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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 29 August 2017
A true love story with characters from Hull & Italy, their lives and characters intertwined in coffee shops and on the stage. A highly recommended read and happy ending
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on 9 October 2014
I really enjoyed it
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VINE VOICEon 11 September 2008
This is the second book i've read by Valerie Wood and i'm so impressed with this Author,i've just ordered another three of her books.I can't praise this book highly enough.It's a beautifully touching story that brings the characters to life.You are drawn into the story and feel you are back in time with everything brought vividly to life.Valerie is the winner of the Catherine Cookson Prize and her work is very much in that style.Recommended to all.
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on 10 May 2014
It had been suggested to me more than once that I should read some of Valerie Wood’s novels. They are mostly set in the region where I currently live, East Yorkshire and The Humber. They are also historical in nature, usually focusing on Victorian, working class families.

My mother-in-law lent me a handful of them, and first I embarked upon “The Innkeeper’s Daughter”. Less than two chapters in, however, I put it aside. Colloquial dialogue often grates on me (I recall first coming to despise it as I read “Huckleberry Finn” in high school), and for some reason that novel seemed to be squeezing it in whenever possible; really overemphasizing it. I very nearly called my forage into the world of Valerie Wood quits after that experience, but I was eager to learn the appeal of her works. I chose “The Songbird” from the pile and gave her one more try.

"Songbird" is not a bad novel. It’s a bit of fluff; and a pleasant bit of fluff if indeed it’s fluff you’re after. Poppy is a young singer from Hull who wants to make it in the theatre. Her mother is dead and her father runs a coffee shop in town. She is madly in love with her brother’s best friend before imparting upon her career. The people she meets along the way will open her eyes, but just like Dorothy, she also learns to truly appreciate her home and those who love her.

The writing isn’t grand, yet it’s very readable. I believe that most of Wood’s dedicated readers are also from the Hull area and simply love to see their familiar haunts incorporated into a story. Wood certainly does her history, and is eager to show off her knowledge. I felt at times that she was inserting location details that were irrelevant to the story, purely for this “travelogue” type purpose.

It was all very twee and tied bow-like at the end. Wood’s readers do seem to love a happy ending. In conclusion, I believe I have found the simple magic of her appeal - a bit of nostalgia, a light and decent romance, and a map of Humberside. Personally, I don’t feel I have time to spend on any more of her quaint creations; but I wouldn’t frown upon those who enjoy a nice, warm-hearted story to cozy up with on a night.
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on 27 August 2013
I enjoyed the book very much. Although it was a shift away from her usual storytelling Val wood managed to keep it close enough to the usual to avoid any disappointment - For someone who started of not over keen on Val Wood I am now a total fan! Than you Val for giving so much pleasure and enjoyment, not only in your story but the settings in and around Hull and Holderness I am so familiar with. Even Mazzini's in the Songbird reminded me of a coffee shop/deli that I visited, down Saville Street, when small with my grandmother. We never paid for any purchases and and I was told this was because my Great Grandma had done some favours for the young men of the business for their young lady friends! All out family was born in the centre of Hull but several uncles and their families went to work the land in holderness and livid in tied cottage so the family is spread wide among the the areas you write of and it evokes so many memories. There are stories in the family that we were reunited to some very wealthy family but there had been a big fallowing out and the family name was spelt differently after that. Our half ended with nothing and there half lived in a big hall in Yorkshire and went on Safaris and collected butterflys and such like. With many coaches and servants and coaches and all the trimming., Then the eldest sun spent it all on fast women and slow horses - so al was last!
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on 6 June 2014
This is yet again a great book by this author, wonderful characters, great details of how things were way back then. I could not put it down, wanted to keep reading, would have read it in a day if i had the time. Gives a real insight into how Hull was and you feel as if your walking down the road beside the characters, I'd recommend this book to anyone x
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on 10 November 2013
Love all Val Woods books. Can not put these down once I start reading one. It is worth looking at her list of published books first and start at the beginning as the characters appear in different books. Although they could be read randomly as well!
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on 1 March 2015
I find all Valerie Woods books exciting to read. They are showing life as it was in this area and time depicted. Of course it is a novel and some artistic license has been used. But a very good easy reading.
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on 23 February 2013
this was the only book of Val Wood's that I had not read. I had been searching for it for ages. Finally found it on Amazon and it did not disappoint me. All her books are fabulous reads.
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on 23 September 2014
Always gives a great insight into Hull and the normal people that lived & worked there, nice twist, humour and sadness
. love this author ploughing my way through all of her books!
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