Review – Remember Me

Title: Remember Me
Author: Lesley Pearse
Pages: 560FullSizeRender
Genre: Historical Fiction
Blurb: She made a mistake and now she’ll never see home again . . .
Mary, a Cornish mariner’s daughter, makes the biggest mistake of her short life when she steals a silk hat. Convicted and sentenced to be transported to Australia, she endures horrific conditions aboard ship before landing in a brutal and barbaric country. It will take all her courage just to survive.
But Mary is also determined to make something of herself in this rugged man’s world. And she dreams that one day she will find a way of crossing the cruel seas that lie between her and home . . .

Based on a true story, Remember Me brings Mary Broad vividly to life in this moving story of a woman triumphing against overwhelming odds.

*NOTE* I read this book back in January.

This is my 6th Lesley Pearse, I went into this book not knowing what it was about. I try not to read the blurb of a book, especially if I have previously read another book by the same author. Once I started this book I was pleasantly surprised about the content. I started this book on Australia Day weekend which marks the anniversary of the arrival, of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson New South Wales in 1788. This coincidently was what this book was based on!

The book opens with Mary being sentenced for committing highway Robbery the punishment is being hanged! Mary is sent to prison to await trial and will be stuck in a grotty cell to wait out her fate. The conditions of the prison in which Mary arrives are despicable and Pearse does a great job of describing them, as at times it made my skin crawl! Before she gets to trial however Mary soon discovers that she has been pardoned and will be sent with a select few to a new prison colony in Australia New South Wales (NSW) While Mary should be delighted as she gets to live, she finds herself unsure. Although she is being pardoned it means she will never be able to return home, she decides that she will never speak to her family again as she feels it would bring shame to their door. We join Mary on her trip to NSW I must admit that the conditions of the transportation ships shocked me and I would say they were worse than the prison. It is no wonder so many didn’t make it!  They are starving, lying in their own and everyone else’s I might add filth, riddled with lice and overrun with rats. Just imagine having to be on a ship for as long as it would take from the UK to NSW let alone with these appalling conditions. Not only does she have to deal with these poor conditions most of the officers on board are downright nasty. They really do not care what happens to the prisoners only one guard had any shed of human decency because of this I became a little in love with Officer Tench the way he treated the prisoners and wasn’t such a brute really made him a proper gentleman. Mary. What. A. Women as the book progresses I became more and more in awe of this her and the fact this is based on a true story makes it hit home more too. When they finally arrive they soon find out it isn’t quite what they expected and their fight for survival had only just begun. We ourselves are taken on a journey of what it must be like to arrive in a foreign country with pretty much the clothes (if you have any left!) on your back. Pearse writes with great compassion you find yourself cheering Mary on as the story continues.

Remember me, was a thought provoking, sad, but wonderful book that had even more impact with me due to when I read it. I am slowly working my way through Pearse’s back catalogue of which there is quite a lot!

 My Rating: 4.5*
L x


Review – Spare Brides


Title: Spare Brides
Author:  Adele Parks
Pages: 416
Genre: Historical Fiction
Blurb: New Year’s Eve, 1920. The Great War is over and it’s a new decade of glamorous promise. But a generation of men and women who survived the extreme trauma and tragedy will never be the same. With countless men lost, it seems that only wealth and beauty will secure a husband from the few who returned, but lonely Beatrice has neither attribute. Ava has both, although she sees marriage as a restrictive cage after the freedom war allowed. Sarah paid the war’s ultimate price: her husband’s life. Lydia should be grateful that her own husband’s desk job kept him safe, but she sees only his cowardice. A chance encounter for one of these women with a striking yet haunted officer changes everything. In a world altered beyond recognition, where not all scars are visible, this damaged and beautiful group must grasp any happiness they can find – whatever the cost

Having previously read all of Parks books and being a fan I was looking forward to reading her latest book. This one differs from her normal work as it is Historical Fiction, I wasn’t sure how I was going to find this book, having not read much historical fiction before. I’ll be honest and say I particularly struggled with the first half of the book, I did however speed through the second half.

Spare Brides is set in the 1920s after the Great War has ended and focuses mainly on how it affected the women, four women in particular, all of whom have been affected differently by loss and the tragedy the war has caused. Although all four women differed in personality and class they still managed to stay friends. We get to hear each of their perspectives throughout the book. This means we really get a feel of how it might have been for them back then. It really shows you how they all coped dealing with different types of loss in their own ways, we got a good sense of them all individually. Each one bought out different emotions in me particularly Lydia who I felt changed the most throughout the book; I was glad how it all tied up for her. I had great empathy for Sarah she struggled the most in my opinion. Beatrice, poor Beatrice. She didn’t get much luck and when her hopes were finally raised they were soon dashed again. Then we have Ava, who was beautiful, rich and seemed to have it all, she used the tragedy to her own advantage and I loved her courage for not following the crowd! There wasn’t a character I didn’t like (or if I did it wasn’t for long!) but Edgar, oh Edgar! He was what kept me reading the book, I loved hearing how he coped during the war, he was by far my favourite character.

Spare Brides took me a while to get into but once I did, I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it. I did however love the ending. Parks did a fabulous job of detailing in the book and at times I really felt like I was back in the ‘20s. The description of the clothes they wore were so beautifully crafted. I will continue to read all of Parks latest work

My Rating: 3*

L x