Release date - 4th May 2017
Book length - 352 pages
Publisher - www.bonnierzaffre.co.uk
Amazon UK - www.amazon.co.uk
Amazon US - www.amazon.com
CAUGHT BETWEEN FAMILY AND DUTY - CAN SHE FOLLOW HER DREAM?
After the death of her father, a much-loved Punch and Judy man, May Moon packs her bags and moves to the seaside in the hope of continuing his legacy.
Already tasked with looking after her younger sister, May little imagines her summer will grow tougher still. Her long absent mother has finally returned - and with an agenda all of her own.
But as May struggles to balance her family's competing demands - and honour her father's legacy - she's surprised to discover her passion for performing grows ever stronger.
As the world around her begins to change, might she finally be able to find a dream of her own?
A warm-hearted and nostalgic saga perfect for readers of Katie Flynn and Sheila Jeffries.
'Like having dinner with your mother in her warm and cosy kitchen.' Diane Allen
Heartwarming, charming, lovely, and captivating are just some of the words that I could use to describe THE PUNCH AND JUDY GIRL by Sheila Newberry.
In this nostalgic tale set in 1925, we meet May Jolley, also known as Young May Moon, who promised her dying father that she would try to continue his legacy of performing The Punch and Judy show. At the tender age of 16, May has a lot on her shoulders as she is also looking out for her little sister, Pomona, with the help of their Aunt and some good friends along the way. And with the return of her flighty mother, Carmen, May will need her friends more than ever.
For me, this story is split into two parts. The first section being that ever-important summer where strong friendships are made, where May reconnects with the mother who abandoned them, falls headfirst into the first throes of love, and really begins to grow up. The second part of the novel jumps forward nine years, and we see a determined, strong, independent May who struggles to decide between her heart and her head. Throughout this tale, the other characters are equally as compelling as May, and it was great to discover what happens with Bea, Pom, Danny, and the others.
THE PUNCH AND JUDY GIRL by Sheila Newberry is just the perfect story to make you smile, and make you feel warm and happy. The descriptions are evocative and make you feel a part of the scene, and the characters feel like your family by the end.
THE PUNCH AND JUDY GIRL by Sheila Newberry is a beautifully written historical story of love, family, and finding your own path, and I cannot wait to read more from this author!
Sheila Newberry was born in Suffolk and spent a lot of time there both before and during the war. She wrote her first 'book' before she was ten - all sixty pages of it - in purple ink. She spent forty years living in Kent with her husband John on a smallholding, and has nine children and twenty-two lively grandchildren. They retired back to Suffolk where Sheila lives today.
*I want to thank Imogen and Emily from Bonnier Zaffre, and Sheila Newberry, for the opportunity to review this heartwarming novel, and take part in this blog tour. Make sure to check out the other stops along the way! Read on for a lovely extract xx
They awoke to a tintinnabulation – they’d overslept and the church bells were ringing to proclaim the sabbath and herald the morning service. Most of the bedclothes appeared to be wound round Pomona, and her muffled voice said apologetically: ‘Happy birthday, May!’ It was Whit Sunday, 31 May, and now May was not ‘almost’ but actually sixteen.
There was a scraping noise. Something was being pushed under the door. An envelope. May waited for a few seconds, listening for descending footsteps on the stairs before she jumped out of bed and retrieved it.
Inside the envelope was a handmade card, with a pencil sketch of a Punch and Judy booth. Punch was front stage, and a bubble from his mouth proclaimed, HAPPY BIRTHDAY YOUNG MAY MOON! Inside was written, Best wishes from Paddy and Danny.
Her face flushed as she said, ‘Cheek! I didn’t say they could call me that… .’
A tap on the door. ‘May I come in?’ asked Jenny. ‘I heard you talking. Awake at last, eh? You must have been tired out.’
She was wearing her Sunday hat with a yellow silk rose fastened to a wide band, matching her shiny satin blouse.
‘Here’s your hot-water jug and two mugs of fresh tea! I’ll pop the tray on the washstand. The bells have just stopped ringing, I must dash, or I’ll be late for church. Oh,’ she turned at the door, ‘many happy returns, May! I didn’t forget! There’s a bowl of fresh eggs in the pantry, if you fancy ‘em boiled for breakfast. We had ours hours ago! The roast is already in the oven… . ‘Bye, my dears!’
Brigid was in the kitchen, peeling potatoes and dropping them with a splash into a large pan of water on the stove. ‘I must wish you a happy birthday, May! I thought our busy landlady might be glad of a hand with the spuds… Paddy and his dad are helping Percy. Danny took Toby for a run in the meadow, I hope you don’t mind?’
‘Thank you, of course not,’ May replied. What else could she say? ‘It’s very kind of you all,’ she added.
‘Can I go outside until breakfast is ready?’ Pomona wheedled.
‘Put your shoes on, then. The grass will be damp, even though it’s looking to be a fine day,’ her sister said.
‘We’re all enjoying a day off – even Smokey! I’ll make sure he’s been fed and watered,’ Pomona said, as she wriggled her feet into her sandals without undoing the buckles.
Danny was kicking a ball in the air and Toby leapt up to catch it.
‘She’s an old dog, you know,’ Pomona reminded Danny when she joined them in the meadow.
‘She can still do a back flip in the air,’ he said cheerfully.
‘So can I!’ Pomona promptly demonstrated, ending up with her skirt around her ears. Fortunately May was not there to remonstrate with her; she could be quite prim at times, Pomona thought, Mum was the one who was outrageous in our family. She’d only been four when Carmen went off, but she still missed her mother, quick temper and all.
‘You and Toby ought to be in the circus, I reckon.’ Danny pulled up a long blade of grass and demonstrated how to make an earsplitting noise by blowing over it. ‘You can both do tricks. Your talents are wasted in the Punch and Judy.’
‘I play an important part, May says,’ she flared.
‘Paddy says May is jolly good, but she’s watered the story down! Punch is a real villain. He whacks his wife and baby and chucks them out of a window. He gets hanged for his sins. But at least you had the crocodile in it!’
‘Don’t be so critical! My dad didn’t like violence. He said enough shouting went on with my mother!’
‘So that’s where you get it from,’ Danny said unwisely, before he scooted off to the house with Pomona in hot pursuit.
*Thanks again to Sheila Newberry and Bonnier Zaffre*
Hi fellow bookworms. My name is Linda and I'm a reviewer & blogger from Ireland. Oh and also a wife and mother!
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