Helen Batten: The Scarlet Sisters



Book really interesting to begin with but I reached about 80% of the way through it and the story just started to get a bit all the same and seemed to be dragging on I enjoyed the book but found it a bit lackingIt is very much centred on the concept of fate and about the journey of the author hauntedblessed into following the same drama as her ancestors The characters are interesting and well described but it is very much a story of family heartache closed behind the door of their house I felt the world outside was only superficially pictured and at the end I still didn t know much about the life of women in the twenties and forties which was what I was most interested in 3 stars I liked it I actually loved the historical parts in which the author describes the family lives of her grandmother great aunts and great grandparents spanning from the end of the 19th century to World War II I am particularly interested because I too have been trying to build a picture of the lives of my own ancestors in Hackney during that period and some of the comments on social history were fascinating Differences especially in the attitudes of others at that time illnesses and healthcare Helen Batten has put some flesh on the bones of her long lost relatives a sort of mix of fiction and non fiction I suppose and it works wellHowever I didn t really enjoy the contemporary narrative interspersed among the old family stories The author is trying to determine if there is a logical pattern fate or coincidences among generations and whether that pattern can be broken And since she is a psychotherapist this means indulging in uite a bit of self analysis which I personally found exceedingly disconcertingThe audiobook was performed by Annie Aldington who is a professional voice and brought warmth and variety to the narratio. Hildren taken far too soon It’s as if there is a family curse But Helen also finds love resilience and hope – crazy wagers late night Charlestons and stolen kisses As she unravels the story of Nanna and her scarlet sisters Helen starts to break the spell of the past and sees a way she might herself find love aga.

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L written I found that it didn t really seem to be going anywhere it lacked purpose I m not sure if it was of a tribute of memories from the author to her family or whether the idea was to let everyone see the changes in Britain at the time of the era her Nan was around I doubt deny that this book gives great interest and insight into what life in London would have been like back then I just didn t really feel the purpose it was written for was for me Heart rending and captivating I was hooked from the first page It was almost like being in two time zones at once I lost my Mother when I was 5 rs old 1950 so I was able to live like part of Silk and Steel your Ancestors Family Thanks for an incredible journey Thanks also for bringing many of my memories to the fore Also Helen Batten YOU look like Alice Hope people read this account ofour Nana s Life as I did I too had an amazing Nana Jinny She died age 94 SO SHE SAID I ve found out on my journey she was actually about 100 Little 4ft 9 inch ex bare back rider in a travelling show I thought this was going to be another romantised biography I only bought it as I needed cheap holiday read style books for a very long journey that needed low concentration levels I was wrong It was one of the best books I ve read in a whileComing from a family with a history of maternal depression spanning several generations this book made me see their struggles in a different light I can see that some of the traits I recognise from my mother s illness now being replicated in my sister s whether they re learned behaviours being passed down the generations or not I don t know but I have passed this book to them both Helen tells the story of her nanna and her sisters and the struggles they all had in their lives whilst growing up in London and on the outskirts of London I found the. Es surrounding her enigmatic nanna’s early life What she unearths is a tale of five feisty red heads struggling to climb out of poverty and find love through two world wars It’s a story full of surprises and scandal – a death in a workhouse a son kept in a box a shameful war record a clandestine marriage and

I wasn t sure if this was 3or 4 so maybe 35 I am fascinated with tracing my family tree so found this book very interesting Helen is research her family tree and unearths some fascinating stories from her great great grandparents lives Obviously some of the stories are her interpretation of facts she found but a lot were drawn from memories of older relatives Helen compares life from before the war to her own experiences A family storyLoved the historical detail and the interplay of relationships between the sisters But particularly when just listening on Audible I found it difficult to keep track of the relationships and histories of the various siblings in each sister s family Might well have been just a failing peculiar to me but the ability to consult a pictorial family tree would have made the various family stories easier to follow and the whole book even enjoyable SistersLovely story of love between the five sisters the ups and downs love threw at them the heartache s but the love shone through their families their husbands none apart from Alice married again but Alice s first husband died after less than a Het Reservaat Van Ward Ruyslinck year of marriageTold us as a narrative but involving all the family as the narrator is a granddaughter of one of the five sisters Good Historical Family StoryThis is agood book for feminine support and encouragement The story of the sisters learning to make their own way but stay close to their family as well is a great self help for today soung girls to learn growing up This was surprising in that it didn t have as much of the story of the girls growing ears as I thought it would but it had a good lesson to learn of survival strength hard work love endurance and learning from the past and using those lessons to make the future better Whilst this book was very interesting and wel. ‘Oh my goodness – another girl Mrs Swain’ Clara’s normal iron composure broke and she screamed ‘No That’s not the bloody deal’ And that is how my nanna Bertha Swain entered the world When Helen Batten’s marriage breaks down she starts on a journey of discovery into her family’s past and the mysteri.

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