Set during the first two years of World War II, this novel follows the fortunes of one working class street in South London. The story revolves around the lives of seven women from different social groups, interconnecting their stories with the lives of their menfolk.
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When I was asked to write a novel set in the second world war, the publishers (Orion) originally wanted it set in the East End of London, but I had just moved to Clapham and I asked if I could set the story there. I had already noticed the number of newish houses built into the old Victorian terraced streets - a sign of the relentless bombing, and I wanted to try to recreate the atmosphere of wartime Clapham as a kind of tribute to the 'ordinary' people who lived and died during through those eventful, traumatic years.
I wanted to show how local people were affected by events in the wider world, in particular how the old social structures changed and how women suddenly and unexpectedly found themselves facing new challenges and opportunities. But my overriding aim was to make the books engaging and fun to read and for that I needed lively, compelling characters.
One of the key characters in Lavender Road is Jen Carter who came to me after an interview with the wonderful actress and singer, Mary Morland, already well in her eighties, who had blazed a trail on the London variety stage all through the war and for many years afterwards too. I wanted Jen's fantasy of becoming an actress, as a means of escaping from the family she despises, to make a nice contrast with the desperate efforts of her careworn mother to keep food on the family table. In the end Joyce, Jen's mother, actually became one of my favourite characters, I so much enjoyed creating her tentative relationship with the 'rich' Mrs Rutherford in the large house overlooking the common, and best of all is when she finally gives the ghastly Stanley (her violent, feckless husband) his come-uppance - but you have to wait for Some Sunny Day for that ...
Helen Carey is the author of the popular London wartime novels, Lavender Road, Some Sunny Day and On a Wing and a Prayer (all published by Orion). Having lived in London, Germany, Switzerland and the West Indies, she now lives in Newport, Pembrokeshire on a small coastal farm which she and her husband run as a conservation project. She is also a prize winning artist and has made a gallery out of a converted goat shed. As well as painting and writing she now teaches part-time on the MA Creative Writing at Trinity Saint David University in Carmarthen and currently has a Royal Literary Fund fellowship at Aberystwyth University.
Her new novel, Slick Deals, is a crime adventure set in Monaco, London and West Wales.
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Book Description Orion, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111857976142
Book Description Orion, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M1857976142