Review: 'Bourbon Creams and Tattered Dreams' by Mary Gibson (2017)
Frank Rossi promised Matty the world. The Cockney Canary would become a world famous movie star. As his wife, she would be one half of a power couple, feted and adored by all. But the Wall Street crash puts paid to that and as Frank becomes more violent and unstable, Matty knows she must escape and so she flees at dead of night.
Once home in Bermondsey, she goes into hiding and starts desperately looking for work. But only the hated biscuit factory, Peek Frean's, is hiring. Then, as a secret from her past comes back to hurt her, Matty learns that Frank is on the move, determined to find her and get her back.
Last year I had the pleasure of being introduced to author Mary Gibson; her novel ‘Gunner Girls and Fighter Boys’ was a great read (click here to read my review), so when I was contacted about possibly reviewing her latest book ‘Bourbon Creams and Tattered Dreams’ I didn’t have to think twice about my answer. This latest read by Mary Gibson was released in January 2017 and tells the story of main character Matty. I immediately liked the sound of the story and was curious to give it a try, keeping my fingers crossed for a just as enjoyable reading experience as with the author’s previous novel!
Matty Gilbie has always loved to sing and there’s a reason she is known as the Cockney Canary. When she met Frank Rossi, she couldn’t help but fall head over heels in love with him and his promises to make her a big star. But now, after following Frank to America, these promises have lost their shine and especially with the Wall Street Crash making everything more difficult, Matty only wants to get away from Frank and return back home to Bermondsey. One evening she just decides to leave and tries her best to build up a quiet life back in the UK. But she knows Frank is looking for her; will she be able to leave behind her singing career and stay away from the spotlight? And can a new life in the UK, working in a factory, really offer her what she always wanted…?
If you enjoy historical and/or women’s fiction, I can recommend picking up a Mary Gibson novel. I thoroughly enjoyed her book ‘Gunner Girls and Fighter Boys’ and now got the chance to read ‘Bourbon Creams and Tattered Dreams’ which focuses on main character Matty Gilbie. Her singing voice brought her to America, but due to circumstances she now finds herself back home with her family in Bermondsey, trying to lead a quiet life, not drawing any attention to herself. As a reader I thoroughly enjoyed joining Matty during this particular time in her life; at the start of the novel she is basically forced to start all over again, and we follow her and get to see how she continues to be brave, trying to find happiness while not losing sight of who she is as a person and discovering what really makes her happy.
One of the strengths of the novel, and the author’s writing, is the ability to create that feeling of community; people coming together and caring about each other. I loved the Bermondsey community and getting to know the different secondary characters in the book, and how they all come together to help and support Matty. While I personally thought the story became a bit slow-paced and too much of the same towards the middle of the book, I still really enjoyed it and Mary Gibson is certainly on my list of authors to keep an eye on. All in all, ‘Bourbon Creams and Tattered Dreams’ is a heartfelt and well-written historical/women’s fiction read with a determined and brave leading lady at its core; a thoroughly enjoyable read!