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Summary

Selected for the new BBC Two TV book club, Between the Covers, airing October 2020 

Longlisted for the HWA Debut Crown Award Indie Book of the Month for March, selected by the Booksellers Association One of OBSERVER’S 10 best debut novelists of 2020 Woman & Home

Best of 2020 EVENING STANDARD

Best books of 2020 Mail on Sunday 

2020 Highlights I Best of 2020

The drinks are flowing.The music is playing. But the party can’t last. 

With the Blitz over and London reeling from war, jazz musician Lawrie Matthews has answered England’s call for help. Fresh off the Empire Windrush, he’s taken a tiny room in south London lodgings and has fallen in love with the girl next door. Touring Soho’s music halls by night, pacing the streets as a postman by day, Lawrie has poured his heart into his new home – and it’s alive with possibility. Until, one morning, he makes a terrible discovery. As the local community rallies, fingers of blame are pointed at those who had recently been welcomed with open arms. And, before long, the newest arrivals become the prime suspects in a tragedy which threatens to tear the city apart. Atmospheric, poignant and compelling, Louise Hare’s debut shows that new arrivals have always been the prime suspects. But, also, that there is always hope.

©2019 Louise Hare (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"I loved, loved, loved it, and desperately wanted things to work out for Lawrie and Evie." (Cathy Rentzenbrink, Sunday Times best-selling author of The Last Act of Love)

"A tale to wring the heart and make the blood boil, swirling with post-war gloom, illuminated by the shining lights of Lawrie and Evie." (Saga)

"This atmospheric novel is a triumphant debut." (Woman & Home)

What listeners say about This Lovely City

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A MUST listen!

This Lovely City is a love story set in London in between 1848 and 1950 in the aftermath of the war and the arrival of HMS Windrush. It is beautifully written and performed. It is comparable to Small Island for its poignant description of the Windrush generation, invited to help rebuild the Mother Country after the war, who, instead of receiving gratitude and a warm welcome, faced racism and discrimination at every turn. The characters are all subtle and multi-faceted and it is impossible not to fall for the main protagonists, Evie and Lawrie. It is a wonderful listen, leaving me wishing to start all over again!

4 people found this helpful

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As the title suggests: Lovely... but with a twist

I didn't see the full ending coming of this story but it made for a pretty clever and subtle twist. Every time I read something about racism, I am deeply angry and upset. The characters in this story are well meaning people that have happened to go through some really horrendous things just because of the colour of their skin. It saddens me that in 2020 this is not completely behind us. The audiobook is worth your time and I really enjoyed the voice actors work and their interpretation.

2 people found this helpful

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I truly wish times would change

I listened to this book at the time of the George Floyd murder. Those who want to educate themselves need to know how ingrained Racism is.

A great book. Made me remember my parents ‘welcome’ to theUK.

2 people found this helpful

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Great story

I really enjoyed listening to this book. Both the narrators have good clear voices and were able to provide convincing accents. Its a bitter sweet tale with several doses of harsh reality examining life in London as it must have been for the new arrivals from the Caribbean in the post war years. A really human story of love, death and motherhood told with compassion but without any sickly sweet romance. Really entertaining and intriguing.

2 people found this helpful

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Highly recommend

Loved it, couldn't stop listening. A beautifully narrated tale which kept me hooked. I'll certainly be on the lookout for more from this author.

1 person found this helpful

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A Windruah story bought to life

I immediately became immediately immersed in this book, the characters flesh before my eyes.
I was taken on a journey of love, heartbreak, mystery and the raw emotion of being despised by many in post war Britain due to the colour of your skin.
I listened to the audio version of this and Theo Solomon and Karise Yansen really do justice to the amazing novel written by Louise Hare.
I shall certainly be recommending this book to friends and potentially giving it out as Christmas gifts.

1 person found this helpful

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Unexpectedly fabulous!

I listened to this book after seeing the review on Between the Sheets, I probably wouldn’t have read this had I not seen the programme, not only a moving story but a history lesson too, very thought provoking. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will look out for Louise’s next book.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Compelling story line.

The story line was such that I was determined not to stop listening. I was disappointed however, I am sorry to say, with the narration by Karise Yansen. I just do nd it rather bland.

1 person found this helpful

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Brave and captivating story

i really enjoyed this, although not always an easy listen- It made me reflect on my white privilege and the horrific racism that affected so many coming to the UK, having been promised so much.
The story was well-read and the twists and turns of the plot kept me captivated. a slightly unsatisfactory ending, but nevertheless, a good listen.

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Thought-provoking story

The challenges faced by the characters were so well-described that I was drawn into the story and desperately wanted a happy ending; however I wasn't keen on the female narrator so that detected from the overall enjoyment for me.