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London Road: Linked Stories

London Road Series, Book 1
Narrated by: Verity Burns
Length: 1 hr and 21 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

Gold Medal Winner 2012 eLit Awards

Kirkus Recommended Review: "In seven short stories, residents of a London boardinghouse reach moments of clarity. On London Road, lined with scruffy shops, stands No. 17, a detached red-brick Victorian that's been turned into a boardinghouse. Its residents tend toward hard luck and desperation: Janice is just out of prison; Mandy is on probation; Bitty has a good education, but is scarred by her mother's frequent abandonments; and Isobel is mentally unstable. Nora, the landlady, writes romance novels but has experienced little romance herself, and her daughter, Anna, is disgusted by Isobel's outbursts.

Their interconnected stories take place on a day of unusually hot weather, and focus on one resident at a time, with Janice's story told in two parts. In each, characters have a chance to make a leap of faith in other people, or in the future....

Though spare and fast-paced, McGovern's (Cocktails for Book Lovers, 2014, etc.) tales evoke entire biographies. She focuses on illuminative details and subtle, turning-point moments, as when Mandy, a young woman on probation, reacts to her mandatory book group's reading of Katherine Mansfield's 1922 short story "The Garden Party." It stokes her resentment, as she doesn't even know if people still give garden parties. Mandy makes plans to shoplift again, but something about the book group leader's hopefulness and the invitation to give her honest opinion sparks her determination to win - maybe a literary argument, or maybe more chocolate wafers. Tales with subtle, positive but never saccharine, transformations that feel fully earned."

"...reminiscent of the writer who appears in one of the stories: the great Katherine Mansfield." - Cynthia Rogerson, winner, V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize for a Short Story, UK

"I felt as if I personally knew each character, from Janice to Nora to Isobel to Bitty, and even Len down at the pub, and I cared about them all." - Nina Sankovitch, Readallday.org

©2011 Tessa Smith McGovern (P)2017 Tessa Smith McGovern

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