I wish to thank Steven Hayward of Eden Park Publishing for inviting me to read and review this book.
ABOUT THE BOOK
‘A deeply moving, multi-faceted book. Overflowing with humour and nostalgia, the writing is at times breathtaking.’
6th June 1944. Ted Tappenden and an elite glider-borne force successfully attack and capture the vital Horsa and Pegasus bridges in the first allied assault of D-Day. Ted returns from the war apparently unscathed and a hero, but as he tries to ease his way back into mundane suburban life with the sweetheart of his pre-war youth, he is haunted by the terrors of battle. Domestic life too is not without its threats…
Florrie is relieved to have her Ted back, but like many of her neighbours, she sees a distance in her husband where once there was joy and passion. Neither husband nor wife can explain their suffering to anyone, least of all each other, and they soon find themselves inhabiting different worlds under the same roof.
Based on the true life of Ted “Ham and Jam” Tappenden, Pegasus to Paradise is an ode to both the extraordinary efforts of ordinary men and women during the Second World War and a moving portrait of trauma, survival and the power of love in post-war Britain.
This is the life stories of Ted and Florrie Tappenden, how friendship as children grow to love, their lives pre-war 1939, during and after. It is at times sweet, funny and heart-breaking but the paths of so many others like them too.
The childhood sweethearts were to marry before Ted went to fight for his King and Country, returning periodically and fathering two sons with Florrie. When he came home he would never be the man that had gone to war in 1939.
There is an innocence about them right way through the book, the things that they both put up with because you just didn’t talk about some issues. Women were thought of as weak in so many ways, too delicate to bear a shared burden of what their men went through in the war. The men returning with PTSD but with no support or help, seen as a weakness because they were expected to man up and just get on with life.
When a neighbour opens up to Florrie she recognises all the problems she and Ted are having too, but too proud to admit them. Unable even to speak to each other. It is really sad, such a waste of their lives and how different it may have been.
The story follows them into old age and even more mental health issues and pride that stops Ted asking for help. This is a beautiful story about devotion and never giving up on each other.
I wish to thank Steven Hayward of Eden Park Publishing for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Tappenden was born in Gillingham, Kent in 1942, attended a local grammar school where he encountered the stifling tradition of the time and left to join the Parachute Regiment spending time in the deserts of the Middle East and a civil war in Cyprus. Later he continued academic studies becoming a Principal Lecturer and Course Leader at the University for the Creative Arts after a career as a graphic designer. Somewhere in between he worked as a gravedigger, gardener, labourer and photographer. At the age of sixty he took up the alto sax which is played with more affection than skill and and five years later he sat down and began to write.
His debut novel ‘Pegasus to Paradise’ is based on the lives of his family.