When My Ship Comes In by Sue Wilsher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Keep the family together, that's what her old mum always said. Put up and shut up. And that's what everyone else did around there.
Essex, 1959. Flo earns her money as a scrubber, cleaning the cruise ships and dreaming of a day when she might sail away from her life in the Dwellings, the squalid tenements of Tilbury docks. Then the Blundell family are evicted from their home.
Fred, Flo's husband, finds work at Monday's, a utopian factory town. Suddenly, it seems like everything is on the up for Flo Blundell and her children. Even Jeanie, Flo's sulking teenage daughter, seems to be thawing a little in her shiny new surroundings.
But when Flo's abusive husband Fred starts drinking again, he jeopardises the family's chance to escape poverty for good.
Flo is faced with a terrible decision. Must she fight to keep her family together? Or could she strive for the life of her dreams - the kind of life she could have when her ship comes in?
Set in 1959 in London Tilbury Docks this is a novel about Flo Blundell and her family and her dreams of a better life for them all. Her husband Fred is a drinker and when they are evicted from their home he finds work at Monday's a factory town. They then seem to be on the 'up' and life is getting better for them, trouble is not far away when Fred starts drinking again and becoming abusive and his behaviour threatens all they have gained. Woman in the 50's had a hard life, they married forever and found it difficult to break away from abusive husbands or to be able to make a life without a man. Flo has a choice to stay and try to keep her family together at the expense of her own happiness or to follow her dreams. Flo has the perfect chance to escape, she is a cleaner on cruise ships bound for Australia and it's not long before she dreams of escaping on one of them to start her life overseas. Inevitably she has to make a choice for herself and her children and she does what she has to do.
Good characterisation, very atmospheric and also portrayed well what life was like at the end of the war for women and also for the men who were lucky to come home alive but were scarred by war. A good 4 star read.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.