Public Battles, Private Wars, by Laura Wilkinson

Maggie, Maggie, Maggie! Out, out, out!

Public Battles, Private WarsMaggie, Maggie, Maggie! Out, out, out! If you remember that chant and can also sing along to Kajagoogoo's "Too Shy", then you will remember the terrible miners' strike and the heartache and division that it caused.

And if you don’t, then this book will make it all very clear.

Mandy, a miner’s wife, is 23 and stuck in a rut of babies and domesticity. The only thing she thinks that she can do well is bake cakes. Her handsome husband, Rob, is a heavy drinker and seems content with his lot.

When her attractive childhood friend returns home with her Falklands hero husband, Mandy looks to Ruth for inspiration and help. But Ruth is not quite what she seems.

Conflict with the National Coal Board turns into war and the miners come out on strike. The tight-knit community and the whole way of life is threatened - and Mandy finds herself caught up in the strife and bitter conflicts.

She joins a group that supports the striking miners' hard-hit families and is pushed out of her comfort zone; she enters, unwillingly at first, the world of politics. Friendships and allegiances are pushed to breaking point.

This is a really vivid account of those days, and the hopes and aspirations of a young woman who is struggling to balance family, marriage, hopes and dreams.

The passion of the politics and the terrible toll that the strike took among her family will have you gripped.