Cover image for Not all tarts are apple
Not all tarts are apple
Granger, Pip.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
Scottsdale, AZ : Poisoned Pen Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
205 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

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A first novel serves up an inimitable slice of British life from Coronation Summer, 1953, in a city not much different than that familiar to Charles Dickens and Oliver Twist.

Seven-year-old Rosie lives happily with Uncle Bert and pillow-plump Aunt Maggie above their cafe on Old Compton Street. The Soho neighborhood is rife with tough and sinewy London life including pimps and prostitutes, thieves and con men, the bent and the wicked.

One day at school Rosie learns her real mum's a tart. In fact, the Perfumed Lady is not only a tart, she's addicted to gin--but what's her real story? As Bert and Maggie bring in the clever nearby lawyer Sharkey Finn to draw up adoption papers, the motley group of grown-ups surrounding Rosie contribute in their own way to making the child safe from a truly surprising threat.

Rosie is an entrancing narrator, sharing the cafe clientele's matter-of-fact attitude towards crooks and crimes, not to mention the puzzling mystery of identity that unfolds so convincingly yet so innocently that time and place will blur as you turn the pages.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Granger's latest is a warmhearted fictional memoir of growing up in post^-World War II London. Six-year-old Rosa Featherby has been raised by Auntie Maggie and Uncle Bert ever since her mother, Cassandra, deserted her at birth. Despite occasional visits from her mum, Rosa can't imagine leaving her aunt and uncle and their circle of friends. But after a girl at school tells everyone in the playground that Rosa's mum is a tart, Rosa starts worrying about whether her life with Maggie and Bert will be disrupted. As it turns out, she's right to worry. Her mum is from a wealthy family but ran away to avoid her abusive stepfather, who now wants to get his hands on Cassandra's share of the profitable family business. Unlike many modern stories, this one ends with both the good guys and the baddies getting their just rewards. Rosa's little-girl perspective gives the book a charm and naiveterare in modern fiction, and the nostalgia for the "good old days" is palpable. Maeve Binchy fans will enjoy it. Emily Melton

Publisher's Weekly Review

During Queen Elizabeth's coronation summer of 1953, Rosie, a seven-year-old waif living above an Old Compton Street caf with the owners (a couple she calls Auntie Maggie and Uncle Bert), learns something about her unknown parentage in this captivating first novel. Granger, a native of London's bohemian Soho district, celebrates London low life a Dickensian rogues' gallery of pimps, prostitutes, con men, thieves and shady lawyers through the engaging voice of her endearing young heroine. "It's Edward VIII, miss," Rosie tells her teacher, eager to contribute to a class discussion about the new queen's family. "He was having it off with that Simpson woman, my auntie Maggie said so. Terrible it was. She was a divorced woman, miss, and still married to Mr. Simpson." As she talks of her school friends and neighbors, of a train trip, a beach holiday, a visit to a posh house as well as excursions closer to home, Rosie paints an earthy and entertaining picture of England a half-century ago. A high-speed chase, a kidnapping and blackmail provide the action, while the mysterious Perfumed Lady, the tart of the tale, supplies the tension. Readers expecting a conventional crime caper may be disappointed, but anyone who appreciates fine storytelling will eagerly await further word from Rosie in the sequel, The Widow Ginger, due next year. Agent, Jane Conway-Gordon. (Oct. 21) FYI: Not All Tarts Are Apple won Britain's Harry Bowling Prize for fiction. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved