Book review: Liverpool Gems by Anne Baker

Liverpool Gems byAnne BakerLiverpool Gems byAnne Baker
Liverpool Gems byAnne Baker
In 1930s Liverpool, twin sisters Carrie and Connie Courtney may be identical in looks but their future paths could well be very different'¦

Can they negotiate the tough years of the Depression and a devastating business scandal, or will their dreams and ambitions be destroyed forever?

Queen of the Merseyside saga Anne Baker is on top form in a gripping, emotion-packed tale of betrayal and loyalty, devotion and despair set amongst the places and the people she knows and loves.

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It’s 1935 and 19-year-old Carrie Courtney should be pleased and happy that her twin Connie is marrying John Bradshaw, the man of her dreams. But Carrie fears that marriage will loosen the bonds with her beloved sister and constant companion.

The two beautiful blonde-haired girls have always been close. Their mother died when they were just six months old, their former coal miner father works abroad in South Africa and they have been brought up by two maiden aunts at their home on the main road to Liverpool docks.

Connie, a shorthand typist, has always been the more extrovert and lively sister and now Carrie, who works as a bookkeeper, longs to spread her wings and find a love of her own.

With the help of her new brother-in-law, Carrie gets an exciting new job as an articled clerk with a local respected firm of accountants but her stunning beauty soon attracts the wrong kind of attention.

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Her long training means that she will be unable to marry for five years but romance quickly becomes the last thing on her mind when her father Archie, newly returned from South Africa, finds himself caught up in an illegal jewellery business that threatens to destroy the whole family...

Born storyteller Baker sweeps us away to Liverpool in the 1930s and a very different age when a woman’s work expectations and ambitions were severely restricted by the rules of tradition, practice and a male-dominated culture.

Packed with fascinating period detail, warm romance and nail-biting drama, Liverpool Gems is the perfect read for those long summer nights.

(Headline, paperback, £7.99)