Having read this books prequel, narrowboat girls, I knew all the characters in this book. Which was nice, as I was unaware this book was the follow on.
Briefly, the first book tells the tragic story of Maryanne Nelson, who lived with an abusive step-father, who sexually abused her and her sister from a young age, and her mother, a seemingly self-obsessed poor excuse for a mum. She ends up falling in love with Joel, who is a narrowboat man, many years her senior. and along with her friend Nancy, who has escaped from an abusive marriage they build their lives together on the Cut.
The first book was so heart rendering, making tears well up inside me many times, and I was greatful for a happy ending. Unfortunately this book, doesn't show things as being positive for Maryanne, She has already suffered so much in her life, you think that she can't possibly have more tragedies or hardships to deal with. Personally, being so engaged in her story, I was upset that she didn't live happily ever after (but happily ever after doesn't make a good story)
Anyhow... This is a well written book, which follows on well from the first book, in true Annie Murray style it has many twists and turns that you don't see coming. Maryanne may be older now, and supposibly wiser, she still has many of the insecurities that she gained as a child, and these are not improved with the addition of twins, and Sylvia and Dot, two outiders that are helping out with the war effort.
There is so much going on in this book! you need to be alert to keep up with them all, but this book is a pleasure to read. And it gives an insight into the hard lives of those on the canal boats, and the conflicts that they face.
Well worth a read!