Forgive and Forget by Margaret Dickinson

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Forgive and Forget by Margaret Dickinson

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Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: A historical family saga at the beginning of the 20th Century based in Lincoln. Pretty teenager Polly seems to have drawn the short straw in life - and also love - as she's left to look after her younger brothers and sisters following a family tragedy.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 400 Date: March 2011
Publisher: Pan
ISBN: 978-0330516235

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Straight away I got the sense of this book because of its language and style. Lots of adjectives such as Polly has a ... fiery personality and Cold fear ran through the girl's slim body. This book is very easy to read, to get into as the tone is conversational. There are lines like The young girl's eyes widened and her mouth dropped open in a horrified gasp. She clutched her throat as she uttered hoarsely, 'no, oh, no! This book will appeal to those readers who like a rather uncomplicated yarn but also with a good dash of romance. True escapism. Personally, the title is too slushy for me but I appreciate that it fits in nicely with the genre and also with Dickinson's style. But, I have to say, there's an awful lot of 'hearts thumping' and 'eyes blazing' - too many for me, I'm afraid.

Polly, the main character has some lovely qualities. As the oldest child and now that the family is motherless, Polly takes on that role. A mini-mother. She's only thirteen and still a child herself but uncomplainingly and with a good heart she cooks, cleans and looks after the younger children as well as her father. In short, she's a saint. The family home is modest and money is tight. Polly really has to count the pennies (the workhouse gets the odd mention to add a dash of drama and danger). What's more, the father drinks and when he's had one too many, he tends to get himself into trouble. At times, he acts like a child himself.

And dear, sweet Polly drives the story forward as a love interest is introduced early on. He's a local lad who's not done too badly for himself. But will things work out? Dickinson brings in the local dialect with many of her characters. Although the location is Lincoln, the whole thrust of the story is all about the ups and downs of a working-class family. It's a tried and tested format and it works for millions of readers. It just doesn't work for me. It's not really the type of book I would choose to read.

Dickinson does however touch on issues of the day, such as the scourge of typhoid and also the horrors of war. But overall, it's all about the family: about their daily lives and about the choices and challenges which face them. The book's title is central to the plot and gets several mentions - mainly towards the end.

Dickinson gives her readers a nice mix of characters: the good, the bad and the ugly, you could say. It's one of those books that once you've read a chapter or two, you're into the book without any effort. Perhaps the book is a tad too long and consequently parts felt a little laboured but overall an engaging read.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals then you might enjoy Harvest Nights by Pamela Evans.

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Buy Forgive and Forget by Margaret Dickinson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Forgive and Forget by Margaret Dickinson at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Forgive and Forget by Margaret Dickinson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Forgive and Forget by Margaret Dickinson at


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