A Precious Gift by Rosie Goodwin: an emotional rollercoaster full of the wisdom, warmth and wonderful storytelling - book review -

A Precious Gift
A Precious Gift
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A gripping tale which moves from the suburban streets of Nuneaton, Warwickshire, to the busy heart of pre-Great War London and on to the battlefront in France – Goodwin brings us the emotion-packed tale of a young woman desperately seeking a family to love.

Who better to cosy up with this Christmas than Rosie Goodwin, one of the nation’s best-loved saga writers?

A former social worker and foster mother, Goodwin has penned over thirty beautiful, heartwarming novels exploring life and love in days gone by, and was awarded the rights to follow three of the late, great Tyneside writer Catherine Cookson’s trilogies with her own sequels.

And now she makes a welcome return with the sixth gritty, drama-packed saga in her enchanting Days of the Week series – which includes the page-turning novels Mothering Sunday, The Little Angel, A Mother’s Grace, The Blessed Child and A Maiden’s Voyage – and has won her an army of admirers and a fistful of accolades.

In A Precious Gift – a gripping tale which moves from the suburban streets of Nuneaton, Warwickshire, to the busy heart of pre-Great War London and on to the battlefront in France – Goodwin brings us the emotion-packed tale of a young woman desperately seeking a family to love.

In Nuneaton in 1911, eighteen-year-old Holly Farthing’s overbearing grandfather, Gilbert Mason, is trying to force her to marry Walter Dolby, a wealthy widower twice her age. For some unknown reason, her grandfather has never liked her and after he refuses to support Holly any longer when she turns down Walter’s marriage proposal, she flees to London, taking her best friend and maid, Ivy Massey, with her.

Just before she leaves, her mother Emma finally reveals that Holly’s father, Michael Farthing, had deserted her when she was pregnant with Holly because he realised that their runaway marriage meant Emma would not now receive her inheritance.

In the big smoke of London, Holly decides to search for the father she has never met and begins nurse training in a city hospital. There she meets the dashing Doctor Richard Parkin. Kind and compassionate, he is everything Holly has ever dreamed of.

When Richard proposes, Holly feels like she will finally have the loving family she has always longed for. But soon she discovers some devastating news that means they can never be together, and her life is suddenly thrown into turmoil.

With the country now at war, she heads to France and throws herself into volunteer nursing on the front line. Can Holly ever find the happiness she so truly deserves?

A Precious Gift is a gorgeous winter-warming drama, brimming with romance, intrigue, fascinating characters, and the richly detailed, authentic and atmospheric settings that have won the Days of the Week sagas such an army of adoring fans.

Holly’s turbulent journey from her sheltered Warwickshire home to the big city and the killing fields of the First World War is an emotional rollercoaster full of the wisdom, warmth and wonderful storytelling that we have come to expect from this much-loved writer.

So draw the curtains, sit back, enjoy the ride, and then tuck into the author’s own delicious recipe for Christmas sherry trifle… guaranteed to leave her readers hungry for Time to Say Goodbye, the final book in this enchanting series.

(Zaffre, hardback, £12.99)