Tuesday 10 December 2019

Review by Sally Shaw of “Betsy & Lilibet” by Sophie Duffy

It’s 2016, Bognor Regis, when a feisty voice is heard …

I never thought I’d be old. But here I am, sitting on a wee-resistant armchair in the overheated lounge of a residential home on the south coast.”

This is the introduction to Elizabeth Sarah Sunshine, born in 1926, London. A few hours later and a few miles away, another Elizabeth is born. One will wear a crown and be known to her family as Lilibet and the other will bury the dead, and to her family, be Betsy. She will be the ‘son’ at Sunshine & Sons undertakers, the family business. 

Betsy recalls her life over the past ninety years, as friends and family visit her at the retirement home. She journeys back to her childhood, relationships with her sisters. Marg and Mab, school bullies and best friend, Janet.  Betsy recalls the horror of the Blitz and how this led her to take the action she did to help Janet. 

It’s the visitors and staff at the retirement home that cause Betsy to reconsider events, her actions and the behaviours f others. Along with life’s complexities, family tragedies and unspoken truths, she drops in the three times she crosses paths with Lilibet and the influence this has had on them both. 

Sophie Duffy has written a protagonist in Betsy who will make the reader laugh, cry, be surprised but above all, want to listen to. Betsy has lived a life. The story is just that, about life, love, loss, betrayal and trying to work it all out, even at the age of ninety. 

About the Reviewer 
Sally Shaw completed her MA in Creative Writing in September, 2019 at the University of Leicester. She writes short stories and poetry. She is currently writing a composite novel relating to the Overhead Railway and Liverpool 5 area. She gains inspiration form old photographs, history and writers such as Sandra Cisneros, Deborah Morgan and Liz Berry.  Her short prose has been published in Newmag, Ink Pantry and the anthology Tales from Garden Street. Most recently she was longlisted in the Sunderland Short Story Competition. Sally worked as a nurse for thirty-three years and lives in Warwickshire with her partner and three pekin bantams. 

No comments:

Post a Comment