Book review: Sunlight on the Mersey by Lyn Andrews

With 33 novels to her name, Lyn Andrews is now the undisputed queen of the Merseyside saga.

Wednesday, 13th March 2013, 9:00 am

Her warm and compelling stories featuring recognisable northern characters and the struggles and hardships faced by working class communities over the last century have made her one of the UK’s most popular authors.

Sunlight on the Mersey, a gritty, engrossing tale of love and survival set in the aftermath of the First World War, sees Andrews on top form with her now irresistible blend of romance and drama.

Using her keen eye and ear for straight-talking, northern humour and the stubbornness and resilience that mark out the Lancashire character, Andrews’ enchanting story is guaranteed to win hearts and keep the pages turning.

The Great War has left its mark on the Mundy family at their home in Liverpool’s docklands but, with the return of eldest child Charlie after a year on the Western Front, there are hopes that life will soon return to normal.

But Charlie has been hardened by his experiences on the battlefield and three years later he has still not settled back into his job as a shipping clerk. Moody, restless and self-centred, he yearns to make more of his life and to break out from his modest background.

Independent and outspoken Iris, eldest of his two sisters, works in a local shop and also has ambitions but is painfully aware that she is just lucky to have a job.

Youngest child Rose is the darling of her pawnbroker father Bill but her delicate health is a constant worry and after a serious illness, her mother Kate packs her off to the beautiful Welsh village of Tregarron to recuperate with a family friend.

But times are changing and when Rose lands a job as housemaid at Plas Idris, the local big house, she falls madly in love with tragic young hero David Rhys-Pritchard whose war injuries have left him confined to a wheelchair.

At home, Charlie is still keen to improve his social standing and seems to be sacrificing real love for ambition when he becomes engaged to the daughter of a successful coal merchant.

But then tragedy strikes and the whole family must pull together if they are to survive the turmoil that lies ahead...

Another enthralling story from a born storyteller and a spring treat for her army of loyal fans.

(Headline, hardback, £14.99)