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OUR STREETBuy this book

Our Street

A wartime Cockney saga of love and determination

1944, north London. Fifteen-year-old Frankie Lewis sometimes thinks the war will go on for ever. But one foggy night in the blackout his life takes an extraordinary turn. Inveigled by his mates into playing a vindictive prank on the German-Jewish widow who lives off the Seven Sisters Road, Frankie finds himself hauled across her doorstep into a world of books and culture.

Fascinated by Elsa’s stories of life before the war and with her late husband – a British officer – young Frankie soon becomes good friends with Elsa, helping her out in a chaotic bric-a-brac shop and confiding his troubles to her – from his crush on pretty Highbury schoolgirl Margaret to his sister’s unwanted pregnancy.

So, when Elsa dies of a heart attack, Frankie is devastated. He is almost as shocked to discover that Elsa has left her shop to him – a legacy that her brother-in-law is determined to deny him…

"The house itself was in total darkness, and Frankie could just see the outline of it against the night sky. To him it looked like the giant’s castle he’d seen in a Walt Disney film, alive and just waiting for him. To his terrified mind, it looked ugly and distorted. ‘Get on wiv it, then!’ Jeff was calling from across the street while the others whistled and jeered. Frankie cursed them then took a deep breath and made his way up the stone steps to the front door… There was absolutely no sound at all coming from inside, and this made him even more nervous. Before he made his move, he decided to wait until the moon had disappeared behind the clouds again. It seemed to take ages. Gradually, however, the thin beam of moonlight on the stained glass door vanished in the darkness and in one swift movement, Frankie reached up to the large door knocker and banged hard three times. But just as he was shouting at the top of his voice: ‘Knock Down Ginger!’ the door suddenly opened and he was grabbed by his coat collar and yanked inside."
‘A warm, poignant story’ Plymouth Evening Telegraph, January 1994
‘Never a dull moment in this charming story’ Romford and Hornchurch Recorde, December 1993