An engaging character-driven historical novel, this story is based on a real person whom the author met and has researched. It’s quite a slow-paced read and I would describe it as a fictionalised autobiography. The attention to detail is wonderful and transported me to over a hundred years ago.
Narrated by Ellen – later known as Nellie, later still known as Queenie – the story follows her extraordinary life, based mostly in Norwich (a city in the East of England). She had very humble beginnings, in a large family where illness, poverty and an uncaring mother made life a misery. However, she has a feisty spirit and determines not to let her background determine her fate. Early on in the story, she’s adopted by a couple who run a shooting gallery at a travelling fair. It’s very interesting being part of the fair, but as always, it’s not long before adversity calls and her life changes again.
Queenie is the kind of character you can root for. I liked her a lot, even though she does seem to say ‘bloody hell’ every few paragraphs! I think it’s an excellent achievement for the author to have woven the details from historical records with great story-telling in this novel. I’m sure that Queenie’s descendants must have been pleased with it!
Recommended if you’re looking for historical fiction with memorable characters.
Independently published in 2022.