Madame Burova by Ruth Hogan is a delightful dual timeline novel that I could not put down. It is set in 1972 and present day.
The early 1970’s in Britain was a time of unrest, prejudice and intolerance. The Windrush generation were still finding life hard as they tried to integrate into British society. Their children found it just as hard. “All he wanted was… to be white.” What a heart-breaking thought of an eleven year old of mixed race. The reader is horrified by the attitudes levelled by children to other children. “He had never allowed… the filthy words flung at him in ignorance and hate, to define or diminish him.” This young boy has an enormous capacity to love. When he sees injustice towards a weak, helpless dog, he steps in.
We all want to know our roots. “I feel like a question mark.” On learning that she was a foundling, a woman in her forties sets out to seek out her birth parents, after the receipt of an envelope from her father following his death.
The reader becomes immersed in the life of a 1970’s British holiday camp. It is very reminiscent of the BBC’s Hi-Di-Hi. It was a time of fun but also of sexual harassment which was largely accepted and unreported – until the day the women decide enough is enough.
We see true love bud and blossom. It is a love that remains down the years.
Madame Burova is a keeper of secrets. What is said in the tent, stays in the tent.
All the characters were well drawn and realistic, eliciting a variety of emotional responses from me. They were warm and welcoming. I loved getting to know them.
I love Ruth Hogan’s writings and absolutely adored Madame Burova.
I received a free copy from Net Galley. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.