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Public Battles, Private Wars

Public Battles, Private Wars [Kindle Edition]

Laura Wilkinson
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

'Vivid and engaging. A touching, well-written novel' Welsh Books Council Reader Report

What lines would you cross for the ones you love?

Yorkshire 1983.

Miner’s wife Mandy is stuck in a rut. At twenty-three, and trapped by domesticity, her future looks set and she wants more from life. Husband Rob is a good-looking drinker, content to spend his days in the small town where they’ve always lived – where Mandy can’t do anything other than bake cakes and raise her children.

When Mandy’s childhood friend – beautiful, clever Ruth – and Ruth’s Falklands war hero husband, Dan, return to town, their homecoming is shrouded in mystery. Like in their schooldays, Mandy looks to Ruth for inspiration – but Ruth isn’t all she appears.

As conflict with the Coal Board turns into war, the men come out on strike. The community and its whole way of life is threatened. Mandy abandons her dreams of liberation from the kitchen sink and joins a support group. As the strike rumbles on, relationships are pushed to the brink, and Mandy finds out just who she is – and who her true friends are.

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More About the Author

I grew up in a Welsh market town and now live in Brighton with my husband and two boys. As well as writing fiction, I work as an editor for literary consultancy, Cornerstones. I write women's fiction as Laura Wilkinson and steamy romance as L.C.Wilkinson.
All of Him, no.2 in the Rapture series, is out in the late spring. What do my different genres have in common? Compelling stories, fascinating characters, and ideas that make you think a little. At least I hope so! Find out more here: or at Or follow me on Twitter: @ScorpioScribble. I love to hear from readers.

Customer Reviews

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4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating, gripping read. 24 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I am so glad that I read Public Battles, Private Wars as I absolutely loved it. I feel as though I have learnt so much about the struggles and difficulties that the miners and their families faced during the early 1980s. I was shocked at how hard life was for the residents of Fenley, how impossible the economy and work situation was (Mandy being frankly advised that she would be better off staying on benefits than looking for a job and that ‘she’d be lucky’ if she could find anything) This novel is so thoroughly researched and I love a story like this; where you’re reading and enjoying the storyline but learning so much new information too.
Saying all that in no way did the political side and the mining situation overshadow the story of the characters. It was just an event that happened, whilst people’s lives played out along side it, which I really liked. It’s a realistic novel and you’ll find yourself placing and identifying with the characters easily, especially Mandy who was fantastic. She’s such a strong character and also really believable. Caring and loyal she also makes a mean cake...what’s not to love? Ruth was a brilliantly drawn character too who you never quite know what to make of. Whilst I disliked her and her behaviour towards Mandy I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her too.
What makes Public Battles, Private Wars so great is how fact is written alongside fiction. It’s a story that will keep you guessing, there are plenty of twists and turns and things don’t necessarily end up as you think they will.
I loved Mandy’s journey of self discovery that took place alongside all of the events in the story. You’ll be amazed at her transformation towards the end of the book, and I found her tale to be really inspirational.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 13 Mar 2014
By lucky
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have just finished this wonderfully visual book. I loved it, there were questions the whole way through and the plot kept you guessing about the storyline and the strength of the characters. I don't want to say too much about the characters because it could give the storyline away but well worth a read, I will be buying the paper book when it comes out at the end of this month it's that good.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The miners' strikes, told thirty years on..... 13 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I read (and enjoyed) Laura's first book a few years ago, and so thank you to Laura for offering me the chance to review her latest novel which was released by Accent Press on 9 March 2014.

As the name suggests, the book follows Mandy as her family and friends struggle to cope during the miners' strike of 1984 to 1985. Mass walk-outs and strikes took place following Thatcher's long term plan of mine closures was announced. However, the book also focuses on Mandy's private battle - as a mother of four young children, with a husband who drinks heavily, she turns to her best friend who has just returned to the village.

Wilkinson really captures the sense of community that existed during those difficult times, and the story follows Mandy as her confidence grows as she becomes more heavily involved in the public protests against the government. However, this puts a different kind of strain on her private life, and it's only a matter of time before things begin to unravel in a way Mandy never imagined.

Whilst the miners' strikes sets the background for Mandy's story, it isn't overwhelming and allows the characters to shine.

Told thirty years on, Public Battles, Private Wars captures the unstable time from the miners' wives perspective and illustrates the impetus for change which radically altered so many people's lives.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong characters and setting 20 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Set during the 1980's in Fenley, a Yorkshire mining town, 'Public Battles, Private Wars' is the story of Mandy Walker, a miner's wife, who gets involved in the struggle to try and prevent pit closures. As the title suggests, it's also the story of her personal journey of self-growth. Pregnant with her fourth child, Mandy's life revolves around day-to-day chores and caring for her kids. When her childhood friend, Ruth, returns to town married to a war hero, Mandy can't help but feel in awe of her. But as Mandy is encouraged to participate in fund-raising campaigns and public speaking, she realises that all is not quite as perfect in Ruth's world as she was first led to believe.

The characterisation is strong, and the tone is realistic. The setting is extremely well drawn. It deals with themes of friendship, love, loyalty, jealousy, misplaced perceptions of self and others, and it shows the cultural shift from tight-knit communities to a more individual way of life. Oh, and there's lots of cake along the way! Another accomplished novel from this talented author. Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cracking Read 14 Mar 2014
By MoiraB
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Thoroughly enjoyed and would definitely recommend. This novel flows seamlessly from start to finish. A real sense of the early 80's - the miners, the Falklands, that 'blinking woman', a time when 'community' existed and so much started to change. Hard to believe how much in thirty years. Laura Wilkinson writes beautifully, her characters are without exception well drawn, believable and she gets that period of time so right. I forced myself to slow down to enjoy the book for longer. A good story too. I will look forward to seeing what Laura Wilkinson produces next.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The personal is political - and very entertaining too
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I suspected when I heard the premise that it would be full of things I'd connect with as I was living in Leeds at the time of the miners' strike,... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Sarah Rayner
4.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes irritating but well worth the effort
Laura Wilkinson and I share a publisher, but that shouldn't disqualify me from reviewing her book.

'Public Battles, Private Wars' starts off like a chick lit romance and... Read more
Published 25 days ago by Tom Williams
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and clever
The events of the miner's strike were etched in my mind as a child, having seen it in every paper, and on every news bulleting for so long- but as a young person coming from a non... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Public Battles, Private Wars
A tender and insightful account of female friendship and betrayal. Richly drawn,believable characters, together with an evocative sense of time and place, make this book a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sheila Selway
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, authentic read
This book had me reading late into the night, I simply couldn't put it down.
I was nearly 16 when the miners strike occurred and clearly remember watching the drama unfold on... Read more
Published 1 month ago by C. Plunkett
5.0 out of 5 stars Rivetting read.
Set against the backdrop of the miners' strike, this book charts the changing fortune of a young housewife who discovers her own self worth. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Grandmasue
5.0 out of 5 stars I could hear the Yorkshire accent
I read and reviewed Laura Wilkinson’s first book a while back and so was delighted when she asked me if I would like to review her second novel 'Public Battles, Private Wars' which... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sonya Alford
5.0 out of 5 stars Speaking for women
What this thoroughly researched novel about the 1980's Miner's Strike does is to represent women properly during an [assumed] man's dilemma. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Rachael Smart
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bloody Good Read....
A bloody good read that conjures up thoughts from "I remember those days", cake-making, to the troubles and strifes of life. Read more
Published 2 months ago by HBinJapan
4.0 out of 5 stars Mines your memories!
Read this in a day, memories of the eighties and a realisation that my daughters( in their early twenties) have no idea how far women have come in one generation and the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kezza
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