The Pavements We Walk On
Author: CAROLYN BELCHER
Amazon Customer Rating: [usr 4]
Goodreads Rating: [usr 0]
Maggie enjoys a mixed childhood of escapism with her friends, and the love of her father, coupled with her mother, Edith’s, obvious favouritism towards her younger brother, and the natural jealousy which arises from that.
As she grows up, she discovers a world of freedom from Edith’s rules and marries Trevor, who she believes shares her ideals and values. However, the birth of their son brings unexpected and unwelcome changes to their relationship, which leave Maggie re-evaluating her life.
This is a stand-alone novel, although it features the same characters as those within Carolyn Belcher’s debut novel, Crocodiles and Angels. Here, she shows how we all tread similar paths, but with differing experiences, and how love and life affect our decisions.
Format(s): Paperback and Kindle
ISBN: 978-1-910603-31-4 (Paperback)
ASIN: B01HDRDQU8 (Kindle)
Edition: 1st Edition
Imprint: GWL Publishing
Classification: Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Women
Paperback Published: 26, July, 2016
Kindle Published: 29, July, 2016
No of pages: 330pp
Praise for The Pavements We Walk On:
You'll Never Walk Alone
You'll Never Walk Alone
You’ll never walk entirely alone if you have the friendship of your contemporaries. Tender and wise , honest and true. Here’s the second book of stories of the lives of the gang seen tbrough the eyes of Maggie. Evocative of a time gone by, the women are stitching the threads of their lives: husbands, children, parents, careers, the aging process… how to manage it all. Time is passing and the vicissitudes of life call for strength and wisdom which this lot have in spades. Beautifully written. Looking forward to the next one!
Recommended as a thoroughly good read!
Heather H – Amazon Review, 17 August, 2016.
A wrestle with life
A wrestle with life
‘Pavements We Walk On’, Carolyn Belcher’s new book, is entirely as enchanting as her first (‘Crocodiles and Angels’). It tells of the life and fortunes of Maggie Turner, the bright and cheeky daughter of a working-class Liverpool family. At the same time, the novel can be read as a good-humoured reflection of the British post-war experience: a time of social shift and new opportunities in a world that was still stifled by old rules and inhibitions.
Being of a certain age and a nostalgic frame of mind, I have to confess that – for me – the most appealing parts of the book were those which described growing-up in 1950s Britain. It was a world of kitchen lino, boys playing marbles, ‘Hernando’s Hideaway’, murky back alleys, class snobbery, fish and chips, coffee and walnut cake, Saturday jobs at Woolworth’s, Friends of the Earth and the CND. In that world, “house jobs were women’s work” and a father would be asked permission for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Giddy pleasures included watching ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ on the box and going to the local “flea pit” to see Doris Day in ‘The Pyjama Game’.
To young Maggie, that world brings a flow of confusing sensations — such as the sight of her illiterate Uncle Charlie, who smells of Imperial Leather soap and rubs his penis whenever he is left alone with her. Maggie’s confusions seem to stem — at least, in part — from the conflicting relations she has with her parents. The taut relation with her mother (Edith of “the basilisk stare”) stands in stark contrast to her intimate, dependent closeness to her father. It falls to him to explain to young Maggie the meaning of “the curse” – the female fate of the monthly period. Witness, by contrast, the mother’s reaction to Maggie’s pregnancy: “You’ve made your bed, my girl, you’ll have to lie in it.”
In a Britain of emerging flair and fresh opportunities, but still hemmed in by behavioural restrictions and moral claustrophobia, Maggie strives to make something of herself. She breaks out of her job at Woolworth’s (“I am better than Pick-n-Mix”), achieves her A levels via night school and goes to teacher training college. But she constantly finds herself thwarted by petty rules and old attitudes.
A main theme of ‘Pavements’ is Maggie’s never-easy relationship with her husband Trevor. He is a man trying “to find a toehold in the world of contemporary music”. But he seems doomed never to create music people want to listen to — nor to earn money in a marriage which is a struggle from the start.
He and Maggie share wit, sharp-edged humour and seemingly endless sex. But, with the sudden discovery of Maggie’s pregnancy, the story spins off in wild circles, as the couple scramble to keep their lives on an even keel.
To reveal more would be to spoil an enthralling novel. Suffice it to say that, in a poignant echo of ‘Crocodiles and Angels’, Maggie and her old girl friends – raucous “gang women” – reunite in a touching epilogue. Angela, Debbie, Einna and Maggie – “courageous crocks” now, rather than the “monstrous regiment of women” they were — reflect on the changes that have overtaken them. They live now in a world of Pilates classes, emails, ‘The X Factor’ and colossal wealth among football stars and businessmen which stands in contrast with mass poverty and the scourge of dementia.
I recommend ‘Pavements We Walk On’ particularly to any of my fellow septuagenarians who enjoy a nostalgic read. But, without doubt, it is also a humorous, stirring and impressive account of an Englishwoman’s wrestle with life.
Budley – Amazon Review, 20 September, 2016.