Tuesday 3 January 2017

#bookreview ~ The Beauty Shop #HistFic @Suzy_Henderson

The Beauty Shop
Suzy Henderson
England,1942. After three years of WWII, Britain is showing the scars. But in this darkest of days, three lives intertwine, changing their destinies and those of many more.

Dr Archibald McIndoe, a New Zealand plastic surgeon with unorthodox methods, is on a mission to treat and rehabilitate badly burned airmen – their bodies and souls. With the camaraderie and support of the Guinea Pig Club, his boys battle to overcome disfigurement, pain, and prejudice to learn to live again.

John ‘Mac’ Mackenzie of the US Air Force is aware of the odds. He has one chance in five of surviving the war. Flying bombing missions through hell and back, he’s fighting more than the Luftwaffe. Fear and doubt stalk him on the ground and in the air, and he’s torn between his duty and his conscience.

Shy, decent and sensible Stella Charlton’s future seems certain until war breaks out. As a new recruit to the WAAF, she meets an American pilot on New Year’s Eve. After just one dance, she falls head over heels for the handsome airman. But when he survives a crash, she realises her own battle has only just begun.

Based on a true story, "The Beauty Shop" is a moving tale of love, compassion, and determination against a backdrop of wartime tragedy.
What did I make of the book?

Sometimes ordinary people do the most extraordinary things. Based on a true story, The Beauty Shop is an evocative tale full of bravery, suffering and hope.

"Over sexed, over paid, and over here."  John ‘Mac’ Mackenzie of the US Air Force is here to do a job. A pilot of the formidable B-17, it is his responsibility to bring his crew safely home. Mac was very real in the telling. He understands the important role he has to play, but he struggles with the reality of what each mission means — not only for himself and his crew, but for those poor innocent civilians that just so happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when his Flying Fortress drops those bombs. Ms Henderson creates a vivid account of what life must have been like for those brave men who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to bring about an end to the war.

Stella didn't ask for this war, but she is determined to help in any way she can. She joins the WAAF, determined to do her bit. Her mother wants to see her settled down and Alex seems to tick all the right boxes. But then at a dance, her eyes meet those of a young American pilot and life as she knows it will never be the same again.

Dr Archibald McIndoe, a New Zealand plastic surgeon, has dedicated his life to helping those who have been horrifically injured while fighting for freedom. He is determined to make a difference. Archie isn't just a Dr he becomes a friend to his patients — he is a beacon of hope when it seems all light has been distinguished. He is the unsung hero of a tragedy.

The Beauty Shop really got under my skin. The realism was so vivid it felt like I was sat next to Mac while he flew into Hell. I felt every jerk, every shudder that the B-17 made. I could feel the fear in the hearts of the men and the desperate relief they felt when they crossed back over the Channel and made a safe touch-down on the runway.

I adored the characterisation of Mac. He is full of integrity and decency. He is the kind of man you would want your daughter to bring home!! Through him, Ms Henderson shows the horror of war and the comradeship that such a thing brings.

Stella has the most beautiful soul. She wants to do what is right by everyone, and is desperate to make her mother happy, but when she meets Mac everything changes. She doesn't want to fall in love with him, but some things cannot be denied. She is steadfast in her loyalty to him, and when things take a turn for the worse and Mac finds himself in the hospital, Stella is determined to be there for him, despite what he might have to say on the subject! Love, it seems, really does conquer all.

I was truly humbled when I read about Archibald McIndoe, who is based on a real person. Mclndoe did so much for those brave young servicemen who had walked through Hell and had the scars to prove it. If only there were more men like him then maybe the world would be in a different place than it is today. A sobering thought.

The Beauty Shop is one of the most emotionally captivating stories I have read in a long while and one that will stay with me for a long time. I adored the characters, the setting, and the story. This one is a keeper. If I could give it more stars, then I would!  I Highly Recommend.

Links for Purchase

About the author
Suzy Henderson was born in the North of England, but a career in healthcare would eventually take her to rural Somerset. Years later, she decided to embark upon a degree in English Literature with The Open University.
That was the beginning of a new life journey, rekindling her love of writing and passion for history. With an obsession for military and aviation history, she began to write.
It was an old black and white photograph of her grandmother that caught Suzy’s imagination many years ago. Her grandmother died in 1980 as did her tales of war as she never spoke of those times. When she decided to research her grandmother’s war service in the WAAF, things spiralled from there. Stories came to light, little-known stories and tragedies and it is such discoveries that inform her writing.
Having relocated to the wilds of North Cumbria, she has the Pennines in sight and finally feels at home. Suzy is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Romantic Novelists Association. "The Beauty Shop" is her debut novel and will be released 28th November 2016.
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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for hosting me once again, Mary Anne. It's fantastic and I truly appreciate your amazing review. It was so wonderful to read and a beautiful surprise for me today. Bless you and I wish you a wonderful week. :)


See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx