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Shrines of Gaiety

1926, and in a country still recovering from the Great War, London has become the focus for a delirious new nightlife. In the clubs of Soho, peers of the realm rub shoulders with starlets, foreign dignitaries with gangsters, and girls sell dances for a shilling a time.

At the heart of this glittering world is notorious Nellie Coker, ruthless but also ambitious to advance her six children, including the enigmatic eldest, Niven whose character has been forged in the crucible of the Somme. But success breeds enemies, and Nellie's empire faces threats from without and within. For beneath the dazzle of Soho's gaiety, there is a dark underbelly, a world in which it is all too easy to become lost.

With her unique Dickensian flair, Kate Atkinson brings together a glittering cast of characters in a truly mesmeric novel that captures the uncertainty and mutability of life; of a world in which nothing is quite as it seems.

Publishing date
RRP (paperback)
27 April 2023
The Shrines of Gaiety is set in the 1920's post war London. Nellie Coker is a single mother of six living in a boarding house. A theft borne from desperation saw her luck and fortune change. The story is set around Nellie's string of nightclubs, filled with upper class clientele, illegal alcohol sales and recreational drug use. There are people that would benefit from Nellie's demise, but she seems stay one step ahead. Bent coppers, spies and a number of murdered girls, the depth of research and well placed humor made this an entertaining and enjoyable read. Jo 10/10

Kate Atkinson expertly captures the hedonistic lifestyle of London Roaring ‘20’s bright young things whilst not forgetting its seedy underbelly. Based loosely on the true story of nightclub owner Kate Meyrick and her family, this is, nonetheless, a work of fiction. A brilliant read with interesting characters and smatterings of humour. Catherine 9.5/10

1920's London and Nellie Coker, Queen of her London night clubs, uses her stealth, cunning and shrewd acumen to preserve her hedonistic business and family. Kate Atkinson conjures a hidden world of corruption, addiction and decadence in a post war society where lives are cheap and the young are pleasure seekers and damaged. A masterpiece Kathryn 10/10

Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson follows the lives of the Coker family as numerous people try to usurp their London nightclub empire. There are a lot of characters and subplots which are cleverly interwoven. It makes for a gripping story which conjures up the corruption, decadence and low life of London in the 1920's, even more so as the main character, Nellie Coker, is based on a real life person. Jo M 9/10
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