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‘All Fall Down’ by Jenny Oldfield

ALL FALL DOWN

Cover Image Of 'All Fall Down' By Jenny OldfieldSuddenly into the silence of Duke Street came an ear-splitting wail. It rose from a deep groan, gaining volume, whining overhead, penetrating the courts and alleys at the heart of London’s East End….

They were at war with Germany…..

Yet as the horror of the Blitz tests the indomitable East End spirit to it’s limit, life goes on much as before.

Annie, Hettie and George keep the Duke of Wellington open amidst almost daily bombings, a haven of normality for all their friends. Tommy O’Hagan struggles to hide a secret and forbidden love – until disaster looms; Sadie and Walter Davidson try to adjust as they send their young sons off on the evacuees’ train from Waterloo; and Sadie’s daughter Meggie, spirited, beautiful and sixteen, falls in love for the first time, setting off a chain of events even she could never have dreamed of.

Clicking on the book’s title will link you with its dedicated Goodreads page

JENNY OLDFIELD

Image Of Author Jennt OldfieldJenny was born, and still lives in Yorkshire, where, when she is not busy writing, she likes to spend as much time as possible following a wide range of outdoor pursuits, many of them with her two daughters.

She earned a degree in English, from Birmingham University, with further research on Children’s Literature and The Bronte Novels.

Jenny held a wide and diverse range of jobs, before turning to writing full time, and has written on a wide variety of subjects, from magazine stories and crime novels, to books for children and young adults.

Jenny also writes under several different pseudonyms, so if you love sport then look out for Donna King novels; if fashion, friends and love are your favourite reading, then you need to be looking out for Jasmine Oliver novels; and be sure to get hold of Kate Pennington if your choice is adventures in history. Every youngster will know of the amazing childrens’ series which Jenny publishes under her own name.

Something for everyone of all ages, from this prolific and versatile author.

Check out Jenny’s page listing at Fantasic Fiction for a comprehensive title list

Cover Image Of 'All Fall Down' By Jenny Oldfield

FIRST LINES’

Dark Days – September 1939

The wireless kept up its steady hum in the corner of the living room as Sadie sat in a shaft of sunlight on a perfect September morning. In her mind’s eye she could see the slick crooner huddled over the microphone, oozing syrupy words to his lady love ….. The wireless whined and whistled.

A thin voice came wavering over the air waves, deadly serious. Germany had considered the British request to withdraw from Poland, but the Prime Minister confirmed the worst. “I have to tell you that no such undertaking has been received and that consequently this country is at war with Germany.”….

Cover Image Of 'All Fall Down' By Jenny Oldfield

TEASER LINES

Later that evening, Walter tried to come to terms with the idea of evacuating the boys to safety.

The picture of their two boys, joining hundreds of thousands of other children in the exodus from London frightened them beyond words. Thousands of buses and trains crawling out of the capital to unknown destinations. Strange faces to greet them, strange bedrooms to sleep in. And what if they should never see them again?

She stopped by the window, looking out at an orange sky flecked with golden clouds and at the ominous, silent balloons. “Do you think they’ll actually do it?” Her voice trembled. “Actually drop those bombs on innocent kiddies?”

Cover Image Of 'All Fall Down' By Jenny Oldfield

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THE BOOK

‘A good, down to earth, wartime saga’

This is the final part, of a three book saga, centred around a community in the East End of London, as they share the warmth and hardship of life, this time as they struggle to survive the Blitz of The Second World War.

I must admit to not having realised that this book was part of a series when I began reading, but in my ignorance, found this story to work great as a stand-alone saga, with all the characters, relationships and circumstances, being highlighted and explained adequately, so that I didn’t feel as if I were missing a piece of the jigsaw; unlike so many other multi-part sagas, where the author tends to assume that the reader has read and studied all the various components of the saga  in their relevent chronological order.

The characters are portrayed with genuine compassion and emotion, in dealing with the troubled and chaotic situation that the wartime blitz has caused in all their lives, neighbour helping neighbour and families pulling together, putting their differences to one side in their fight with the common enemy.

At the same time, we are not allowed to forget that these people still have issues that ultimately will not simply disappear, both within their own lives and in conflict with each other. Many of these vagaries become highlighted as a result of the fluid situation in which people have to conduct their everyday lives, with issues being brought to the surface that may otherwise have remained dormant, only to be put onto the back burner for a more appropriate time of reckoning.

The abusive marriage that appeared normal to those around; the resulting illicit wartime affairs, that are viewed with much more tolerance, by a society where no-one is sure of their fate from one day to the next; a secret never divulged, kept by a grieving sweetheart and mother; a daughter searching for her birthright, forced by her sense of decency and justice, to help a miserable life, have a dignified end.

So many secrets, but the young will recover and move on, whilst the old will be more tolerant and hold their council….

I was also intrigued to find out, how the story, revolving around the London’s East End, would be dealt with by a born and bred Yorkshire author. I was looking for the same authenticity of character, quality of research and grasp of ‘London Life’, as would be portrayed by a London born and bred author. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised, even more so that the story was written in ‘The Queen’s English’, with no sign of the forced London speech dialects, that so often prove to be an annoyance. Many people would say that the speech dialects, add to the authenticity and atmosphere of the piece, but personally, I find them to be often badly executed and much better left alone as straightforward text.

Cover Image Of 'All Fall Down' By Jenny Oldfield

This paperback copy was a charity shop find and has been languishing on my book shelf for many years. I have written this review for my own records and enjoyment and have not been requested so to do by any author, publisher or social media site.

I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a well deserved 4 out of 5.

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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6 comments
  • A while since I’ve read a war tie saga, I’ll be sure to make a note of this one as whilst the cover does nothing for me – I know never judge a book by its cover – the synopsis and your review certainly make me think this is my kind of read.

    • Hi Tracy,

      I do try not to judge a book by its cover, although I agree that can sometimes be quite difficult, especially when it is a relatively old book, 1997 in this case.

      I am quite amazed when I see some of the modern cover designs and think of just how much things have moved on in the industry. Jenny is an author who never appears to have had many reprints of her original books, although her later books, many of which are for the children’s market, have adopted newer techniques, resulting in some amazing cover suites.

      Books such as ‘All Fall Down’, whilst they may not be replete with historical facts and data, do offer up a wealth of social history and commentary, from a time which is disappearing all too quickly from our modern timeline and educational curriculum.

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope that all is well with you 🙂

  • This does sound like a good story and I’m glad it worked as a stand-alone for you. Did you look to see how many years earlier books began?

    Like you, I don’t always like authors using “dialect” in their writing. I find myself trying to pronounce it all in my head correctly as I read, and it really slows me down! (and I’m not that fast to begin with)

    Good for you for clearing something old off your shelf!

    • Hi Kelly,

      In actual fact, the three books in this series were published in three consecutive years, although they span the life and times of the same London community from just before World War One, to just after World War Two
      ————

      ‘Paradise Court’ 1995 –

      https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3889902-paradise-court?ac=1&from_search=true

      “Life in Paradise Court, part of London’s East End, is hard but never dull. Set in the months before, during, and after the outbreak of World War I, this story is centered around the local pub and the Parsons family who run it. When Ernie is arrested for murder, the community tries to find the true killer.”
      ————
      ‘After Hours’ 1996

      https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2016524.After_Hours

      “This second novel set in London’s East End finds the residents of Paradise Court picking up the pieces of their lives after World War I. The residents join forces to reinstate Duke Parsons in his rightful place behind the bar of the Duke of Wellington.”
      ————

      I have so many books of this kind of age sat on my shelves, many of which have been passed down from my MIL over the course of the almost 40 years I have known her. At 86 she is just as avid a reader as I am, although this kind of historical fiction is definitely her preferred genre.

      After discussions with hubbie, it has been made clear that I need to cull boxes and boxes of books to make more space in the place, however parting with any book I haven’t read is against my ethos completely, so I am busy reading as fast as I can!

      I am so pleased that it isn’t just me who doesn’t particularly like authors writing in dialect, especially when it isn’t their own. Having to try and translate quickly in my head really can spoil the sponteneity and enjoyment somewhat.

      As usual, thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂

    • Hi Nikki,

      Oops! Now I feel really old!!

      I like to read a bit of everything really, it just depends on what catches my eye at the time I am ready to start a new book.

      Some of the books on my shelves (this one is a good example), have been sat there for several years and sometimes I just can’t bear to part with such a book, without reading it first!

      Not having too think to long and deep about the meaning behind a story line is also very therapeutic sometimes, especially when the pace is just right and the writing style flows freely and easily.

      I hope that you are well and thanks for stopping by when you get the chance 🙂

Written by Yvonne

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