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This Lovely City Reviews

This Lovely City by Louise Hare

This Lovely City

Louise Hare

4.08 out of 5

8 reviews

Imprint: HQ
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 1 Mar 2020
ISBN: 9780008332570

`FULL OF LIFE AND LOVE... IT MADE MY HEART SOAR, AND SHOULD BE ON EVERY LONDONER'S SHELF' Stacey Halls, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Familiars The drinks are flowing. The music is playing. But the party can't last.

4 stars out of 5
Hannah Beckerman
31 Jan 2021

"Hare brings pathos and warmth to a vibrant story of postwar immigration"

Louise Hare’s debut novel explores the experiences of the Windrush generation through her protagonist, Lawrie Matthews, arriving in a Britain he believes is going to offer work and a warm welcome. Instead, he finds a grim country shot through with racism. Life is good for Lawrie, who falls in love with the mixed-race girl next door, until he discovers the body of a black baby in a local pond and the accusations fly. Hare brings pathos and warmth to a vibrant story of postwar immigration.


5 stars out of 5
Sarra Manning
1 Jan 2021

"paints a vivid picture"

Set against the backdrop of Soho jazz clubs and narror south London streets, This Lovely City paints a vivid picture of what life was really like for the Windrush generation. 

4 stars out of 5
Sarra Manning
15 Mar 2020

"Fans of Andrea Levy's Small Island will love it."

In 1948 Lawrie Matthews alights from HMS Windrush in a London still reeling from the aftershocks of the war and hostile to its newest citizins. Evie has lived in London all her life but the colour of her skin has always set her apart - until she meets Lawrie. Set against a backdrop of Soho jazz clubs and south London streets, it paints a vivid picture of what life was really like for the Windrush generation. Fans of Andrea Levy's Small Island will love it.

4 stars out of 5
Patricia Nicol
15 Mar 2020

"This hotly anticipated debut offers a vivid portrait of the immigrant experience of postwar London"

Louise Hare’s title, This Lovely City (HQ £12.99), although a quote from its main character, is also a questionable assertion. The London that Lawrie Matthews encounters after arriving from Jamaica in 1948, aboard the Empire Windrush, is war-damaged, shabby and often openly hostile to black immigrants such as him. At the end of the novel’s first chapter he responds to a woman’s cry of distress and discovers a drowned baby. Far from being hailed a hero, he becomes the police’s chief suspect.

4 stars out of 5
Nina Pottell
15 Mar 2020

"Brimming with nostalgia for what it was like for those who arrived in the UK after the second world war"

This heartfelt story follows jazz musician Laurie Matthews, whose dreams of England, after arriving on Empire Windrush, are shattered when he's arrested for a crime he didn't commit. Brimming with nostalgia for what it was like for those who arrived in the UK after the second world war.

4 stars out of 5
15 Mar 2020

"A thought-provoking mystery"

In her atmospheric debut novel, Louise Hare transports us to post-war London. It's 1950 and jazz musician Lawrie, fresh off the Empire Windrush, has taken lodgings and fallen in love with Evie, the girl next door. Touring the music halls of Soho by night, by day he works as a postman. But when he makes a terrible discovery, he becomes the prime suspect. It soon becomes clear that the new arrivals from the Carribean may not be as welcome as they'd been led to believe. 

4 stars out of 5
12 Mar 2020

"I loved the post-war atmosphere"

The body of a baby is discovered on Clapham Common and the innocent Lawrie becomes the target of cruel Inspector Rathbone.

Whose baby is it, though? Suddenly every character has a secret but, a mistress of suspense, Hare keeps us guessing to the last page.

I loved the post-war atmosphere: bombed, broken London as visual metaphor for the story’s violence and racism. Can Lawrie and Evie face down these ugly attitudes armed only with hope and youth?

4 stars out of 5
Hephzibah Anderson
1 Mar 2020

"music, solidarity and courage to be found in pages laced with rum punch"

Louise Hare’s debut novel pairs a poignant tale of young love and shameful prejudice with a twisting mystery, all embedded in a historical moment with keen contemporary resonance. Tantalising ingredients to be sure, yet it’s her steady, calm prose and the animating authenticity of her material that make it so hard to resist. The book is set largely in Brixton, south London, where Lawrie has settled along with many of his fellow Windrush passengers. “Welcome Home!” read the newspaper headline that greeted them at Tilbury – a welcome that’s turned out to be at best threadbare, at worst viciously xenophobic.