All the Nice Girls by Joan Bakewell

hilda_fleming_1296940fThis novel was recently book of the month at our local book group. I was interested to read it because, although I know Joan Bakewell as a presenter and author of factual works, I did not know she had written any novels. Although this novel was set in North West England, with a back ground of World War II, the girls school that is described in it was very reminiscent of the school I attended which was led by the redoubtable headmistress Miss Hilda Fleming. It is fair to say Miss Fleming in no way resembled Cynthia, one of the main protagonists of the story.  All the Nice Girls

Cynthia and Josh, the main protagonists with their tragic story, were quite well drawn but the rest never became more than cyphers and stereotypes for me. The wartime setting is well done, but that doesn’t make it a great book. The story’s a good one, well told, and this is an entertaining enough read with attempts to tackle some of the social issues of the day.

The novel also jumps from the period of the war to the present day in two threads and I tend not to be drawn to stories like that. However, I did quite like the little twist at the end of the book.

all the nice girls joanThis was not a great book, but I enjoyed it because it was so evocative of its time and the memories that returned to me as I read All the Nice Girls by Joan Bakewell. it is worth a read.

Valerie Penny



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