Cover Image: The Children from Gin Barrel Lane

The Children from Gin Barrel Lane

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There is just something about Lindsey Hutchinson's books that are all-encompassing, all-engrossing and completely captivating. And yet they are simple stories about every day people of the era with a style that is so easy to read. I have only read two of her books but I am hooked and THE CHILDREN OF GIN BARREL LANE is no different.

Nellie Larkin is a tough, formidable woman who runs a gin palace known as The Crown Saloon, a well patronised establishment by the local community on a street known locally as Gin Barrel Lane. The year is 1857 and life is hard in the industrial black country of Birmingham. Nellie's ten year old son Jack and young barmaid Poppy work alongside Nellie behind the bar whilst her longtime friend Nancy Sampson keeps them fed from her kitchen.

Jack is no more than a skivvy, yielding daily to his mother's demands under the constant bellow of her booming voice, and he dreams of a day when he's old enough to leave and work on a farm breathing in the fresh air instead of city fumes. One day when he is out in the yard, he hears a sobbing and stumbles across a cold and frightened young girl hiding amongst the barrels. Encouraging her into their warm kitchen, Nancy feeds the girl and Nellie is soon persuaded to let the girl stay.

Dolly Perkins is 13 years old and, after the death of her mother, took to the streets when her stepfather Arthur decided that young Dolly was to take her mother's place both in the kitchen and in his bed. She had been scavenging and sleeping in doorways for three months before Jack stumbled across her in the yard amongst the empty barrels. Settling into her new life with her new family, Dolly soon more than earns her keep with her know-how and academia, becoming a life-saver for Nellie on more than one occasion. It is obvious the girl has had a good education, something which is sadly lacking in the working class, making her an invaluable addition to the household.

Arthur Micklewaite wants desperately to find young "Dolly Daydream". She has a valuable diamond necklace bequeathed to her by her mother which he believes should rightly be his and he will stop at nothing to get his hands on it. And if he can also bring Dolly home to warm his bed, that would be an added bonus. In the meantime, Arthur intends to find other wealthy widows in the funeral notices to worm his way into their lives and fleece them of their riches and keep him in the lifestyle to which he believes he is entitled to.

But Arthur is also a pickpocket, finding opportunity to deftly snatch wallets and purses from the unsuspecting at markets or railway stations. And it is at the market one day that he spies young Dolly with Jack and Nancy...and decides to follow them to see where his step-daughter has ended up. As he watches them walk into the yard of The Crown Saloon he can't help but think that young Dolly has landed on her feet...and so forms a new plan to relieve her of that diamond necklace.

Unable to sleep one night for the heat, Dolly goes to open the window and let in some air when she sees a shadow in the yard below trying to break into The Crown. It's dark and she cannot see his face, but there is something familiar about him. Alone in her room, Dolly can't help but feel frightened despite the man being unable to gain access and she tells everyone about it the next morning.

Ezra Morton is a hard man but he is also a rich man. He owns a brewery and operates a money lending business. On one such occasion Nellie Larkin was forced to borrow money from him to renovate The Crown after she inherited it from her parents needing a great deal of work. Enter Ezra Morton. He lent her the money on the condition that she could only buy her supply of gin from him. Over the years she had been paying him back the minimum but now he was wanting to increase her repayments, and Nellie was shocked to find that despite repaying him she still owed the exact amount she had borrowed from him! She wished she could pay him off once and for all and never have to do business with him again.

Then Dolly had a proposition for her and despite refusing her help, Dolly insisted. So when Nellie turned up the next day with the amount paid in full, Ezra was shocked and wondered where on earth Nellie had come up with that amount of money. Not to be shown up by a woman, Ezra vowed to bring Nellie Larkin down and ruin her once and for all.

You could not help but fall in love with this wonderful cast of characters, with the exception of Ezra and Arthur of course, as Nellie continued to add to her fold. Although she is a formidable woman, Nellie is completely likable alongside her band of waifs and strays, taking in those in need of work and a place to sleep. They are a unique kind of family and proof that you don't have to be related to be family.

The setting is atmospheric and the characters are well developed as they shine in a well paced suspenseful plot. Well crafted and engaging, THE CHILDREN OF GIN BARREL LANE has a real sense of family, despite none of them being related, with plenty of drama amidst the sights, sounds and smells of Victorian England.

THE CHILDREN OF GIN BARREL LANE is an entertaining and delightful story that will keep you turning the pages until the very end. And when it does end, you will be left with wanting more. Lindsey Hutchinson has that effect on you.

The reader is pulled in quickly with an incredible sense of the life and times in Victorian England. There isn't one thing I didn't like about this book...except maybe that I didn't really want it to end.

I would like to thank #LindseyHutchinson, #NetGalley and #BoldwoodBooks for an ARC of #TheChildrenFromGinBarrelLane in exchange for an honest review.
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Dolly runs away from home after the death of her mum when her step dad wants her to take her mums place. Cold & hungry she lives on the streets and one day seeks shelter in the yard of a gin palace. Taken in by the family she proves to be a bright young girl with a precious secret that is going to be very useful. Another great book from this author.
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This was a great story that I really enjoyed reading and was given the amazing feeling of truly being in the Victorian era! This story was funny, suspenseful and held my attention all while I kept turning the pages! Lindsey Hutchinson is a very talented writer and the way this story comes together with mischief, laughter, a secret, the chase, strangers turning instantly into family, pulling at my heartstrings and then with such quick ease, wrapping it all up and making me want to read another of her books! The Gin Palace was perfectly depicted and I didn't want this book to be over so quickly!

Thank you NetGalley for my complimentary eARC of this novel. I am always honored to be approved and enjoy writing an honest review to each novel I am able to read.
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Heartfelt, honest and gritty. I adored this read from this author. Would happily re-read this book again and again. Put me right in the heart of the moments and all the character's feels.
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Another great read from Lindsey Hutchinson. Set in Victorian times it tells of the hardships of the era. Dolly ends up on the streets after the death of her mother leaves her in the care of her heartless money grabbing stepfather. By chance she is found by Jack who takes her home to his Mum Nellie who welcomes Dolly into the family. This story tells that although you might be poor the love of a good family and friends can help you with anything.
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Brilliant family saga  shows how life really was in the olden days definetely will read this author again
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This book is set in the Victorian era. It beginnings with Dolly being found sobbing in the backyard of a gin palace. She is found by Jack, a young boy. Jack’s mother, Nellie runs the gin palace.

The characters in this book are well developed. Some are likeable and others aren’t. The unlikeable ones are the villains.
The descriptive writing of the area that this is set in is very good and it makes you visualise what life was like in those times. I felt that the pace of the book was slow at times.
An enjoyable book.
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Sometimes the strongest family bond is the one that is made out of kindness in a harsh world. The Children from Gin Barrel Lane by Lindsey Hutchinson is an unforgettable story of kindness, a family made, opportunities explored and hard work rewarded in life.

Despite the title, the children, Jack and Dolly are only two of the memorable main characters in this heart lifting story. Others are just as unique and colorful. In harsh times, personal strength and determination comes through. Authentic and believable, to the point where not always do the bad guys get caught. That along with the fact that the group found a way to survive based on the direct ruin of others gave me pause. Life is certainly that unclear with lines blurring at times. 

Without a doubt, a page turner that holds your interest as well as giving you much to think on when you are finished. 

An ARC of the book was given to me by the publisher through Net Galley which I voluntarily chose to read and reviewed. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Set in the Victorian era, this historical saga encapsulates the danger, depravity and dire circumstances the majority of the Victorian population endured. Despite this, the sense of community survives, and this is evident in this story.

Nellie runs a Gin Palace, which is well patronised by the local community, her young son Jack, friend Nancy, and Poppy, help her run it. The hours are long, the work is hard, and the atmosphere less than conducive for children, but there is food on the table, somewhere safe and warm to sleep, and love and understanding, which is more than most have. When Jack finds a young girl running away from an abusive step-father, he befriends her and soon she is part of the delightful, dysfunctional family.

The setting is atmospheric and vividly described, and lets you experience the sights smells and uproar of the gin palace. The characters are well crafted, it reminded me of Fagin’s boys and Nancy in Oliver, even though the children here are spared a life of crime. The camaraderie and banter draw you into their lives. The plot is simple but effective. It lets the characters shine, whilst delivering a smartly paced, suspenseful plot, that keeps you turning the pages.

The villains are what you’d expect in the Victorian era, and they threaten Nellie’s family and her livelihood. The story is the perfect length, encompassing, the sense of family, place and time, even though it is shorter than most sagas of this type.

Female characters take the lead in this story, which delivers an engaging family drama, amidst the sights sounds and smells of Victorian England.

I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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Dolly's mum had recently passed away. Her stepfather, Arthur told her that he wanted her to take her mothers place I  the house and his bed. So she runs away. Hiding in the yard of a gin palace, she's found by ten year old Jack. He eventually persuades her to come inside where his mother, Nellie invites Dolly to live with them. Dolly soon settles into her new life and works hard even though she has a withered leg and uses a stick to get around. Arthur is desperate to find Dolly. He believes she took something with her that should have been his. We also meet Ezra Morton, a notorious money lender who pops in and out of Nellie's life.

I really like Lindsey Hutchinson. Her books are always written in the era they are written in. There is a great list of characters. L liked that Nellie took everyone in, they quickly become like family members and they all had their jobs to do in the gin palace. There was  ot one thing that I did not like about this book. I was pulled into the story quickly,  This is an enchanting tale. Another great read from the author.

I would like to thank NetGalley, Boldworld Books and the author Lindsey Hutchinson for my ARC in exchange for an honest review
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I adore this author and this book was a brilliant read and one that is perfect to escape for a few hours and loose yourself.
Characters that fall out of the pages of the book and make you fell apart of the story, the setting comes alive  and captured is well with words.
A great read. that I would highly recommend.
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This was not what I expected. It was interesting. It was wild. It was something we needed in books lately. I loved it.
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This was simply brilliant. Very interesting time period and alot of laughs but also heartache in parts. The characters were very endearing and loveable like you cared what happened with them, well mostly except one or two you would quite happily have throttled lol it was a fast read too as always something happening. Really felt I stepped back in time into a Gin Palace with Nellie and Nancy and watched from the side lines. Great book and highly recommended.
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I was excited to read this novel after having read The Workhouse Children by Lindsey, and she didn't disappoint!  My only criticism of sorts would be that there were some words initially that I'd never heard of before but Kindle has a dictionary to help so I also learnt a lot so that can only be a good thing! Back to the novel, I don't know much about Victorian times but this story have me a small insight to what might've been happening.  It was lovely to get lost in the lives of 2 young children, learning to be loved by those around them, and becoming young adults with the guidance of those thought of as parents.
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Another fantastic book by Lindsay Hutchinson I really enjoy her book just has much I did her moms writing. She has brilliant storylines and fantastic characters .
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Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for allowing me to read this Arc.
A lovely witty and lively story of laughter with lots of emotion and loyalty. Lyndsey Hutchinson delivers again. I would highly recommend it.
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I really enjoyed this book so much.  It has a really great plot, superb main characters and I read it in one sitting.  I would highly recommend this book.
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Another great read from Lyndsey Hutchinson. The Children from Gin Barrel Lane will keep you rooted to your seat. Starting off with Jack who befriends Dolly, a young crippled girl. They are both in the care of Nellie who has a voice to scare anyone and a heart with a place for everyone. Her family keeps growing much to the cost of Nellie’s rival Ezra, while the wicked Arthur is always in the background. Took it everywhere so that I could continue reading it. Recommend this and it’s definitely 5stars.
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The Children of Gin Barrel Lane is captivating in its storyline and the characters weaved throughout!  The era it was set in was interesting to read about and the depiction of the town and market was fun to read about.  I enjoyed the storyline of Dolly finding her "home" and family in the unique Gin Palace of Nellie's.  I was charmed by Dolly's wise helpful advice and how she later became a partner in business with Nellie at a young age.  I had no problem staying engaged in the storyline and rad thru it quickly.  I also love the cover of the book.
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Yet another fabulous book from Lindsey Hutchinson she always draws you into the story making you feel as though you are there.The poor have love and care for those that need it. I highly recommend this book it is worth reading.
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