No Buts, Becky! by Jose Patterson


No Buts, Becky! by Jose Patterson

No Buts, Becky! is a period novel set in the East End of London in 1908. It describes the tenement life of a Yiddish-speaking Russian Jewish family who, like many others, escaped to England from the widespread killing of innocent Jews, known as pogroms. The heroine, eleven-year-old Becky, and her young brother Yossie, live with their widowed father, Jacob Feldman, and their elderly grandmother Bubbe. Becky is shocked to discover that, following the custom of the time, her father has hired a matchmaker to find him a new wife. Becky takes an instant dislike to Mrs Haffner - the prospective 'new mother' - and is determined at all costs to prevent the match from taking place. She concocts several reckless and often hilariously brilliant schemes in order to wreck her father's marriage plans. At the end of each chapter, Becky confides the secrets of her heart in imaginary letters to her late mother. No Buts, Becky! is an amusing and heartwarming work of historical children's fiction that will appeal to children aged 9-11. Jose explores a subject not often documented - the way of life and cultural traditions of hard-working poor Russian Jewish refugees who escaped to London 150 years ago - in a delightful way. Becky Feldman is a feisty, rebellious young heroine who many girls will be able to relate to.


'This is a fascinating, entertaining story that most people with an interest in history and how various groups of people lived at times of great trouble will simply devour. If the author intended it for a small group such as 9-11 year olds, fair enough, but there is enough in it to satisfy any reader of any age. There are echoes of the stories that inspired Fiddler on the Roof here, with a matchmaker out to find a suitable wife for Becky Feldman's father, but for me the most engaging part of this brilliant story is reading how the Russian refugees lived in blocks of flats, bound together by their faith, helping each other in what I think was the East End of London, the customs, the Yiddish words, the families helping each other. The story is wonderful - I won't spoil it by telling you the outcome, but I think this should win prizes. I really, really loved it, and I think anyone interested in Edwardian Britain and Jewish history will love it too. In fact, anyone who picks it up will want to read it. A truly beautiful book, with excellent line illustrations, and a letter from Becky to her dear dead mother finishing each and every chapter. An inspired piece of writing.'

'A wonderful story and a fascinating insight into the Jewish way of life in olden days London. A FINALIST and highly recommended.'

About the Author

Jose Patterson is a retired advisory teacher in special education (gypsy, fairground and circus children) and lives in Oxford. She is now a full-time author of children's non-fiction books. No Buts, Becky! is her first work of fiction.

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Book Info


160 pages
Interest Age: From 9


Jose Patterson
More books by Jose Patterson


Publication date

25th April 2013



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