A Fish Supper and a Chippy Smile
By Hilda Kemp, Cathryn Kemp
'Oi, Hilda, the sign outside says you're frying today but I ain't seeing nothing done in ere!' The voice cut through my daydream, startling me into remembering where I was: standing in the fish-and-chip shop I worked in. We opened for business at 5 p.m. and already there was a queue of hungry customers on the cobbled street of London's East End. In 1950s and 60s Bermondsey, the fish-and-chip shop was at the centre of the community. And at the heart of the chippy itself was 'Hooray' Hilda Kemp, a spirited matriarch who dispensed fish suppers and an abundance of sympathy to a now-vanished world of East Enders. For 'Hooray' Hilda knew all to well what it was like to feel real, aching hunger. Growing up in the slums of 1920s south-east London, the daughter of a violent alcoholic who drank away his wages rather than put food on the table, she could spot when a customer was in need and would sneak them an extra big portion of chips, on the house. As Hilda works in the chippy six days a week - cutting the potatoes and frying the fish, yesterday's rag becoming today's dinner plate - she hears all the gossip from the close-knit community. There are rumours that the gang wars are hotting up: the Richardsons and the Krays are playing out their fights across south-east London. And the industrial strike is carrying on for a painfully long time for the mothers with many mouths to feed. At home, Hilda's children are latchkey kids, letting themselves in from school and helping themselves to whatever is in the larder until she gets in from her long, hard day at work. Despite tragedy striking her family, Hilda never complained of the loss of her daughter at a tragically young age, nor the tough upbringing she narrowly escaped. With a cast of colourful characters - dirty ragamuffins, struggling housewives, rough-diamond gang members - 'Hooray' Hilda's story is one of grit, romance, nostalgia and British endurance. Told to her granddaughter Cathryn, this memoir is the uplifting sequel to 'WE AIN'T GOT NO DRINK, PA' and is a testament to a woman who lived life to the full, who enjoyed laughter and loved fiercely - even though her heart was broken many times over.
By Richard Coles
The memoir of popular BBC Radio 4 SATURDAY LIVE presenter, the Reverend Richard Coles.The Reverend Richard Coles is a parish priest in Northamptonshire and a regular host of BBC Radio 4's Saturday Live. He is also the only vicar in Britain to have had a number 1 hit single: the Communards' 'Don't Leave Me This Way' topped the charts for four weeks and was the biggest-selling single of its year. Fathomless Riches is his remarkable memoir in which he divulges with searing honesty and intimacy his pilgrimage from a rock-and-roll life of sex and drugs to a life devoted to God and Christianity.Music is where it began. Richard Coles was head chorister at school, and later discovered a love of saxophone together with the magic of Jimmy Somerville's voice. Against a backdrop of intense sexual and political awakening, the Communards were formed, and Richard Coles's life as a rock star began. Fathomless Riches - a phrase characteristic of St Paul and his followers - is a deeply personal and illuminating account of a transformation from hedonistic self-abandonment to 'the moment that changed everything'. Funny, warm, witty and wise, it is a memoir which has the power to shock as well as to console. It will be hailed as one of the most unusual and readable life stories of recent times.
Farewell To The East End
By Jennifer Worth
The hit BBC TV series CALL THE MIDWIFE is based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, chronicling her life as a midwife in London in the 1950s. FAREWELL TO THE EAST END is the third book in the trilogy.Following on from the bestselling CALL THE MIDWIFE and SHADOWS OF THE WORKHOUSE, Jennifer brings her story to a conclusion. Post-war life could be a struggle - the devastating effects of TB, dangerous backstreet abortions, people driven to extremes by poverty - but there was also warmth and humour. Like Megan'mave, the identical twins who share the same browbeaten husband; the eccentric Sister Monica Joan; and gauche debutante Chummy, who wants to be a missionary.FAREWELL TO THE EAST END shines a light on the lives, culture and stories of a bygone era, and is both moving and heartwarming in equal measure.
A Field Full of Butterflies
By Rosemary Penfold
Gypsy tales from the SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author...Rosemary Penfold was born in 1938 in a traditional Gypsy wagon, and grew up in the fields of the English countryside. In this beautiful and evocative memoir, she recounts her life within a loving extended family and small but close-knit community.From early memories of her father bringing home oranges during the war, to the simple beauty of a field full of butterflies on a hot summer's day, Rosemary's stunningly elegant narrative captures the love and losses, hopes and struggles, traditions and prejudices that bound her to her family and helped her adapt to a fast-changing world. Rosemary's story is a moving testament to a forgotten world and a rapidly disappearing way of life.
By Anne Chisholm
Frances Partridge: the last survivor of the Bloomsbury group - the authorised biography.Frances Partridge was one of the great British diarists of the 20th century. She became part of the Bloomsbury group encountering Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey, the Bells, Roger Fry, Maynard Keynes, Dora Carrington and Ralph Partridge. She and Ralph fell in love and married in 1933. During the Second World War they were committed pacifists and they enjoyed the happiest times of their lives together, entertaining friends such as E.M. Forster, Robert Kee and Duncan Grant.Despite losing both her husband and son, Frances maintained an astonishing appetite for life, whether for her friends, travelling, botany, or music. Her diaries (which she continued to write until her death in 2004) chronicle her life from the 1930s onwards. Their publication brought her recognition and acclaim, and earned her the right to be seen not as a minor character on the Bloomsbury stage but standing at the centre of her own.
The Further Adventures of a London Call Girl
By Belle de Jour
''She lists like Hornby. She talks dirty like Amis. She has the misanthropy of Larkin and examines the finer points of sexual technique as she is adjusting the torque on a beloved but temperamental old E-type...It's hard to believe that this clever and candid new voice has no more to say. Whoever the author is, she should give up the day job. Only then will we find out what the real Belle de Jour is made of.' IndependentThis follow-up to the hugely successful 'Intimate Adventures' will be just as bold, funny and brilliant. Peppered with agony-aunt letters and advice, and stories from her 'working' life, it's also the story of a young woman making her way in the world - told in Belle's inimitable voice.