I received a copy of this book through THE Book Club in return for my honest review.
After my recent binge of psychological thrillers, this was a refreshing change. Pam Howes is a master at capturing the atmosphere of the sixties, and her consistent use of music throughout the book is inspired. You can literally follow and track the moods of all the characters through the songs that are described at any given time.
Cathy lives with her mom, her revolting step-dad and their 4 young children. She dreams of a better life for herself. Having left school at the age of 15 and now working on a makeup counter in a department store, she’s forced to hand most of her wages over to help at home, although her step-father usually takes most of it to go boozing. Her best friend Debby makes life more bearable and they share their dreams for their futures, which include finding nice boyfriends. However, Cathy’s dream doesn’t involve settling down and having babies. She’s determined to have a career and is thrilled when she earns a place at nursing school, helped by her lovely Granny Lomax – her late dad’s mum.
When she starts seeing the gorgeous Gianni, it seems that life is just about perfect for Cathy, but as we know, there are always dark clouds lurking on the horizon, and they certainly have their fair share. Gianni has always wondered about his estranged dad, but never wanted to hurt his mum’s feelings by going to look for him, because he knows how hard she’s worked to give him a decent life.
Cathy and Gianni need to learn to navigate the curves, the highs and lows that life throws at them. They’re still young, and they need to reconcile their different ideas in order to find a way towards a future together. Is it possible?
It was wonderful to read about a time that was much simpler and included an element of naiveté that doesn’t seem to exist any more. The camaraderie between Cathy, Gianni and their friends was very evident, and written in an easygoing, believable manner. The only shortcoming I found was that the profanity and explicit sex scenes were misplaced. I’m not a prude (yes, I know people always say that when they really are prudes, but really, I’m not!!), but just found that it detracted from what is, in every other way, a really enjoyable, pleasant read.
I’m quite looking forward to the sequel to this as I’d love to read about the future exploits of Gianni and Cathy.