26 Apr 2014


The wife of a man whose family for generations had been miners, his father the last of them. The wife of a man whose mother, an actual Woman Against Pit Closures, ran a kitchen feeding a then striking community. It is to them I dedicate this review. 


SOURCE: Received for review from the author.

Yorkshire 1983.

Miner's wife Mandy is stuck in a rut. At twenty-three, and trapped by domesticity, her future looks set and she wants more from life. Husband Rob is a good-looking drinker, content to spend his days in the small town where they've always lived - where Mandy can't do anything other than bake cakes and raise her children.

When Mandy's childhood friend - beautiful, clever Ruth - and Ruth's Falklands war hero husband, Dan, return to town, their homecoming is shrouded in mystery. Like in their schooldays, Mandy looks to Ruth for inspiration - but Ruth isn't all she appears.

 As conflict with the Coal Board turns into war, the men come out on strike. The community and its whole way of life is threatened. Mandy abandons her dreams of liberation from the kitchen sink and joins a support group. As the strike rumbles on, relationships are pushed to the brink, and Mandy finds out just who she is - and who her true friends are.
...... Outer back cover

FIRST SENTENCE {Prologue}: The race is about to begin, gun aimed at the pewter sky.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 174}: 'I don't want my boys going down the pit. But I do want there to be a choice, for them and others, for there to be a community here. Industry. I can't imagine what it would be like without, and that's what we're fighting for. It's what I'm fighting for.'

MY THOUGHTS: Having witnessed the destruction of a mining community first-hand I knew this was going to be more of a personal read than most and as such was probably going to be either a big hit or a huge miss.

Thankfully a hit, the story of a community and in particular one woman's public battles and private wars this is a novel with a big heart.

Though essentially the story of one young woman's journey of self-fulfilment Public Battles, Private Wars intertwines the story of the struggle against pit closures, of one veterans struggle since returning from the Falklands War. Mixing fact with fiction at a time when Margaret Thatcher was regarded by some as a feminist icon whilst for many women like Mandy 'feminism' was still a dirty word. Though politics is the backdrop of the story it in no way intrudes into what is a very human tale of very real people.

Copyright: Tracy Terry @ Pen and Paper. All original content on http://pettywitter.blogspot.co.uk/ is created by the website owner, including but not limited to text, design, code, images, photographs and videos are considered to be the Intellectual Property of the website owner, whether copyrighted or not, and are protected by DMCA Protection Services using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Title 17 Chapter 512 (c)(3). Reproduction or re-publication of this content is prohibited without permission. In addition I would also urge that if you are reading this on any other page you contact the original blog owner/reviewer.
Disclaimer:  Read and reviewed on behalf of the author I was merely asked for my honest opinion, no financial compensation was asked for nor given.


Shooting Stars Mag said...

Thanks for sharing - I'm glad this was a hit for you since it's a bit more personal, if you will.

Kelly said...

Personally, not my cup of tea, but I'm glad it was such a hit for you.

On another topic...I thought my computer was haunted until I finally figured out it was coming from Hovis, your sheep in the sidebar! He's cute, but he certainly gave me a start!

Felicity Grace Terry said...

So sorry Kelly, it gave Mr T a start as well. I've put a warning on the top of the page so hopefully no one else will get a shock.

Stephanie Faris said...

Yeah, something's making a strange noise! It sounds like a microphone someone is brushing his hand across. The book sounds intriguing, though!

Felicity Grace Terry said...

I'm afraid hovis has had to go as he was causing too many disruptions.I'll be on the look out for another quieter pet tomorrow.

Suko said...

Tracy, so pleased that this book was a hit for you! I missed the problems with Hovis as I'm getting to my blog reading on the late side today.

anilkurup59 said...

Are the writers and publishers of the world keeping up to your pace of reading in their publishing? Amazing the books you devour.

Melliane said...

You always have the most original books I ever knew. I'm not sure this one is for me but thanks for introducing me to the novel.

StarTraci said...

Really sounds wonderful!

Brian Joseph said...

The books sounds really good

I like the fact that as you describe it, the book takes place around important social and political issues but focuses upon individuals and how they act.

Kelly said...

I see you've replaced Hovis with Waffles. He's cute and I've already fed him several treats. I also made him bark a few times to get the attention of my dogs. :)

The Bookworm said...

Glad to hear you enjoyed this one and that it resonated on a personal level. It sounds like a good one.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Tracy,

It would be hard for me to be completely objective about this book I think.

On the one hand, I have a friend who comes from a very small mining community in County Durham and who has told me firsthand of the terrible battles between the authorities and the miners and their families during the conflict.

On the other hand, hubbie was serving in the armed forces during the Falklands conflict and at that time viewed Maggie, as a leader with principles, to be looked up to and reckoned with.

Over the years, his opinions have changed considerably and her handling of the effecive privatisation of the country's assets, has sparked many a debate in our house!

I can understand how this would have been a personal read for you and you have been very even-handed, even restrained in your review.

This probably isn't a book that I could read without getting too angry and frustrated, but thanks for sharing,


Literary Feline said...

I can see why this book touched you so much, Tracy. I can't even imagine having to go through that, but I know it can't be easy. It sounds like the author did a good job capturing a true voice for her novel.