Brighton 1930: Maureen O’Connell is a carefree girl, but her family is on the brink of tragedy, war is looming and life will never be the same again.
Jack and Nelson have always been dear friends to Maureen. Despite their different backgrounds, they’ve seen each other through thick and thin.
As Maureen blossoms from a little girl into a young woman, the candle she’s always held for Jack burns bright. But just as she’s found love, war wrenches them apart. The man she cherishes with all her heart is leaving.
When the bombs start to fall, Maureen and her family find themselves living in the most dangerous of times. With Jack no longer by her side and Nelson at war, Maureen has never felt more alone. Can she look to a brighter future? And will she find the true happiness she’s dreamt of?
An utterly gripping and heart-wrenching story about the enduring power of love, hope and friendship during the darkest of days. Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries, Diney Costeloe, Kitty Neale and Ellie Dean.
What readers are saying about When We Danced at the End of the Pier:
‘A beautiful and emotional read. I don’t think I can remember the last time a book moved me to tears so many times whilst reading it. I shed tears of happiness as well as sadness. This is one author who creates characters that will totally capture the readers hearts and I know that them and their story will remain with me for a very long time to come.’ By the Letter Book Reviews
‘What an amazing, sensitively written, emotional, poignant and absolutely wonderful story! The author's writing is exquisite and we are drawn into Maureen's world, feeling for all the characters every step of the way.’ Renita D’Silva
‘Oh my word I honestly can't remember the last time a book made me feel so emotional. Well this book made me laugh one minute and bawl my eyes out the next. It was absolutely brilliant. Right from the first page I was glued to it and just didn't want to put it down. Sandy Taylor is one amazing writer and the way she writes and describes the character really pulls you into the story. I can't recommend this book highly enough. It is simply amazing.’ Goodreads Review
‘The story was deeply emotional and moving…All the characters are endearing and touching. The dramatic scenes are heart-wrenching…The author really managed to write a beautiful tale about family, true love and friendship. If you are a bit of a softie, expect a few tears rolling down your cheeks!’ La Biblio De Caro
Taylor has brought these characters to life with a gentle touch,
Maureen knew at a young age that Jack, the neighbor boy, will be hers forever. Soon, with his friend Nelson and her friend Monica the four are inseparable through all the childhood trials and tribulations, knowing that they have a bond far too strong to break. When you add in Maureen’s little sister Brenda – the moments that sparkle over their childhood, along with the trials for both Jack and Monica due to parents who are less than optimal, is stunning. The acceptance, caring and worries shared in this little group show the innate strength that Maureen possesses, even as things get scary and confusing. For that will happen – as war will come to threaten and disrupt their lives once again.
What we all know is that war is difficult, and there aren’t only casualties on the battlefields. Maureen’s father is a veteran of the first World War, and has never quite been the same man, or even a whole man, since his return. From lives that were poor but mostly happy in the getting by to a whole new set of struggles, friends leaving and in danger, the threat of bombs and death a very real possibility, the story winds through struggles and trials, coming together for support, family and friendship, and the sorrows when it all seems to explode into nothing but loss. Bittersweet yes, but so ultimately engaging and evocative of the time, the characters come alive in ways unexpected with plenty of moments to laugh in spite of the darkness (or even using that darkness) around them.
A completely unexpected story that feels as if it tells the true stoeis of those at home and at war, and the changes, sacrifices and little moments that prove the desire and determination to move on and keep going aren’t wasted. Taylor has brought these characters to life with a gentle touch, in showing the innocence and surprisingly astute views of the characters as children, then allowing them to develop into adults in the most difficult of times, experiencing loves, losses and little victories, the story reads like one of a life, or lives, lived to the fullest allowed in spite of the obstacles facing them. I’ve not read the others in this trilogy, a situation I intend to remedy immediately,
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.