I read and reviewed Laura Wilkinson’s first book, ‘BloodMining’ a while back and so was delighted when she asked me if I would like to review her second novel ‘Public Battles, Private Wars’ which was published by Accent Press on the 9th March 2014. Set in Yorkshire, Fenley Down in the 1980’s, ‘Public Battles, Private Wars’ tells the story of the miners’ strike.
Mandy is 23 years old, married to Rob who works in the mines, and has children. Mandy feels as if she is stuck in a rut and wants to do more. However, a life as a housewife and bringing up the children seems inevitable. Mandy’s childhood friend, Ruth, who left Fenley years ago, returns with her Falkland’s war hero husband, Dan. But something just doesn’t add up and Ruth isn’t the person she appears to be.
Conflict with the Coal Board turns to war and the men go out on strike. The community and its whole way of life is badly threatened and Mandy finds herself joining the Fenley Action Group (FAG) which gives her a whole lot of confidence. As the strike goes on relationships are tested and Mandy discovers just who her true friends are.
The first thing I want to say is that this book is so different from Laura Wilkinson’s first novel. I really enjoyed it and I liked her writing style. I could actually hear the Yorkshire accent. Whilst this story was about the miners’ strike it also took a good look at the people affected by it and their families, bringing with it a couple of interesting plots.
Mandy was one of my favourite characters. She was of strong character no matter what life threw at her and a woman to be admired. The cakes she baked and the descriptions throughout the book are enough to make anyone’s mouth water.
I give this book 5 out of 5.