Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT BITTERSWEET FLIGHT by @AnneLHarvey1 #FridayReads #FamilySaga

Today’s Team Review is from Judith, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Judith has been reading Bittersweet Flight by Anne L Harvey


My Review:

Before I begin my review I would like to say I wonder if the Blurb gives away too much of the story?

I enjoyed reading Anne Harvey’s Bittersweet Flight;  the  sequel to her début novel A Suitable Young Man. The story follows Sally Simcox as she leaves her home town of Horwich in Lancashire to move to Blackpool.

Although it can be read as a stand-alone book I would recommend reading A Suitable Young Man first.

Set in a decade I have studied and loved Bittersweet Flight begins in 1956. It is obvious from the descriptions of both the Northern industrial town and the seaside resort that the author has researched both the places and the era. There is a great sense of place throughout the story. 

Told from an omniscient narrator’s point of view we meet all the characters from the first novel and are introduced to some new ones. All add to the plot which moves smoothly and steadily throughout most of the novel. although there is an unexpected revelation towards the end which adds another layer to the book.

The reader gains more insight to Sally in Bittersweet Flight; I think she is actually portrayed as a more rounded  character in this novel as she struggles to regain control of her life. The introduction of  Phil Roberts adds a complication but I liked the way the author introduced the character and linked him to the protagonist’s back-story.

On the whole the dialogue is good and easy to follow and can be identified with each character. Although occasionally stilted it’s not enough to detract from the enjoyment of the book.

There is the minor plot-line threaded throughout the main plot, of Joyce Roberts and her secret boyfriend, Dave. Through this minor storyline we learn more of the life the protagonist has left behind and the correlation with her present situation.

Anne Harvey has a writing style that is very readable. I have no hesitation to recommending  Bittersweet Flight to any reader who enjoys a family saga


BITTERSWEET FLIGHT by @AnneLHarvey #Bookreview #FridayReads #FamilySaga

Bittersweet FlightBittersweet Flight by Anne Harvey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bittersweet Flight is book #2 of a family saga involving the Roberts and Simcox families from Horwich, near Bolton. Book 1# A Suitable Young Man began the tale. Bittersweet Flight takes on the story of Sally Simcox and Joyce Roberts and can be read as a stand alone, but to get the most from the story I suggest reading A Suitable Young Man first. Both books are set in the 1950’s.

Sally Simcox fled to Blackpool away from a one sided love interest and taking with her a personal secret, just off the train she is knocked over and rescued by an RAF serviceman. He takes her to a nearby café to get over the shock and introduces himself as Phil Roberts.

Finding herself sharing a cuppa with the brother of the fellow she’s running from, makes Sally flee. She finds a job as a chambermaid and soon gets invited to a dance at the local RAF camp. She meets Phil again and a friendship begins to form although Phil already has a girlfriend.

Back in Horwich Joyce Roberts, Phil’s young sister is struggling with her parents ban on seeing older boy Dave Yates, very much in love they discuss the idea of eloping. They meet up in secret but Joyce is hounded by bully boy Jud Simcox who lives out his image as a thug when he beats up Dave.

In Blackpool, Phil and Sally’s friendship is tested by Sally’s big secret, but she finds support from Betty and Bob who run a B&B and offer her a job when she needs it.

Lots of nostalgia from the era from Teddy Boys to the Suez Crisis. A good read for those who enjoy a historical based Family Saga.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT A SUITABLE YOUNG MAN by @AnneLHarvey1 #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is form Judith, she blogs at

Judith has been reading A Suitable Young Man by Anne L Harvey


I gave A Suitable Young Man by Anne L Harvey 4 out of 5*

I really enjoyed  A Suitable Young Man by Anne L Harvey; it’s my kind of book. It’s a story reflective of its times, well written and filled with good rounded characters.

Here’s the book blurb:

A nostalgic tale of friendship, family, love, loyalty and loss, set in a Lancashire mill town in the new Elizabethan era of the mid-1950s. One dark December night, Kathy Armstrong is rescued from two thugs by Nick Roberts, whom she’d known as a schoolgirl. But Nick is a Teddy boy, hell-bent on having a good time in the pubs and dance halls of the era. Shortly after, she meets accountant John Talbot at a party and is captivated by his middle-class charm. To the background of the new rock and roll, a mounting crisis over the Suez Canal, family and personal crises, Kathy struggles with a wayward attraction to Nick and her incubating love for John. But which one is ‘The Suitable Young Man?’

It is obvious the Anne L Harvey has researched the era scrupulously; the setting of each scene is evocative and brought alive by the compelling writing style of this author. The reader is taken into each diverse tableau: the towns, the interior of the houses, the dance halls, the work places.

And the characters fit right in. The descriptions of them bring them truly to life; they are well drawn, believable and rounded. There is a strong build-up of their backgrounds throughout which demonstrates their familial differences and adds to the reality of the times; of the‘still-held beliefs of class differences in the nineteen fifties.

The dialogue, both spoken and internal, are convincing and diverse; even without the attributes I could immediately tell who was speaking..

The two storylines of Nick and Kathy run both parallel and interwoven. I enjoyed following each throughout the novel.

I had only two problems with A Suitable Young Man: I thought it was a little predictable sometimes in its plotline (I can’t say any more about this because I don’t want to spoil it for future readers).

My other problem was actually about the excellent research carried out by the author. As I’ve said earlier, the research is meticulous and provides such a great sense of place. But in parts I felt there were too many facts crammed in what I would call, ‘authorial information dumps’, which took me out of the story. Don’t get me wrong, they are often brilliant additions to set the scenes but sometimes there were just too many details there for me.  But that might be just the way I read.

But there is no doubt this is a good read, written with style and conviction. I look forward to reading more from this author and would thoroughly recommend A Suitable Young Man by Anne L Harvey.

This book was read by me as one of Rosie Amber’s Review Team and was given to me by the author through #RBRT in exchange for a fair review.

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A SUITABLE YOUNG MAN by @annelharvey1 1950’s #HistFic #WeekendBlogHop #Bookreview

A Suitable Young ManA Suitable Young Man by Anne L. Harvey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Suitable Young Man is a historical family drama/ romance, set in the 1950’s in the English Lancashire town of Horwich. Kathy Armstrong is an only child and currently works as a typist for the Bolton Evening News. Attacked one evening by a group of lads she is rescued by school friend Nick Roberts.

There is a spark of interest between them, but they lead different lives, Nick is a Teddy boy, he drinks hard, plays hard and gets into trouble. But underneath is a different side to Nick, not long out of National Service, he wants to be a mechanic, but doors are closed to him without civvy street qualifications. So Nick attends night-school to get his certificates.

Kathy enjoys dancing and parties, she meets John Talbot, an educated young man who is an accountant and they begin dating, her parents see him as a very suitable young man, but Kathy keeps bumping into Nick and he ignites flames in her which John doesn’t.

Ann Harvey brings lots of nostalgia and plenty of details from Britain in the 1950’s to this piece of work which make the characters feel very real, a little twist at the end leaves the door open for a second book.

This review is based on a free copy of the book given to me by the author.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT A SUITABLE YOUNG MAN by @AnneLHarvey1 #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Terry chose to read and review A Suitable Young Man by Anne L Harvey



4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team

I enjoyed reading this, and was very impressed by some parts. It’s a family saga, set in the working class Bolton area in the 1950s. Kathy is a secretary who wants to be a journalist in a time when women aren’t supposed to want careers. She gets herself a ‘suitable’ boyfriend, but finds herself falling in love with Nick Roberts, teddy boy, of whom her family disapproves.

The story is told mostly through the eyes of Kathy and Nick, in alternating chapters, with a few snapshots from the viewpoint of Joyce, Nick’s 16 year old sister. It’s obvious that the author has written about a time and circumstances that she knows well, and what struck me most was how very different those times were, though only 60 years ago, as I read about the poor families with the tin bath tub hanging on the back of the door, the way in which women of that class had nothing to look forward to but the lifestyle of their mothers. In other ways, though, history repeats itself; the Teddy Boys of Anne Harvey’s novel could have been the hippies of the 1960s, the punks of the 1970s, the Emos and Goths of later.

I loved the portrayal of the Saturday night dances (how tame when compared to young people’s entertainment of later decades!), the families sitting round listening to the radio as the only form of entertainment, the cinema as an exciting place to go to, to hear the new music (and those travel film opening features; I think they were still being shown when I was a teenager!). Also how Nick’s mother, at only around 40, was already an old woman. Nick’s a lovely character, I liked him a lot.

Later in the book there is a death that I found heartrending, I thought this bit was very well done without laying it on too thickly. I enjoyed this novel more and more as it went on. At times I found the dialogue a little contrived; I felt too much emphasis was put on sticking in yet another bit of nostalgia about the period, or giving information, rather than concentrating on making the dialogue realistic, but this doesn’t occur very often.

The story ended as I expected it to, but I was delighted to see a nice little twist in the epilogue, and I look forward to reading the next book, ‘Bittersweet’. If your preference is for these sort of ‘warts and all’, post war family dramas, I imagine you will love this; I’d definitely recommend it.

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