Book: Sisters of Gold by Annie Murray

Book: Sisters of Gold by Annie Murray

With the case of this Annie Murray publication, never judge a book by it’s cover. Although the cover of Sisters of Gold does mention the dark secrets the story teases as it weaves in and out of their rural, religious upbringing to explain their current actions.

In 1904, Margaret and Annie have arrived by train to Birmingham from their Bristol home and been met by a complete stranger. The young man escorts them to their temporary home, with their non-religious uncle and aunt. They are too polite and kind to find out why these young, motherless sisters have left their father alone so we have to put two and two together and make three and a half before all is revealed some way into the book.

I get used to the sinister goings-on, however, reading about poverty once again in the streets where I currently live is tough to take. I haven’t got over the Kathleen Dayus memoir yet and now I’m introduced to the heartbreaking situations of the whole of the Poole family living in those same slums.

Whereas the glimpse into growing up in a religious family is exactly as I imaged (equal parts loving/stifling), learning more about the jewellery trade is as fascinating as always. I loved reading about proud Aunt Harriet’s ambitious plans to move into their purpose-built home with an actual bathroom in Handsworth while their neighbour repeatedly turns down invites to join the prestigious Guild. I even looked up Chain Street as in my ten years of living in this area of Birmingham, I’ve never come across it. Alas, this bit is fiction.

Overall, the story is about two very different sisters who ultimately do have a heart of gold. It really does have everything I like in a story; history, business, locality and hope. Having grabbed this when the author was doing a local signing across the road from me, I can now consider myself an Annie Murray fan.

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