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Our Review

“Experiences are the canvas of memories, and you’ll be grateful for those one day when memories are all you have left.”

Only 99c/77p for this book? That’s almost criminal! Do not hesitate to grab this book! Two women, two lives, divided by an ocean – and a secret hidden for 75 years. What an incredible story! We were in floods of tears throughout this book.

The word epic tends to get bandied around a bit these days, but in the case of The Lilac Cadillac, this word is warranted, because this truly is an epic and sweeping story of love, loss, and sacrifice. And it’s a story so cleverly and sincerely brought to life by Jane Harvey-Berrick, we were left breathless in its heartbreak and beauty, taking to heart the thought-provoking message in a book that will stay with us forever. We’re told to embrace life. To live for every moment, to love no matter what obstacles are placed in our paths.

‘Youth makes you believe you’re indestructible, but by the time age teaches you wisdom, it’s too late to learn from the truths.’

Please, please read this book. Nothing anyone could say would do justice to the words written between the pages or the love given in each chapter. We always connect to a story when we can feel the author’s heart in the book, and that was so evident in The Lilac Cadillac. Dolly, Joe, Fiona – Sylvia, Harry, and Charlie’s stories felt personal to us. We shed so many shed tears for them.

‘Family isn’t just the people whose lives we’re born into; family can be the people we meet along the road on our life journey.’

An incredibly emotional, painful, funny, and prophetic story that spans continents and decades. From the horrors of war in 1939 Britain to the fun and frivolity of a road trip to Vegas in 2019, Jane Harvey-Berrick meticulously and brilliantly weaves one of the most genuinely beautiful books we’ve read this year. We were held spellbound from the very first, to the very last page.

“If all we ever have is now,” I whispered into the silence, “I will have lived the richest life and count myself fortunate.”

The story is told in alternating timelines, one being, 1939 at the beginning of World War two in Britain where Sylvia’s story unfolds, to 2019 where we meet Fiona McCloud. How do the two stories intertwine? Well, that is the journey you need to undertake yourselves and find out. This should be a movie!

“I wish I’d met you in another life.”
“Won’t this one do?”
I asked, my voice trembling.

Sylvia Edwards was only 17 when the war came to Godalming, Surrey on 3rd September 1939. With an uncertain future, Sylvia, and her childhood sweetheart Harry Woods, marry before he is shipped off to war, leaving Sylvia questioning her role in the horror that has bequeathed Britain.

‘A year ago, I’d felt like my heart was breaking but it was hard to conjure that memory as I danced with men I’d never met before, surrounding myself with noise and strangers, singing and dancing. Looking back was a sobering experience, so I didn’t.’

Fiona McCloud is a young lady with no confidence, and a stack of self-loathing, who visits a Cedar Court Aged care to beautify the residents. It is here Fiona meets Dolly Porter, a 97-year-old lady with an effervescent, cheeky personality and a zest for life, and a lifetime of stories. It is also where she meets Joe Fox, a young Native American so confused about himself, he’s become lost. Dolly persuades (well, insists more like it) Joe and Fiona to join her on a road trip to Vegas.

“Don’t be afraid of life, Fiona. Don’t be afraid to live.”

Little by little, the author drops crumbs for us to piece together, whilst never giving too much away. Instead, leaving it up to us to uncover the secrets in our own time. As Jane Harvey-Berrick weaves the story to its wonderful crescendo, we openly wept tears of gratitude for the sad, funny, heartbreakingly sweet epic journey this author took us on.

Ultimately, love is the goal, and that was the case in The Lilac Cadillac. Bravo! Grab your tissues, and please ensure you read the author’s notes at the end.

“There is a time to cry and a time to laugh, a time to grieve and a time to dance.”


An epic love story at a time of war

“Amazingly beautiful and powerful”
“heart-wrenching and poignant”

Two women, two lives, divided by an ocean – and a secret hidden for 75 years.
London, 1939, Sylvia marries her sweetheart, Harry, in the days before he’s sent to war. It will be four, long years before she sees him again.

In 2019, Fiona McCloud is struggling to make ends meet in her small Iowa town but has big dreams of a more glamorous life. In private, the plus-size woman fantasizes about being Marilyn Monroe. In reality, she’s a part-time hairdresser and beautician at the Cedars Retirement Village.

Fiona’s favorite resident is 97 year-old Dolly. The world thinks Dolly is disgraceful, with her octogenarian lover and addiction to fast cars.

And then there’s Joe Fox, the sulky and sensual gardener, a Native American with flowing black hair and wary eyes.

When Dolly decides to take a road trip to Las Vegas, she persuades Fiona and Joe to come with her. They don’t know that Dolly has an ulterior motive, or that this journey will change their lives forever.

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