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Monday, February 20, 2012

First Page Mondays: Lily, my lovely by Lena Kennedy


As part of the First Page Mondays at The Book Worm, here's the first page from the book Lovely, my lovely by Lena Kennedy.

'Lily is a familiar character to those who know our London well. If you were to ask Lily what part of the town she lived in, her pretty face would break into a wide smile revealing even white teeth, and her dark blue eyes would light up with humour. 'Cannin' tawn,' she would say with the deep intonation of the East End in her voice. Canning Town was a dreary dockland area, part of the East End which bordered the river Thames. There, long lanes of small tumbledown houses contained the population that drew a living from the thriving industry of the docks on the Thames.

Huge ships arrived from every country in the world, carrying their cargo into the London docks - the Victoria and Albert dock, East India dock, West India dock, the Surrey dock and various others that spread along the riverside for miles, making London seem the centre of the shipping world.

The eldest of six children, Lily in her youth would play down by the riverside with her brothers and sisters. They loved to watch the tramp steamers nosing their way into the docks, or the big liners filling up with passengers, emigrants leaving their homeland for better conditions in the colonies.

These great ships, along with the high cranes that dotted the skyline and the low hoots of the siren, made up Lily's world. It was the only one she knew.

She grew up in one of those tumbledown houses in the same street that her grandparents lived. And when she was eighteen and married to George Brown, she moved into her own little home a few doors down. They would all meet at the local on Saturday nights, having all been shopping in the same market....'

- Debolina Raja Gupta