I’m beyond excited to welcome you today to my stop on the blog tour for stunning historical novel Shrines of Gaiety by the always incredible Kate Atkinson. A huge thank you to Anne Cater and Doubleday Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this beautifully written and memorable book.
About the book:
1926, and in a country still recovering from the Great War, London has become the focus for a delirious new nightlife. In the clubs of Soho, peers of the realm rub shoulders with starlets, foreign dignitaries with gangsters, and girls sell dances for a shilling a time.
At the heart of this glittering world is notorious Nellie Coker, ruthless but also ambitious to advance her six children, including the enigmatic eldest, Niven whose character has been forged in the crucible of the Somme. But success breeds enemies, and Nellie’s empire faces threats from without and within. For beneath the dazzle of Soho’s gaiety, there is a dark underbelly, a world in which it is all too easy to become lost.
With her unique Dickensian flair, Kate Atkinson brings together a glittering cast of characters in a truly mesmeric novel that captures the uncertainty and mutability of life; of a world in which nothing is quite as it seems.
About the author:
Kate Atkinson is one of the world’s foremost novelists. She won the Costa Book of the Year prize with her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum. Her three critically lauded and prize-winning novels set around the Second World War are Life After Life, an acclaimed 2022 BBC TV series starring Thomasin McKenzie, A God in Ruins (both winners of the Costa Novel Award) and Transcription. Her bestselling literary crime novels featuring former detective Jackson Brodie, Case Histories, One Good Turn, When Will There Be Good News? and Started Early, Took My Dog, became a BBC television series starring Jason Isaacs. Jackson Brodie later returned in the novel Big Sky. Kate Atkinson was awarded an MBE in 2011 and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Shrines of Gaiety is the brand new historical novel by critically acclaimed author Kate Atkinson. As a huge fan of this author’s work, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to read and review her new book as part of the blog tour. Life After Life is one of my favourite books of all time so Shrines of Gaiety had an awful lot to live up to and, oh my goodness, I’m so happy to say that it did so with ease. As with all of Kate Atkinson’s books, this is not a story to be devoured in one sitting, but one that should be lingered over, savoured and appreciated for the exquisitely written piece of art that it is.
It’s London 1926 and the country is still recovering from the trauma of World War 1. The story opens as notorious Queen of Soho, Nellie Coker is released from prison after a six month stint. Greeted by her six children, Nellie returns home to take back her crown as head of a dazzling empire that is alight with money and success. But the world is changing and Nellie’s empire is threatened by the dark underworld that runs beneath the surface of the city. A world that is all too easy to get lost in…
Kate Atkinson’s writing is sublime as she brings Nellie’s world vividly to life. Ruthless and ambitious, Nellie would like nothing more than for her children to become as successful as she is. But they’re all very different people, with enigmatic oldest son Niven being the one I found myself drawn to the most. I found myself completely drawn in to their world, feeling every emotion right alongside them as their story began to unfold.
But this isn’t only a story about Nellie Coker and her children. It’s also a book steeped in history that offers a social commentary on the issues of the time, all told with the author’s usual wit and insight, her writing delving beneath the surface and peeling back the layers in an almost Dickensian manner. With a strong and varied cast of memorable characters, this is a book that has everything, weaving a tale of epic proportions that captivated me from beginning to end.
Shrines of Gaiety is Kate Atkinson at her very best and I adored every single word of it. I don’t want to say much more as this is a story you need to discover and appreciate for yourself, so all I will say is that there are some wonderful twists, turns, shocks and surprises along the way, including moments of sheer brilliance that completely took my breath away.
Shrines of Gaiety is easily one of my top reads of the year and is a book that I would highly recommend. I LOVED it!
Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson is available to purchase now: