Today, on publication day itself, I’m so thrilled to be chatting about This Lovely City by Louise Hare as part of the HQ Stories Blog Tour.
The Drinks are flowing. The jazz is swinging.
But for the city’s newest arrivals, the party can’t last.
With the Blitz over and London reeling from war, jazz musician Lawrie Matthews has answered England’s call for help. Fresh off the Empire Windrush, he’s taken a tiny room in south London lodgings, and has fallen in love with the girl next door.
Touring Soho’s music halls by night, pacing the streets as a postman by day, Lawrie has poured his heart into his new home – and it’s alive with possibility. Until, one morning, he makes a terrible discovery.
As the local community rallies, fingers of blame are pointed at those who had recently been welcomed with open arms. And, before long, the newest arrivals becomes the prime suspects in a tragedy which threatens to tear the city apart.
I love being transported back in time and that is exactly where I’m going in This Lovely City. An absolutely stunning read and a superb debut novel, Louise Hare is most definitely a very exciting discovery.
The first novel I ever read about The Windrush generation was called The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon and I read it when I was studying 20th Century Literature. As a child of the 70s I was completely swept away in this story about a time not too long before I was born, a time when my parents themselves were just children. Sam Selvon showed me a London that I could never have imagined and with This Lovely City Louise has taken me there too.
Just five years after the war has ended and the world has changed. London is bruised, battered and reeling but things are moving on and the Empire Windrush sails in to help in a time of need. The new residents are met with a mixture of feelings, from gratitude to mistrust to straight up hate. Laurie Matthews is a Jazz musician by night and a postman by day, he works hard to build a better future for himself and those around him. He lives quietly keeping his head down, getting by and dreaming of a life and family with his girl, Evie.
Things take a dark turn though when Laurie discovers a body and before long the finger of suspicion is pointing at him. Suddenly the place he has begun to consider as home becomes a place of fear and hate. Those who welcomed him so readily are equally happy to lay the blame at his feet. But there is more to this tragedy than meets the eye and the twists and turns just keep on coming. A brilliant murder mystery capturing a time in history still sitting in the shadow of the Second World War but there is hope on the horizon.
Already This Lovely City is being called ‘A BEST BOOK OF 2020’ and it’s not hard to see why. Available Hardback, eBook and Audio this is definitely one to add to your wish list – in fact why not treat yourself to a copy today.
Many thanks to the lovely people at HQ Stories for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for my beautiful review copy. The hardback edition really is stunning and well worthy of a place on your bookshelf.
About the author
Louise Hare is a London-based writer and has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London. Originally from Warrington, the capital is the inspiration for mich of her work, including This Lovely City, which began life after a trip into the deep level shelter below Clapham Common.