Hi guys, today I have the pleasure to kick off the blog tour for Nadine Dorries’ latest, ‘The Angels of Lovely Lane’. I’d like to say massive thanks to lovely Blake and everyone at Head of Zeus for the chance to take part.
The Angels of Lovely Lane by Nadine Dorries
Published by Head of Zeus
Published on 2.6.2016
Genres: historical fiction
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It is 1953 and five very different girls are arriving at the nurses' home in Lovely Lane, Liverpool, to start their training at St Angelus Hospital.
Dana has escaped from her family farm on the west coast of Ireland. Victoria is running away from a debt-ridden aristocratic background. Beth is an army brat and throws her lot in with bitchy Celia Forsyth. And Pammy has come from quite the wrong side of the tracks in Liverpool.
The world in which they now find themselves is complicated and hierarchical, with rules that must be obeyed. Everyone has their place at St Angelus and woe betide anyone who strays from it.
But when an unknown girl is admitted, after a botched late abortion in a backstreet kitchen, a tragedy begins to unfold which will rock the world of St Angelus to its foundations.
GUEST POST FROM NADINE DORRIES
Writing this book has taken me on trips down memory lane – I’ve pulled things out of a filing cabinet stored away in my brain I thought I had long forgotten. Not only have I pulled from my own memories, but those of friends I nursed with over the years. I am very lucky to still be in touch with some of the nurses I trained with and I am so looking forward to picking their brains again for the next book.
Lovely Lane is a real place in Warrington. On Lovely Lane is situated what used to be known as Warrington General Hospital. There was once a nurse’s home on Lovely Lane, and on the other side of the hospital – a much less glamorous sounding destination, Bewsey Road – there was a second nurses home, situated right next door to the funeral directors. This was where I lived and laughed and survived my nurse training.
I have made St Angelus a collage of all the hospitals I worked in during my twenties. The Northern, The Royal and Myrtle Street Children’s Hospital in Liverpool all influenced my thoughts. As I write each hospital-based scene, I am back in the Florence Nightingale layout of the wards in Warrington General and Warrington Infirmary, walking up the concrete stairs late at night towards children’s, or tying bed pans on to the cars of visiting medical students with another night nurse. No one ever did find out who the culprits were. I think we are safe now!
I began my training in November 1975, and during that time visited many cottage hospitals and wards where both the equipment and methods of nursing hung on steadfastly from the 1950s. Ornate, molded drip stands, wards full of flowers, sash windows, starched hats and aprons and ashtrays on bedside lockers with patients puffing away during a ward round. Visiting hour was the big event of the day, heralded by the brass hand-bell that lived on the long, polished table in the middle of the ward.
In the 70s, things were to change dramatically, in a way that would remove all semblance of what nursing had once been like. I was lucky enough to have spent some time working with ward sisters who had trained in the thirties and forties, before the days of the NHS, and they were still resisting change in the 70s. In those days, wards gleamed, nurses trembled and patients did as they were told.
I think it’s important that we share the past. Nursing today is a million miles away from how it was when many of us trained. As well as a lighthearted and fun novel, this is also a way of recording the culture of nursing and the many anomalies and arcane rules and regulations that existed back then.