It was with trepidation that I started to read THE DESERTER’S DAUGHTER. Not because I thought it might be scary but because it is written by Susanna Bavin who is a good friend of mine, what would I say if it was rubbish? Well, I need have had no fears because it is brilliant.
From the first word you are in 1920’s Manchester where we meet Carrie Jenkins and her mother on the eve of Carrie’s wedding. The dress is being tried on so half-sister Evadne can see the outfit before everybody else. Suddenly there is knock on the door. It is the parish priest come not to calm last minute wedding nerves but to deliver shattering news. From this moment the three women’s lives fall apart as Carrie’s financé jilts her and all three loose their jobs as people fall over themselves to get over the stain that now marks the family.
Just as all looks lost, two handsome heroes ride into view and sweep the sisters of their feet. They seem to be everything they need, but as the sisters set about working for men’s auction company things begin to go wrong.
All the action takes place in Chorlton, a Manchester suburb which I have never visited but now feel as if I have. Susanna Bavin describes the streets, rivers and bridges with such feeling that I felt that I was walking the cobbled terraces. The plot twists and turns had me so transfixed that I managed to miss my tube stop (thankfully just a slightly longer walk and a sunny day, rather than retracing my steps). Murder, theft, false imprisonment, fine furniture and romance weave their way through the book.
By the time I came to the final page, my fear for what to say to Susanna was gone, replaced by the suspense that had kept me reading until well after midnight to find out what happened.
You can read more about the to THE DESERTER’S DAUGHTER over on Tara Greaves excellent blog “After the Rain” in her “Behind the Book” section.
THE DESERTER’S DAUGHTER by Susanna Bavin
Published by Allison and Busby
Hardback £19.99, ebook £10.04