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This Lovely City

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  169 ratings  ·  87 reviews
An atmospheric and utterly compelling debut novel about a Jamaican immigrant living in postwar London, This Lovely City shows that new arrivals have always been the prime suspects but that even in the face of anger and fear, there is always hope.

London, 1950. With the war over and London still rebuilding, jazz musician Lawrie Matthews has answered Englands call for
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published March 12th 2020 by Harper Collins
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
This Lovely City follows a group of Windrush immigrants, recently arrived in the UK from Jamaica. In particular, it follows the lives of Lawrie Matthews and his friends in 1948 and 1950. Though this story is fictional, the so called Windrush immigrants were in reality brought over from the Caribbean by the British government, to cover severe labour shortages in the UK, in the wake of the Second World War. They were here to seek their fortunes, but as soon as most would be employers saw the ...more
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic debut from Louise Hare. This Lovely City is London, the title being ironic as it follows a group of Windrush immigrants from Jamaica, the welcome they receive is not what they expected and about as warm as the climate. These optimistic travellers expected The Motherland to welcome them with open arms in order to help rebuild war ravaged Britain. Instead they are shunned, face appalling racism and prejudice and sometimes violence. One such hopeful immigrant is Lawrie Matthews. ...more
Whispering Stories
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Book Reviewed on

In 1948 to help with postwar Britain due to lots of buildings being destroyed and jobs needing filling, the UK advertised for people in the Caribbean to come to live here. The Empire Windrush arrived on the 22nd June 1948 carrying mainly young men.

Lawrie Matthews was one of these men hoping for a new start in the UK, the land he had heard so much about. However, the people of the UK werent quite so welcoming as they had all been lead to believe. This was
Haley Renee The Caffeinated Reader
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: earcs


I went into this thinking it looked like a fun lighthearted read, instead it was full of love, heartache and completely captured my heart.

After the population was depleted from the tragic losses of WWII, Britain opened its arms to those who claimed it to be the motherland at the time, many men leaving their homes in the Caribbean leaving to try their fortune in England. England, after all, needed the manpower to fill the jobs that were left open.

Karen Flockhart
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Social history, murder mystery, love story, historical novel - it would be difficult to pigeonhole this brilliant story!
Lawrie, fairly recently arrived in London from the Caribbean on the Empire Windrush, discovers something terrible one morning that shakes the life he's been building for himself in the city. It ultimately send shock waves through the lives of everyone around him: housemates, neighbours, colleagues and friends.
This Lovely City is a complete page-turner, full of a fantastic
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My review on my website. Twitter@bookpage5

I simply am stunned that This Lovely City is Louise Hares first novel. I hope TV rights snap up this book and turn it into a film.

Immersive, poignant, and utterly compelling, Louise Hares debut examines the complexities of love and belonging, and teaches us that even in the face of anger and fear, there is always hope. Simply one of the best books combined with after the war and Empire Windrush, and a nightmare mystery
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
this lovely city booktrail

Visit the locations in This Lovely City

A fascinating read about the Windrush generation who come to London after the war. In search of a new life, they encounter poverty racism and more. This is a very timely read given the fact that the Windrush scandal has been in the news recently.

The story follows Lawrie who moves from Jamaica. He works as a postman and at night, the world of jazz and music come alive as we follow his time as an newly arrived immigrant. The new life takes some adjustment too
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This Lovely City by Louise Hare is a marvellous historical murder mystery. It is a fabulous debut novel set between 1948 and 1950.
The war is over. Britain needs rebuilding but hasnt the population to do it so an invite is issued to Jamaican men to come over and start a glorious new life but the reality is very different. It didnt matter what his passport said. A man with a black skin could never be considered British. The Windrush men find that that they were lied to, racial prejudice is rife.
Lel Budge
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is historical fiction set in London soon after WW2 and is so redolent with atmosphere you can almost smell it.

Lawrie had arrived in London on the ship, Empire Windrush, hes now a postman by day and an aspiring musician at night. Hes also in love with Evie, but they face many difficult challenges to say the least. They just want a quiet life together.

One day, Lawrie hears a woman shouting and a baby is found in a pond, regrettably they baby doesnt survive. The police immediately suspect the
This is a fabulous murder mystery set in post war Britain.

1948, the war is finally over and bombed out Britain is set to rebuild, but to that they need people in London after so many were lost in the war, so the government send an invitation to its colonies asking for workers, in exchange for their help, these lucky people will be helped with accommodation and be part of something amazing!

Except, it doesn't quite work out like that.

Jazz musician Lawrie Matthews travels from Jamaica to the UK
Marie (UK)
I received an ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review. This is a well written book about the early experiences of the Windrush immigrants set into a fictional narrative. This has a storyline which draws you in and good characterisation although the police leave much to be desired. I enjoyed it . as the blurb says a charming rood. Great for a rainy day but I am not sure that it deserves the ratings it is getting. Certainly the mystery of what happened to the baby is very predictable.
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to @harlequinaus for sending me a copy to review. I really enjoyed this debut historical fiction novel. We follow the story of Lawrie who has moved from Jamaica to England to live a better life after the war. It explores the struggles of Lawrie and his friends making a life of there own in a place that is not as accepting of them as they first thought. The story flowed well and focused on Lawries POV. It covered a number of issues prevalent around the time period it was set in and I ...more
Chapter Ichi
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In an instant I was swept back in time to 1950s London. The novel evokes a powerful sense of place. I was immersed in Lawrie and Evie's world through the vivid descriptions of London's music halls, parks, streets and homes. Louise Hare understands what it means to write a historical fiction novel. Lawrie is a struggling jazz musician, working as a postman to make ends meet. Arriving in London from the Empire Windrush from Jamaica, Lawrie realises that his move may not meet his expectations of ...more
Caroline Kerdouci
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Welcome home is the message to greet the West Indian immigrants arriving in the motherland aboard the Empire Windrush in 1948. Louise Hares impressive debut novel shows this to be far from the truth.
Given the scandal surrounding Windrush, this captivating and atmospheric novel is a topical reminder of the daily racism, violence and poverty these men faced when embarking on a new life in this green and pleasant land. Lack of accommodation, difficulty in finding employment and faced with general
Cheryl M-M
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lawrie is not long off the Empire Windrush at Tilbury docks. He more or less works around the clock as a musician and postman. While he is out making a special delivery he comes upon a woman in distress, she has just found an infant near a pond, and so begins the attempt to discredit and blame Lawrie. An absolutely innocent Lawrie.

Lawrie is targeted because he is a dark skinned man. Itt doesn't matter that he was there per chance and he helped the woman, as far as the police are concerned he is
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Along with many other Carribbean residents, Lawrie arrived in London on the Empire Windrush, answering the call for overseas British citizens to help rebuild war-torn Britain. He has found accommodation, has fallen in love with Evie, plays clarinet in a jazz band in Soho bars at night and is a postman by day. Everything seems to be going well until he makes a dreadful discovery in a park one day. From then on, his new life seems to unravel and fingers of suspicion point at him and others from ...more
Grace J Reviewerlady
Have you ever wondered what it was like for the Windrush generation when they travelled to Britain? Then this is where you can find out!

Lawrie and his friend Aston have answered the Commonwealth call to make a new life in Britain following the end of World War Two. Finally securing a job as a postman, Lawrie spends his spare time playing in a band to earn extra money and life is looking up, especially when he meets Evie. But then Lawrie tries to help a local woman in distress, and the
Εvdokia Veloudou  (velvetreads)
This has been one of the most mesmerising books I've read in a while. I literally flew by it and listened to this in like a day and a half. It took me totally by storm and given I had very high expectations out of it - yet I did not know what I was about to read - I thoroughly enjoyed this novel from beginning to end.

I was lucky enough to be given a chance to review this as an audiobook and as I'm a big fan of audiobooks generally, I was so enthralled by the narration and the production of it.
Cen-sational Reads
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Lovely City by Louise Hare
Published by @hqstories 💛
Set in 1940s England. It follows 2 main characters- a young Jamaican man who has arrived in the UK on the wind rush & a young mixed race woman who is being brought up my her white single mum.
It is a take on racism, discrimination, suspicion & violence.
People who are not know. The unknown gives people the feeling of suspicion. It falls on those who have come to the UK to build a better life for themselves and their family.
Kerry-louise Jones
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Laurie has come over to England from Jamaica thinking he would be able to make his fortune only to find that the county that claimed to be so desperate for workers, in fact, only wanted white men. Evie, who has been the only person of colour in her area for as long as she can remember, is excited by the arrival of windrush as she was no longer the odd one out. The two meet and fall in love but as always things are never straight forward...

I found this utterly captivating, moving and thought
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This Lovely City is a difficult one to review for me - the main points in its favour are the characters, especially Lawrie and Evie, whose story this basically is. Lawrie arrives on the Windrush expecting London to be welcoming when it most certainly isn't. Evie is mixed race, born to a single mother living in Brixton. Young and in love they hope to spend their lives together but both harbour secrets. At the centre of the narrative is the murder of a baby girl, not just any baby girl but a ...more
Holli Lennon
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I'll throw it out there, probably the best historical novel I've ever read. And it's based after WW2 has finished (only slightly) This is nothing like you expect from the cover and tackles some real dark issues. I am so happy I was on the tour for this one and would urge everyone to add it to their wishlist.

Beautifully written and felt completely absorbed in the story. I am so shocked this is a debut and look forward to reading much more work by Louise Hare
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
A beautiful novel with an incredible sense of place & time, I was immediately transported to a post-war Britain from ruins of bombed-out homes to the smokey jazz clubs of Soho you feel like you are there, so vividly described London becomes a character in its own right.

I enjoyed the dual narrative running thought the novel. Lawrie & Evie are well-drawn characters, interesting characters by no means perfect but reasonably flawed, I soon found myself rooting for. Hare really captures the
Kim (
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
With the war finally over, London sends out a call for help rebuilding the big smoke. Caribbean native Laurie Mathews and his friends answer their plea heading over the high seas aboard The Empire Windrush hoping to make England his new home and build a better future for himself, upon arriving on British soil, not everything has turned out as he had hoped, however, He meets and falls in love with Evie Coleridge the girl next door.

One day whilst making a special delivery, after finding work as a
Gem ~ Bee
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed This Lovely Place.
A masterpiece encapsulating the post-war jazz scene of Brixton and the lives and struggles of the Windrush arrivals.
More of my review on my blog
Thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC of this book
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book grabbed me early and never let go. When a writer so immediately takes you to a time and place its such a skill. I found myself in post - Windrush London where new people are making the capital their home and the huge social change is causing friction. As one character observes she was no longer the odd one out as she goes to the market. More people are arriving, weighed down by layers thrown on haphazardly as their first experience of British cold started to bite. However, as those ...more
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Blitz is over and London is recovering from WWII. The call has gone out for workers from the Commonwealth to come over and help Britain get back on her feet.

Fresh off the Empire Windrush, musician Lawrie Matthews has come to make his fortune, but things are not quite as he imagined in this, so called, land of opportunity. It has been harder to make London his home that he thought, and the climate is not helping, but he has finally got himself a steady job, even if he is laying his head down
Karen Cole
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There is a quote from Enoch Powell's infamous 'Rivers of Blood' speech at the start of This Lovely City and although set before his words caused a political storm, the inclusion is a stark reminder that the Caribbean community who came to Britain after the war immediately faced suspicion and accusations despite having been invited to the 'Motherland' by a country which desperately needed help to rebuild. It should also be uncomfortably obvious that even now, this is still a nation which often ...more
Mary Picken
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Welcome home the newspaper headline said as Lawrie Matthews stepped off the Windrush at Tilbury on 22 June 1948. He was expecting the green and pleasant land that his mother had spoken of, but instead he found dirt, rubble and austerity and instead of the welcome hed been promised, all around him was prejudice and suspicion.

All his life hed been told that he was a British subject; his brother had died for this country but the reality was that this grey hostile country barely concealed its
Catriona Fida
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The drinks are flowing. The musics playing. But the party cant last.

With the Blitz over and London in a state of disrepair after the war, workers from the British commonwealth were invited to England to help repair the motherland. Arriving from Jamaica aboard the Empire Windrush, Lawrie Matthews works as a musician in the Soho music halls by night and as a postman by day. When tragedy strikes in the local area, fingers are pointed at the small community of Windrush men who have recently arrived
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Louise Hare is a London-based writer and has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London. Originally from Warrington, the capital is the inspiration for much of her work, including This Lovely City, which began life after a trip into the deep level shelter below Clapham Common.

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