Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Every Step of the Way by Kit Domino

A couple of months ago I agreed to be a reviewer for a new book site; The Love A Happy Ending Bookshelf.    The Bookshelf is the 'sister' site of which has been up and running since June 2011 and showcases 30 authors from around the world who write fiction, poetry and real-life.  The featured authors are beginning to get noticed and 7 of them have now signed deals with publishers.  The Love A Happy Ending Bookshelf site features these authors and their publishers.

My first review is for Every Step of the Way by Kit Domino which was shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Prize in 2004 and is published by Thornberry Publishing

Beth Brixham is a 16-year-old London girl.  It's 1952 and the city is beginning to recover from the War.  Beth is desperately looking for an office job, something that will please her parents and allow her a little more freedom and independence, away from her bullish, somewhat overbearing Father and her overworked and tired Mother.  Beth is making her way to an interview when she becomes lost in a terrible 'pea-souper' of a fog, a fog like nothing ever seen before in London which becomes known as the 'Great Smog'.  Beth takes refuge in a cafe, and gets talking to the staff and owner who offers her a job there and then.    Working in a cafe is not what Beth had hoped for, but once there, she soon starts to enjoy her days.   
Eventually, after four days the smog cleared and the aftermath for the city is huge.  Thousands of people have died and lives have been changed forever.  The aftermath for Beth is that instead of getting an office job, she is now a waitress - but has met the handsome and charming Terry who has quickly stolen her heart.
Life deals Beth and her family a really hard hand.  As she encounters tragedy and disappointment her character's strength shines through.  Kit Domino paints a wonderfully evocative picture of life in the 1950s, of the newly emerging coffee shop culture, the music and the fashion.  Throughout the story, as Beth deals with the pain and grief around her, she never weakens.   Sometimes she may make the wrong decisions in life, but always for the right reasons.  Beth is loyal and devoted to her family, despite her Father's treatment of her and her siblings, and indeed, his own wife.  She is also determined to fight for her rights as a woman, often going against the wishes of others, to make sure that she as a woman can have the same opportunities as the men.
The story moves to rural Gloucestershire for a while and again Kit Domino is able to paint a wonderfully realistic picture of life on a farm in the 50s.
Kit Domino
I was very impressed by the quality of the writing, the descriptions of murky London transport the reader back into the midst of the smog.   Each of the characters were well-rounded, realistic and likeable, especially the heroine Beth, who with her forward-thinking ways really makes the reader stop and think about how much women today owe to those who fought the equality cause all those years ago.
This is a historical family drama done very well.   The ending is left wide open for a sequel and I'd like to think that Kit Domino will let her readers know what happens next for Beth.

My thanks go to Linn and all at The Love A Happy Ending Bookshelf for inviting me to be a reviewer on their new site and sending a copy of Every Step of the Way as my first review.


  1. Wow, Anne, what a fabulous review. I'm thrilled and thrilled you enjoyed the book. Thank you so much.
    Kit :)

  2. It's an amazing book - you really get a feel for the era and that fog! So thick you couldn't see your hand in front of your face! Fabulous review Anne and can't wait to see you in the first loveahappyending Bookshelf Newsletter next week!

  3. What a terrific review. I can see Kit grinning from here. A big warm welcome to Love a Happy Ending bookshelf - I am sure you'll enjoy reading the novels.

  4. Hi Anne - welcome to the the loveahappyending bookshelf! We both must have been reading Every Step of the Way at the same time, as I have just finished it and loved it. I agree with your review wholeheartedly. The characters in this novel are so real - to love and hate and care about - and the settings so atmospheric. My mum would have been the same age as the heroine, Beth, in the 1950's and I couldn't help but to feel that I'd got a real sense of what growing up then would have been like. Well done Kit, on such a beautifully written story which is so expertly told.

    Janice xx

  5. Hello Anne, I have not visited your blog before - what a lovely review for Kit's book. At the risk of repetition... welcome to the LAHE Bookshelf, we have plenty of books lined up ready for you to read! I look forward to popping back soon to read your next review - for Janice Horton I believe.

  6. Hi Anne

    Welcome to the Loveahappyending bookshelf! A wonderful review for Kit! I have this novel on my Kindle and am now even more excited to read it!

    Mandy :)

  7. Thank you all for the warm welcomes - I'm delighted to be part of this, and looking forward to reading Janice's book next
    Anne x

  8. Great review of a great book! Welcome to the Loveahappyending Bookshelf Anne! :-)

  9. Hi Anne - I like your free-stuff philosophy - must be the Scot in me! Welcome to lahe. I also loved Beth to bits - such a gutsy heroine and I'm also honoured to be with the same publisher. See you around!

  10. Hi Anne! *waves from sunny Lincoln to ... Anne in sunny Lincoln!* It's very nice to meet you and a huge, warm welcome to the Lovehappyending bookshelf! I loved your review of Every Step of the Way, and agree with it wholeheartedly. I could practically smell the fog in the opening pages! I was rooting for Beth all the way and raging against the old-time society that made it so hard for women to pursue their lives independently. Great review, thank you ~ and huge congrats to Kit!

  11. Hi Nicky - fancy you being in Lincoln! Small world, thanks for the welcome
    A x

  12. Hi Anne!
    Welcome to the Love a Happy Ending Bookshelf. We're happy to have you join us. I enjoyed your honest and thoughtful review of Every Step of the Way. Thanks for sharing and I'm looking forward to reading more!