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Three Women of Liverpool and Madame Barbara was part of an omnibus I picked up. I have been in a fairly serious mood of late, and as a result wanted something light to read. Funny how our minds work. And light these books certainly are. They don't unduly tax your brain, and Forrester's style is easy on the eye, flowing through effortlessly. She spins a good story, and you find yourself turning the pages faster than you think. But my praise stops here. Both the books are focused in Liverpool. No, that's not the problem! Well, Madame Barbara deviates a little with some of the action set in France. Forrester's themes revolve around the World Wars and Depression eras. You will know what my problem is, please do read on.
Three Women of Liverpool claims to trace the life of three women as they cope with the merciless bombing of Liverpool during World War II. From the book jacket:
There is Ellen -- whose home is destroyed by bombs; Gwen, whose family absorbs all her time and energy; and Emmie, whose only fears are for the safety of her merchant seaman fiance, far away in the South Atlantic. None of them were prepared for what would follow, when the air raid siren sounded for the first time on 1 May, 1941...
Amidst a lot of war action, precious little happens really. Gwen is the only one who seems to evolve as a character. The action is always at a frenzy, but the denouement beggars belief. I hate endings where it feels like the author got bored, and just said, ah ok, I have exceeded my 45,000 word limit. Everyone, peace! Bye!
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Poor, poverty-stricken Michel wants to get married, but must wait for Anatole, his ailing brother to pass into his grave. Then pack off his Mom, then find a job, then go to Liverpool, then get flustered at the reception he gets, then fight with Barbara, decide to leave and find work in France and of course he has too much pride to eke out a decent living at the bed-breakfast Barbara and her Mom run. So it goes on. Once again, the ending - well, I am glad Forrester was bored, because so was I. I had had enough of Michel's woe begone woes. Ah. Michel really irritated me. And so too did these books.
Maybe, there is a reason why the author writes under an assumed name. You just don't want your fans to track you down after you write this!
Verdict: Blah. Bleep. Bop.