This isn’t a particularly well-written book, but it was on a cheap Kindle offer; and there’s an awful lot of local interest in it for anyone from the Manchester area. It includes some very evocative scenes of the Manchester Blitz. It also covers the largely-forgotten story of the internment camps at Warth Mills (in Radcliffe, near where Newbank Garden Centre is now), where many members of the local German/Austrian-Jewish and Italian communities were taken during the Second World War, and how many of them were tragically killed when the SS Arandora Star, taking them to Canada, was torpedoed. There are also some vivid descriptions of Heaton Park before the war, of town, and of the factories both in the Strangeways area and in Trafford Park.
The storyline’s not particularly convincing, but it’s all right. Gracie Earnshaw works in a raincoat factory, where she becomes involved with the boss’s nephew, Jacob Rosenberg. His family aren’t keen, because he’s Jewish and she isn’t, but the two agree to marry … only for him to be taken off to an internment camp just as she was waiting at the registry office. Without wanting to post spoilers, the story then develops with two other men, with an unlikely switch from war work to working in the theatre, and with a secret long kept by Gracie’s mother.
It’s not the best of books, as I said, but it’s worth reading for the descriptions of the local area and the local communities, and also for the inclusion of the story of the Warth Mills camp. The author makes good use of real events, and her descriptions of Manchester are very much Manchester. Overall, not bad!
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