Publication date: 23rd January 2018
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Pages: 290 Pages
Format reading: Paperback
Copy provided by: Faye- Authoright
(All thought’s and feelings on this book are entirely my own and have in no way been influenced.)
Blurb (as seen on the back cover)
Veronica Bird was one of nine children living in a tiny house in Barnsley with a brutal coal miner for a father. Life was a despairing time in the 1950s, as Veronica sought desperately to keep away from his cruelty. Astonishingly, to her and her mother, she won a scholarship to Ackworth Boarding School where she began to shine above her class-mates. A champion in all sports, Veronica at last found some happiness until her brother-in-law came into her life. It was as if she had stepped from the frying pan into the re: he took over control of her life removing her from the school she adored, two terms before she was due to take her GCEs, so he could put her to work as a cheap option on his market stall. Abused for many years by these two men, Veronica eventually ran away and applied to the Prison Service, knowing it was the only safe place she could trust. This is the astonishing, and true story of Veronica Bird who rose to become a Governor of Armley prison. Given a ‘basket case’ in another prison, contrary to all expectations, she turned it around within a year, to become an example for others to match. During her life inside, her ‘bird’, she met many Home Secretaries, was honoured by the Queen and was asked to help improve conditions in Russian Prisons. A deeply poignant story of eventual triumph against a staggeringly high series of setbacks, her story is filled with humour and compassion for those inside.
Firstly I would like to say a massive thank you to Clink Street Publishing and Faye from Authoright; for not only asking me to take part in the 12 days of Clink Street blog tour but also for sending me a paperback to read and review here today. I did have a choose of which book to review and can I just say there were so many interesting and intriguing books of which to choose from. But for me Veronica’s Bird stood out to me just a little bit more.
The cover to this book is on a grey backing which looks like a concrete wall. A black bird-cage sits to the left side of the cover and houses a blue bird inside. The blue continues in the title; which goes round the curve of the bird cage. The author names are on the top left, which I think the text could have been a bit bolder in my opinion. Very striking cover, which had I seen in a book shop I would have defiantly pick it up to read the blurb.
Veronica’s bird is a true account of a woman who comes from a bleak and abusive family, namely by her coal mining father and her brother-in-law. She try’s to get away by applying for a scholarship at a boarding school; until she is pulled out to work for her brother-in-law for pittance. Veronica is constantly looking for a way out and to some place safe and joins the police force; only that isn’t enough to keep her safe. So then she decides there to put some much-needed space between her and her family and joins the prison service; which comes with accommodation meaning she would finally be safe.
Once in the prison service she see’s how the prison is run and the conditions in which the prisoners are living, and wants to help prisoners less fortunate than herself. The only way she will be able to do so will be to work her way up the career ladder.
As she works her way up in her career Veronica works in a number of prisons across the UK and in that time she comes across some extremely dangerous inmates like; Myra Hindley, Dolours and Marian Price, Charlie Bronson and Carol Richardson. In a bit a bid to change the system she is helped by numerous people lie Frank Bruno and a number of Home Secretaries and Roger Kendrick.
I have to say this book intrigued me from the first page till the last, simply because Veronica’s journey through her life was so interesting. What an astonishing lady she is, finding sheer determination in the darkest of times and dedicating 35 years of her life to the UK’s prison service. Veronica was well liked by both the staff and the prisoners; which very helped her in her quest to stay safe and to keep the prison system up to the standard it should be. I think she is one amazing lady and should be immensely proud of all that she has achieved in here working life. However it was sad she never got to have a family of her own.
Veronica’s Bird is a highly thought-provoking and sad but shows a woman with sheer strength and determination in a very bleak start. I highly recommend this astonishing book, it’s really an eye-opener.
Marie’s Book Boutique Gives
Veronica’s Bird by Veronica Bird and Richard Newman
5 Sparkly Stars
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