Lives of three generations of a Northern working-class family spanning the twentieth century, lovingly recreated. Plenty of nostalgia and period detail, especially for Mancunian jazz fans, but what I loved were the real-life, flesh-and-blood men and women who almost walk out of these pages.
Nell and Kitty were put in the boiler shop. They had to climb up massive steel ladders to the tops of great machines that steamed and simmered, and there they had to check the dials and pull the heavy levers, yank the handles, twist the big wheels, all polished and shiny like the brasses Dad buffed up by the fender.
'Here, love, I'll just hold the ladder for you, you can't be too careful.'
'Nell!' called Kitty from her eyrie alongside. 'Cheeky buggers are getting a right eyeful.'