The Girl From World’s End – Leah Fleming

The Girl From World’s End is a beautiful and poignant tale. At just eight years old, Mirren Gilchrist is orphaned after her alcoholic father meets with a tragic accident. She is sent to live with her estranged grandparents on their farm in the Yorkshire Dales. To begin with, it is a complete culture shock as she is now living in a large and beautiful house, totally unlike the tiny one she has been removed from. After a while, she begins to settle in with her new family, but school is still a problem. Children are not very forgiving, and Mirren is bullied and teased until eventually, she flees the school. Frightened to go home and be caught out of school, Mirren wanders the hills high above her new home, and discovers the ruins of a stone cottage, called World’s End.

Caught in a fierce snowstorm, Mirren has little choice but to take shelter in the cottage. From that moment, Mirren falls in love with the place and dreams of one day it being her very own. It saved her life, and one day she wants to repay the favour. Back at the farm, her new-found obsession with World’s End is scorned, particularly as rumour has it the place is haunted. Mirren is not concerned, and is determined that one day, she will have her way.

Adulthood approaches, and Mirren realises she has been in love with her friend Jack, ever since she first met him. He is the son of her uncle’s wife to be, who was widowed. Eventually the couple marry, and she and Jack become even closer. However, life is never simple, and World War II strikes, separating the couple as Jack joins the Army and does his duty for Britain. When he returns on leave, it is apparent that Army life has changed him, and he turns to alcohol for solace. Mirren of course finds this very difficult as she sees history repeating itself as alcohol was what killed her father, and shaped her entire life. She struggles to cope with the changed Jack, and soon enough, motherhood. Problems come one after the other for poor Mirren and further tragedies follow – which end up with her taking comfort from the one place she always felt safe – World’s End. But will Mirren ever know happiness again, or is she destined for a lifetime of solitude in her cottage?

This is a really meaningful book. A dramatic and hard-hitting tale which brings home the dangers of alcohol, and how it can affect people’s lives forever. Read this and you’ll be completely hooked, and almost begging the pages to give Mirren a happy ending.

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