Not All Tarts are Apple by Pip Granger

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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.

About Pip Granger

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Part of Pip Granger’s early childhood was spent in the back seat of a light aircraft as her father smuggled brandy, tobacco and books across the English Channel to be sold in 1950s Soho, where she lived above The Two Is Cafe in Old Compton Street. She travelled in Europe and Asia in the 1980s, before quitting and teaching to pursue her long-cherished ambition to write. Her first novel, Not All Tarts are Apple, has won the Harry Bowling Prize for fiction. Pip Granger now lives in the West Country with her husband and pets.
Published April 1, 2002 by Bantam Press. 289 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Not All Tarts are Apple

Publishers Weekly

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During Queen Elizabeth's coronation summer of 1953, Rosie, a seven-year-old waif living above an Old Compton Street café with the owners (a couple she calls Auntie Maggie and Uncle Bert), learns something about her unknown parentage in this captivating first novel.

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Reviewing the Evidence

Since she knew who her mum was (the Perfumed Lady (1) who stopped by the restaurant occasionally) she also started to worry she might be taken by her mum from the only home she knew and the people she adored.

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