A dark love story set in the Swinging Sixties
SUMMER, 1962. Twenty-year-old Vivien Epstein, a Jewish hairdresser from Manchester, arrives in London following the death of her father. She has travelled to the city to make a new start, and quickly finds herself swept up in a city buzzing with life. Landing a job at Oscar's salon, she thrives amid the vibrant cafÃ© culture of Soho and the warm camaraderie of the other hairdressers.
But beneath the surface, Vivien is desperate to find Jack Fox, a man she had a brief but intense romance with some months before. Her search leads to confront the dark resurgence of fascism, countered by the Jewish community in street battles around Ridley Road in the East End of London. Amid the growing tensions, can her love survive?
'A tale of love and morality set in the dark side of the Swinging Sixties' The Lady
'Convincingly evocative of an exciting era' Daily Mail
Bloom has uncovered an episode in London's history that deserves to be better known, and her research has thrown up some appalling events...the subject matter alone makes for a thought-provoking readA vivid, cinematic and exciting debutWell-researched, convincingly evocative of an exciting era and covers events of which most people will have little awareness. It's also a timely warning against the dangers of the insidious rhetoric against people of a different race or nationality, which is rearing its ugly head againA stirring story of the darker side of the 60sThe 62 Group were a real organisation, as were the two fascist groups mentioned in the novel. It's a little-known aspect of Britain's history and it brings a great deal of drama to Bloom's story, as well as social interest. These are unpleasant and shocking politics to explore, but they are handled well. At the lighter end of the social history scale, Ridley Road
also conjures a great picture of Soho's early-Sixties jazz-and-caffeine buzzThe tumultuous 1960s is the setting for Jo Bloom's insightful novel Ridley Road
- an exploration into an important, interesting and crucial narrative in British history, the Jewish community and fascism that hasn't yet received due attention in fiction... Readers too are likely to have their eyes opened by this fascinating novel, which although fictitious, obviously takes inspiration from real contexts and situations. While the love story draws readers into the novel, it is the growing tension and drama of the political and social contexts that make this a really gripping readThis is a superb debut from Jo Bloom. Brilliantly researched, informative, shocking and extremely moving I can't recommend this novel enoughThe contrast between the innocence of Vivien and the hatred and evil of the fascists, combined with the strength of feeling and bravery of those who fought against it is startling and makes for compelling, and enlightening reading. Ridley Road contains an important story, very well told by an excellent author who writes so well. Her characters are rounded and well developed, the sense of place and era are very real and the plot is full of surprising and shocking twists and turns. A great novel, I enjoyed this one very muchAn exploration of a fascinating slice of British history all wrapped up in a thriller and a love story. Bloom handles the tensions within her story well but what lifts her book above the crowd is its context. Her novel grew out of a lift given to an elderly man she'd met at a funeral she'd attended. Listening to her father and Monty talking about their memories of the 62 Group, she became fascinated by what they were saying, researching it for several years before writing Ridley Road
. It's a tribute to Bloom's lightness of touch that her story is so absorbingBloom captures the vibrant '60s London scene brilliantly: the music, the clubs and the fashions... Bloom blends the facts with the fiction to create a fast-paced story which is part-romance and part-thriller Ridley Road
is a really interesting and thought-provoking read. It is a work of fiction but it is inspired by true events - fascists really did try to make a comeback less than 20 years after the end of the Second World War. If you like books set in the sixties, this is definitely worth a look; there are a lot of novels set in London in this period, but Ridley Road
felt like a story I hadn't come across before. I'll be looking out to see what Jo Bloom writes about next.A tale of love and morality set in the dark side of the Swinging SixtiesThe novel presents a vivid portrait of London in 1962 ... this heartening picture of ordinary, bustling life acts as a foil to the dark seam of the National Social Movement's fascist activity, whose horrors are increasingly exposed throughout the novel ... a compelling, worthwhile read, as well as a fitting homage to the bravery of the 62 GroupThe many twist and turns made for a real page-turner and I found the book difficult to put down.A beautifully written love story set in 1960s Soho amid the revival of fascism. Includes reading-group notes.
Jo Bloom has worked as a freelancer in the communications field for the past fifteen years with a focus on arts publicity and e-learning. She also contributed to the book review section of Time Out, London for a few years. Prior to this she lived and worked in Prague and New York. She was inspired to write Ridley Road when she met a Jewish anti-fascist who'd lived in the East End all his life and participated in numerous street battles with the fascists alongside both the 43 Group and the 62 Group. She lives in Brighton with her husband and young son. Follow her on Twitter @missiejobloom or visit her website www.jobloom.com
A lovely commercial read, perfect for fans of CALL THE MIDWIFE and the 'nostalgia' genre.RIDLEY ROAD is a great reading-group choice, and the paperback will include reading-group notes.Based on real people and events, this is a book full of vivid detail about London in the sixties, which draws many parallels with life today.The paperback cover is being tweaked in order to make it appeal more to the women's fiction market.
When her beloved father dies, Vivien Epstein - a 22 year old hairdresser from Manchester - leaves her hometown for London in the hope of finding Jack Fox - a man she had a brief, but intense, love affair with some months ago.
All Vivien has to go is one letter Jack sent to her father, the address of a boarding house scribbled hastily on the back, and very soon her hopes of finding him are dashed. Resigned to this fact, she settles into London life, working in Oscar's - a hairdressing salon in Soho - and spending her nights at home with her motherly landlady. But still, she pines for Jack.
That is, until she becomes involved in the resurgence of anti-facism through the owner of Oscar's, Barb, and her husband Alan. When Alan takes her to a rally in Trafalgar Square and amidst the crowds Vivien finally spots Jack. At long last they lock eyes. And here their story begins again.