Lucky Bunny
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Lucky Bunny

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  148 ratings  ·  42 reviews
'Crime's a man's business. So they say. Who was that small figure then, slender enough to trot along the moonlit track, swift and low, virtually invisible? Who was it that covered the green signal with a glove to stop the train, while the two others took care of the driver and his mate? Could it have been one Queenie Dove, survivor of the Depression and the Blitz, not to m...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 4th 2011 by Sceptre (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 846)
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Outside of cover love, Im splitting hairs trying to muster up a review on a book I had a really hard time getting through. The concept, story-line and setting were great and I was looking forward to a nail cruncher considering that the novel had to do with petty criminals, man-beaters, generational crime women...I mean that just sounds awesome.

Unfortunately awesome flew out the window when at 115 pages later the book still wasn't moving. I found the pacing monstrously long and the story never e...more
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
I loved this book, which is surprising because it has a current of domestic abuse which I really can't take because I'm such a weenie, but, ohemgee, I adored our anti-heroine/narrator, Queenie Dove.

Literally, from the first line, I was in love. Dawson's writing style -- casual, sharp, very Queenie -- is in present tense first person, but it so works for this story. Clever Queenie is cocky, arrogant, sure of herself -- and with good reason -- and the writing style has as much personality as Quee...more
I loved "Lucky Bunny". A light read-I don't mean superficial but it is a pleasure to read this book-and I want to read al of Jill Dawson's books now. Made me miss my subway stop and I ended up at 96th Street. About a poor kid who grows up in London during the Blitz. Don't want to give anything away. I want to read her book "The Great Lover" about the poet Rupert Brooke so very well known for:"If I should die, think only this of me: That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is forever Engla...more
We're publishing this book in fall (with a different/better cover), and I loved it. It reminded me of Kate Atkinson's early, non-crime books. It's the story of a girl growing up rough in London in the 40s and 50s who ends up in a life of crime, and it's awesome.
Alexis Villery
Lucky Bunny is a such a difficult book to review because it is quite different. It doesn't seem right to summarize the plot when this book isn't about the plot. It is more of an experience. In Lucky Bunny we experience Queenie, a feisty girl who knows nothing but a life of crime. Her loved ones have been taken away from her one by one. Some return and others remain ghosts that haunt and shape her choices as she grows older. Queenie makes friends and falls in love but live isn't easy for her. The...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
I went into this novel with such high hopes. Audra of Unabridged Chick loved it, and I typically find that I agree with her on books. Unfortunately, my experience of this one was quite different, partly, I think, because of my prior reading history and because of the way the book was billed. For me, this book was slow and torturous, the characters utterly loathsome.

Your enjoyment of this book will likely hinge on how you feel about Queenie Dove. If you find her clever, cool and alluring, then ev...more
Tess Giles Marshall
I struggled a little to get going with this book but for me it really took off about a third of the way through and by the end I found it really interesting and exciting.
It was historically interesting with its descriptions of the Blitz in London in WWII, and the Bethnal Green disaster when nearly 200 Londoners were crushed to death - I'd never heard about that. (If anyone's interested, there's a memorial fund here:
And the late '50s early '60s West End...more
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Lucky Bunny. The main character, Queenie, tells the story in an autobiographical style and I found her totally believable. I love the way the reader is allowed to make their own mind up about Queenie’s morals and motives, within the boundaries of her self-confessed tendency to be an unreliable commentator and to have embellished and skewed her own story. The only aspect of Queenie that did not come over strongly enough was her intelligence. A seemingly photographic m...more
I have mixed feelings about Lucky Bunny. The concept is great and the book cover is beautiful (yes, I like good book cover), but I can't say that I enjoyed this as a read. Maybe I'm shallow, but the pacing of this was just too slow for my current need. You know how that is, right? Sometimes only a fast-paced novel will do.

Lucky Bunny tells the story of Queenie Dove, a woman who turns to crime for her survival in post-WWII London. I wish I'd liked Queenie more, although from a writing perspective...more
An evocative novel, set in the wartime East End and the Soho underworld of the 50s. It's an enchanting confection, but you're always aware of the writer at work, and the sheer volume of detail slows the pace. And engaging as Queenie's tale may be, it doesn't really have the dramatic clout of some of the real-life events alluded to here. Nonetheless, it's refreshing to get a woman's perspective on the male-dominated gangland culture.
I didn't know what to expect with this book - a reading group choice. It tells a rather sad story of a very bright girl born into a difficult, violent and very poor family just before the second world war. She has courage, humour and verve which she uses largely outside the law. Sometimes she is successful but she also serves time in approved school and prison. A number of women in her life give her support and encouragement but the men around her are violent, and once she has a daughter of her...more
Ian Mapp
Excellent - a new favourite author.

This is a rather special thriller. Moves at a lightening pace, taking us all the way from Queenie Dove's birth in 1930's East End London, through the war and her ever increasing involvement in crime.

The characterisation is simply superb, I loved Queenie and her extended family and friends. The places and real world events add an air of authenticity to the story.

But it really Queenie that makes the book stands out. She has such a lust for life, sense of family...more
****Recieved from Goodreads giveaways****

I want to first say that I think that there are a lot of people out there that are going to really enjoy this book.

I unfortunatly wasn't one of them. I didn't really care for the way it was written. It was written more in a memoir style and I think if it had been in the style of 1st or 3rd person as it was happening I would have really enjoyed the book. Because of this I just didn't really connect with the characters and it leaves the book lacking in any...more
Tracie Cowell
Queenie Dove lives. It literally feels like she's sitting beside you, tapping you on the shoulder and saying "Do you remember when?" There's so much joie de vivre in her as a character, and yet, at the same time so much anguish and heartbreak. I've never read such a character who feels so alive. How could I not fall in love with her?
I won Lucky Bunny from a Goodreads giveaway. (My first win!) And, I am very happy to say that I loved every second of it! This is the kind of book that captures you early on, and doesn't let go. I loved watching Queenie grow and learn the tricks of her trade. She is very much an anti-hero, but I've always loved a good, complex character. It's still very easy to sympathize with her when you see what life throws her way. But, despite all of the bad things, she never loses her charm or optimism. I...more
This is a very readable book with a strong narrative voice. It's written in first person present historic, which was occasionally annoying and I was aware of the present tense for events of the past more than I would have liked to be, but overall it works.

The book is set among the 'criminal classes' of London in the mid twentieth century -- a lively, colourful setting which is well described and animated. There are references to real characters and events, mixed in with the convincing original...more
Queenie was born into a life of crime and carried on the family tradition. Along the way she meets some of the famous faces of London's post-war criminal milieu; Ruth Ellis and Cynthia Paine. I assume that some of the other main characters are nods to other real-life characters.

I loved hearing Queenie tell her story, she is a bright, sparky character who refuses to bend to the possibility of giving into what is expected of her by virtue of her birth and education. Via her story we see a range of...more
This is a very enjoyable book, which features historical characters and events unfolding and interacting with the fictional Queenie Dove. Queenie is a highly convincing character who narrates her often difficult experiences in her own style. Her motives are not given as an excuse for her activities and on the whole her lifestyle is presented in a realistic manner. The story manages to entwine actual events beautifully with fictional elements. I have to say that, having struggled with Dawson's Th...more
Red Letter
Our readers said:

Kimberly: B "A cinematic read"

Kathy: B- "Queenie was wonderfully familiar with a voice that told her story very well."

Suze: D "I would greatly prefer to read a biography of Shirley Pitts instead of this fictional (and unacknowledged) account of her life."

Cait: B- "I enjoyed nearly all of the characters and the writing was reasonably well done."

Julie S.: C "The last third of the book .... was quite interesting and well worth the read."

See their full reviews at Red Letter Reads
Excellent! Well-written tale of a spunky and clever young East End girl growing up in the Depression and WWII who became a spunky and clever criminal. But it's so much more than that. The voice of the protagonist is amazingly authentic-sounding and her life story is heartbreaking. You don't condone what she does, but you just can't hold it against her. The Cockney sound and rhythm are spot on throughout and fascinating in their own right. I've already put another by Jill Dawson on my library req...more
I've given this book 4 stars because it is a good book, however it's not the type of book I generally read.
The story is about 'Queenie' and starts with her childhood during war torn East London and what happens to her along the way. How her relationship with family members and the influences she sees as she grows older, shape the person she becomes. It's easy to think at times that you're reading a memoir.
Good book that would make a great holiday read, but it is put downable!
Is this "women's fiction" or "crime"? I'm classifying it as both, because it's about a young woman who was born in the East End of London and makes her own way in the (under)world, even though it's meant to be a man's world.

I picked this up randomly at the library, so I didn't know what to expect at all.

It was fairly enjoyable, but not something I'd be pressing into people's hands, imploring them to read it. A good summer read, in other words.
I’m sure there are many people who could just pick this book apart, but it really appealed to me. I loved Queenie’s voice from the opening pages and was eager to see where it would go. I felt it conveyed the flavor of the East End (which, granted, I know nothing about) and I could imagine myself there quite easily. It could have used more “caper” elements, but I loved how the links to actual events had me running to Wikipedia afterwards.
Lucy Blunden
Thoroughly enjoyable read. I loved Queenie and her antics. I was much reminded of my imagined and real Grandmother and her antics as a young woman through the war and, although I think she was not as much of a crook, had a similar sense of fun. She and her best friend were like Stella and Queenie!
Really evocative of the East End during the 30s and 40s. I would have liked to know more about how things turned out for the daughter.
This is quite a book. Set in London's east end from the '30's to the early '60's, and told in the (absolute killer) voice of Queenie Dove, who grows from an abused and undernourished (in more ways than one) child to a champion thief and con artist. Probably won't be for all tastes, but I found myself rooting for Queenie all the way through.
I really liked this book. I kind of thought that the backstory to the crime/romance plot (part one being all about Queenie's childhood) might be boring, but turned out to be an excellent examination of the survival of a child in WWII-London, who could not rely on her parents to protect her and her sibling(s).
Deborah Jensen
Enjoyed this book. Story about a lady criminal in 1950-60's. She narrates her story from a young child to an adult. Atmospheric, and you could easily imagine her life in the times of the Krays and Great Train Robbery. She grew up in a dysfunctional family and went to Borstal at a young age. Well written.
Betty Dickie
I really hated this book and finished it only because I am reviewing it. My reaction is purely emotional because the book is well written, clever, and chronicles a side of British post war life rarely viewed by Americans. But the people are really sorry, the morals twisted and the story endless.
An insight into how people try to better things for their loved ones and themselves, set against the backdrop of post-war crime, from Soho gangsters to East End thieves, weaving in Ruth Ellis, the Profumo Affair and other Great British criminal landmarks along the way.
Not sure if I particulary liked any of the characters in the book, even Queenie, the heroine. A lifelong hoister is not my ideal heroine! However, I did like the author's style of writing and the historical events and people all through the book.
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Jill Dawson was born in Durham and grew up in Staffordshire, Essex and Yorkshire. She read American Studies at the University of Nottingham, then took a series of short-term jobs in London before studying for an MA in Writing at Sheffield Hallam University. In 1997 she was the British Council Writing Fellow at Amherst College, Massachussets.

Her writing life began as a poet, her poems being publish...more
More about Jill Dawson...
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