Harper’s Heroes by Rosie Clarke

About the Book: From the bestselling author of the Welcome to Harpers Emporium and The Mulberry Lane Series. The Harpers Girls come face to face with the harsh reality of the cruelty of war. Oxford Street, London 1915 Sally Harper quietly battles to keep Harpers afloat in the difficult days of the war, whilst husband Ben is working all hours for the War Office. Beth Burrow is fighting concern for her husband Jack, now at sea with the Merchant Navy, and the fear she may never see him again and be blessed with a child. Driven to exhaustion, Maggie Gibbs, is now working as a nursing assistant on the battlefields in France. With the everyday horrors of the casualties of war to contend with she suffers her own personal tragedy when her fiancé’s plane ditches in the sea. Can the Harpers Girls and their loved ones survive the perils of war and find a path to future happiness? A heart-warming saga following the lives, loves and losses of the Harpers Girls. Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries, Pam Howes and Dilly Court. BUY HERE About the Author: Rosie Clarke is a #1 bestselling saga writer whose most recent books include The Mulberry Lane series.  She has written over 100 novels under different pseudonyms and is a RNA Award winner.  She lives in Cambridgeshire.  Contact Rosie:   Newsletter Author website
Bookbub My Review: I have reviewed a lot of  Rosie Clarke’s Mulberry Lane series and enjoyed those. I did an audio extract blog post for book two in the Harper’s Emporium series, Love and Marriage at Harper’s.  Harper’s Heroes has different challenges for the characters. I really felt for Sally upon Ben’s departure and was thinking “no, don’t go!” they seemed a beautiful family and I feared for all of them. Baby Jenny was so cute.  With this year and the need for nurses, Beth’s and Maggie’s stories really gripped me. I have always felt for the war heroes every Remembrance Day and in my family we always bought a poppy from the door-to-door sellers. I can remember even now how I felt emotional watching the poppy wreaths being hung on the monuments around the UK if the service was on TV and it was even more heart-wrenching in person, even in the town I lived in growing up.  My own grandmothers helped out with the war efforts and this made me more interested in the era. The restrictions, preparations and enjoying the good times and small things like tinned sweets and makeup are also so much like now that it is haunting.  I really wanted to know where Ben was for myself and for his wife’s Sally’s sake. Of course, a secret location is a secret location and there’s nothing you can do.  I wanted everyone to be OK.  Harper’s Emporium is an iconic place and very atmospheric. I loved the mention of how Beth, Sally and Maggie met, and the fact they lived together was a bonus for them forging a friendship.  The chats between the characters and those they meet are very natural and realistic and the same fear there was then is present now with the current world situation.  I think it is because of this that Harper’s Heroes really resonated with me more than it would have had I reviewed it at another time.  As always, Rosie Clarke’s style is gripping, emotional and this plus her attention to detail combine to make Harper’s Heroes a poignant novel for these trying times.  The simple but traditional food and drink was an aspect that made this so homely in amongst a time of chaos.  Thanks to Rosie Clarke, Rachel’s Random Resources and Boldwood Books for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.  5 stars.  Extract: It was now the beginning of February 1915 and the war with Germany had gradually crept closer to Great Britain’s shores. That morning, Sally Harper stood in the doorway of the bedroom of their London apartment and caught her breath as she watched her husband, Ben, packing his suitcase. She felt the now familiar sense of unease that his absences always aroused in her, though she couldn’t have said why. Thus far, Ben had only been called upon to help with the logistics of keeping an army on the move. He was, of course, an American citizen and his country not yet at war with Germany. However, he felt that he owed some service to the country he lived and worked in and had joined the British Army. Sally had feared he would be sent off to fight. Thousands of other women had husbands, brothers and sons fighting and dying in the trenches of Belgium and France, in the air, and on the high seas – and the casualties were mounting. So many men were being injured and killed that it brought tears to her eyes. Sally forced herself to read the reports in the newspapers every day, even though they made harrowing reading, but she felt it was her duty to know what those brave men out there were enduring to keep the women and children of Britain safe. These were terrible times and everyone had to do what they could. Now, picking up a pile of freshly ironed shirts, Sally moved them to within Ben’s reach and received a smile of acknowledgement. Her heart caught in her breast, because she hated it when he went away on one of his trips for the War Office, even though she knew she was lucky he hadn’t been sent to fight overseas. At first, the war had seemed a long way off, but in December 1914, Sally had been shocked when German warships had shelled the seaside towns of Scarborough, Whitby and Hartlepool, killing more than a hundred civilians and injuring many others. To think that British people had been fired on and died while going about their daily lives was shocking. However, the following January the papers had been filled with the triumphant news that the British Navy had prevented another such attack by sinking the most powerful of the enemy’s battle cruisers, SMS Blucher. Yet even this success could not prevent death from the air as the devilish Zeppelins bombed the British towns of Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn. The Allies had celebrated when Paris had been saved the previous October and the German advance bogged down in the trenches, but now it seemed they’d turned their attention to subduing the British people with their frightening attacks from the sea and the air.

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