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Author(s): Shelley Harris

Location(s): Buckinghamshire

Genre(s): Fiction

Era(s): 1977



Published in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, Shelley Harris’s remarkably assured debut novel is rooted in the Silver Jubilee celebrations of June 1977. Cherry Gardens, in a small Buckinghamshire village, is throwing a street party. Union Jack bunting is festooned from house to house: trestle tables will carry the vat of unappetising coronation chicken and cakes iced in red, white and blue, as well as the scrumptious chakli contributed by the Patels, who had come to Bourne Heath fleeing Idi Amin’s violent expulsion of Asians from Uganda. “Do let’s remember this is a particularly British celebration,” antique Miss Bissett had sniffily objected to Mrs Patel’s culinary offer. Her simple, patriotic reply prompts an awkward pause for the organising committee: “I am British now. She’s my Queen too.” The Independent

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Lead Review

This brilliant novel vividly evokes life in an English 1970s shire counties village/small town. Whilst there are some joyous retro details of childhood in the 1970s (such as buying Black Jacks down at the...

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