Troubador Between Charnwood and the Chevin

Released: 28/11/2019

ISBN: 9781838591915

Format: Paperback

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Between Charnwood and the Chevin

Growing Up in Derbyshire, Just After the Second World War: A Memoir


Between Charnwood and the Chevin is a snapshot of the time between post-War austerity and the start of the Swinging Sixties, a time of change, when the relative equality of the War years was being hastily shovelled back under the nice new fitted carpets. 

The developing suburb of Derby, where the author grew up, is described as ‘an uneasy cross between The Stepford Wives and Royston Vasey.’ Her family was ‘ordinary enough’ but could still boast a silent movie actress, a world famous philosopher, several strange family disappearances, a lot of railway folk and involvement in two civil wars. Ancestors had come from the flat lands of Lincolnshire, and others from the far south of Staffordshire, in search of work, settling in Derbyshire and Derby itself, where they stayed and flourished and which this books evokes with such affection. 

The author’s account of her childhood and early teens is filled with warmth and humour as she occasionally looks back In Anger, but more often in laughter. It was the time of Angry Young Men and just slightly Stroppy Young Women.

Reading Brenda Ray's story of growing up in Derby and environs was, for me, like luxuriating in a warm bath of nostalgia. We share very similar ages and geographical backgrounds - and even interests judging from the author's profile. But even if that were not so, the sheer beauty, readability and mischievous humour of the language draws you in. I finished the book in three days flat ... and felt flat after doing so in the knowledge that there was no more to read. It is that sort of book. In fact, it is more of a companion than a book and will find a permanent place on my bookshelf of books to dip into time and time again. This is a highly recommended read - and an absolute 'must read' for anyone in the Derby area, partulatly those of a certain age.

by Malcolm Twigg

Reading Brenda Ray's 'Between Charnwood and the Chevin' was, for me, like wallowing in a warm bath of nostalgia. The author and I are of an age, of a place and - if her profile is anything to go by - of similar interests. But, even without that similarity, the engaging style and wry, pithy, and slyly humorous commentary on the people and places of Derby and environs in the '50s and '60s draws the reader in. Completely. I devoured this book in three days flat and its a long, long time since I did that. This is a highly recommended read. And for me - someone who grew up in much the same geographical location and the precise time frame, it is less a book than a companion that will reside on my bookshelf for years to come to be dipped into time and again.

by Malcolm Twigg

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