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At the beginning of VG Lee’s fourth novel, Always you, Edina, Bonnie Benson is visiting her grandmother in the Three Elms Nursing Home. ‘Your dad was very different,’ her grandmother tells her, ‘not so easy to fathom but he had…well I suppose you’d call it sex appeal. Not only did he have it, but he knew he had it’.
Suddenly a childhood memory is triggered taking Bonnie back over four decades to her ten-year-old self living with her family in Birmingham. It is 1964 and Prince Philip is about to open the newly constructed Bull Ring. Bonnie has three idols in her life; Joanna Bayliss, the most popular girl at her school; glamorous, charismatic Aunt Ed, who ‘could light up a room – if there was a man in that room’; and Bonnie’s father, Ken. Bonnie observes the close relationship between Ed and Ken without comprehending the tragic repercussions it will have on both families.