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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 6 December 2013
I picked this book because of its title; the play on the name tarts and it was a great choice. Nellie works at a custard factory (I was smelling vanilla custard for days after) and along with the other women work extreme hours, are paid less than men and carry the guilt of not being there for their children. Ring any bells? Those women's struggles are still with us. This story has far reaching resonance- that anyone can identify with today. But Nellie is a remarkable character, just barely out of childhood herself, taking care of her brothers and sisters, her father too. She is vulnerable, complicated and yet has a steely inner strength. What she risks with the strike made me proud to know her, be in her world for a while. From the moment I met her, I was drawn in and couldn't put the book down. The author writes in a easy languid style like drifting down a smooth flowing and bending river that just takes you with it but don't be fooled, there are some heart stopping moments, crashing over waterfalls, that leave you breathless. Buy it.
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on 10 December 2013
Now let me start by saying that I don't usually read the saga genre. But I picked this up on a personal and very enthusiastic recommendation and I have I was not disappointed. The writing itself is at an amazing standard, smooth and as rich as honey and cream. And unlike meny of its ilk, that admittedly that I olny skim read while waiting for trains over the years, in 'Custard Tarts' it is not only the characters and their personal struggles that are given emotional weight and detail. But the world they live in is a living and breathing thing. The author has clearly research but she treats it with a rare lightness of touch, so that most of the time the reader doesn't even notice it going into their heads, so skillfully deos MARY GIBSON weave her all elements together. If anyone has read this far go and get this book! After all at the kidle price what have you got to lose. It is pennys for sheer quality! I will definitely be keeping a chose eye one Mary Gibson in the future. And buying the hardback for more than a couple of the technophobes in my family when it comes out, I hope it is very soon. A*
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on 6 December 2013
I highly recommend this book, it is a good read and brings back memories as I was brought up in Bermondsey and know the area very well.
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on 8 December 2013
The Author has set the seen of the factory women's struggle for equality in Bermondsey so well you feel as if you are fighting alongside them. The twists and turns of the friendship, love and family keep you gripped throughout. The Characters are engaging and soon feel like old friends. A real insight into London during the first world war, a great story!
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on 9 December 2013
A great debut novel. Well written with fabulous characters and a griping story. A real page turner. All ten members of my book club loved it and that is a very rare thing indeed!
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on 8 December 2013
A great story set in the heart of Bermondsey. As I was born and bread in this area of London the Author literally transported me back in time and I was able to visualize Bermondsey how it was back in the early 1900's during WW1. It gives a true sense of how the people lived, worked and the successful story behind the Factory strikes during this era. With great characters and descriptive scene settings this is a must read!
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on 27 May 2016
This was a book set in Bermondsey just before World War 1. The author did some fantastic research, She included the famous Pink's jam factory strike of 1911 and where other female workers joined in towards better working conditions that was supported by the dockers of the area. It is set around the Neckinger and Pearce and Duff Custard Factory hence the title. The main character is a strong woman who helps look after her younger siblings. It also features a love story. It is a good debut novel and the story has pace and believable characters. At times the story slows down and it would seem that the flow of the story has gone, but stick with it. It is a heartwarming story. Overall a good read and a good debut novel. If you liked Harry Bowling then this new author would be the one for you.
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on 26 April 2016
A well written book. It is a lovely story about a young girl and her hard life. She has to look after her brothers and sister from a very young age and also cope with a father who is still grieving from the death of his wife. This grief is shown in the way he harshly treats his children - making them afraid of him. The key character gets a job in a factory and her young sister is left to take on a lot of the domestic tasks at home. Unfortunately she gets involved with her friends brother and takes part in the strikes (more pay for women) which does not go down well at home. The boy who works with her father soon becomes a person that she can rely upon and turn to in times of need.

There is a nice ending to the story - well worth a read.
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on 16 May 2016
Very interesting story about the state of the nation in Edwardian (VII) and Georgian (V) England 1905 - 1920.
I think she put in too much information: Conchies, unions, strikes, women's pay and rights, Bolshevics, pacifists. sexism, absolutists, Somme, Ypres, Bermondsey, factory conditions, romance, children, home work for children, family conditions but it was told in a cheerful spirit - quite optimistic in fact. The floweriness of the style was at times overbearing - read the first 20 lines of chapter 30, for example. But the subjects were treated with a lot of sympathy, even Ted and Albert! And the accuracy of the research into the period seemed excellent and was very informative : fictional in the stories but documentary in the settings.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 22 January 2016
First book I have read by this author and I was gripped right front the start.

You could almost see London as it was in WW1, the author descriptions were just so enlightening and the characters all seemed so hard working, loving and above all willing to do anything to help each other out in the hard times of war. Sadness, tears and love all contained in this read.

Only recently started reading books of this genre, (back issue so having to slow down and rest hence trying new authors too).
Shows just how strong the woman of that era were and what a great read about woman and their rights, great for that look at history back then too.
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