My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - Every second able over 3 days
Pages - 400
Publisher - Harper Collins
Source - Review copy
Blurb from Goodreads
SHE WAS MADE IN THE EAST END . . .
For young Queenie, life in the backstreets of Whitechapel was a lesson in survival – Hitler’s bombs hit those with nothing the hardest. When danger strikes close to home, Queenie finds an ally in Mrs O’Leary, whose two sons are the kingpins of the East End. But while the O’Learys are the light in Queenie’s life, fate has a different path in store.
AND MEN ARE WHAT THEIR MOTHERS MAKE THEM . . .
Now married to the useless Albie Butler, Queenie is raising her children to fight their own battles. If the O’Learys taught her anything, it was that surviving meant doing whatever you had to, no questions asked, and family always comes first. The Butler boys will make sure their mother’s name becomes East End legend.
THIS IS HER STORY.
If you are a Chambers fan then I have no need to say how long some of us hoped and waited for this book. If you are new to her writing then as this is Queenie's story, a prequel, here is as good a place to start as any. However, it is no secret I LOVE the Butler book's and whilst they have predominantly been about the boys, Queenie was always there. Now, with this book, we learn her story, how she came to be the woman we met over those books and that immovable relationship with her boys, particularly Vinny.
It is the time just before the war (world war 2) when it isn't quite kicked off yet. Queenie and Viv are close as close can be. We get a look at their lives, with their parents and poverty and pre war and then the steps taken during the war that have long reaching effects on Queenie.
It is so hard to go into it without spoiling anything and we do not do spoilers. We get to see Queenie as a child, a teen and adulthood. Events that lead to shaping her as a person and seeing why family is absolutely everything to Queenie, particularly her boys and her sister. At times she is hard to understand, I couldn't fathom some of her choices/actions. Others you get it, you get why she is the way she is and who she becomes.
I have loved the Butlers since i read the first book, I will need to go back and re read the rest of the series, they are always the first books of Chambers I recommend to people. Think the Kray brothers but there are three instead of two. In Queenie we meet their mum as a child, becoming a woman and how their story begins.
If you enjoy the previous books you will love this one. If anything instead of quenching your thirst it only has you wanting more. I always have the fear picking up a Chambers book because I loved the ones so much that came before so you figure, how long can you keep churning out fresh books, keep packing punches and keep the reader on their toes? yet she does it, every single time and has done it again, 5/5 for me this time. Do I want another Butler book? HELL YES, I do so hope we get another and will be patiently waiting for the next book, Butler related or not!