Sisters on Bread Street by Frances Brody, publisher Piatkus, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.
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Product Details (as per amazon page)
Leeds, 1914. Sisters Julia and Margaret Wood are struggling to rise above devastating poverty, while the threat of war looms large over their community. Angry feelings about foreigners have reached boiling point; their German-Jewish father’s search for work proves hopeless, leaving entrepreneurial Julia to keep the family afloat by hawking homemade pies on the streets of Leeds.
Her beautiful elder sister Margaret, an apprentice milliner and new member of the suffragette set, seeks a faster way out of the daily grind, pinning her hopes on a rich suffragette’s journalist son, Thomas.
But as the war rages on, it is left to Julia to discover the true meaning of courage and family, as she learns to look forward to the start of the new day – and the promise of a better life ahead.
I’d like to thank the publishers for an arc in return for an honest review.
This is the first book I’ve read by Frances Brody and I was thrilled to experience the work of a new author. I’ve been enjoying fictional historical sagas recently and I was intrigued by the synopsis of Sisters on Bread Street as its set at the start of WWI and is based in the city of Leeds, north west of England.
The story is based around Julia and Margaret Wood, sisters living on Bread Street, Leeds, a fairly deprived area of the city. Julia, the younger of the two sisters, is very headstrong, hard working, knowledgeable and very kind and caring. I loved Julia’s character, she was only 15 but she kept the family and neighbours going with all her hardwork and initiative. Margaret is a few years older and is the lady of the household, she doesn’t do as many chores as Julia as she is working as an apprentice seamstress and likes to look her best at all times and is also a member of the suffragette movement. I felt that Margaret was quite selfish and I didn’t particularly warm to her but during the story she was very resilient. Julia likes to write down in her notebook all the goings and comings of life on Bread Street and the book starts off in Spring 1914, prior to the start of WWI and finishes in Spring 1919.
The storyline was a very raw and honest account of life in poverty stricken Leeds. The sisters also had to contend with the racism directed at their German-Jewish father and this was escalated when war was declared which brought danger to Julia and her father. You experience the intensity of the devastating poverty of the time and also of the emotions of families being separated with the men being enlisted for war duties. It was heartbreaking and tragic at times what the poor had to deal with but they dealt with it with humour and dignity.
I found the story very intriguing, emotive, heart warming and full of hope. It had a lovely romance interwoven between the pages which was beautiful and touching at a very dark time in history. 4/5* read.
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