All the Nice Girls

Written by Joan Bakewell
Review by Sarah Bower


It’s a pity this book has come up for review for the autumn magazine as it is a perfect beach read. As the cover blurb says, Joan Bakewell’s first novel is ‘a big, wonderful, romantic wartime novel’, in which the formidable Ms. Bakewell wears her learning lightly.

In 1942, Ashworth Grammar School for Girls signs up for the Merchant Navy’s Ship Adoption scheme, which sets in train a series of events which will finally unravel sixty years later, when a young woman’s search for a kidney donor causes the family’s DNA to reveal its secrets. The characters are the only ones who get surprises in this novel. The plot is nothing if not predictable and the reader who anticipates a heart-warming family saga will not be disappointed. The writing style is straightforward, making for a quick and easy read.

Not a great classic of literature, but a book with a strong feel-good factor, excellent for a long winter evening or Christmas afternoon if you can’t bear yet another repeat of Morecambe and Wise.