I enjoyed this book. It's the story of a Liverpool docker and his family, and of the community in which they live – predominantly of Irish extraction, with roots and extended family over the water. Before I had read very much I knew I would want to finish it, which to me is the acid test of a novel.
Aware of Ms Dorries as a distinctly non-posh Tory MP unafraid of speaking out, I was curious as to what sort of novel she might write. When a Telegraph reviewer described it as the worst novel he had ever read I wondered whether that was a strictly objective judgement and wanted to see for myself. Well, it certainly isn't the worst novel I've ever read.
It's not hard to find fault with a first novel: I thought a couple of Ms Dorries' plot devices were a touch simplistic and her characters sometimes go from elation to gloom and despondency without much in between. Against that, however, she writes fluently (or her editor does) and she doesn't over-write: she does enough, but leaves some of the work to the reader's imagination, which is how I like it.
Ms Dorries creates believable characters: some you love, some you don't. I engaged with the characters and their world from the outset, enjoyed their stories and wanted to know what happened to them. I still do: I am looking forward to the sequel.