Left on the doorstep of St Anthony’s Catholic Orphanage in Bolton, Northern England, Anne Marie O’Shea is placed in the guiding hands of another orphan named Bella Jones. As the years pass by, Bella accepts her lot for what it is; Annie dreams of a wonderful life, that special bit of magic that everybody deserves. When Bella is killed in a road accident at the age of twenty, Annie is left to fend for herself, to make decisions about her future and combat all the fears she has about forming lasting relationships. With numerous ups and downs, nurse training and emigration to Australia, a series of unbelievable co-incidences eventually puts the magic in her life that she could previously only dream about.
In this story, the writer presents the challenges facing two abandoned children with great sympathy, but in such a way that there is an underlying optimism. The reader is eager to see them flourish. Tragedy and, hopefully, fulfilment are inevitable.
The author has avoided portraying the debut of the naive young girls as targets for predatory males. They were, of course, just that, but they handled things well.
The twists and turns of the storyline are moving; the familiar settings and the surprising conclusion are delights.
Student of short story writing and avid reader
I loved Dare to Dream by Vera Berry Burrows. I was thoroughly charmed by the contrasting characters of orphans Bella and Annie, one feisty and one thoughtful, and all set to enjoy the alternating chapters of their unfolding lives. Then partway through the book, a shock is delivered that had me shouting at the page!
The book explores themes of home and belonging, and has a compelling storyline and believable relationships. Recommended!
2014 winner of the Bath Novel Award
Another delightful book from Vera Berry Burrows.
The story begins in Bolton in the UK 1944 and follows the orphaned Anne Marie as she makes her way in the world.
It is heart-warming, thoughtfully written and very entertaining.
With some surprises and a few twists and turns, you will want to keep reading until the very last page.
Vera Berry Burrows interestingly captures the concept of growing up and learning to navigate a world outside of the Catholic orphanage where the two main characters, Anne Marie and Bella, have been raised. The story has an easy mix of romance, heartache, struggles and friendships, with so many twists and turns that the situations they face and the feelings they share, brought me to tears. Eventually, we are led to a natural, feel-good resolution, which surprisingly is not the actual end of the story. Just as we relax in the knowledge that Anne Marie’s dreams have come true, the real end of the story shows us that life has its own way of bringing happiness to us all.
Dare to Dream keeps the reader engrossed right to the end.