Seniors Book Club May Selection

417ltjtvpnl-_sy445_ql70_The Seniors Book Club will meet at 2:00 on Wednesday, May 10 in the Children’s Open Corner to discuss Twopence to Cross the Mersey, a memoir by Helen Forrester.

About the book …

When Helen Forester’s father went bankrupt in 1930 she and her six siblings were forced from comfortable middle-class life in southern England to utmost poverty in the Depression-ridden North. Her parents more or less collapsed under the strain, father spending hours in search of non-existent work, or in the dole queue, mother on the verge of a breakdown and striving to find and keep part-time jobs. The running of the household, in slum surroundings and with little food, the care of the younger children, all fell on twelve-year-old Helen. Unable to attend school, Helen’s fear that she was to be trapped forever as drudge and housekeeper caused her to despair at times. But she was determined to have a chance and struggled, despite her parents, to gain an education. (from the Publisher)

About the author …

Helen Forrester was born in Hoylake, Cheshire, the eldest of seven children. For many years, until she married, her home was Liverpool, a city that features prominently in her work.

Throughout her teenage years, Forrester worked for a charitable organisation in Liverpool, which provided background for her novels Liverpool Daisy, A Cuppa Tea and an Aspirin, and Three Women of Liverpool. After surviving the Blitzing of Liverpool and losing two consecutive fiancés to the Second World War she met and, in 1950, married Dr. Avadh Bhatia; her life with him in India provided background for Thursday’s Child and The Moneylenders of Shahpur. The couple travelled widely, eventually settling in Edmonton, in 1955, where Dr. Bhatia became the director of the Theoretical Physics Institute at the University of Alberta.

The best-selling memoir of her childhood was Twopence to Cross the Mersey. It was later turned into a successful musical. Living in Alberta provided background for Forrester’s novels The Latchkey Kid and The Lemon Tree.  She died on 24 November 2011 in Edmonton, aged 92.

In 2017, the author’s son, Robert Bhatia, published Passage Across the Mersey, the story of his remarkable mother and the personal journey that took her India and ultimately to Alberta.

Books in the Series

Twopence to Cross the Mersey (1974)

Liverpool Miss (originally published as Minerva’s Stepchild) (1979)

By the Waters of Liverpool (1981)

Lime Street at Two (1985)

Passage Across the Mersey (Published by Robert Bhatia in 2017)

10 things I admire about my mother, Helen Forrester

Helen Forrester obituary in The Guardian 

Helen Forrester obituary in The Telegraph

How true love led Helen Forrester to leave Mersey for Indian exile

Photos of Liverpool in the 1930’s


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