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My Beautiful England [Paperback]

Michelle Flatley
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
Price: £5.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

4 July 2013
Su, a Thai bride, comes to England, after the tsunami, armed with a book called 'My Beautiful England'. But she finds herself in Burnley, a deprived northern town where torn sofas are parked in the gardens of boarded up houses. Living with her ageing husband, Su tries to become Englishised, but constant visions of the tsunami and Thai superstitions clash with English life. Whilst out shopping for mango, Su suffers racial abuse and realises England is not the dream place she had hoped for.

Samina is from Pakistan and feels trapped in an arranged marriage. Living with her new husband and domineering mother-in-law, in Paradise Street, she longs to be like other western women, independent and free. When Samina joins the local language school, she begins to wear western clothes and calls herself Sammy but soon realises that she is neither English, nor Pakistani.

Lenka lives in a women s refuge with her daughter, hiding from her Polish husband.

Together the three women build a strong friendship at the local language centre. United in their quest for English all three women discover what it's like to be a foreigner in England.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Cutting Edge Press (4 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908122579
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908122575
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 845,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michelle Flatley has worked as a journalist and a community artist. She currently teaches English to speakers of other languages. Her first novel 'My Beautiful England' was published by Cutting Edge Press in July 2013 and explores the lives of female immigrants in a deprived northern town. She also writes short stories. Her sculptures of animals and characters from literature can be found in many schools in the North West.

Product Description


'Flatley shows how the reality of life in England does not match up to what the women had imagined it would be; and examines the tensions at work as her characters try to adjust to living in a new culture. The result is a tale that's harrowing and uplifting by turns.' --Follow The Thread

About the Author

Michelle teaches English as a foreign language in a town in the North of England. At the moment she shares her home with her husband and children but will shortly be acquiring a puppy to mark the publication of her book.

Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-wrenching and beautifully told 9 Aug 2013
My Beautiful England is the story of three women from different countries who are brought together when meeting at an English class in Burnley, a town in the north of England.

Su, from Thailand survives the 2004 tsunami and marries Bobby who works in a chocolate factory. His son disapproves and Su discovers that Bobby hasn't told her everything.

Sammy comes to England from Pakistan, marries Ehsan and lives with his family. She longs for freedom.

Lenka from Poland escapes her violent ex with her daughter, but lives in fear that he'll find her.

England isn't what any of these women expected it to be, but they form a bond and look out for each other.

Michelle Flatley is a natural storyteller and her words flow across the page. Despite the serious subjects covered, this novel has a warmth at its heart: the friendship between the three women. Michelle writes from several points of view, which is difficult to carry off but she does it well. Once started, this novel is difficult to put down and the ending is what would be expected from the tone throughout: incredibly moving.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By bleydh
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I waited a long time for delivery of this book but it was really worth the wait. The book is an insight into the largely unseen but fascinating world of female immigrants in Burnley. The book really drew me in and I was reluctant to put it down it is both entertaining and thought provoking, it has left me wondering about the many women who must be in similar situations in the UK.
In short, a really good book, if you decide not to buy it you really will be missing out.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique book from a unique publisher 15 July 2013
Cutting Edge Press never cease to amaze me with the eclectic range of books they produce and MBE is just another book that adds another string to their VERY full and incredibly wonderful bow!

I had the total pleasure of meeting the lovely author of this book @MichelleFlatley at the CEP summer party in June, and as well as having lived in my original home town for a while, she is a truly lovely lovely lady indeed! So, when this book arrived on my doormat I was all over it!

MBE is the story of three VERY different women, from three VERY different cultures who have ended up in Burnley (of all places). They all meet at a local language school and, through their pursuit of a better and more fulfilling lives, become solid friends.

MF has obviously done an incredible amount of research in to different cultures for this book and it is obvious in how confidently and fluidly it is written. The sense of sisterhood between the three women is gorgeous and by the end you really feel like you are one of their friends. I believe both of these are also achieved by MF's writing style. Sammy is just heat breaking and her story is beautiful. Lenka's life experiences made me really angry. And when it comes to Su, well I just feel let down for her. Three very different emotions that MF convincingly portrays and stirred in me as a reader.

The UK and British people like Bobby and Chelsea seem grotesque and monstrous and seem to embody everything that is wrong with the UK. I am not sure if this is intentional but that is how they came across to me. A complete antithesis of the three friends.

The book is full of joy, hope and gut wrenching sadness and is not at all what you expect when you first start reading. Yet another very unique and compelling read from a very unique publisher. Fantastic!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Lassie
This book presented a unique and fascinating glimpse into the experiences of women immigrants.

The women seemed real and their stories believable. There are some sad moments in the book, but there is also a sense of hope that keeps the reader wanting to know how it will all end for the three women, Su, Lenka and Sammy. Once started, I couldn't put it down. This book has changed the way I view women arriving in the UK and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to read a story about women and their life experiences. It's a compelling read and Michelle Flatley takes you on an emotional journey that will make you think about England and society in general.

A very interesting and unique read which truly deserves my five stars.

My Beautiful England
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern day literature at its best. 18 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My beautifully England is a touching and disturbing accout of three immigrant women coming to England with the hope of a better life. The reality of culture, racism, sexism and unfulfilled dreams hit with hard and crushing blows.
The author has emphatically captured and enabled the reader to look through the terrace windows and gain an insight into the repressed and frustrated lives of three women.

The book is definatley a good read and despite some preconceived ideas I was soon transported into the drama of a new life, the death of a dream and the strength of the human spirit to survive. I found the narrative to be very good and thought provoking. The book deserves my five star rating and is a inspiring must read.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Debut - Beautifully Developed 10 Aug 2013
Set in Burnley, Lancashire in 2005, My Beautiful England by Michelle Flatley is the story of three women. Three very different women with one thing in common. They are all immigrants, newly arrived in England. They each have their individual problems and issues but are bound together by their wish to find happiness in 'beautiful' England. They meet at the Language Centre, where they are determined to overcome their difficulties with the English language and pass the certificate to become 'English'.

Su is a 44-year-old widow from Thailand. Her beloved husband died in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, she has become a 'Thai Bride' and is now married to Bobby. Sammy is 18, fresh from Pakistan and living with the husband that her family found for her. Lenka is Polish, the victim of domestic violence and mother to Anna.

Michelle Flatley writes with confidence, it is difficult to believe that this is her debut novel, she has really got to the heart of each of these women, and allows each of her characters to develop slowly and beautifully. Despite the title, Flatley certainly does not present England, or the English as beautiful. Hard hitting and at times a little painful, the ignorance, prejudices and sometimes hate of the home-grown characters is not hidden away.

The isolation and sense of loneliness that Su, Sammy and Lenka feel at the beginning of the book is stark, and their developing friendship is beautiful to follow. These three women start out frightened yet hopeful and as time passes and they learn a little more each day about their new homeland, they discover together, grow together and at times, cry together.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic, enjoyable and thought-provoking
This novel tells the story of three women immigrants adjusting to life in a northern English town. Immigration is a topical issue in the country at the moment (as recent elections... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Robert Gainer
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely contemporary story.
A lovely contemporary book, had me captured from the start and read it over 4 days. Already on loan to my mum and recommended to friends
Published 12 months ago by kathv
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable book by new author
I really enjoyed this book - the author is new yet the book reads like the work of an established writer. The subject is thought provoking and I found myself wanting to know more. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mrs D
4.0 out of 5 stars Great snapshot of life
This isn't the kind of book I would normally read, but as someone who spent some time growing up in Burnley, is married to an immigrant, and has also been an immigrant, it was... Read more
Published 12 months ago by G. Heywood
5.0 out of 5 stars My Beautiful England
A fantastic book from start to finish that is filled with humour, sadness, violence, wonderful friendships, it's got it all! Read more
Published 12 months ago by Heather Butterworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Really fab read!
I really enjoyed reading this book, the highs and lows, the characters are great and it gives you something to think about!
Published 13 months ago by Kate S
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful characters with compelling stories
This is a beautifully written book. I warmed to the characters quickly and couldn't wait to follow their stories. Read more
Published 13 months ago by michele alderson
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb read
A very compassionate look at the difficulties of how many woman adjust to living in England or don't adjust as the case often is. I hope that this author writes more
Published 13 months ago by janet hartley
5.0 out of 5 stars ab fab
I also had the pleasure of meeting the lovely author of this book Michelle Flatley two years ago at Blackburn library
Coming from a small town in the north west I could... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Elise Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars what a fantastic read!
I purchased this book for my intended holiday read. when it arrived I thought I`d just read the 1st couple of pages to `get a flavour` of it, but found I couldn't put it... Read more
Published 13 months ago by tracy wells
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