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In the Bleak Midwinter [Hardcover]

Carol Rivers
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Aug 2011
Winter 1919. Two months after the Armistice that ended the Great War, and life in London's East End is slowly returning to normal. But for 25-year-old Birdie Connor the battle is only just beginning. Frank, Birdie's older brother, has been sent to prison for deserting his army post whilst fighting in Belgium, and the shame heaped on the Connor family by their neighbours is unrelenting. Wilfred, Birdie's widowed father, has disowned Frank and vows that he will never set eyes on his son again, but Birdie cannot believe that her brother is guilty So when Frank escapes from prison and comes to find Birdie in secret, she promises to help him and is determined to prove his innocence. But little does she realise that she is exposing herself to danger as Frank gets himself deeper and deeper into trouble with the so-called friends he met in prison. Helped by the Connors' lodger, the handsome Harry Chambers, will Birdie be able to find the proof that Frank needs in time to reconcile him to their frail father before it is too late? And can she build a future to keep herself and her younger brother, Patrick, safe?

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (4 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847376894
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847376893
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,487,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The East End of London,UK, is Carol's backdrop to her historical family dramas. She has been published with Simon&Schuster for a decade and has a well established presence on the internet. Her stories spring from the warm-hearted and resourceful people of the East End - the heart of London's docklands. Her writing is simple, but her rough-tough Cockney characters tell it like it is for them, giving a punch to the stomach and leaving the reader in no doubt that her heroines are a force to be reckoned with. Carol is well-known in the UK but is now building a steady readership in the States and welcomes feedback. Carol would especially like to thank all the Amazon reviewers who have gone to the expense and taken the time and trouble to buy, read and report on her books. She reads every one of the reviews and takes great heart and inspiration from all your comments. You can visit webpages, to find out more about this author.

Product Description

About the Author

Mother-of-three Carol Rivers, whose family comes from the Isle of Dogs, East London, now lives in Dorset. Visit

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best so far, can't wait for the next 17 Oct 2011
Set in London's East End in 1919, 'In The Bleak Midwinter' is the best of Carol Rivers' sagas that I have read so far. It is well plotted, the main characters are warm and believable and the sense of place and time are so well researched, they bring the scenes to life with ease. Following the end of the war, young Birdie Connor looks after her ailing father and younger brother whilst hoping for a marriage proposal from her beau. At the same time she agonises over her older brother who has been jailed for deserting his army post. When he turns up unexpectedly after escaping to try and prove his innocence, her loyalties are compromised. Not only that, she exposes herself and those closes to her to danger by agreeing to help him. In The Bleak Midwinter is a thoroughly good read and has heaps of tension, drama, romance and action.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
In the Bleak Midwinter - Carol Rivers

I can't believe I haven't discovered Carol Rivers before now. Writing in the tradition of Catherine Cookson and Lena Kennedy, she re-creates for her readers the London of yesteryear, populating her story with characters that are larger than life and resonate long after the last page is turned.

Set just after WW1 has ended, Birdie is a real life heroine, looking forward to being a good wife to her intended Donald Thorne, who has visions of expanding his grocery shop. Birdie Connor is a loving daughter, and both sister and substitute mother to young Pat, on the cusp of adulthood. Like many young girls she has an eye for fashion, she also has a talent for dressmaking. There is sorrow in her life though. Her eldest brother Frank has brought shame on the family, breaking his father's heart, having been accused and convicted of desertion. And Birdie can't understand why Donald can make time to walk out with his brother's widow, yet insists the only way Birdie and he can be alone together is if Birdie works long hours in his shop. When Frank breaks out of jail, and gets involved with Russian `white' terrorists tension mounts and it's down to young Pat and Harry, the Connor's lodger, to pit their wits against desperate people and the police to salvage the Connor's honour and Birdie's happiness.

All through the book, I longed for Birdie to tell Donald where to stick his rotten fruit and veg, and take a better look at Harry, a man quietly supporting Birdie while nurturing a growing building company.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars S Pugh Cardiff 15 Nov 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
This book is a great read as are all of Carol Rivers books and I would recommend her books to anyone who enjoys reading a great story, you will not be able to put her books down, can't wait for your next book Carol.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Megan ReadingInTheSunshine TOP 100 REVIEWER
I have to start my post with a message for Carol Rivers herself: Thankyou for creating such a great book! Please keep writing!!

I enjoyed this book very much. With In The Bleak Midwinter, the reader finds themselves once again transported to East End London, this time after the Great War when the community is trying to get as back to normal as is possible. Carol Rivers manges to portray the era excellently, providing the readers with an understanding and an insight into how life was, and the effect that the War had on families, the pain, disruption and suffering that it caused.

The characters in the story were captivating, they were very well developed and as the reader I felt so involved with the characters that I was desperate to read on as more of their story was revealed. Birdie is the perfect heroine, always wanting to do the best for her family, dreaming of being a loving wife to Donald, until she agrees to help Frank after he escapes from prison, potentially putting herself and those closest to her in danger. I was gripped with Birdie's story, and could not put the story down until I had finished!

This is yet another fantastic novel from Carol Rivers, full of lots of description and characters that will pull you in, keeping you with them right until the very end!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing BLEAK about this book! 11 Oct 2012
Couldnt put this book down, simply wonderful read! Well researched I felt like I was literally in the story watching through a window!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a good relaxing read 10 Feb 2012
In a bleak midwinter by Carol Rivers is a really good bed time read ,you go up to bed glad you can find out what is happening to the characters in the story,looking forward to opening the book again.The characters are believable and interesting because of their diversity and their "lives" entwine so credibly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Xmas Present 20 Jan 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Another Xmas present for my that that she loved reading. Carol Rivers is one of her favourite authors of roamntic stories although as a carer of a disabled husband she has to be fairly level-headed and the writers stories carry her away from the present day.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An avid supporter 3 Nov 2011
By Mrs F
In The Bleak Midwinter is a superb story. It gives the reader a wonderful insight to the pain and suffering caused to families by WW1. Poor Bridie fought hard to keep her family together through thick and thin. I have read all Carol Rivers books and eagerly await her next success, for (success) is surely what it will be, all her books were the pick up and cannot put down variety. I can only thank her for her continued hard work and hope she continues for many years to come. Anyone who enjoys a good read cannot go wrong with this, or for that matter any of Carol's books.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by BERYL0829
5.0 out of 5 stars I cannot put down a Carol Rivers book once I ...
I cannot put down a Carol Rivers book once I start. This novel is captivating and well up to her usual standard.
Published 2 months ago by B. Beckwith
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
good read
Published 2 months ago by Mrs E M Hansen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 3 months ago by Jill Spooner
4.0 out of 5 stars Pity about the title
I downloaded this book to my Kindle, to take away on holiday not really expecting very much from it. Read more
Published 4 months ago by John Brain
5.0 out of 5 stars I love stories like this!
England in the early 20th Century! How drab it must've been. But this book brings it all to life and in such a well-written way. Read more
Published 6 months ago by J. Crawford
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
I thoroughly enjoyed this read. I read it when I was recovering from an operation and it was an easy read. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Gina Simpson
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Another good read by Carol Rivers. She is one of my favourite authors and never fails to deliver a good story
Published 9 months ago by Pat Collings
5.0 out of 5 stars in the bleak midwinter
Really enjoyed it you feel for the main character and the problems she has to deal with in her life.
Published 10 months ago by Mrs. Kim S. Moore
3.0 out of 5 stars 1920's novel
Thought the plot was a bit thin and the ending although happy seemed to be abbreviated and could have been expanded more.
Published 11 months ago by Nina Lees
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