Monday, 21 September 2015


4.5 out of 5 stars

1980s Miners Strike Drama

On Amazon UK HERE

Well, what a nice surprise this was!  It was in the reviewing list for Rosie Amber's Review Team, of which I am a part, and I failed to pick up on it, but then I read THIS review of it by another team member (sorry, can't find it on the blog so have taken it from Amazon!), and decided to buy it anyway.  Guess what?  Book blogs work!!  Read them!!  :)

This is so good, I read it in one day (yep, couldn't put it down!).  It's written in the first person narrative of Mandy Walker, a miner's wife during the strike of 1983-5, in a Yorkshire village.  Running through the real life/public events are the private wars of the title; the strain on family life that these events caused, coupled with love wrangles, painful memories and marital disharmony.

What I liked about this book: it's very well written, flows beautifully (probably goes without saying, as I read it in a day!).  The story is so realistic; I am the same age as the fictional Mandy (I was 24 in 1983, too), but my life was so different ~ middle class, in the south, with a husband and a small business rather than four kids.  The conflict was something we saw on television, something for which we put money in buckets, then went on with our lives.  This brought it all home to me ~ BUT (and it's a big 'but') it wasn't done so in a painfully laboured fashion.  It's written in such a way that I was aware of the north~south divide, the fact that they were a Yorkshire community, without everyone giving it 'ee-by-gum, he's worked down t'pit all his life, I'll take home a bottle of stout for the Mrs' every five minutes, like you see in some books that wish to be representative of a place and time, and neither did it cash in on the 1980s aspect with loads of references to the music and everyone wearing white high heels and padded shoulders (not that they would have done in a mining community anyway, perhaps).  The characters were great; Mandy was very believable and likeable, and others I thought particularly good were the dragon-like matriarch of the community, Ethel Braithwaite, and Dan, the soldier who'd returned from the Falklands, something of an enigma.  

I also liked the way the changing attitudes of the time were illustrated, especially when Mandy went down to London as part of her work with the wives' action group, and met people from areas of life she would not normally have done, had it not been for the strike.

I was a little disappointed that there was less drama than I'd have liked in the last twenty per cent, but that's only personal taste; the way in which it turned out was certainly realistic.  I'd have liked to see the 'main baddie' get more of a comeuppance (I hated this character from the start, but won't even give away the sex as I don't want to reveal the plot), but this isn't 'Dallas' and the person was so well drawn, too; it's good to have someone to hate in an emotional drama such as this!  Aside from the fact that I felt let down by one particular revelation and its outcome ~ oh, okay, and that it didn't end up quite as I wanted it to! ~ I'd have given it 5*, but it's a definite 4.5.

I'd totally recommend this book, it's a cracker.  I look forward to reading more by this author ~ and I mean that, it's not just a nice way of rounding off the review!


  1. This is just my kind of thing!

    1. I think you'd really like it, Nicky - it's deffo up the same rue as The Prodigal!

  2. Sounds like my sort of thing. I'm also from a Yorkshire mining village and turned19 in 1983, admittedly I was a student by then, but I vividly remember the impact of the miners' strike

    1. In that case you'd love it, Kat - it's so well written :)

  3. Replies
    1. I know, it was your review that made me buy it! :)