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Book Review – Water Gypsies by Annie Murray

I was really excited to reading this book as soon as I got it for two reasons. Firstly, Annie Murray is one of my favourite authors, her style of writing captures my imagination instantly. Her books always run in a series of at least two books so that you can follow the story of the characters. Secondly, I am obsessed with canal boats and always have been since an early age. I buy decorative items from a local man who paints the floral detail on canal boats for a living and as a sideline paints the same detail onto pots, pans and other beautiful pieces.

What I didn’t realise when I bought this book was that it was part two in a series, which luckily I had already read the first book called “The narrowboat girl”. It was a couple of years ago that I read it but as soon as I started on “Water gypsies”, I was transported back into the world of canal boats as if I had read both books one after the other. Whilst you can still read “Water gypsies” without having read “The narrowboat girl”, I do believe you should read them in order to get a better understanding of what character Maryann’s childhood was like before she became a boat woman. Perhaps a good suggestion on my part for the publishers and indeed authors would be to identify their books on the cover so that we can understand its part of a series! With a bit of luck you never know a publisher might be reading this review.

“Water gypsies” tells a more in-depth story of what life was really like for a boat woman in the 1940s and the hardships that were faced that we perhaps don’t think about now.

I felt there was two main points to the story and the way of life for boat families, where they struggled with a large family, little money, hard work for the husband on top of this was World War II.

From the start of the book I was gripped, whereas sometimes i feel starting a book the story line is slow on the uptake. There were so many unexpected twists and turns throughout the story that I just simply struggled put the book down. Annie’s wonderful descriptions of inside the boat caught my imagination so much that I could almost imagine myself being there. Her use of local slang also had me reading the book in my head with a Birmingham accent which was where the character Maryann originated. Overall I think this book was one of the best saga genre books that I have read in a very long time and I will admit that I actually read the last quarter of the book in one go because i was so intrigued to its ending (I finished it at 2am). If you love a little bit of history alongside your romance and saga books like I do then this book is the one for you.

43 thoughts on “Book Review – Water Gypsies by Annie Murray

  1. This sounds like such an interesting book, I’d love to hear more about the saga if you read more! Thanks for sharing x

  2. I don’t think I have heard about this author or book before. It sounds really interesting! I was rubbish last year with reading so I want to definitely read more this year. Reading posts like this motivate me to read more. Thank you for sharing Kelly xx

  3. It’s lucky you had read the first one, I find it so annoying when I’ve bought a book and started reading only to realise I’ve missed one.

    I’ve just read a book about a woman having a change of scenery on a house boat and really enjoyed it, made life on the water appealing.

    Looks like a great read x

    1. I agree, this book also made life on the water appealing, so much so that I’d quite like to hire one for a week to see for myself. Thank you for reading

  4. We are all avid readers in our house. Love hearing about great reads. Will check this one out!!!!

  5. I don’t think I’ve read anything set on a canal boat before. This sounds like a great read – a series I’ll look out for for sure. Great review!

  6. Been looking for a good book recommendation lately, thanks for the amazing review x


  7. Sounds like a book I’d like to read. I’m not sure if I‘be heard about canal boats. Now you have piqued my interest.

  8. This sounds like a really great and interesting book to read. I love history and to learn about life in the past. Putting this on my reading list! Thank you for doing this review!

  9. Oh, I know the feeling of reading a book only to belatedly realise its part of a series. It’s great luck that you remembered the previous book 🙂 The canal setting is gorgeous. This sounds like just the book for me right now. Fab review Kelly

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