissa Evans, who I have followed on social media for a couple of years. An emotional story of human kind during a trying time when survival is a task. Bittersweet enraptured story.

But upon discovering a wooden club in an old bag, she wonders perhaps if there is still not more to do and can you still be idealistic and principled ten years after the main event. Old Baggage is a funny and bittersweet portrait of a woman who has never, never given up the fight.

V for Victory has got the lot: credible and convincing period detail; interesting and eclectic characters; and powerful desciptions of life in London in 1944. This is all aligned to an amusing and touching story. This beautifully written story teems with atmosphere and perfect period detail but it’s the brave and brilliant Mattie that makes it unforgettable’ Sunday Mirror

I've always hoped Lissa Evans that would write a follow to the absolutely wonderful Crooked Heart. And she has! V for Victory has just released. Matilda Simpkin is living in 1928 London. She’s found a wooden club, something she hasn’t seen for a while, and along with it comes the memories she associates with that item. But not far. The evacuation train takes them only to St. Albans, an old Roman city 20 miles north of central London, and closer still to the northern suburbs in which Noel had been living. Being an awkward-looking boy, Noel is not taken by any of the more desirable foster-parents, and ends up with a widow named Vee Sedge, who leads a precarious existence in rented accommodation with her young adult (but militarily unfit) son Donald and semi-invalid mother, evading landlords and rate-collectors and trying to devise schemes for making money by inventive but dodgy means. (Unknown to Vee, Donald also has money-making schemes, rather more profitable than hers, but also more dangerous). Two more different people than Noel and Vee could hardly be imagined, but nonetheless, they manage to bond.If you haven't read Crooked Heart, I would recommend reading it before you begin V for Victory because a) it's such a wonderful novel in its own right and b) it's delightful to return to Vee and Noel as old acquaintances and to understand the origins of their relationship. V for Victory pulls at the heart, but doesn't rend it, and despite myriad small problems it's a happy tale—even when Vee and Noel are most under threat. As far as everybody else is concerned, Vee is known as Mrs Margery Overs. The reasons why, we discover later on. Noel also has a complicated past, some of which it seems was covered in a previous book – this is one time where I wished I had read the others.

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