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Shipyard Girls At War by Nancy Revell – Shipyard Girls #2
Own copy from TBR

1941: it takes strength to work on the docks, but the war demands all hands on deck and the women are doing their best to fill the gap.

Rosie is flourishing in her role as head-welder while still keeping her double life a secret. But a dashing detective is forcing Rosie to choose between love and her duty.

Gloria is hiding her own little secret – one that if found out, could not only threaten her job, but her life.

And the shipyards are proving tougher than Polly ever imagined, while she waits for her man to return home safely.

Join the shipyard girls as they journey through the hardships of life, love and war.

My Review:

I am currently making my way through books 1-4 in the Shipyard Girls series. I was absolutely blown away with the first novel and you warm to the characters instantly. In true saga style, they feel like friends and you mourn their pain and celebrate their highs. I was excited to see what book two, The Shipyard Girls At War would have in store for the women.
*If you haven’t read the first in the series, this review may contain spoilers*

The novel opens with a heart-breaking prologue. If you’ve been following the series so far, it is one that will cut deep. Bel’s devastation and emotional pain flows from the pages. As a former soldier’s wife, myself, I dreaded ever receiving the news Bel receives. Her childhood sweetheart has perished, in Operation compass alongside 624 other soldiers. The grief she feels, is so powerful, it brought tears to my eyes.

‘This Polly realised was what grief looked like in its purest form’

At the shipyard things are back to the usual with Dorothy and Gloria’s playful bickering. There’s a new girl named Martha, who is quite quiet. Or quiet in comparison to the girls we have come to know and love. But Gloria is still trying desperately to conceal her secret, a secret only the other girls are aware of.

Hannah the shipyard worker from Czechoslovakia is quickly picking up her English skills and slowly adapting to life at the shipyard. But stand-in boss Helen is making her life a living hell with her bullying tactics and demeanour. Helen is nobody’s favourite person and instead of trying to make friends and amends, she pursues a vendetta against Hannah.

Polly is devastated at the news about her brother Teddy’s death. She is apprehensive about the home-coming of his twin Joe. How will Teddy’s death impact Joe? Will this cause Bel to fall apart? The future seems uncertain at Polly’s home. A home so much more used to laughter and smiles, than sorrow and grief.

The novel then does something, undone in the previous novel. It jumps the timeline backwards to 1920. Where we meet a childhood Bel and her god-awful mother Pearl. Bel is often left abandoned inside their cramped house, with little or no food. Whilst her mother pleases herself usually at the pubs. Bel is only saved from a childhood of despair when she befriends Polly. This offers Bel a glimpse into a life she’s never known, one of love and care. But will also be where she first meets Teddy.

In the present day, Rosie is excited and looking forward to a visit from her sister Charlotte. Everything Rosie does in her life, is to provide a better life for Charlotte and sometimes this includes activities, that are risqué. Which is why it is shocking to read she has caught the eye of Detective Sgt Miller aka Peter. Peter now works solely at the docks, which causes Lily (Rosie’s other boss) some concern. Will Rosie find love with Peter? What if Peter uncovers her ‘other’ life first?

‘Love’s so bloomin’ unpredictable. It takes you places you just don’t expect to go’ – Lily

Bel is drowning in grief leaving her unable to adequately care for her young daughter. She relies heavily upon Polly and her mother Agnes. The grief that Bel feels is a shared grief, as Agnes lost her husband in the first world war, when Polly was just a baby.

In the flashback scenes we learn that Joe has always harboured a secret love for Bel. But in the present day, she treats him with contempt, borderline loathing. It is unclear if this is grief or Bel’s need for self-preservation.
But It makes for fascinating reading, as you read on.

The harsh reality of the war is always within the background. When an air raid strikes leaving an infant alive, next to its mother’s corpse. You are regularly reminded what harsh times these women are living in and how everyday, really was life or death.

‘Polly realised just how much they all needed each other in these very strange times’

In a moment of panic Gloria confesses her secret to the wrong person. What will this mean for her future?

Rosie and Peter begin to see more of each other, but where will it lead?

Polly receives regular updates from her love, Tommy away at war.
Will Tommy make it home from war?
Or will Polly be grieving also?

Joe joins the home guard and begins to build a life for himself now he is demobbed. But will it be a life alone? Or with another?

Rosie helps a friend from the past in her hour of need.

The saga has a feel-good ending, leaving you longing for the next in the series. Which I am lucky enough to have on my shelves. I can not wait to get stuck in!
Highly recommended to fans of Saga’s this is a series not to be missed! 5*

Nancy Revell
Nancy Revell

Next up in the series. . . . .
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Secrets Of The Shipyard Girls by Nancy Revell
Review scheduled 9th May

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