My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - on and off over 5 days
Publisher - Penguin
Pages - 416
Source - Book shop
Blurb from Goodreads
Coronation Day, 1953.
Molly Heywood has always been a pillar of strength for her local community, so when her friend Cassie fails to attend the Coronation Day party in the village, it is Molly who heads out in the rain to look for her.
But nothing can prepare Molly for what she is going to discover.
Now with Cassie gone and her six-year-old daughter Petal missing, it is up to Molly to head to London to uncover the past Cassie kept so well hidden.
But will Molly discover the truth before it's too late? Or has Petal disappeared forever?
Molly is one of the naive and sweetest characters I have read in a while, her friend Cassie is wild, is a single mother and prefers the company of men to women. When Cassie is found murdered and her child missing Molly can't let things go. The investigation fizzles out but Molly can't let go. Leaving home to get away from her abusive father, make a life for herself whilst still holding out hope of finding little Petal, Molly embarks on a journey that will force her to grow up and see the real dangers outside a little town.
As always, I do love Pearse's books, she brings the time period alive by highlighting either events happening at the time or bringing forth the attitudes and prejudices of that era. Molly is a great character, she is so innocent and despite having a stunting and hateful force in her home kind and trusting to all she meets. The book touches on violence, racism, homophobia, murder, some of the attitudes and issues reflected from that time period. The main focus of the story though is the journey and personal growth of Molly, a sweet and relatively sheltered girl who experiences things that shape and form the woman she becomes. In between that is the mystery of Cassie, who she was, what she ran from, her secrets, her child and life lessons that are still very applicable in this day and age.
The pace is possibly slow in parts for some readers as the book takes its time to reveal its secrets, with personal growth and character self discovery you do find it slower compared to murder/thriller. However Pearse creates characters you invest in and finds you turning page after page to find out what happens and, for me, to get Cassie's back story. Some parts may make for uncomfortable reading as Molly gets involved in a few dangerous or upsetting situations, reflective I felt of real life issues for a young woman alone. Otherwise another fabulous tale from this author, if you have read her before you know what you are getting. If this would be your first dance with this author she carves great tales with happiness, sadness and looks at characters from the best and worst sides of humanity, 4/5 for me this time.