LR#36: “Blood Ties” by Julie Shaw

***I received a free physical copy of this book from in exchange for an honest review**


“Blood Ties” by Julie Shaw

This is Julie Shaw’s fourth book detailing the lives of her family in Bradford. I thoroughly enjoyed the very first one, “Our Vinnie”, when I reviewed it back in November 2014 and I had high hopes for this instalment. I have not yet got around to books two and three but they are on my list.

Once again, the writing is fluid, easy going and honest, which makes for a gripping read; Shaw has a clearly defined style which pulls you into caring for her family and the lives they led. She is adept at capturing an essence of the timing and social background to her tales and the mentions of Bradfordian landmarks and the local area is incredibly evocative.

In this absorbing part of Shaw’s family history, we encounter 17 year old Kathleen and share a brief but monumental period in her young life. Kathleen leaps of the pages as a remarkable young woman; she is kind, generous, sympathetic and understanding, which is quite impressive given the harsh treatment she has received from her cruel and, quite possibly mentally deranged, step-mother over the preceding 10 years or so. Kathleen’s father appears as a stoic, yet impotent figure as he fails to stand up for his daughter against his wife.

Whilst this tale lacks the physical violence and brutal language that we saw in “Our Vinnie”, it is just as powerful in its depiction of the harsh treatment meted out to our heroine, Kathleen, from her awful, bigoted and, frankly, rather hateful step-mother Irene.

Just one slight gripe, I didn’t much care for the cover of this fourth book; the three earlier books, in my opinion, had much stronger and more appealing covers.

I enjoyed this tale very much and Julie Shaw, along with her wild, crazy, loving, generous, wonderfully madcap family, have become firm favourites of mine.


My Rating: 4.0* out of 5.0*

Author: Julie Shaw

Publication Date: February 2016

Published By: Harper Collins

Follow Julie Shaw on Twitter.

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