Saturday 28 December 2019

Book ~ "Keeping My Sisters' Secrets" (2017) Beezy Marsh

From Goodreads ~ Eva, Peggy and Kathleen were sisters born into a close-knit working class family, living in a tiny terraced house in a London street so rough the police would only walk down it in pairs. As they grew up between the wars, they dreamed of escaping their father's anger and the struggle of daily life in Waterloo.

Peggy was a studious and principled girl so appalled by conditions in the factories that she became a Communist. Beautiful Kathleen, with a voice like silk, experienced tragedy too young and was destined to have her heart broken time and time again. Feisty Eva became a child thief so she could help their mother put food on the table and never lost her rebellious streak, or her desire to protect her family by whatever means necessary.

Over the years the sisters stayed together, sharing each other's lives and supporting each other through hard times. "Keeping My Sisters' Secrets" is a rich, moving story of their fight to survive through decades of social upheaval, their love for each other the one constant in a changing world.

Peggy, Kathleen and Eva are sisters (they also have two brothers) living in London between WWI and WWII.  They are poor and barely getting by.  Their father takes his frustration out on their mother by beating her.  When Peggy is old enough, her family makes her leave school to get a job with the post office.  The same with Kathleen ... she gets a job in a jam factory when she is old enough.  Eva, though, became a thief at an early age and provides a lot for the family.  The girls eventually fall in love, get married and start families of their own.

I found the book interesting at first ... but I found the characters unlikable.  Kathleen was the beautiful one but, despite claiming she wouldn't make the same mistake her mother made, is desperate enough to marry an abusive man.  Eva started stealing when she was about ten.  Her mother knew but didn't do anything about it because she was benefiting from it.

The editing could have been tighter.  There were typos.  For example, it should have been " ... a friend of her brother, Frankie's" not "... a friend of her brother Frankies".  And at one point, Kathleen leaves Albert's house where they have been living after they got married because she "did not want to die next to Albert's miserable mother-in-law".  Albert's mother-in-law would have been her mother who she loves not HER mother-in-law who is a hag.  There were many expressions I've never heard of before ... like cozzer, hoisting and whip-round.

What were the sisters' secrets anyway?  I still don't know.  Whatever they were, they couldn't have been that big of a deal.

1 comment:

Jackie McGuinness said...

Can't abide typos and bad editing, so I will skip this!