| lesley pearse and her novels

Monday, 4 August 2014

Hey lovelies. There's nothing I love more in the summer than curling up with a lengthy novel that can keep me hooked for a whole afternoon. This leads me to introduce my favourite ever author, Lesley Pearse. As you can see in the above picture, I'v acquired an extensive collection of her novels, and for good reason - I've now read every one except for Never Look Back; I'm around 200 pages away from finishing. 

The first book I read by her isn't even included in this picture because I sadly lost it, titled Secrets. I've read it at least three times and I was immediately gripped by her writing style. Lesley Pearse has an incredible ability of painting a vivid image in my head of every scene, almost as clear as if I were watching the action play out in front of me. I shall give a little background to each novel and you may be able to see a pattern between many of her books.

Till We Meet Again
I would say this was the more unique out of my collection. It tells the story of two childhood friends, Susan and Beth having lost touch as their lives grow separate, and by fate meeting again 30 years later in unfortunate circumstances - Susan has committed murder with Beth having to defend her as her lawyer. Hearing Susan's back story unfold over the course of the book is extremely surprising, and observing Beth struggle to remain neutral and resist allowing her emotions interfere with her job is fascinating.

Never Look Back
I'm absolutely loving reading this book right now. The context is set in Victorian London, Matilda growing up in desperate conditions attempting to provide for her father and her two brothers as a flower girl. A true twist of fate turns her world upside down as she's offered a position in a upper class house, and the connection she makes with her family takes her on a trip to America. It seems sometimes luck works against her, but Matilda is portrayed as a truly determined spirit as she fights to keep those close to her provided for whilst she attempts to realise dreams of her own.

This was the second book I read by Lesley Pearse, and it had a very urgent and tense pace all the way through. I find this story isn't as memorable for me as the others, mainly because the story didn't end up a long but thrilling trail like the others. When a blonde woman, Lotte is found washed up on a beach in Sussex many shocking discoveries are found, including the fact that she had given birth. I found with this book that Pearse creates ill ease with some of characters given their hidden intentions and their eventual actions, which contributes to the want to find out the whole story.

I seriously enjoyed this book, and was utterly gripped from the start. This is one of the best manifestations of her ability to create a whirlwind of action in a few chapters. Camellia is only in her teens when she becomes an orphan, her enigma of a mother having died after a curious incident. A very negative image of her mother is painted early on in the story, but as Camellia is moved on to London to a girl's home, she gradually adopts many of the actions she would have previously scorned due to a lack of direction. Along the way she makes some friends for life, lifestyle and career mistakes until she truly ends up in a low place. She begins to question her mother's past, which leads her to several doors, one of which restores her stability in life as a hard-working girl. It almost seems in this book that it's impossible for Camellia to enjoy long bouts of happiness before tragedy strikes, however she often remains undeterred and forever caring of others.

Trust Me
I recently finished reading this on my holiday, and I was truly addicted! Dulcie and May Taylor are sadly orphaned in mid 1940's London, after their mother dies suspiciously following a heated row between herself and their loyal father. He is shortly sentenced in prison, leaving the girls in a vulnerable position. The girls are sent off to a convent in the countryside, leaving unspeakable abuse mentally and physically. When the opportunity arises for a select number of girls to travel to Australia, Dulcie and May jump at the chance to start a new life. Their hopes are shattered as they arrive to find their lives much more harrowing. As the girls grow up, the bond between the two becomes more distant and strained at times, but often find they can reconnect when fate strikes. The most fascinating aspect of this story was observing how their treatment at the hands of others in "trust" affects them in later life, as the two girls are left with some devastating after effects. The story was so well written that I almost felt I knew the girls inside and out, and my heartstrings were pulled more often than is normal!

I loved this story as it was slightly more racy, scandalous but as shocking as the others. Like many characters in her books, Belle is brought up in the poorest slum in London, Seven Dials to a mother who owns a whorehouse. It would seem odd at the beginning to see how Belle would arrive in a similar position her mother had found herself in when she has such a strikingly different personality. When Belle is snatched one night and sent to Paris and sold into prostitution, all possible horrors are realized and described in detail, but this helps to make the sad story much more poignant. As the story gains pace, Belle matures considerably as she is sent off to New Orleans to start a new life, and here I observed a radical change in her attitude and behaviour. In some ways she becomes more adult and worldly, on the other hand she trusts people too easily and falls into some serious mistakes. While the majority of her moments are bitter-sweet and a little unfortunate, she at times manages to find happiness as well as having a strongly knit family back in London desperately awaiting her return.

As you can tell from the sheer amount I wrote about some and the obvious little amount about others, some of her books struck a chord with me much more. I love that with her writing style the pace is quick to develop, whilst creating clear images of the characters and the action in my mind. Lesley Pearse never complicates the story with unnecessary language, and is great at setting a context so well that you can visualise exactly what the period was like at the time. I often remember how much ground she has covered in a story, and how much the characters circumstances have changed by simply flicking back by about 20 pages. Furthermore every new situation the characters come across leaves an impact on their development and how they behave in the rest of the book, making her novels as readable and enjoyable as possible.

Sorry for the long post! Thanks for reading, have you read any of her books? xx

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