Tuesday, 18 January 2022


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Today, in association with R&R book tours, I'm so happy to share this book with you. Please read on for more info about Lucky Jack: Memoirs of a World War 1 POW by Susan Bavey!


Lucky Jack


Publication Date: November 19th, 2021
Genre: WWI Biographies/ History

“One of the perils of being a sniper during the First World War was the likelihood of a grenade going off right next to you and burying you alive”.
Meet Jack Rogers. Born in 1894, he once locked eyes with Queen Victoria and was one of the first travellers on London’s ‘Tube’. An early car owner, he had many escapades on his days out to Brighton, including a time when his brakes failed and he had to drive through central London without them!
His skills as an entertainer earned him popularity throughout his life, and kept him out of the deadly mines while a prisoner during the First World War. At the tender age of 103 Jack earned the title of ‘The World’s Oldest Columnist’ as he began dictating his life’s exploits to a reporter from the local newspaper.

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Let’s kick this one off by saying that I enjoyed Lucky Jack from the get go. It’s one of those books that you cannot help but like due to its inherent charm.

Now I know that from the name, the main genre that I tend to go for is Fantasy (nooooo, what gave it away?). However, I do have other interests and one of these is history. Lucky Jack definitely falls into that, even though it is a memoir of one Henry ‘Jack’ Rodgers. 

I think that whenever you read a review of this book, the word ‘charming’ is going to come up several times, due to the fact that Jack Rodgers has an ineffable charm and wit that immediately makes you warm to him. 

The book deals with a massive period of time due to the fact that these are the personal observations of a man who lived through three centuries, being born in the mid-1890s and gracing us with his presence until 2000, leaving us at the impressively statuesque age of 106. And in that time, he had seen all manner of things, as well as being involved in the First World War, when he fought in his regiment The Sherwood Foresters. 

Lucky Jack is full of anecdotes from his life, encompassing times from when he was a boy in Hammersmith, to moving to Brighton and finally spending his twilight years in Lincolnshire.

It’s a fascinating tale and sheds a light on life in England throughout copious different ages, and when you read this book, all these different time periods of British history are brought colourfully to life with the beautifully conversational style that he delivers his memoirs.

The memoirs are made up of observations and articles that have been lovingly brought together by the author and Jack’s grand daughter, Sue Bavey. 

There is a lovely laconic style to the book due to the nature of the stories that are between the pages. However, what struck me is that sometimes these stories belie the momentous events that Jack has been witness to, and it took me a moment to realise exactly what these events were, such as when he describes watching the Hunger Marches in 1930’s. I had to do a double take on that one when I realised what he was talking about.

Not only are there moments of great history in the book , but there is also the microcosm of family life throughout the ages. From stories of when he was a young boy and getting himself stuck in iron railings to moving up to Lincolnshire to stay in a retirement home.

When it really hits home is when he describes conditions and life in the trenches in the First World War. Even though Jack has a wonderfully optimistic nature, the true horrors of his experiences do permeate through the narrative, and in one or two sentences the stark reality of the situation hits you right between the eyes. 

Lucky Jack was a wonderful little read that you cannot help but love. When you read it, you can feel Jack and his wonderfully optimistic view on life shine through the pages, even through the darkest of times. I think the other thing that made this such a good read was the fact that when you read it , you feel that Jack is telling these stories to you personally and you are the one laughing and smiling along with him at some of the things that happened throughout his life. 

My advice! Read it!  

About the Author

Sue Bavey is an English Mum of two, living in Massachusetts since 2003 with her husband, kids, a cat named Midnight, a bunny named Nutmeg, a leopard gecko named Ziggy Stardust and occasional frogs and salamanders.

“Lucky Jack is the first book I have written and is my grandfather, Henry John Rogers’ biography. Grandad lived with us when I was born, until we moved when I was six years old. Then he came back to live with us in my teenage years and we were very close. He was my father’s father, but my Mum diligently collected the newspaper columns he dictated to a local reporter, and kept them in scrapbooks in her attic, where they gathered dust and yellowed over time. A few years ago I moved my Mum into an apartment and found all the scrapbooks in the process. I wanted to get all of those stories into a book for my kids to read. That was the germ of an idea which – thanks to my having time during Covid lockdown – has now resulted in the life story of my grandfather, Jack Rogers being written.”

Sue Bavey

Twitter Tags: @SueBavey @RRBookTours #RRBookTours





1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for a lovely review - so glad you enjoyed getting to know grandad!

    ReplyDelete

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