Daffodil Days: Stories from the Broome Park Pre-fab Village by Pat Posner

I really enjoyed this delightful collection of short stories by Pat Posner. Set in one of the prefab villages that were hurriedly erected after the war, to provide “temporary” housing for families, they are a slice of pure nostalgia. The characters that populate this book, and the village of Broome Park, are familiar and appealing, and the stories are entertaining and gentle. They would make great Sunday night television viewing!

My own particular favourites are the heartwarming The Lucky Sixpence, and a handful of mystery stories that reminded me of grown-up versions of Enid Blyton’s Five Find-Outers series: All’s Well that Ends Well, An Exciting Blackberry Week, Penny for the Guy, Gloria’s Errand, and Something Mysterious at Broome Hall.

This is a collection of deliciously cosy and comforting stories, depicting working class life in the nineteen-fifties, featuring characters across the generations: parents and grandparents, teenagers and young children, landowners, crooks, and the sort of genial local policeman, known to everyone in the area, that we all wish still walked the beat near us.

The stories cover all seasons, and plenty of special occasions are celebrated by the residents of Broome Park. I found myself quite drawn in and celebrating alongside the characters, occasionally getting tearful as they struggled with loss, or laughing at their antics.

Daffodil Days really is a gentle, comfortable read, perfect for cosying up with, when you want to shut out the world and be taken back to a time that, on reflection, seems so lovely and so innocent. I loved every page, and highly recommend it. 5/5

You can buy Daffodil Days here.

The Dirigible King’s Daughter by Alys West

Anyone who knows me will tell you that Whitby is one of my favourite places, so any book set there is always going to attract my attention. I’ll hold my hands up and admit I’ve never read steampunk before, but when the Write Romantics published our charity anthology Winter Tales,  it included a short story called A Pistol for Propriety, written by Alys, and I’d long thought that the story deserved to be expanded upon. Luckily, Alys had the same thought, and the result is this wonderful novel.

I was quickly drawn into this snapshot of an alternative Whitby – imagining dirigibles sailing by Whitby Abbey, piloted by handsome men wearing flying jackets, helmets and goggles – men like Charlie, or Viscount Davenport, to give him his proper title.

Charlie is a real hero, but he’s more than matched by the independent “New Woman” Harriet Hardy. Harriet has had many troubles and heartaches to overcome, and has learned to defend herself in a man’s world. Unfortunately, her self-defence lands her in a lot of trouble, and her actions plunge both her and Charlie into an unexpected adventure.

As the net tightens around them both, an unorthodox solution is presented to Harriet, but the shadows of the past are all around her. She is the Dirigible King’s daughter, and that’s a heavy burden for her to carry. And Charlie may be a good man, but is it fair to drag him into the murky depths of her family’s shame?

With a chase across Whitby, journeys on steam powered omnibuses, and flights through the air in the wondrous dirigibles, this is a romance with a twist. Lots of fun, lots of adventure…And lots of tea. A really wonderful treat to read.

You can buy The Dirigible King’s Daughter here.