Liverpool, 1939. The Second World War is about to start when pretty Laura Oliver meets Queenie Todd.
Laura is 21 and happily married. At 14, Queenie lacks Laura's confidence, and has been deserted by her good-time mother. The two become friends, but when the air raids begin Queenie is trusted to look after two young children, and the three of them are evacuated to a small town on the coast of Wales. At first it is a haven of peace and quiet. The girls have a wonderful time - and then something happens, so terrifying that it will haunt them for the rest of their lives.
Queen Of Mersey is the powerful and compelling story of great friendships and terrible betrayals ...
If you love family sagas then this latest drama from award-winning author Maureen Lee is a must. Set in Liverpool in the Second World War, it follows the fortunes of Queenie, abused and then abandoned by her mother, who finds compassion, friendship and eventually love amongst the people who take care of her. When she is given the charge of two little girls as they are evacuated to Wales she shields them from a traumatic incident but the tragedy will haunt them for the rest of their lives. What makes this type of novel a compelling read is the opportunity to watch many different characters' lives unfold as they grow up, fall in love, raise families, suffer betrayals and great sorrow. Maureen Lee successfully weaves together the fates of rich and poor in war as well as the decades of peace which follow and this makes for a substantial read. Most of the characters have flaws and weaknesses which add to their appeal and there is a sense of life lifting off each page. Lee has written many books set in Liverpool and captures the character and voice of the city accurately. She also taps into what all fans of this genre enjoy - a nostalgia for the past which doesn't gloss over its failings. The pace of the action is fast and wide-ranging which does not really allow for great insights into human nature or hidden depths for character, but to be frank that's not the book's aim. It's great story-telling about family life and as such will be enjoyed by women of all ages who like to escape from the present into the past in the company of lively sympathetic characters. (Kirkus UK)