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This is a proper domestic saga starting just after the end of the First World War. Built upon anecdotes about the author’s grandparents and in depth research into the historical records of their generation, Family Business tells a twisting tale of a family who tries to improve their lives while building a road haulage firm in the interwar years. This book has a colourful family at its heart and plenty of bumps in the road to building the family business. There's also scope at the end of the book for the next generation's story to be shared. Although it is a historical novel, I think that Family Business is actually quite timeless in terms of reflecting the day to day routine of many people’s lives. I also liked the added touch of the old images at the start of each chapter. I did find that in places the book is perhaps overly detailed making it a slow read and whereas other details are just skimmed over. The writing style is good but I felt that the book was just missing something to give it an edge.
Although brothers, Edward and Thomas are two very different characters. Thomas is the responsible, churchgoing family man while Edward is the black sheep; selfish, hedonistic and craving excitement. Betraying both his wife, Gladys, and his mistress, Evelyn, who bears his illegitimate child, he settles for a time with Marcella, a London night club singer. But he wanted more. Some dubious second hand car deals eventually lead to a court appearance and three years in Wakefield Prison. His behaviour rocks the world of his hardworking Catholic family, scandalising his sister-in-law, Catherine, who cannot forgive him for the shame the episode brought. Set in Lancashire during the interwar and post war years, 'family business' is about an enterprising family aspiring to improve its lot through building a road haulage business.