My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1 day
Pages - 498
Publisher - Penguin Books
Blurb from Goodreads
Would you cross the street if wickedness lived there?
When Fifi moves to London with her bricklayer boyfriend Dan, her mother is outraged. Despite initial feelings of horror at her new surroundings, Fifi finds the freedom from her middle-class family background exhilarating.
Insatiably inquisitive, Fifi is fascinated by her new neighbours and wants to know what goes on behind all those shabby front doors. Why is Yvette, the French dressmaker, such a hermit? Why doesn't widower Frank join his daughter and grandchildren in Australia? And why doesn't the formidable and well-bred Miss Diamond move somewhere smarter?
But most of all she is ghoulishly fascinated by the Muckles who live opposite in terrible squalor. She listens to their violent quarrels, watches their ill-treated and wretchedly unhappy children, and is appalled by all she sees.
When Fifi tries to help the Muckles' youngest child, who has been physically abused by her father, Fifi unwittingly unleashes a chain of events which will not only bring heartache to her and Dan, but terrible danger to all the inhabitants of Dale Street ...
Fifi isn't your average girl of the 1960s, she has a career and not falling over herself to get married. When she meets Dan she risks further disapproval from her mother and frozen out from her family, true love will always win. Dan trys to give Fifi everything she deserves, coming from money Fifi has always known the best, choosing Dan introduces her to a new way of life. Moving to London to find work, Fifi follows her husband and meet some of the poorest people and conditions but meets people who teach her about real life. The darker side of the street comes to light, Fifi realises that she is not only next to criminals but a family who abuse their children, exploit anyone who is naive enough to get in their way and who liase with some very dangerous people.
Ooooh I do love Pearse, she has a way of writing that pulls you in and merges you with the characters, feeling the emotions and living the life alongside them. This book, as with the others of hers I have read, covers some hard and emotive subjects. Child abuse, grief, love, lies, violence, murder and terror and just some of the subjects covered in this book. A glimpse into the life of the privileged and that of those struggling to make ends meet, how people respond differently to poverty and how low some people can sink.
A book that packs a punch, I have read Pearse before and I will absolutely read her again, 4/5 for me this time!