‘I want the world to be a gentler place than it is… I want to believe the good in people.’
This love affair started as a cover crush but ended as an affair of the heart. Unexpectedly, I became enamored with this world of London in the 1960’s as experienced by Anna. Anna is a relatively newcomer to London and she came for a very sheltered upbringing. Her journey was an eye-opener for her but is also a revelation to the readers.
…she was realising with a certain abruptness that her world – her city – was filled to the brim with people and experiences that she had thought nothing about.
Anna is not the only one who sought refuge in London though she may be the one who’s origin in closest geographically. There were Aloysius (Jamaica), Brennan & his wife (Ireland), Ottmar and his family (Turkey), etc. They and numerous others also were seeking refuge due to other reasons; discrimination being high on the list. Each of them struggled with finding their place in London and each is unique in their approach.
‘How is this ever going to work, Brennan? How are we ever going to make things work if men are walking round with these idiot ideas branded into their very soul and womankind is dividing herself up into those who will play the game and die inside and those who cannot even imagine making a life with a man because they say things that make you want to put their eyes out?’
I enjoyed Anna’s tenacity in finding an answer to the mystery but best of all, I’ve loved meeting these diverse of characters and my eyes feasted not only colours but also traditions, beliefs, and lifestyles. I do hope that all readers can learn to better understand others who do not look or sound exactly like themselves.
‘…I sometimes think to have a successful family you have to sacrifice a happy family: at least at first. Maybe the girls can be happy later. Maybe we all can be happy later. Or maybe their husbands will not start from nothing and happiness will come earlier. As far as I can see, the successful family sacrifices happiness to work and the unsuccessful family sacrifices happiness to poverty. I think that I prefer success but some days I cannot tell the difference.’
As acknowledgement, author noted, ‘My intention was to underscore some of the ways in which we have progressed in the past 50 years…and the ways in which we have not.’ and I think that she’s been very successful in achieving this with this book. I didn’t quite appreciate the ending but that’s me and my personality though it was a pretty good one. I wished it could be more to my liking but that’s life and it rather fit into the author’s intention.
Thanks to HarperCollins Publishers Australia for copy eARC via NetGalley in exchange of honest review