Book review: Home is Where the Heart Is by Freda Lightfoot

The ravages of war can change a man… and sometimes those changes have devastating results.

By Pam Norfolk
Friday, 4th December 2015, 9:00 am
Book review: Home is Where the Heart Is byFreda Lightfoot
Book review: Home is Where the Heart Is byFreda Lightfoot

Lancashire-born Freda Lightfoot, author of over 40 gritty family sagas and historical novels, explores the impact of conflict on relationships in the first of a compelling new trilogy set in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Never afraid to peer into the darker corners of family life, Lightfoot’s hard-hitting story reveals the domestic uncertainties and tensions created by a world struggling to return to normality after six long years of war.

Set in the working class heart of Manchester, this drama-packed, deep and dark story showcases Lightfoot’s warm-hearted humanity and talent for penning absorbing family sagas.

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It is nearly two years since Cathie Morgan from Castlefield in Manchester saw her fiancé Alex Ryman but it’s 1945, the war is finally over and he is coming home for good.

The only complication for Cathie is that since her widowed sister Sally was killed in a bus crash in Manchester, she has been caring for her orphaned baby Heather and is planning to adopt the beautiful little girl.

Cathie, who works in a tyre factory at the city docks, has pledged that she will never let Heather feel unwanted and hopes that the Alex she remembers – a kind and loving man – will also take the child to his heart.

But Alex is definitely not the man he was. Cold, cynical, selfish and sometimes frightening, he claims that the baby is Cathie’s and not her sister’s. And when she loses her job to the men returning from war, she has to choose between standing by Alex with his violent temper or finding the strength to forge a life for herself with baby Heather.

Lightfoot brings to life the realities of the post-war period with a country ‘stony broke’ and rationing and shortages still in force, some families coping with their losses and others happy to see their loved ones home again.

Love and friendship, loyalty and betrayal, hope and despair all play leading roles in this tender and sometimes disturbing tale that is sure to delight Lightfoot’s army of readers and warm up the long winter nights.

(MIRA, paperback, £6.99)