FAIRFIELD HALL - my chosen holiday read.

Margaret Dickinson at her best - and that is always a treat for lovers of sagas.

The beginning of the story set in Lincolnshire had me intrigued. A modern day miss visiting Fairfield Hall and having a deep interest in a portrait of Lady Annabel, who had lived in the hall a hundred years ago. But, I wasn't to find out why the interest until the end of the book.

The story inbetween had me gripped. Told by a guide working in the Hall, but lived by the reader in real time, Lady Annabel's life unfolds.

It is both tragic and uplifting. It had me crying, hoping, heartwarmed, devastated, afraid, and ultimately happy. Shouldn't all author's novels take you through these emotions? Margaret never fails to.

Annabel is a pawn in the game of life - a game played by her father, her husband and her evil sister-in-law, for their own gain, But none of them realize her strength. This she uses to help the starving villagers of Fairfield and to restore the estate to former glory, but her path is strewn with the difficulties that these three put in her path.

Her achievements on behalf of the villagers are amazing, but even they cannot save her from the scandal that her sister-in-law invents. Banished, but not alone, Annabel gives her life to three boys, her own son, her sister-in-laws son and and the illegitimate son of her late brother-in-law.

Through her efforts these cousins come together in a friendship that is not tarred by the fact that each one of them have a claim to the inheritance of Fairfield Hall and estate. They make a pact that will sort out the feud of the family over who should ultimately inherit. The First World War decides.

And so the present day comes back into play and revelations are made of the outcome and a future is decided from it.

A brilliant read. A page-turner that had me not leaving my sun-bed all day on the last day of my holiday as I had to find out the ending. Thank You Margaret for hours of enjoyment.

***** RATING


A book that will draw you in and keep you enthralled. One that you won't be able to put down. 

Annie Murray brings to life the war years of Birmingham through the eyes of two families living next door to each other.

You experience their struggles to keep food on the table, their losses, and the heartbreak of first love - never an easy path, but during wartime when more obstacles to happiness than usual are present, then love is a fragile emotion that has to be nurtured through letters. 

Many, whose paths would never usually cross, are thrown together during war . War work makes this inevitable and it is so for sisters, Sylvia and Audrey.

Betrayal and courage are at the heart of this novel. As are complicated relationships, at a time when only the norm of boy meets girl is acceptable and all other liaisons are scandalous. 

Bigotry of the natural all encompassing forbidden love that Audrey is drawn to when she joins the WAAF leads to her making the wrong choices, which in turn, brings her heartache and threatens to sever family ties forever.  

Sylvia's heart is broken when the actions of a new friend she meets when she takes up war work as a porter on the railway, shatters her happiness.  Only for her to have her life put back together again by someone she's known forever, the boy next door. However, 'missing in action' are terrible words and are like a never-ending sentence. When Sylvia reads them her heart is once more torn to shreds.

These sister's stories and the many sub-stories of their families will hold you riveted to the end, and then you will be left with a feeling that you have lost a whole group of best friends as you have to say goodbye to them. One to read over and over.

The lasting impression left with you is

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