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Once Upon a Time in England
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On the coldest night of 1975, a young man with shock-red hair tears though the snowbound streets of Warrington's toughest housing estate. He is Robbie Fitzgerald, and he is running for his life - and that of his young family. In his heart, Robbie knows the odds are stacked against them. In this unbending Northern town, he has married the beautiful brown nurse who once stitched up his wounds. Susheela is his Tamil Princess, but in the real world, the Fitzgeralds have to face up to prejudice, poverty and sheer naked hatred from their neighbours. Now Robbie has seen a way out, and he's sprinting to his date with destiny. Over thirteen years of struggle, aspiration, achievement, misunderstandings, near-misses and shattered dreams, Helen Walsh plunges us into the lives and loves of the young, doomed Fitzgerald family. She shows herself to be a brilliant chronicler of our people and our times. And in the Fitzgeralds, she has created a family who will stay in your heart, long after the final page. Once Upon A Time In England offers an unforgettable portrait of the world in which we live, and confirms Helen Walsh as a writer of searing power.
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Promotional Information

Meet the Fitzgeralds - they will open your eyes and capture your heart

About the Author

Helen Walsh was born in Warrington, England, in 1976. Her first novel, Brass, was published in 2004 and was the winner of a Betty Trask Prize. She now lives in Liverpool.

Reviews

* Walsh ... is a lively, keen-eyed guide to Warrington and the north west. The subject matter is harrowing but, as with Brass, Walsh's writing has a wonderful, propulsive exuberance. -- Tim Teeman The Times 20080328 * The kind of book whose events you find yourself repeating to friends. Daily Telegraph 20080329 * The novel's greatest poignancy rests not in the parents but in the children whom they damage ... unlinchingly shows human beings consumed by a damage and hurt that turns them into the very monsters they had hoped to slay. -- Anita Sethi Independent On Sunday 20080323 * An angry impassioned family tragedy about the way racism and intolerance crush spirits and destroy lives. In the Fitzgeralds, Walsh has created memorable characters, painting them and their lives with broad brushstrokes. She employs a gritty humour with skill, negating any sentiment but never detracting from the mounting sense of tragedy. Every heartfelt sentence is permeated with a raging humanity, while the end of the book is shocking, painful and unforgettably moving. -- Tina Jackson Metro 20080313 * A graphic snapshot of a northern family's daily life ... You'll develop such an affinity for brooding, talented Robbie Fitzgerald and his Tamil princess wife Susheela that you'll be willing them to escape their ultimately doomed life. Utterly gripping. She 20080401 * Once Upon a Time in England will be one of the 20 best novels published this year. It is a very good novel and it deserves to be read. New Statesman * Walsh is a fluent storyteller. -- Alyssa McDonald Guardian 20080329 * Helen Walsh is the real thing; a serious writer to watch. Once Upon a Time in England is an impressive second book. She just keeps on getting better. M.J. Hyland * Walsh writes with conviction ... [she] won the Betty Trask award for her first novel, Brass, and this is an unflinching follow-up. -- Lucy Atkins Sunday Times 20080330 * There is glam as well as grit ... Walsh has tapped the vein of teenage diarism that is instantly recognisable: messy, raw, passionately empathetic. -- Stephanie Cross Daily Telegraph 20090711 * Violence is a theme that runs through this novel; the ugliness, brutality and racism of the period are painfully well-realised ... The ending isn't happy, but is profoundly moving and artistically satisfying. This novel demonstrates the magic trick that the best fiction pulls off: to make you care deeply about people who don't exist. -- Brandon Robshaw Independent on Sunday 20090726

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