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Frances - The Tragic Bride [Kindle Edition]

Jacky Hyams
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (292 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: £5.31 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

She was young, very beautiful and had everything to live for – but the life of Frances Shea, briefly married to Reggie Kray, remains one of the most tragic stories of the Swinging Sixties.

Courted by Reggie as a schoolgirl, her eight-year relationship with him drew Frances into an outwardly glamorous world of nightclubs, fast cars, beautiful clothes and showbiz parties. Yet as time went on, she found herself struggling to cope with the real world of the Krays, the hidden world that lay beneath the glossy façade and the cosy cups of tea in the downstairs parlour in ‘Fort Vallance’, their East End home, a horrific world of violence, drink, drugs – and sheer terror.

By the time Frances married Reggie in their very public, celebrity-strewn ‘Wedding of the Year’ in 1965, her life – and that of her own family – had become inextricably linked with Ronnie and Reggie’s rapid downward spiral from gangland extortion and brutality into senseless murder and mayhem.

Possessive in the extreme, Reggie remained obsessed by his wife from the day he met her – but he was never prepared to let her go. And despite her desperate attempts to break free, just two years after their wedding, Frances was found dead from a drug overdose, in her brother’s flat, at the age of just 23.

Only now, 50 years later, in a revealing and sometimes shocking examination of the facts behind the myths, the truth about the life of Frances Shea and her marriage to one of the Kray twins can finally be revealed, bringing with it the troubled, secret story behind Reggie’s obsession with her. Unseen until now, documents and diaries reveal the reality of their life together – and how the effect of their tragic, doomed relationship continued to haunt the lives of those closest to Frances right to the end.


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Product Description

About the Author

JACKY HYAMS is a freelance journalist, editor, columnist and author with over 25 years' experience in writing for mass-market magazines and newspapers in the UK and Australia. A Londoner who has spent many years travelling, her feature-writing career was launched in Sydney, Australia, where she wrote extensively for the Sydney Morning Herald, Sun Herald, Cosmopolitan, Rolling Stone, Good Housekeeping, New Idea, Clio and The Australian Women's Weekly. Returning to London, she spent several years as a women's magazine editor on Bella Magazine, followed by six years as a weekly columnist on the London Evening Standard. Her memoir, Bombsites and Lollipops: My 1950s East End Childhood, and its follow-up, White Boots & Miniskirts: A True Story of Life in the Swinging Sixties, were published in 2011 and 2013 respectively, both by John Blake Publishing. She is also the author of The Real Downton Abbey, a brief guide to the Edwardian era (John Blake Publishing, 2011) and The Female Few, a study of the women Spitfire pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary, while her most recent book is Bomb Girls: Britain's Secret Army: The Munitions Women of World War II (John Blake Publishing, 2013).

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1834 KB
  • Print Length: 281 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1782197672
  • Publisher: John Blake (4 Sept. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00M0R5JPM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (292 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #7,796 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Jacky Hyams is a Brighton based journalist and best selling non fiction author. She has been writing for a wide range of mass market newspapers and magazines in the UK and Australia for several years.

Jacky's passion for 20th Century history led to the publication of her best selling personal memoir about post WW2 London: Bombsites and Lollipops, published by John Blake Publishing in 2011. The memoir has sold over 60,000 copies.

The followup, White Boots & Mini Skirts: A True Story of Life in the Swinging Sixties, was published by Blake in February 2013, also to considerable acclaim.

Jacky's third historically related title, The Female Few: Spitfire Pilots of the ATA, was published by The History Press in 2012. The book has now been optioned by a leading Hollywood producer.

This was followed by her unique history of Britain's WW2 female munitions workers, Bomb Girls: Britain's Secret Army, published by John Blake Publishing.

Jacky's recent book, Frances Kray: The Tragic Bride, tells the unold true story of the life of Reggie Kray's first wife, Frances Shea, first published by John Blake Publishing in September 2014. In the updated paperback version, published in September 2015, Jacky reveals, through new interviews and documents that have never been made public before, even more insights into Frances' story, revealing a wholly original and fresh perspective on life in the Kray Twins' inner circle -- and the troubled life of the innocent young woman at its centre.

Jacky is also the co-author of a second book about the Kray Twins, One of The Family: 40 years with the Krays, published by Century in July 2015. Written in collaboration with hairdresser and Page 3 girl Maureen Flanagan, the book tells the story of Maureen's unique relationship with the Kray family over the years.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 5 Oct. 2014
By Book Addict Shaun TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
Having read many of the books written about the Kray twins over the years (some terrible) there's not been all that many actually worth reading or that tell us any new information. When I heard about this book then, focusing on Reggie's wife Frances my interest was piqued as there has not been all that much written about her in the books I've read, not in the detail that this book goes into anyway. The book was offered to me for review by the lovely Lorna at John Blake who was extremely enthusiastic about it, which to me is always a good sign and I was very excited to actually read the book. Having finished it I can say it's one of the most original books focusing on the Krays and is absolutely worth your time and money if you are interested in the Krays and thought that there was nothing new to discover, believe me there is and it is all in this book.

Jacky Hyams has carried out meticulous research and put it into a very readable book, even offering up her own opinion in places. Reading books like this, that is what I want, not just newspaper articles rewritten. Also I want the author to actually have a personal interest in the subject they are writing about, that way their passion and enthusiasm comes across and it definitely does here. Jacky was intrigued by the story of Frances and why her story had never been told in depth. Using her knowledge of the era and area, and also her loose connection to the Krays through her father the book succeeds in what it sets out to do where it otherwise might not have done in the hands of other authors.

"In writing this story, I wanted to bring her a little bit closer into the light. She merits that. Not just because she's part of the Kray history.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Congratulations to Jacky Hyams for telling this story so brilliantly. The boozed-up, pill popped, gun-touting world of the paranoid and sexually conflicted Kray twins is unflinchingly exposed as arena in which everyone looses and one which cost Frances Shea her life.
No more cosy Cockney wideboys who love their Mum here-drugged fuelled psychotic sexual insanity and raw mindless violence.are what the Krays were about, as this book illustrates. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beauty and the Beast. 7 Nov. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Thankfully now that the Krays are long gone the self-invented "legend" of a couple of truly disgusting people is being eroded. It was always the brooding narcissistic psychopath that was Ronnie Kray's greatest wish to be seen in the same light as his heroes,Al Capone and the legendary gangsters of 1930's America,that he should have such heroes tells all right thinking people plenty about the man.
I read Jacky Hyam's "France-The Tragic Bride shortly after reading the equally revelatory "Bringing Down The Krays" by Bobby Teale so the weird and not so wonderful side of what were actually a pair of vicious,predatory and deeply dysfunctional people wasn't a surprise.From both books the mother they idolised,the quite frankly awful Violet, appears to have ignored,if not condoned,acts of rape and sexual assault in her home by both of her vile offspring.
Jacky Hyams book tells us of the "marriage",if it can be called that,of Frances Shea and Reggie Kray and the effect it had on the whole Shea family as well as the tragic Bride.
As another reviewer has said the first part of the book is very familiar territory for the avid true crime buff and I found myself skipping through the "scene-setting" first couple of chapters hoping I hadn't wasted my money on yet another re-hash or a familiar tale. Thankfully it soon picks up and Ms Hyams gets into her stride with interviews from those "on the scene in the day" and eye-opening new information from Frances' Diary and her time in various psychiatric institutions.
I did feel the book tended to try to paint her as saintly almost when the virgin bride was seeing at least one other person at the same time as Reg Kray and seemingly had a history of mental illness even before meeting her future husband.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read! 2 Oct. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have always been curious about Frances wondering what kind of life she had married to Reggie Kray. I imagined it to be frightening, and after reading this book, I feel so very sad for her. I don't think she fully realised what she was getting into. She certainly was a tormented soul. I do believe the statement by her brother towards the end of the book is true. It explains a lot of things and makes a lot of sense. Very well written and stayed with me days after reading it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The only book I haven't finished 15 Nov. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the first time I haven't finished a book. I tried to, I really persevered but I couldn't keep reading. There are too many suppositions. Sentences finished with a question mark or started with 'maybe' and 'could it be that'. The author has made a decision about how they feel and written to book to produce a theory to fit their own feelings. I was hoping to read a factual interpretation of the life of Frances Shea. This is a book of guesses with some facts from previous books used as possible evidence of what might have been. Very disappointing and not worth reading.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant.
brilliant
Published 1 day ago by Mummy Jill
4.0 out of 5 stars but no happy ending here
Interesting to read about the Krays from another angle altogether, but no happy ending here......
Published 2 days ago by Santavilla
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read
A brilliant fascinating insight into the Krays and Francis Shea whose life can only be described as tragic. A must read for those interested in East End life.
Published 3 days ago by S. George
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant
Published 9 days ago by frances lewis
2.0 out of 5 stars Not impressed by this book... I couldn't ...
Not impressed by this book ...I couldn't really get to the heart of what Frances was all about. In fact nothing much about her character came across ..all very superficial. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Katie Skarlett
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant book...excellent insight into the kray world France's found herself in that led to her tragic death
Published 14 days ago by Elaine Woulfe
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT READ. COULDNT PUT IT DOWN
QUITE A SAD TALE BUT VERY ADDICTIVE READ
Published 15 days ago by g l chaplin
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
A very good read, I was in the east end of London in the sixties, never met them but could feel their presence.
Published 15 days ago by Charlie
5.0 out of 5 stars Good account. Very informative & a good but quite ...
Good account. Very informative & a good but quite chilling insight into the lives & background of the Kray twins.
Published 17 days ago by Mrs. Brenda Leake
4.0 out of 5 stars ... more of a documentary than a story but not bad
Was more of a documentary than a story but not bad Lola
Published 20 days ago by marie smith
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