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.
The 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 buzz
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 read
Bloom 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
A vivid, cinematic and exciting debut
This is a superb debut from Jo Bloom. Brilliantly researched, informative, shocking and extremely moving I can't recommend this novel enough
An 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 absorbing
Well-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 again
The 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 much
The many twist and turns made for a real page-turner and I found the book difficult to put down.
A tale of love and morality set in the dark side of the Swinging Sixties
The 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 read
A stirring story of the darker side of the 60s
The 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 Group