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All the Nice Girls [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio Cassette]

Joan Bakewell , Patricia Gallimore
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Feb 2010
ALL THE NICE GIRLS captures the danger and excitement of wartime Britain with a sweeping story of heroic deeds and painful separations, illicit love and battles at sea, and above all, of the poignancy of longing and loss. 1942, and the war is not going well. As part of the war effort the Ashworth Grammar School for Girls signs up for the Merchant Navy's Ship Adoption Scheme. The headmistress, who lost her lover in the First World War, believes the project will broaden the horizons of her girls, especially Polly and Jen, bright sixth formers eager to live and love despite it all. Then Josh Percival, captain of the adopted ship, the SS Treverran, comes with his men to visit Ashworth. The choices that follow will disrupt all their lives, reverberating even to the next generation, when, decades later, life and love are on the line again ...
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Magna Story Sound; Unabridged edition (15 Feb 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 1846526019
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846526015
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Product Description


`Marvellously exciting, heartbreaking, gruelling and an unexpectedly muscular and masculine treat in the middle of what is essentially a wistful romance . . . the outcome is poignant, romantic, deeply satisfying' -- DAILY EXPRESS Jennifer Selway

`A beautifully evocative novel, full of romance, tragedy and the pull of family bonds' -- SUNDAY EXPRESS Jane Clinton 4 stars

`A poignant and pleasurable novel' -- SUNDAY TIMES Penny Perrick

`A poignant and pleasurable novel'.
-- SUNDAY TIMES Penny Perrick

`A well-crafted romantic yarn . . . an absorbing human tale' -- MAIL ON SUNDAY Max Davidson

`A well-crafted romantic yarn . . . an absorbing human tale'
-- MAIL ON SUNDAY Max Davidson

`Bakewell conjures up a cracking wartime atmosphere' -- DAILY MAIL Helen Brown

`Bakewell conjures up a cracking wartime atmosphere'
Daily Mail -- Daily Mail

`Bakewell delivers a warm, good humoured story of wartime relationships and a thrilling account of life and death on the convoys' -- GUARDIAN Rachel Hore

`Marvellously exciting and heartbreaking . . . poignant, romantic and deeply satisfying' Daily Express -- Daily Express --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


`Bakewell conjures up a cracking wartime atmosphere' --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What the war was like for sweethearts.. 15 Jun 2009
This is not my normal sort of book but the title intrigued me. From the start I could imagine the head-mistress of this well-to-do girls school. Joan Bakewell's accounts of what Liverpool docks and the fictitious Stockport were fabulous - you can almost smell the air there. I am only 40 and therefore was not alive during this time but I felt that throughout this book I could hear my grandmother as she used to tell me what life was like for women during the second world war. The book has a lovely just-in-time finish and although it's not all roses it is as it should be and left me feeling evermore grateful for what I have.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Writing-by-numbers 21 July 2009
Not my usual kind of book, either - but as Stockport is my hometown, I was attracted by its northern setting. (Stockport is loosely fictionalised as Staveley, and Joan Bakewell dredges up a few details that I'd quite forgotten like the old Essoldo cinema ... long gone I imagine?)
Unfortunately, like many journalists who turn to fiction, Bakewell is a competent writer - but that's as far as it goes and this novel is lacking in any real spark. This is fiction-by-numbers, no better than an old-fashioned women's magazine serial. She throws in all the ingredients as if she's following a recipe; mix 4oz of illegitimate birth, 5oz of kidney transplant sub-plot ... and what do you get, a trite and unconvincing ending!
On the historical side, she has done her homework - but lacks the skill to infuse it with life.
It isn't a dreadful book. It's a quick, easy read - just a bit plodding.
A girls' grammar school 'adopts' a merchant ship during WW2, the serious-minded headmistress falls for the ship's master ... and lives are tangled down to the present generation. It passed an evening, but was very forgettable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great 15 Sep 2009
By J. Coulton VINE VOICE
They say that everyone has a novel in them - and fair play to Joan Bakewell for publishing her first at the age of 74. Cards on the table - I really admire her as a broadcaster; cultural and ethical commentator; and as a woman. I have recently read her excellent autobiography `The Centre of the Bed', and enjoyed it immensely. I have enormous respect for her.
So I wanted to really enjoy this Second World War romance - and I did enjoy it. I read it in a couple of days - eager to find out what happened. But it would not be honest of me to say that I found it without fault. Maybe because I was so recently acquainted with some of the details of her own wartime story, the parallels with her own experiences were a bit obvious for me. The imaginary town of Staveley, positioned between Manchester and Liverpool , is a device which seems to be a bit clunky here.
The novel tells the story of a girls' grammar school adopting a ship during the war, and of the relationships which develop between both the school as a whole, and in particular the romances that blossom between two of the pupils; their head mistress and three of the crew. There are some very touching moments in these stories, and Bakewell does bring to life the morals and values of the time, and how they stifled both women and girls, especially those who openly challenged social mores. She deals with real issues such as pregnancy outside marriage; adultery and adolescent sexuality well before the sexual revolution that was to follow in the 60's.
The parallel modern day story she tells of the daughter of one of these women, who gradually uncovers hitherto secret elements of her own personal history, does not work quite so well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bewitched by the author! 7 May 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have the greatest respect for Joan Bakewell and was totally seduced by the fact that this was her first attempt at a novel. It was a must buy for me but I was very disappointed. It was competently written (which was to be expected) and it had a story to tell which was partly based on fact - usually good - but it was slight and by no means gripping. The beginning was slow and ponderous and getting into it was not helped by starting in 1942 and then thrusting the reader forward to 2003 and then back to the war and then forward again. I find this technique off putting and it therefore took a long time for me to be familiar with, and understand, not only the characters, but the thrust of the story. The best I can say is that it was readable. I did get to the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A DEBUT NOVEL 12 Sep 2010
Difficult to give an opinion on this novel.Joan Bakewell is well known for her views, the programes that she has done over the years, and the epithet that was applied to her as'thinking man's crumpet,so it was difficult to divorce all these views when reading 'All the nice girls'.The novel was rather tedious in parts,altough not boring rather laboured. The descriptions of Liverpool,the docks,life in a 1940's grammar school were evocative and well described,the characterisations were rather limp, and without force,though the feeling of loss that Cynthia from the 1st World War had came across strongly. The conclusion of the novel brought all the strands together in a good and interesting way, and left one feeling with a satisfactory outcome of the events that had occured. The tale was one that must have happened to many people at this time,most families probably have a similar tale to tell,so therefore I think more could have been made of this, and perhaps further areas could have been developed to make this an even better novel.
I would recommewnd this as a read as it entertaining,occasionally thought provoking, and an insight into the feelings that people had during the early 40's and passes the time in a pleasurable way, and it is light novel to read-train journeys and airports.
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