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Cissy Farmer dreams of escaping her unrewarding job as a machinist and her limited lifestyle in the East End. Her ventures to London clubs with her best friend Daisy aren’t enough for her, and it’s her ambition to explore the world.

She soon meets Langley, a wealthy and carefree man who promises her a better life in Paris. Feeling trapped in her engagement to Eddie, Cissy decides to take Langley up on his offer and leave for Paris without saying goodbye to her friends and family.

The years pass by and heartbroken Eddie builds a successful business while Cissy has a life of luxury with Langley. However, she suddenly comes back down to earth when Langley cruelly casts her off when she becomes pregnant. Too proud to return to her family and own up to her mistakes, she sets up her own shop in London and feels more isolated than ever.

Maggie Ford’s An East End Girl is all about trusting your gut and making your dreams happen despite the risks and negative consequences. Cissy is a mediocre protagonist, but the story has numerous unpredictable twists and turns, highlighting many of the struggles families faced in the 1920s and 30s.

Though the story doesn’t offer much for readers not interested in historical family sagas, fans of wartime dramas will enjoy Maggie Ford’s storytelling and detailed depictions of life in England after World War 1.

★★

An East End Girl was published by Ebury Press on 12 January 2017

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