This Lovely City – Louise Hare

The drinks are flowing. The music’s playing. But the party can’t last.
London, 1950. With the Blitz over and London still rebuilding after the war, jazz musician Lawrie Matthews has answered England’s call for help. Arriving from Jamaica aboard the Empire Windrush, he’s taken a tiny room in south London lodgings, and has fallen in love with the girl next door.
Touring Soho’s music halls by night, pacing the streets as a postman by day, Lawrie has poured his heart into his new home — and it’s alive with possibility. Until one morning, while crossing a misty common, he makes a terrible discovery.
As the local community rallies, fingers of blame are pointed at those who had recently been welcomed with open arms. And before long, London’s newest arrivals become the prime suspects in a tragedy which threatens to tear the city apart. Immersive, poignant, and utterly compelling, Louise Hare’s debut examines the complexities of love and belonging, and teaches us that even in the face of anger and fear, there is always hope.

My review

In an instant I was swept back in time to 1950s London. The novel evokes a powerful sense of place. I was immersed in Lawrie and Evie’s world through the vivid descriptions of London’s music halls, parks, streets and homes. Louise Hare understands what it means to write a historical fiction novel.

Lawrie is a struggling jazz musician, working as a postman to make ends meet. Arriving in London from the Empire Windrush from Jamaica, Lawrie realises that his move may not meet his expectations of the life he had hoped for. Evie, the woman living next door, opens his eyes to what could be. Their relationship has had its ups and downs and they are faced with one particular challenge that will impact much more than their relationship. I could have continued to read the story of their lives. I connected with the characters very easily.

Post war London was not a comfortable place for someone of a different race or dark skin colour. This Lovely City proves not to be so lovely at times, due to the racism and discrimination its peoole are faced with daily, including by those in authority. The twists and turns in the novel had me continually guessing and the crime being investigated had me feeling very emotional.

I would highly recommend this novel to fans of historical fiction and/or romance. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you @harlequinaus @harpercollinsaus for sending this beautiful proof copy to me in exchange for my honest review. I will treasure this one. 💙