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Betsy, Dave and two more university students lived next door to Maddie. They studied hard and seemed like good students and likeable young people. Maddie would watch tem from her window. She didn’t talk to them or interact with them, she just watched them. Maddie worked nights at the local hospital and shopped at the small grocery at the end of the street. Otherwise, she stayed in her apartment, hiding. Years ago, Maddie has been young and full of hope and dreams but that all changed in 1978. Back then, Maddie was known as Songbird. No one would even recognize her today.
Betsy worried about the lady who watched them through her window. She never had talked to her but she looked so sad and lonely. One night when they were listening to music they heard someone singing. Betsy thought it might be the lady next door but everyone else just laughed at her. So, maybe it wasn’t. Still, Betsy keeps an eye on the lady even as she watches them.
This book is divided into 5 parts; Bedford Town 1996, London 1978, Blackpool 1978, Bedfordshire 1979 and Bedford Town 1996. Each part tells a bit of Maddie’s story and how she ended up how she did until the last part where it explains how she comes back to live in the world. A vast majority of the book is written about events that happened many years prior but it was written as if it was currently happening. Of this 355 page book, only 50 pages deal with what is happening currently. This is in contrast to the book blurb that implies that the book will be about Betsy and her determination to bring Maddie back to living life at its fullest. 
This book is based mostly in the late 70s. Ms Cox did a fairly good job with describing what life was like in the different towns that this story was set in during that time. She gives descriptions of the rides in Blackpool and the streets and allies of London. These descriptions give you the ability to almost visualize the areas. The fashion, cars and entertainment were also brought to life.
I felt that the end of this book was not done as well as the rest of the book. The fist section had me wanting to know more about Betsy and her boyfriend. The middle section gave me a good idea of what Maddie’s life was like and how it changed. The ending seemed to be rushed and unrealistic. Maddie went from being a total recluse to running around England due to meeting up with a man she hadn’t seen in 17 years. I didn’t buy it.
Though the story rambled along, I often times felt bored and wanted to rush the story along. Long scenes about Maddie, her friend and her friend’s grandfather driving around the countryside and going out to lunch and other such activities didn’t really add anything to the story. Pages concerned with should she leave London or not seemed to drag on. Truly, I think much of this book could have been written more concise and with much less rambling about unimportant stuff.

Book Blurb for Songbird

She was once young and vibrant, a beautiful woman with a promising future. But a dark and dangerous secret forced her to leave everything—and everyone—she cared for. Now she lives alone in a quiet riverside town, her heart breaking as she watches the world change from the shadows. All that is left to bring her joy is her stunning, glorious voice, a voice that enthralls anyone who hears it, including a student named Betsy.
Kind and thoughtful, Betsy is determined to help the woman live her life to the fullest again. But coming out of the dark—and exposing her heart to hurt once more—will not be easy . . .
About the Author
A major bestselling author in her native Great Britain, Josephine Cox's story is as extraordinary as anything in her books. One of ten children born into poverty in a cottonmill house in Blackburn, her life was full of tragedy and hardship, though not devoid of laughter and love. At the age of sixteen, she met and married her husband, Ken, and had two sons. When her sons began school, Cox decided to go to college, eventually gaining a place at Cambridge University which she was unable to accept. Becoming a teacher, she set about renovating a derelict council house as the family home, coping with the problems of her own mother's unhappy home life while writing her first full-length novel -- all of which earned her a Superwoman of Great Britain Award after her family secretly entered her in the contest. Currently living in Bedfordshire, England, she gave up teaching to write full-time and is the author of nearly three dozen novels.

Night Owl Reviews Sep, 2008 2.75