Paint on the Smiles
Although a prolific author with many books to her name, this writer was new for me. I will not be returning for more offerings. This particular novel centres on two sisters, Cecily and Ada, and their successful shop before and during the Second World War. It is a sequel to an earlier novel, and although the reader can catch up due to the chunks of knowledge inserted, it would have been easier had I read the first book, Goodbye to Dreams. The mention of the Pleasure Beach suggests the novel is set in Blackpool, but this is the only real mention of the place.
There are various subplots involving an angry daughter Myfanwy (Van) who is unable to forgive her mother for her illegitimate birth and the criminal husband of Ada, who emerges from prison a disturbed and potentially dangerous man. The characters are secondary to the plot in that they behave in certain ways and commit various acts because the plot demands it. The reader lurches from event to event, which, while quite exciting as set pieces, lack emotional depth or meaning. Instead of believable, rounded characters, we have an attempt to create idiolect by rearranging the sentence structure of many utterances of the characters. Annoying it quickly becomes, and overused in the style of Yoda it is, and it does not work as a substitute for real characters. If you find dialogue such as `Loved it she did, flirted something awful, mind, terrible she was’, convincing and interesting, then this may be the book for you. Recommended by me, it isn`t.