I am delighted to be a part of the blog tour for; The Woman with the Map by Jan Casey and to be sharing my review of this atmospheric book with you all.
About the Book
The Woman With The Map by Jan Casey.
The world is at war and Joyce Cooper is doing her bit for the war effort. A proud member of the Civil Defence, it is her job to assist the people of Notting Hill when the bombs begin to fall. But as the Blitz takes hold of London, Joyce is called upon to plot the devastation that follows in its wake. Night after night she must stand before her map and mark the trail of loss and suffering inflicted upon the homes, families and businesses she knows so well.
Decades later from her basement flat Joyce watches the world go by above her head. This is her haven; the home she has created for herself having had so much taken from her in the war. But now the council is tearing down her block of flats and she’s being forced to move. Could this chance to start over allow Joyce to let go of the past and step back into her life?
An emotional and compelling historical fiction novel perfect for fans of Fiona Valpy, Mandy Robotham and Catherine Hokin.
Purchase Link – smarturl.it/WomanWithTheMap
The Woman with the Map is a compelling and engaging story of devastating loss and courage to find peace.
As soon as I set eyes on this book I felt as though I needed to read it; I do love WW2 historical fiction especially when it’s centred around the London blitz and add a duel-timeline element then I am like a fish on the line. My thoughts after (or during reading) were mixed, I hate to say I didn’t love it, it didn’t have that ‘wow’ factor I look for in historical fiction, but I did really like it. I know that sounds contradictory, but I felt torn by the end. I can only describe it as when you’re watching a pretty naff film, you neither love nor hate it, but you can’t bring yourself to turn the tv off, you feel compelled to keep on watching and that is how I felt about this book, I felt compelled to keep reading I wanted to know what happened and if Joyce found her happiness.
The Woman with the Map is the first book I have read by Jan Casey, I do have one of her previous books sitting on my kindle, I will get around to reading it one day (don’t we all say the same about our ever-expanding reading piles?) I will certainly read it now though.
Split between 1941 and 1974, this follows the story of one woman; Joyce who through WW2 she worked as an ARP during the blitz she assists people in and around Nottinghill as the bombs land, she loves her jobs she feels she needs to help and she is helping those around her. She is soon transferred to a different department here sh is to track the damage, death and destruction. She knows her job is important but you can only imagine what she must have o deal with everyday hearing of the horrors and then having to put all these pins in a huge map plotting the deaths in said location. She is a strong woman but the death toll and destruction soon starts to affect her, as it ould anyone. She soon finds a little happiness when she meets and falls head over heels in love with Derek, he is the light in this dark tunnel and gives her hope of happy times to come.
Fast forward to 1974, Joyce is still living in her basement flat, she is refusing – or should that be turning a blind eye to what is set to come in the fact that the council are going to be ripping down her apartment block. Ahe keeps ignoring the letters and day after day gets up foes to work and goes home the constant cycle. She has found herself in a rut, all of what she saw and experienced forty years earlier has had a huge effect on her and all she wants is her safe place, her haven of her little run-down basement flat but eventually, she must conceit defeat and find somewhere to live, a move which will force to finally let go of everything she has been holding dearly on to and find hope and happiness.
This isn’t the easiest of books, more-so with what is going on in the world at the moment, reading about homes buildings being destroyed by bombing and the loss of people lives when the same is happening right before our eyes is difficult and there were times I felt it too hard to read when there is so much destruction, loss and hate in the world because of that aspect alone is one of the reasons I couldn’t love the book. I am finding myself reaching for lighter reads these days, but saying that I can not deny that Jan Casey is an exceptional author, her attention to detail and her knowledge of the era is second to none, she is a wonderful author who draws the reader in and she doesn’t sugarcoat the history and that I really liked that.
Despite my personal mixed feelings, this is a great book, one which I think will appeal to those who love their WW2 historical fiction, story is a simple one of letting go of the past, finding courage and allowing yourself to be happy. It’s a beautiful message and one we should all listen to especially in the times we are living in and what we have lived through in the last two years.
Overall, an emotional, engrossing and heartbreaking story that is full of loss and one woman’s bravery, a story that will tug at your heart in more ways than one!
About the Author
Jan Casey’s novels, like her first – The Women of Waterloo Bridge – explore the themes of how ordinary people are affected by extraordinary events during any period in history, including the present. Jan is fascinated with the courage, adaptability and resilience that people rise to in times of adversity and for which they do not expect pay, praise or commendation. Jan is also interested in writing about the similarities as opposed to the differences amongst people and the ways in which experiences and emotions bind humans together.
Jan was born in London but spent her childhood in Southern California. She was a teacher of English and Drama for many years and is now a Learning Supervisor at a college of further education.
When she is not working or writing, Jan enjoys yoga, swimming, cooking, walking, reading and spending time with her grandchildren.
Before becoming a published author, Jan had short stories and flash fictions published.
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