10 Novels by Helen Forrester
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Overview: Helen Forrester (real name June Bhatia) (born 1919, Hoylake, Cheshire (now in Merseyside)) was an English-born author famous for her books about her early childhood in Liverpool during the Great Depression as well as several works of fiction.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Liverpool Daisy (1979)
Only depression-shrouded Liverpool could spawn a big, tough, loving character like Daisy Gallagher. Passionate in her loves and hatreds, she is the nan of her poverty-stricken family and devoted friend of Nellie O’Brien, who is dying from lack of medical attention. She is always desperate for money. One dark night, she is cornered by three drunken sailors who find her buxom figure, wrapped in a black shawl, comfortably attractive. From fear, she yields herself to them and, laughing, they pay her, and she realise how she can earn a living. Fighting competition, weeping at her own suffering, laughing with her clients, she becomes the toast of the waterfront and earns enough money to buy medical attention for her friend. She manages to hide from occupation from her family, but when her stoker husband returns from sea she realises, terror-stricken, that the moment of truth has arrived.
Three Women of Liverpool (1984)
The extraordinary story of three brave women, each trying in her own way to deal with the ruthless tide of destruction brought on by the air raids of the Second World War. Ellen and her family had already been bombed out; they felt they were unlikely to suffer a second time. Gwen’s mind was filled with the details of keeping house for her burdensome family; she had no time to think about the war. Emmie had just become engaged to a merchant seaman and though only of the dangers of the Battle of the Atlantic. When the air raid siren sounded on 1st May, 1941, they had no idea what it presaged for them.
The Latchkey Kid (1985)
Mrs Olga Stych, daughter of an Ukrainian immigrant, has finally made it to the top of her social pyramid. But in doing so she has neglected her son and made many enemies. So when her moment of decline arrives, it is greeted with joy by her rivals.
Thursday’s Child (1985)
Helen Forrester’s moving story of an English girl and her love affair with an Indian man. Peggy Delaney was a Lancashire girl born and bred, beginning to live again after the heartache of the war. Ajit Singh was a charming young Indian student, shortly to return to his homeland and an arranged marriage. When Peggy and Ajit fell in love, each one knew the future would not be easy. But as they began their new life, far from their homes and their families, they found that love could bring two worlds together…
The Moneylenders of Shahpur (1987)
A classic tale from Helen Forrester set in the heart of India.
A heartwarming story of India, newly free – a moment when the old and new clashed.
Lovely Anasuyabehn had been brought up to obey her loving father in all things. But as soon as she set eyes on Tilak, the brilliant new professor at Shahpur University, she knew she could not marry Mahadev, the wealthy moneylender selected to be her husband. The trouble was that Tilak was not of her caste or religion, and shocked her community with his modern ideas.
Torn between passionate love and a deep religious belief, Anasuyabehn longed to follow her heart… what she did not know was how much both men wanted her…
The Lemon Tree (1989)
A compelling novel of Liverpool and Canada, from the bestselling author of Liverpool Daisy, Three Women of Liverpool and Thursday’s Child. For Helena Al-Khoury, life as an immigrant has been full of loneliness and despair. On the long road that has taken her from her family home in the Lebanon to the bustling port of Liverpool, the slums of Chicago, and finally to the Canadian wilderness, the struggle to overcome heartbreak, loss and cruel hardship has taken a heavy toll. Now, at last, with the constant support of Joe, her devoted lover, she has developed into a strong, independent woman. When unexpected circumstances take her back across the Atlantic to Liverpool, Helena is offered the chance to take over the family business, and to become a success in her own right. Yet with her love far away on another continent, she feels torn apart. Soon the tragedies of the past and the challenges of the future threaten to overwhelm her…
The Liverpool Basque (1993)
Another moving and heart-warming tale set in Merseyside from the author of Twopence to Cross the Mersey. In the early years of this century, many Basques left their homeland in the Pyrenees, between France and Spain, to seek a better life in the New World. Most passed through the great port of Liverpool on their way. The family of little Manuel Echaniz stayed. The Liverpool Basque is the story of Manuel’s childhood and coming of age in the teeming streets of the Mersey docklands. It is a story of poverty, comradeship, hardship and generosity. Brought up by women while the men are at sea, Manuel grows up with a fierce pride in his heritage and a powerful will to survive in an era of deprivation and unemployment. Against all odds, he gets himself an education of sorts and sets off on the long voyage of his life.
Mourning Doves (1996)
From Liverpool’s best-loved author comes a superb novel of loss and grief, love and hope, set on Merseyside in 1920. When her husband dies suddenly, Louise Gilmore and her daughters Edna and Celia are left with nothing but debts. Forced to move from their fine Liverpool house with servants to a run-down cottage in Hoylake, the three women must learn to make their way in an entirely new world. Although they live with fear, uncertainty and even despair, the women find there are also unexpected opportunities in store. This is a heartwarming story of family relationships and a powerful portrait of a nation changed forever by the Great War.
Madame Barbara (1999)
A wonderful new novel from Liverpool’s best-loved author. A tale of loss and love set in post-Second World War England and France. This is the story of a young Liverpool woman widowed in the Second World War before she can know the happiness of having a family. With the blessing of her mother, with whom she runs a B&B, she goes to Normandy to see where her husband was killed in the D-Day landings. Once she is there, she meets an impoverished French poultry farmer, now reduced to driving a beaten up (and still rare) taxi and looking after his old mother and dying brother. Will these two find happiness together? A touching love story, a compelling portrayal of the aftermath of war and above all a testament to the courage and endurance of oridinary people, Madame Barbara will delight Helen Forrester’s countless fans.
A Cuppa Tea and an Aspirin (2003)
A powerful new novel, heart-breaking but ultimately uplifting, from the author of the classic Twopence to Cross The Mersey. Life in a Liverpool tenement block during the Great Depression is a grim struggle for Martha Connelly and her poverty-stricken family, as every day renews the threat of homelessness, hunger and disease. Family warmth remains constant however, despite the misery and disquiet of the slum surroundings, and the indomitible neighbourhood puts up a relentless fight for survival. Helen Forrester’s poignant novel relays bleakness and hardships, but celebrates also the spirit of unified hope and the restorative values of the close-knit community.