Review: 'The Girls from See Saw Lane' by Sandy Taylor (2016)
Brighton 1963. Mary Pickles and I walked along the street with our arms linked, looking in shop windows. We were best friends and together we were invincible.
Dottie and Mary forged a friendship over a bag of penny sweets when they were eight years old. They’ve shared everything together since then – the highs and lows of school, family dramas, hopes and dreams and now, at seventeen, they’re both shop girls, working at Woolworths.
As they go out in the world in pursuit of love and happiness, the simplicity of their childhood dissolves as life becomes more complicated. The heady excitement of first love will consume them both, but the pain of unintentional betrayal will test their friendship in ways neither of them could ever imagine…
As some of you might know by now I love to pick up some historical/wartime romance fiction every now and again. I can really enjoy the nostalgic feel of these novels, especially when you stumble upon a really well-written and compelling one. 'The Girls from See Saw Lane' is my first experience with author Sandy Taylor's writing, but I'm a big fan of publisher Bookouture, so straight away knew I wanted to give this book a go. It's actually the first part of the Brighton Girls Trilogy, so I hoped I would end up enjoying the novel, especially with the thought of having two more parts to read and get lost in after finishing this one!
Set in Brighton in the 1960s, 'The Girls of See Saw Lane' tells the story of best friends Dottie Perks and Mary Pickles. Ever since they met at primary school when they were eight years old Dottie and Mary have been there for each other: playing together, walking home together, sharing secrets, developing their first crushes on boys, dreaming about their futures. When they are seventeen, both working at the local Woolworths and ready to leave school, life suddenly gets more complicated and Dottie and Mary's friendship is tested; will they be able to continue to be there for each other or are some things simply too difficult to forget...?
From the first chapter of this novel I grew fond of main characters and best friends Mary and Dottie, and I'm happy to say I continued to be interested and moved by their story until the last few pages of the book. We meet Dottie and Mary when they're eight years old and are given the chance to follow them until they are older. I could say more about the plot, but I really enjoyed reading the book without knowing too much about where the story was going to go, so I don't want to ruin that experience for others. I really enjoyed the author's well-paced writing style which included the right amount of both dialogue and background information and really suited this kind of story, and I definitely look forward to reading more of her work in the future.
One of the things I enjoyed most about reading this novel was the nostalgic feel of it. The author really managed to recreate that feeling of Brighton in the 1960s and it made me think of my nanna and the stories she told me of when she was in her twenties in the UK which added a lovely personal touch. I really enjoyed this a lot more than I initially expected and can't wait to read the second part in the series, 'Counting Chimneys', which was released in June. On the whole, 'The Girls from See Saw Lane' is a well-written, touching and simply lovely coming-of-age story I personally couldn't have enjoyed more; a great read!