Thank you to Anne Cater for organising this tour and to Glenda Young, Headline Press and Netgally for an ARC copy of this book in return for an honest and unbiased review.
A dramatically powerful and romantic saga of tragedy and triumph, perfect for fans of Dilly Court and Rosie Goodwin.
‘Any rag and bone!’
Everyone recognises the cry of Meg Sutcliffe as she plies her trade along the back streets of Ryhope. She learnt the ropes from her dad when he returned from the War. But when tragedy struck, Meg had no choice but to continue alone, with only her trusty dog Spot, and beloved horse Stellar, for company. Now the meagre money she earns is the only thing that stands between her family’s safety and predatory rent collector Hawk Jackson…
Many say it’s no job for a woman – especially a beauty like Meg who’s noticed everywhere she goes. When she catches the eye of charming Clarky it looks like she might have found a protector and a chance of happiness. But is Clarky really what he seems? And could Adam, Meg’s loyal childhood friend, be the one who really deserves her heart?
When the email for this book tour arrived from Anne I almost bit her hand off to get onto the tour. How could I refuse? This book is set in the village next to where I live, it’s an area I know well and is rich in history and community. I have visited the pubs in the book and walked along the same roads. There was no way I was going to refuse this one despite it being out of my usual genre.
Follow the fierce and beautiful Meg, as she turns from a young girl into a woman. After the death of her father upon his return from war, rather than enter into service, Meg choses the freedom of becoming a rag and bone woman earning a pittance but managing to keep her family fed and working hard to keep away the vile landlord – Hawk Jackson. Whilst fighting to keep her family well and together, she meets her first love Clarky who is not all he seems and is blind to the admiration coming from her long time friend Adam.
Belle of the Back Streets fully encompasses and embraces life in a mining village. It depicts the hardships that families and communities often went through without provoking pity from the reader but equally demonstrates the community spirit and the way in which families managed in mining villages and towns. Despite the often heartbreaking and difficult circumstances faced by Meg, you cannot help but feel warmed by the family and community strengths and support in this book.
The Sutcliffe family demand a huge amount of respect, not pity from the reader. In addition to our heroine Meg, her mother Sally is just such a fighter making the best of a bad situation and bringing her children up with pride and respect. Meg’s brother Tommy is a bit more rebellious but knows when to get his head down and work hard and protects his family despite being the age of 12/13.
It’s very obvious from the outset that Glenda Young not only knows this area and its history very well but it deeply passionate about it – it’s written about with honesty but pride. I cannot wait to pass on my recommendations to friends and family and to spread the word about this truly wonderfully written, heartwarming novel.
Glenda Young credits her local library in the village of Ryhope, where she grew up, for giving her a love of books. She still lives close by in Sunderland and often gets her ideas for her stories on long bike rides along the coast. A life-long fan of Coronation Street, she runs two fan websites for which she sometimes interviews the cast of the show. For updates on what Glenda is working on, visit her website glendayoungbooks.com
and to find out more find her on Facebook/GlendaYoungAuthor and Twitter @flaming_nora.