Billie Jo - Kimberley Chambers
TERRY is a likeable villain with a heart of gold. Michelle is the alcoholic wife he hates and is planning to leave. Billie Jo is their daughter – adored by Terry, abused by Michelle. This is the Keane family, and their lives are about to be changed foreve
TERRY is a likeable villain with a heart of gold. Michelle is the alcoholic wife he hates and is planning to leave. Billie Jo is their daughter - adored by Terry, abused by Michelle.
This is the Keane family, and their lives are about to be changed forever in a series of plots worthy of EastEnders.
Kimberley Chambers' debut novel, Billie Jo (�6.99, Preface), is a kind of Catherine Cookson for the 21st century - with lots of swearing.
A pacy drama with constant boozing, it's evocative of a certain kind of tough Essex life, but you always sense there's a happy ending eventually.
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Right from the off, Ilford, Seven Kings and Romford get mentions as the heartland of this tale.
The Cross Keys pub, Dagenham, plays a central role later on and the mum of our main villain, Danny, lives in Heathway.
- 1 Dagenham pop-up shop sees young people sell their products and share skills
- 2 Road and rail round-up: Disruptions to travel in east London this week
- 3 Men reportedly 'impersonated officers' to get access to Barking home
- 4 380 homes and commercial space set to be built at Dagenham Dock
- 5 Ops planned as Barking and Dagenham marks London Trading Standards Week
- 6 Jailed: Man who crashed stolen van then headbutted police officer
- 7 Dagenham advance in FA Cup with two late goals at Wealdstone
- 8 Stephen Port inquests: Detective apologises to families for mistakes
- 9 Chain of 10,000 teddies to be displayed in memory of toddler Ava
- 10 'Life is hard, why make it harder?': Protesters call for new consultation over parking scheme roll out
When Terry is killed in a road accident, Billie Jo's life spirals out of control. She falls head over heels for the handsome Danny, but he makes her pregnant on their first night together, cheats on her, does a brief stint in jail for his gangland boss, and - hooked on cocaine - rapes and beats her up.
But Billie is her father's daughter. She's resilient and you know she'll come out of this, it's just a question of how.
- LINDSAY JONES