Review Blog

Dec 08 2017

Miss Lily's Lovely Ladies by Jackie French

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HarperCollins, 2017. ISBN 9781460753583
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. A tale of espionage, love and passionate heroism. Inspired by true events, this is the story of how society's 'lovely ladies' won a war.
Young Sophie Higgs has grown up a privileged girl being the only child of the wealthiest man in NSW, Jeremiah Higgs the king of canned corned beef. But in the rigid society of Sydney, as in England, 'trade' is scorned and so despite her wealth, intelligence and beauty it would seem Sophie will always be second-class by the established standards. Until that is, in order to deflect Sophie from an unsuitable love affair, she is sent to England to the home of her father's old army friend Earl of Shillings to be coached by his cousin Miss Lily and eventually be presented at court.
In England Sophie's world is wonderfully and gloriously opened wide as she becomes the prized 'pupil' of the enigmatic Miss Lily and makes new friends, is sought after by new lovers and particularly held in esteem for her wit, courage and compassion. But the glittering world of the debutante is quickly extinguished by the outbreak of war and it is here that Sophie demonstrates her real abilities and character.
As with all of Jackie's historical novels a completely captivating and richly detailed narrative is interwoven with actual historical fact to create a mesmerising offering. I was hooked from the very first page and would have been extremely sorry to reach the end except for the fact that I had the next volume with which to continue. How fortunate are we to have such an exceptional writer to claim as our own? The breadth of her talents seems endless.
Highly recommended for readers of around mid-teens upwards. Find teaching notes here.
Sue Warren

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