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Lucky Bunny

3.45  ·  Rating Details  ·  185 Ratings  ·  48 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 895)
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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
Jan 27, 2013 Victoria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 11, 2012 TinaB rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 29, 2011 Lesley rated it really liked it
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
Nov 19, 2012 Caitlin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
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
Feb 17, 2014 Tara rated it liked it
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.
Sep 29, 2011 Lynne rated it liked it
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
Jul 12, 2015 Dorothy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a perfect book. Everything - the perfectly chosen cover, the clever title, the meticulous research, the great writing - was a delight.

With a lesser writer, I would've found the regular changes of tense irritating - here, it just didn't matter. Queenie jumps off the page at you, and while she's a crook and a shoplifter, you can't help liking her and wanting her to succeed. Loved it.
Aug 06, 2015 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a recent historical fiction it wasn't too bad. It flowed well. told in two parts life as a child during WW2 and life as an adult in the 60's In and around London and Ely was interesting. lots of facts of the era mixed in with a decent not sure how believable story.
I 'read' this as an audio book so may have lost some of its context but overall not bad.
Ian Mapp
Feb 09, 2013 Ian Mapp rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
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
****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
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
Aug 05, 2014 Wwmrsweasleydo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 18, 2011 Rachel rated it really liked it
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
Emma Bradshaw
Great writing and characters you can really get your teeth into. Loved Queenie's grit and determination. Really enjoyed EastEnd/WestEnd setting in 30s - 50s. Wasn't quite sure about the ending. Felt a little flat for reasons I can't quite put my finger on. Overall a really good romp.
Jun 16, 2012 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, hist-fiction
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
June Jones
Jun 22, 2016 June Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story, Queenie (not her real name) and her tough early life, later her involvement with the great train robbery, would recommend
Alice Harvey
A very depressing and slow at times, yet somehow still a fascinating read... Had a hard time deciding on a rating for this one, but settled on two stars looking at the stack of books on the bedside table that I think I would have rather been reading.
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
Mar 05, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 27, 2013 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Nov 16, 2015 Jo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this and am still uncertain whether to give 4 or 5 stars. It is so interesting and I believe it is quite a genuinely researched historical novel. Definitely the Bethnal Green underground tragedy is real and I'd never even heard of it before .Queenie was completely credible and I could really understand what drove her though such a completely different life experience to my own. I've read a few Jill Dawson now and admire her versatility!! Great read going for 5 stars!
May 29, 2012 Andrea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
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.
Feb 17, 2016 Sylvie rated it liked it
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
Feb 05, 2013 Lucy Blunden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Love Moll Flanders? You'll love this book too. My copy had extra reading at the back including a piece by the author discussing where the ideas for the story came from. It was very enlightening and I agree with her about the gaps in literature of female characters of Queenie Dove's kind. I'm looking forward to reading Ms Dawson's other books!
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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
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