Anne Bonny #BookReview East End Angels by @hendry_rosie Rosie Hendry #ww2 #Saga #WomenOfWW2 ‘East End Angels tells the story of three fascinating women and their journey through ww2’

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East End Angels by Rosie Hendy
My own copy from tbr pile
Synopsis:

Meet The East End Angels, the newest members of Station Seventy-Five’s ambulance crew

Strong-willed Winnie loves being part of the crew at Station Seventy-Five but her parents are less than happy. She has managed to avoid their pleas to join the WRENS so far but when a tragedy hits too close to home she finds herself wondering if she’s cut out for this life after all.

Former housemaid Bella was forced to leave the place she loved when she lost it all and it’s taken her a while to find somewhere else to call home. She’s finally starting to build a new life but when the air raids begin, it seems she may have to start over once again.

East-Ender Frankie‘s sense of loyalty keeps her tied to home so it’s not easy for her to stay focused at work. With her head and heart pulling in different directions, will she find the strength to come through for her friends when they need her the most?

Brought together at LAAS Station Seventy-Five in London’s East End during 1940, these three very different women soon realise that they’ll need each other if they’re to get through the days ahead. But can the ties of friendship, love and family all remain unbroken?

My Review:

East End Angels tells the story of three fascinating women and their journey through ww2. The novel is the first in a series and perfectly builds the foundations for further novels. The three women are all very different in personality and I look forward to watching them grow and develop through the series. I already own the next in the series Secrets Of The East End Angels on my bookshelves.

The East End Angels comprise of: Stella Franklyn (Frankie), Margot Churchill (Winnie) and Peggy Belmont (Bella). They are members of the 75 ambulance crew, with Frankie their newest member. Overseeing their work is Station Officer Violet Steele. There is also transferred in new recruit William McCartney (Mac).

‘We look out for each other at station 75’ – Bella

The girls form a fantastic team and as the novel progresses we see them on various call-outs and in action. It is quite shocking some of the scenes they must contend with and overcome. At times forced to make tough choices with little time to think or plan. But together they make a formidable team.

William offered an interesting narrative into the plot. As William in a conscientious objector. I read a lot of ww2 fiction and saga’s, yet I think this is the first time I have come across a conscientious objector as a character.
So, I looked forward to every scene he was in.

‘I’m not a coward; I just can’t kill’ – Mac

Slowly we begin to learn each girl’s backstory. Stella’s homelife is far from perfect, but she takes comfort in nurturing an evacuee. Winnie was born in India and raised in considerable wealth and her mother tries to play a huge part in her life choices. Bella is possibly the quietest of the bunch, she has experienced a hard life and thanks to the air raids, it continues to get tougher.

The story of the male characters is told as they confide in their sisters. I thought this was a fantastic idea. I am one of eight siblings, I cannot even begin to imagine how life would have been for us growing up during ww2. But I know my brothers would perhaps confide their fears to me and my sisters. I think this also offered a different dynamic to the confiding soldier we see so often in ww2 fiction or saga’s with confidence only being between lovers.

There is love, smile and laughter amongst the team. As the battle the aftermath of catastrophic air raids and the devastation they leave behind. There is even a search and rescue dog named Trixie. The novel has a personal focus solely on the characters and their role in the ambulance crew.
It reminded me of the novels/TV series Call The Midwife. 4*

RH
Rosie Hendry
Website
Twitter

Next in the series. . . .
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Secrets Of The East End Angels by Rosie Hendry

Anne Bonny #BookReview Shipyard Girls In Love by @arevellwalton 5* Genius #Saga #ShipyardGirls #Series #ww2 #WomenOfWW2 @arrowpublishing ‏ ‘The cleverly weaved secrets and expert plotting had me hooked!’

Shipyard Girls in Love
Shipyard Girls In Love by Nancy Revell
#4 Shipyard Girls Series

Review copy
Synopsis:

Sunderland, 1941

With a brief break in air raids providing some much-needed respite from the war, things are looking up for head welder Rosie, who has fallen head over heels for Detective Sergeant Miller. But how long can their romance last in such uncertain times?

Life remains full of challenges for Gloria, who must face her abusive ex-husband and confront her own guilty conscience about baby Hope’s real father. The secret is tearing her apart but if she admits the truth, she will risk losing everything.

Both women are determined that their love and faith will be enough to keep the most difficult of promises, but nothing is as simple as it seems…

My Review:

It is well known I am a huge fan of this series, I have sung its praises all over social media. I have to admit this is my favourite of the series so far! It starts off on a fabulous high, but slowly the cleverly weaved secrets emerge, and the ending left me desperate of the next edition to the series.

The novel opens in Sunderland 1941, We pick up pretty much where we left off. We have a brief update on the various girls and where they are now. We also learn they are working on a new ship named the Empire Brutus. There is some gossip and speculation about Martha’s parentage. The darkest update comes from Hannah, who learns her parents have been moved to the Theresienstadt Ghetto. She is desperate for news and concerned for their future. Will they make it out of the war alive?

Across town, Gloria is in a cheerful mood. After Arthur set to helping Jack regain his memories, he can now recall his love for Gloria and remembers baby Hope. Although he still suffers some memory loss and can’t remember his parents and childhood unfortunately. Jack is mystified that he recognised Hope despite never having seen her before. Gloria fears Miriam’s anger and revenge, but for the moment, she wears a huge smile upon her face.
Some of Jack’s memories maybe gone, but his feelings for Gloria remain.

‘She had the love of her life back’

We have a brief re-cap with another couple in-love this time, it is Rosie and Peter. Despite Rosie’s initial struggles to trust Peter, they continue to be absolutely smitten with one another. They decide for their future to succeed they must remain completely honest with one another and they have a heart to heart, where secrets are uncovered, and truths shared.

“I was just thinking how, if I died at this very moment in time, I would do so being the happiest man on earth” – Peter

There is also the impending wedding of George and lily. Which something tells me will be a wedding to die for. Lily is known to exude everything French and luxurious!

There is a minor love triangle between Hannah, ‘young Ollie’ and Martha. With Hannah feeling excluded now Ollie and Martha are working together at the APR.
Will this lead to more heartbreak for Hannah?

Pearl and Maisie return from their trip to London. With this Bel reflects that in the coming future she will be determined to finally uncover who her own father is. Will Bel solve this mystery? Will Maisie learn more about her own father?
In their time away Maisie is able to confide in Pearl about her own experiences after her adoption. It is clear it was not the happy home, Pearl had hoped for her daughter.

One character that remains in the background but fascinates me more and more, is Kate. I know at some point we will uncover her backstory and I can not wait. There are hints at her past, within this novel and I fear it will be a painful past to uncover. But nevertheless, her mousy and quiet appearance and demeanour has me so intrigued.

When there is an accident at the shipyard, Martha is the hero of the moment. But it is a stark reminder, what a dangerous job the women are doing day in and day out. The accident results in Jim Mackie possibly losing his leg but lucky to escape with his life. But is it luck or the heroics of Martha? She is honoured to be put forward for an official commendation by Helen, Harold and Donald the yard’s management.

Helen remains in-charge at the yard, but in this novel, I must admit she does eventually become more humanised. She learns some shocking revelations and must overcome them rather than use the skillset she has inherited from her scheming mother.
Miriam continues to scheme and meddle, it is when Helen starts to see through her that the changing point comes for Helen.

Vinnie finally figures out what has been staring him in the face the entire time. And when he does promises there’ll be hell to pay!
Putting Gloria at serious risk and baby Hope also.

‘This war’s changing us all in so many different ways” – Gloria

Rosie and Peter’s courtship, I found really heart-warming and inspiring. Not because it is one of hot passion or based on secrecy etc. but because it is built upon love and acceptance of each other’s flaws. I just hope this love can withstand the revelations that we learn and the future than has now changed!

‘Why did love always seem to come hand in hand with hurt’

Just before Christmas the yard is full of gossip with the strikes at Pearl Harbour. The women become confused and alarmed but glad the Americans will be joining the war effort on the side of the Allies. It is easy to reflect that in 1941, with the Americans joining the war, many thought it would soon be over!
Which we know from history, was not the case at all.

Christmastime during the war, reminds us of the harsh life of rationing and how truly tough life was for the families that lived under such conditions. Where wrapping paper is made from newspaper and not a scrap to be wasted!

Rosie is shocked to discover that Charlotte wants to come home to Sunderland. Rosie is wary of Charlotte uncovering her secret work at Lily’s. But she also has a desperately miserable teenager on her hands. Worried about the risk of the air raids and exposure to her lifestyle, Rosie doesn’t know which way to turn and what choice to make.
I hope we do see Charlotte come to Sunderland, but that is perhaps because she is another background character that has me very intrigued.

Polly receives a letter from young lover boy Tommy, it is packed full of love and pride in her. What it doesn’t tell Polly is that Tommy has been picked for covert ops. What will this mean for the future of loves young dream?

The shipyard girls enter the new year with shocking revelations for all. Whether these secrets become exposed to all and sundry is yet to be known. But when I finished the final pages I was absolutely gobsmacked!!!

‘There were ships to be built – A war to be won’

This is the first book in the series to leave you on an absolute cliff hanger of an ending! Which leaves you desperate for answers and the next book in the series, Victory For The Shipyard Girls. This is a series that has gone from strength to strength and I had already added it to be list as my ‘series of the year’ before I completed this novel.

Great to be back with the shipyard girls.
The cleverly weaved secrets and expert plotting had me hooked!
5* Genius

Nancy Revell
Nancy Revell
Website
Twitter
My Review – The Shipyard Girls #1
My Review – Shipyard Girls At war #2
My Review – Secrets Of The Shipyard Girls #3
Extract – Shipyard Girls In Love #4

*****Coming soon*****
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Victory For The Shipyard Girls – Available 6th September 2018!
Pre-order links available. CANNOT wait!!!!!!!!!

 

Anne Bonny #BookReview The Shipyard Girls by @arevellwalton 5* #Saga #ww2Fiction #WomenOfww2 @arrowpublishing ‘easily rivals Josephine Cox’ #MustReadSeries

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The Shipyard Girls by Nancy Revell – Shipyard Girls #1
Review copy
Synopsis:

Sunderland, 1940, and the women go to the shipyards to do their bit for the war effort.

Polly never dreamed she would be able to work in the shipyards like the men in her family but times are tough and her new job ends up giving her more than she ever expected when she meets enigmatic dock diver Tommy Watts.

During the day, head welder Rosie teaches her fledgling flock of trainees their new trade, but at night she hides a secret life.

And mother hen Gloria signs up to escape her brutal husband, but finds she cannot run from her problems.

The Shipyard Girls start off as strangers – but end up forging an unbreakable bond of friendship in the most difficult times.

My Review:

This novel is the first in the Shipyard Girls series and has been sat on my tbr pile for quite some time. I am a huge fan of the saga genre but have been super busy lately with crime fiction reviews. I decided it was time for a visit to 1940 Sunderland and see what these books are all about.

The novel opens in the warm and homely house of Polly. Her mother, Agnes lost her husband in The Great War and has raised her children (now adults) alone. She is the matriarch type character, but it is born of love and desire to see her kids succeed. Polly’s twin brothers Teddy and Joe have joined up. Leaving their jobs at the shipyard for the frontlines. Sister-in-law Bel and daughter Lucille reside at the property, whilst they wait for Joe’s return from war. This is a house filled with love and built on doing their best to survive the war and trying times they face.

When Polly gets a job at J.L Thompson & Sons shipbuilders, she is apprehensive of the response of her mother. But she is from a long-line of shipbuilders and determined to continue the trade.

‘This wasn’t just about getting another job for Polly – it was a dream come true’

The role of women in ‘male roles’ is debated, and Agnes is forced to back-down or contradict her own beliefs on equality. I think Agnes is also tortured by the death of her husband and risk to her sons. She just wants Polly to be as safe as possible. With the docks being a target for German aircraft, that isn’t always the case.

Rosie Thornton is a much more complex character. She is the boss at the shipyard, where the women are trainees. But she also harbours a secret. A secret she will go to great lengths to protect. A secret so damning that its exposure could be the ruin of Rosie and her sister Charlotte. But what Rosie doesn’t know, is that someone is watching her and waiting for the right moment to spring a trap. . . .

Although the novel deals with several darker themes and not forgetting the background of ww2. It does have many moments when it made me smile or laugh out loud. Between Agnes’s gossip and dialect or the girls banter at the shipyard. The light-hearted moments within really did deliver. Which makes you grow more attached to the characters.

The women at the shipyard consist of Polly, Dorothy, Gloria, Mary, Martha and boss Rosie. They all notice when Polly catches the eye of shipyard hunk Tommy Watts. . .

‘Polly had a slightly strange but exciting premonition that they somehow belonged together’

Tommy’s background is further explored, and you learn that he has much in common with Polly. I may not be a huge fan of romance, but I wanted Polly and Tommy to fall in love. After all, the world needs love, right?

The sinister man following Rosie, has his trap set and is ready to pounce. He is a truly vile character and I dreaded the moment Rosie would come face to face with him.

At work, the girls begin to notice bruise’s that appear on Gloria’s arms and neck. They become concerned for her welfare, but due to the era and social attitudes, dare not pry. Gloria is dealing with the internal shame of being a victim of domestic abuse. Her life being held hostage to drink and violence. What I found unusual about Gloria’s portrayal is that she is an older female character. She has been married 19yrs, and has grown-up children away at war. She isn’t the typical naïve, young victim we see too often portrayed in saga novels.

Overall, I absolutely loved the Shipyard Girls. There are themes of secrets, intimidation, gossip and trials of adversity. There is first love and old love reignited. But most of all the women’s strength, sacrifice and courage shines through. The sisterly protection Polly, Rosie and Gloria come to have for one another is perfection.

The perfect recipe for a ww2 saga and easily rivals Josephine Cox.
If you read this book, you will find yourself buying the whole series. 5*

Nancy Revell
Nancy Revell
Website
Twitter
Just £1.99 in Ebook – At time of blogging!

***Coming next in the series***
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The Shipyard Girls At war by Nancy Revell – Shipyard Girls #2
Review scheduled for 2nd May #ComingSoon