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ShaunOK 'Book Addict'

Avid reader reading a mixture of crime fiction, chick lit, young adult, autobiographies and true crime. Looking to follow readers who actively read and review books I enjoy to read.

My Sweet Valentine - Annie Groves I was tempted to knock a star of for this book because of the amount of mistakes contained within. I don't mind a few mistakes in books but it just became irritating here. Also family saga authors love the word rueful and it was used in abound here. Slightly irritating. But the characters and story more than made up for it and for me this was another enjoyable read from Annie Groves, who sadly passed away in 2011. Wikipedia says Annie Groves was her mother's maiden name, I knew it wasn't her real name but I didn't know where the name came from. It's always sad to lose such a fantastic author, especially when such a fantastic series of books had begun with these Article Row novels.

Annie's books are usually set in Liverpool. The Campion family series was fantastic. I am yet to read her other work however I have read the previous books in the Article Row series and loved them too. The characters are a good mix. Olive took in Dulcie, Sally and Agnes as lodgers to share her home with herself and her daughter Tilly in the first book.

I found Tilly to be a bit of an annoying character the way she simpers after Drew all the way through this book and how her whole life is centred around him. Olive was annoying regarding this as well in her flat out refusal to let them get engaged or have any sort of sexual relationship. Perhaps because this is 2013 and the book is set in wartime it just seems odd to modern readers, but the fact that Olive is only early 30s was shocking as she is written like she's an older woman. So perhaps this is just because of the time it was set but was an awful way to live a life, being denied love or sex because it feels wrong or immoral. Drew has got the patience of a Saint it has to be said.

Sally and George are okay characters and Sally did redeem herself towards the end of the book in my eyes. I like her because she's the Liverpool connection and I enjoyed reading about her returning to my home town in one of the earlier Row books. Agnes didn't really feature much in this book and is really just an extra character. I can't even remember what she did in previous books.

This book got its five star rating from me however because of the fantastic Dulcie. I haven't enjoyed reading about a character this much in a while. She is such an amazing character and one that I wish I knew in real life. People might dislike her selfish, all about me ways but to me she is the best character out of all the Article Row girls. Underneath the selfishness and selfcentredness is a young girl trying to make a better life for herself and there are moments where you realise she can be a nice, loving person.

Overall this was a really enjoyable book and I notice a follow up is out soon. It was due out last year and I wonder whether it was started by Annie and finished by a ghostwriter or if she finished it before she passed away. I love a good family saga and this was excellent. As a child I loved reading anything to do with the war and I always used to write about evacuation for my stories in junior school. It's nice to read about Londoners pulling together during wartime and not letting Hitler ruin the spirit of the city. I just wonder what it would be like today, with the riots of 2011 it seems unlikely that the spirit of people in WW1 and WW2 would be emulated in the present day. Unfortunately I doubt it would.