The Gypsy’s Daughter (Memory Lane)
The eponymous Harmony Loveridge, “Harry” to her family, friends and others who are neither, is raised on a farm in Kent by loving parents. This book is a sequel to the author’s excellent debut novel, The Gypsy Bride, and through Harry’s story we learn about the struggles and prejudices faced by Romanis, even those who settle into a stationary existence. Set in post-World War II England, this is an impeccably researched, heart-warming, coming-of-age story taking us through Harry’s teenage and early twenties experiences, good and bad, and her search for a love that is as strong as that of her parents.
Harry’s life is touched by family tragedy and externally imposed violence. From the relative tranquillity of rural Kent, to university life in Nottingham with its factories and mining communities, Katie Hutton demonstrates a mastery of description, bringing characters and settings to life.
The novel deals with the difficult subjects of domestic violence and homosexuality sympathetically and with a great understanding of historical context and remains true to the prejudices and attitudes of late 1950s England. Much care has obviously been taken with the authenticity of accents and dialect, adding to the sense of place.
The Gypsy’s Daughter is an extremely well written, classically romantic tale. The characters are well rounded and believable, and the novel flows with just the right amount of pace to keep the reader turning the pages.