‘In wartime it takes courage to follow your heart’
– A Christmas Wedding
[ About the Book ]
Dot Hanson has never forgotten the thrill of seeing the beautiful Christmas displays at Liberty’s department store as a young girl.
Never in her wildest dreams did she think she would one day work there, or that she would fall in love with the store’s manager, her childhood sweetheart Edwin Button.
But in spite of the life Dot has built for herself, and the tight-knit community around her, she lives in the shadow of a terrible secret. And as the bombs continue to fall across Britain there is more heartache still to come.
All Dot wants is a family of her own with the man she loves by her side.
Will her dreams come true in time for Christmas?
[ My Review ]
A Christmas Wedding by Fiona Ford is the fourth and final novel in The Liberty Girls series and is published today November 12th with Arrow Publishing. I am absolutely delighted to be sharing my review with you all on publication day for this book that is described as ‘a heart-warming tale of FAMILY SECRETS, ROMANCE AND WINTER WEDDING BELLS, set around the iconic Carnaby Street department store at the height of the Blitz in London.‘
I don’t normally gravitate to the saga series genre but something about Fiona Ford’s writing and her ability to create such wonderful and inspiring characters drew me right in. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a home surrounded with fabric and buttons that connects me with Fiona’s work. As I pick up each book I automatically feel a warmth for these amazing women who ran the fabric department of Liberty’s Department Store in London during the Second World War.
It was while visiting Liberty’s that Fiona Ford discovered a plaque dedicated to the men and women of the store, those brave souls who lost their lives during WWII. ‘Intrigued by their potential stories, Fiona secured rare access to Liberty’s records and archives which served as inspiration for this exciting new saga series.‘
With A Christmas Wedding we return to Liberty’s, but this time the story focuses on Dot Hanson, the matriarch of the series. Dot is a character that has grown as the series expanded. We watched as her relationship with her old love Edwin Button was reignited. Theirs was a special relationship. Having parted as childhood sweethearts, they crossed paths again inside the doors of Liberty’s. Their love for each other is clearly evident, and with both now widowed, marriage is inevitable. But Dot is harbouring a secret, one that casts a constant shadow on her life.
As the war progresses and Britain is suffering the horrors of air raid sirens and bombings, Liberty’s staff are determined to keep spirits raised. But as rations are imposed and their stocks are limited Dot and her team are struggling to keep sales up, while also inspiring creativity among their customer base. With Flo Canning having left the team to join ENSA, Dot is promoted to Fabrics Manager but is very unsure of her ability to fulfill this role. Dot’s earlier years have left a mark on her confidence and although never short of a sharp word when needed, she has never felt her skills stretched to a managerial level. With the support of her wonderful and extremely supportive team, Dot tentatively takes on the challenge. Dot is a collector of waifs and strays and as she reaches out to assist a new employee, Dot is struggling. Exhausted from juggling too many balls, her past slowly creeps up on her, leaving Dot very exposed to a broken heart and a sadness that she cannot shift.
Fiona does return to many of her characters from the earlier books, continuing their stories. It was lovely to read more about Mary and how her life has changed beyond recognition from when we first met her in Book 1. Mary, like all the Liberty girls, has had to overcome many obstacles in her life yet, even though her beginnings were very different, the Liberty girls embraced her as their own and were always there for Mary and for each other.
Fiona Ford writes with a very empathetic hand. Her characters all have fascinating stories that are expertly interwoven and developed throughout this series. Fiona provides sufficient backstories in each book, which means a reader can pick up any one of them but, to truly immerse yourself in the lives of these wonderful people, I do recommend you start with the first book, Christmas at Liberty’s (see my review links to the three previous books below)
A Christmas Wedding is, as the name suggests, a story about love, relationships and of course marriage. Fiona Ford transports the reader back in time to an era of severe shortages, fear and death, an era of community, unending support, love and laughter. Immersed in their world, the reader can almost feel the pain, experience the joys and imagine many of the emotions as the pages are turned.
A Christmas Wedding by Fiona Ford is another heartwarming, compassionate, inspirational and compelling read about these amazing women (and men) who rallied around and kept the spirits high as the world was collapsing around them. This really is gorgeous historical fiction that will leave you glowing inside. Plenty of tears, laughter and attitude combine to create a richly described story, placing those Liberty girls right into the heart of every reader. The perfect read for these dark Winter days.
Engaging. Comforting. Joyful.
[ Bio ]
Fiona Ford spent many years as a journalist writing for women’s weekly and monthly magazines before becoming a full time author. Fiona tirelessly combed the Westminster Archives and Liberty records for details about what life was really like working in London and Liberty during WWII, lending a true sense of authenticity to her writing.
Fiona is also the author of the A Pug Like Percy books under the pseudonym, Fiona Harrison, as well as two sagas in her own name in the Spark Girls series.
Fiona lives in Berkshire with her partner.
Website ~ www.fionaford.co.uk
Twitter ~ @Fionajourno