Despite the bluebell wood (painted by the author-artist Kit Domino) on the cover of Every Step of the Way, this is no walk in the park. We are in the early 50s, a time of austerity for all families including Beth Brixham’s. Her mother takes in washing to make ends meet, a brother is on National Service and her Dad Alfie is plagued by a war-wound that’s more than skin deep. In the great London smog, Beth misses a job interview and instead ends up meeting and going out with good-looking Terry Gibbs. But her good fortune doesn’t last. After a series of disasters, the Brixhams move to the country. When Beth eventually moves back toLondon, Terry has disappeared and she carries with her new responsibilities: it looks unlikely that they’ll ever get back together.
There are two really striking things abut this book. One is the brilliant depiction of early 50s culture, complete with quiffs, drainpipes and juke-boxes, set against the moral as well as economic austerity of the post-war years. The other is the spirited and engaging heroine who for much of the book is ‘alone against the world’. I admit one or two things about the plot didn’t quite ring true to me, but I was rooting for Beth from page 1 and could not have left without knowing the outcome of her dramatic story. It’s no surprise that this book just missed the Harry Bowling Prize for a novel set in London and if you fancy a a warm-hearted read and a touch of nostalgia (think Call the Mid-wife without that unfortunate childbirth stuff!) this is for you.
By the way I read Every Step of the Way as an e-book from the very new Thornberry Press but there’s a hard copy too which I’m going to order just to see how Feedaread measures up in the POD stakes.
Which brings me to the fact that from next month I’m going to be reviewing indie publishing for What the Dickens. If you haven’t seen this rather tasty online mag (allied to the tempting Writers’ Gifts website) take a look. It’s one of those where you flick through a (beautifully designed) virtual magazine, which in this case has poetry, stories and art-work as well as reviews. WTD is free, but I’ve noticed that for 0.99 you can download a Kindle copy.
Since I find reading for pleasure (as opposed to information) from a PC screen is just impossible, I think I’ll give that a go and report back on the experience.
3 thoughts on “Every Step of the Way – e-publishing review”
What can I say? Thank you so much, Alison for such a great review. We must discuss when we next get together for coffee!
It’s a fantastic book! I just finished reading it and I got so absorbed in it all, I could barely put it down. I loved the descriptions, and my heart went out to Beth literally at every step of the way. It’s hard to believe that only a few short decades ago–in my mother’s lifetime, in fact!–women had such a different place in society. Brilliantly written and unputdownable. So Alison’s review is totally spot on as far as I’m concerned, congrats to Kit and thanks to Ali for voicing my thoughts! XX
Lovely book, isn’t it, Nicky? I was actuallly born in 1953 (oops!) and was still surprised by how primitive life in the country was then. – candles and outside loos 😦
Only thing I would say is that there were older women in business or at least living independent lives – a legacy of WW1 as very few men were left.