Pocketful Of Dreams is a World War II family drama set in London and features the loves and losses of the Brogan family; a hard-working Irish family, they live in London’s East End.
Father Daniel McCree has arrived in London to assist Father Mahon in serving the parish of St. Bridget and St. Brendan. The young priest has a spring in his step and a twinkle in his eye, which got me thinking about the Thorn Birds. But is he all that he seems?
Christopher Joliffe is a pro-Nazi fascist; networking on the streets of London, he is making connections to help Hitler’s proposed invasion of Britain. He meets Mattie Brogan whilst signing up as an Auxiliary Police Constable. She has just taken on a role of an Air-Raid Warden, whilst studying for her Higher Certificate of education. Christopher is attracted by her brains and beauty and asks her out.
In the months of the ‘phoney war’, Mattie is flattered by Christopher’s attentions, but it is Father McCree who haunts her dreams. One night on patrol, Mattie becomes suspicious that her brother-in-law, Stan, is lying about his involvement in the Briton’s For Peace Union, and turns to Father McCree for advice; soon, her life takes on a new direction.
I liked the way the author took this book down a darker side compared with many home front war stories. The hostility in London towards Jews and Italians was shocking and believable. I was also interested in the thoughts behind those who supported Hitler, however unpalatable the story. Alas, I felt that the ending was wrapped up a little too neatly.
Father McCree was one of my favourite characters; I did wonder where the author was taking his story at the beginning, but it soon became apparent and I became a firm supporter of his role. I loved the outrageous Queenie; did she have the ‘sight’, or was she just very observant? I enjoyed the illegal gambling bets she took and the glimpses of her past life.
Recommended for readers who enjoy family sagas set in the war years of London; soaked in nostalgia of the times, it mixes romance with a sprinkle of the darker aspects of the early war years.
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It’s 1939, and the Brogan family of London’s East End are ready to show Hitler what for. But things don’t seem so rosy when rationing, evacuation and air-raids start to put this larger-than-life family to the test.
When a mysterious young man arrives at the Brogans’ local parish church, he provides just the dazzling distraction they need – and for eldest daughter Mattie, the promise of more than she’d ever wished for. But as the pair fall deeper in love, they are drawn into secret dangers, rife on the very London streets they call home.
As the young couple race to protect the East End as they know it, can their dreams survive the darkening backdrop of war-time…?
I first fell in love with history at school when I read Anya Seton’s book Katherine. Since then I have read everything I can about English history but I am particularly fascinated by the 18th and 19th century and my books are set in this period. I just love my native city and the East End in particular which is why I write stories to bring that vibrant area of London alive.
I am also passionate about historical accuracy and I enjoy researching the details almost as much as weaving the story. If one of my characters walks down a street you can be assured that that street actually existed. Take a look at Jean’s East End and see the actual location where my characters played out their stories.