Nice Girls Don’t by Sue Barnard

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Who knows what secrets lie hidden in your family’s past?

Southern England, 1982.

At 25, single, and under threat of redundancy from her job in a local library, Emily feels as though her life is going nowhere – until the day when Carl comes into the library asking for books about tracing family history.

Carl is baffled by a mystery about his late grandfather: why is the name by which Carl had always known him different from the name on his old passport?

Fascinated as much by Carl himself as by the puzzle he wants to solve, Emily tries to help him find the answers. As their relationship develops, their quest for the truth takes them along a complicated paper-trail which leads, eventually, to the battlefields of the Great War.

In the meantime, Emily discovers that her own family also has its fair share of secrets and lies. And old sins can still cast long shadows…

Can Emily finally lay the ghosts of the past to rest and look forward to a brighter future?

A tale of discovery, love and fate.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

My Thoughts

Emily is the perfect nice girl; a quiet and well-mannered librarian with little in the line of excitement in her life, and in the first chapter we find out why. Though her mother, Alice, had passed away, she had very precise ideas on acceptable manners and her most used line was because nice girls don’t do that, and they had stayed with Emily.

Carl Stone, a session musician whose grandfather passed away six months before, walks into the library and Emily’s life, on the hunt for more information about the mystery surrounding his grandfather.

As they delve deeper into Carl’s family history, the attraction between Emily and Carl become evident, and though nice girls don’t do that, Emily shares lunches, smiles and stories with Carl and their relationship starts to form. Their romance is sweet and charming, and as Emily loses – and finds – herself in Carl’s blue eyes, you can only sigh dreamily.

The back story is very well written, the characters real and so likeable! (I love Mr Sykes – and the fact that there is something special for him in the book as well) And the fact that every dramatic or heartbreaking situation can be fixed with a cup of tea is just endearing.

Shocking secrets that leave you aching for the characters and wondering how many more stories like these could unknowingly be buried out there …

Lovely story and ending, for more than one couple! (wink wink) Who knew history could be so entertaining and interesting!

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About the Author

Sue Barnard

Sue was born in Wales some time during the last millennium.

After graduating from Durham University with a degree in French, she returned to Manchester (where she had spent her formative years) and got married, then had a variety of office jobs before leaving the world of paid employment to become a full-time parent. If she had her way, the phrase “non-working mother” would be banned from the English language.

Sue has dabbled with writing for most of her life. Her first success was at primary school, where she won a competition run by Cadbury’s which involved writing an essay about chocolate. Her prize was a tin containing a selection of Cadbury’s products. She still has the tin to this day, and keeps it as a reminder of her humble writing origins. The chocolate is long since gone, but the tin is now home to her supply of pens and pencils. In recent years she began to take writing more seriously and studied a series of writing courses with the Open University. As well as having work published in Best of Manchester Poets (Volumes 2 and 3), her achievements have included winning a T-shirt for writing a limerick (which summed up the plot of Macbeth in five lines) and winning first prize in Writing Magazine’s 2013 poetry competition for new subscribers. In 2013 she joined the editorial team of Crooked Cat Publishing, who also published her debut novel The Ghostly Father (a new interpretation of the Romeo & Juliet story) in February 2014, and her second novel Nice Girls Don’t (a romantic intrigue set in 1982) in July 2014.

Sue’s mind is sufficiently warped that she has also worked as a question-setter for BBC Radio 4’s fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz – a phase of her life which caused one of her sons to describe her as “professionally weird.” She lives in Cheshire and Anglesey (thought not at the same time – she isn’t THAT weird) with her husband and a large collection of unfinished scribblings.

Sue’s Blog

BrooksRosie's Book Review team 1

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