Bicycles and Blackberries by Sheila Newberry

Challenge 47 ~ “A book with a food or a drink in the title.”


★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

One of the flaws in the English education system lies in its history curriculum. A large proportion of the years in secondary school are focused on the Great War and the Second World War (which are, no shadow of a doubt, important periods of our history), and yet during this time there is no significant consideration of how the wars played out in Great Britain, or its impacts on everyday life of non-military residents. In Bicycles and Blackberries, Newberry spreads a well-researched light on this, addressing both urban and rural and covering a variety of different perspectives.

Not only is the novel well-researched, but Newberry presents the story in an engaging and well-written manner. Centring the story on a specific character (Georgia), the novel is able to flow seamlessly from one setting to the next, whilst simultaneously covering a variety of environments. Despite all characters being associates of Georgia, Newberry ensures each is realistic and relatable, as well as developing each with their own inter-related and complex storylines. These plotlines complement one another harmoniously and are balanced throughout the novel

As well as addressing a variety of settings in everyday wartime England, Newberry encompasses a decade in the novel, allowing for characters development and a more comprehensive understanding of the war’s impact on individuals. On the whole, this is managed appropriately with suitable pacing, although at the beginning of ‘part 2’ it became disjointed with a rapid switching between characters, location and time period. Once Georgia settled back into London, however, the pacing stabilised once again.

Overall, a truly enjoyable and educational read that is well-written and engaging. The variety of characters and settings provides a comprehensive insight into wartime and postwar England, placing the novel ahead of many of its cotemporaries, whilst the writing style places the novel in a strong standing. Easily a soft summer read, or a quaint novel to curl up with by the fire.


Recommended for fans of:

  • The Unforgotten by Laura Powell
  • Buffalo Soldier by Tanya Landman
  • Atonement by Ian McEwan


N.B.: This ebook was received from Netgallery in return for a reflective and honest review.


2 thoughts on “Bicycles and Blackberries by Sheila Newberry

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