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The Hazelbourne Ladies Motorcycle and Flying Club - Helen Simonson

The Hazelbourne Ladies Motorcycle and Flying Club

By: Helen Simonson

Paperback | 4 June 2024

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A young woman's life is forever changed in the summer after World War I when she befriends a group of independent, motorcycle-riding women in a seaside town on the English coast - a captivating novel from the bestselling author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand.

'I loved this book! The glorious characters and evocative setting, as well as the portrayal of the era, are all beautifully balanced with a plot that had me so invested I didn't want it to end.' Amanda Hampson, bestselling author of The Tea Ladies

It is the summer of 1919 and Constance Haverhill is without prospects. Now that all the men have returned from the front, she has been asked to give up her cottage and her job at the estate she helped to run during the war. Instead, she's sent as a lady's companion to an old family friend who is convalescing at a seaside hotel where she is swept up in the social whirl of Hazelbourne-on-Sea and its colourful inhabitants, most notably, Poppy Wirrall.

Poppy, the daughter of a land-owning baronet, wears trousers, operates a taxi and delivery service to employ local women and runs a ladies' motorcycle club (to which she plans to add flying lessons). And then there is Harris, Poppy's recalcitrant but handsome brother - a fighter pilot recently wounded in battle - who warms in Constance's presence. But things are more complicated than they seem in this sunny pocket of English high society. As the country prepares to celebrate its hard-won peace, Constance and the women of the club are forced to confront the fact that the freedoms they gained during the war are being revoked.

In a timeless comedy of manners, with sharp humour, biting wit and a warm heart, Simonson captures the mood of a generation facing the seismic changes brought on by war.

'...an absolute joy of a book. Warm and romantic, it also has so much to say about the lives of women in the years following World War I. This is historical fiction of the highest order-pleasurable and smart.' Ann Napolitano, bestselling author of Hello Beautiful


Praise for The Summer Before the War:

'In picturesque Simonson style we wallow in love, hope and humour. Gentle, astute and observant.' - Australian Women's Weekly

'Simonson describes the era vividly in language matched to the times. Her compelling characters and their snappy dialogue illustrate a heart-wrenching tale [that] strikes a good balance between pathos and playfulness.' - Good Reading

'Read this book at your peril. By the time the camomile tea has chilled, two chapters in, you are hooked.' - Sydney Morning Herald Spectrum

About the Author

Helen Simonson was born in England and spent her teenage years in a small village in East Sussex. A graduate of the London School of Economics, she lives in the United States and is a dual citizen and proud New Yorker. Married, with two sons, she is the author of the bestselling novels Major Pettigrew's Last Stand and The Summer Before the War.

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