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

cover 1
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***
cover 2
The Shipyard Girls At war by Nancy Revell – Shipyard Girls #2
Review scheduled for 2nd May #ComingSoon

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Shipyard Girls In Love by @arevellwalton Nancy Revell @arrowpublishing #Saga #WW2Fiction #NewRelease #Series Even amid the war a broken heart can heal. . .

Shipyard Girls in LoveShipyard Girls In Love by Nancy Revell
#4 in the series
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…

Extract:

Prologue

East End, Sunderland
July 1918

‘I just don’t understand, Mam.’ And it was true. Sixteen-year-old Gloria Turnbull simply did not understand. ‘I thought we would be together for ever.’ Gloria spoke her words quietly, as though more to herself than for her mother’s benefit. ‘We promised each other we would.’ Quiet tears were now rolling down Gloria’s cheeks as she turned her forlorn gaze to her mother, who was perched on the edge of her daughter’s narrow wooden-framed bed. ‘There’ll be someone else out there for you,’ Peggy tried to console her daughter as she started to get up off the bed. It was nearly six o’clock and she knew Clifford would be back soon. If there wasn’t a plate of something hot, filling and tasty waiting for him, there’d be another war on. ‘Trust me,’ Peggy said, gently pushing her daughter’s curly brown hair away from her eyes, ‘there will be others after Jack.’ ‘There won’t be! There won’t be anyone else, Mam!’ Gloria’s voice was thick with emotion. ‘Not like Jack – I know!’ Peggy opened her mouth to rebuff her daughter’s
comments, but closed it again. Gloria was not far off her seventeenth birthday. She had only ever had eyes for Jack,

and Jack had only ever had eyes for Gloria, or so Peggy had thought. Everyone who knew the pair had presumed they’d be engaged before long. Even Clifford had been saying to her just the other night that it was ‘about time’ young Jack came to ask for his daughter’s hand. ‘I’ll bring you some supper in after I’ve sorted yer dad out,’ Peggy promised as she left the bedroom and closed the door quietly behind her. Only when she heard her mother shooing away her younger brothers and sisters, who had been milling around in the hallway wondering what was going on, did Gloria allow her tears to come freely. Why, Jack? Why? Gloria wanted to scream. She wanted – needed – an answer. Gloria smothered the sound of her heartache in the bunched-up pillow she had pressed hard into her face, and she coiled her body up tighter, as if by doing so she might disappear and become nothing, feel nothing. At the very least she hoped to barricade the world and all the hurtful feelings that came with it away from her being. Deep down, though, Gloria knew that it was too late to ring-fence her heart. It had already been shattered into hundreds of pieces. And like a mirror that had been dropped, the shards of glass had been flung far and wide and there was no way it could be pieced back together. Jack’s sudden decision to end their courtship had come like a bolt out of the blue. There had been no warning, no falling-out, no gradual dwindling of feelings. Far from it – they had been as mad about each other as when they’d first met when Gloria was fourteen and Jack fifteen. And they were certainly as passionate about each other, although Gloria, of course, was saving herself for marriage. They’d only ever really had one major falling-out in all the time they had been together and that was a few months

back, when they’d argued over Gloria having a ride home from work on the back of a lad’s motorbike. The greeneyed monster had showed itself in Jack and they’d had an almighty bust-up. Neither of them would back down, with Jack declaring Gloria shouldn’t have accepted the ride, and Gloria standing her ground and saying there was nothing wrong in it – that the boy was just a workmate. It had been the first time their stubborn natures had clashed so forcefully and it had taken a few weeks before they’d kissed and made up. When they did, though, they’d seemed closer than ever before, talking about getting married and even joking about how many children they’d have. Jack hinted that he intended to ask Mr Turnbull for permission to marry his daughter on the day of Gloria’s seventeenth birthday next month. But then, without any kind of warning, their lives together came to an abrupt halt when Jack came to meet Gloria after work at the ropery and told her he was ‘really sorry’, he was ending their courtship. At first Gloria thought it was some kind of wind-up, but when he told her he was serious and she asked him ‘Why?’ – a question she would ask herself for a long while after – Jack seemed unable to give Gloria an explanation, but instead just kept on apologising. When Gloria kept on demanding an answer, tears had formed in Jack’s eyes, which alarmed Gloria even more. She had never seen Jack cry. Not once. ‘Something’s not right!’ Gloria was beside herself. ‘Yer don’t just love someone one minute and turn yer back on them the next!’ But that was exactly what Jack did. ‘You deserve better than me, Glor. Much better,’ he said before he turned and walked away.

Nancy Revell
Nancy Revell
Website
Twitter

cover 1
The Shipyard Girls #1

cover 2
The Shipyard Girls At War #2

cover 3
Secrets Of The Shipyard Girls #3

Review for The Shipyard Girls coming soon!

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
Shipyard Girls in Love Blog Tour Banner

 

#Review 4.5* Midnight In Berlin by @jamesmac1x @Duckbooks #WW2Fiction #HistoricalFiction

*I received an paperback copy in return for an honest review*

cover
Midnight In Berlin by James MacManus
Synopsis:
Berlin, 1938. Newly-appointed military attaché Noel Macrae and his extrovert wife Primrose arrive at the British Embassy. Prime Minister Chamberlain is intent on placating Nazi Germany, but Macrae is less so. Convinced that Hitler can be stopped by other means than appeasement, he soon finds that he is not the only dissenting voice in the Embassy, and discovers senior officers in the German military who are prepared to turn against the Führer.
Gathering vital intelligence, Macrae is drawn to Kitty Schmidt’s Salon (a Nazi bordello) and its enigmatic Jewish hostess Sara Sternschein—a favourite of sadistic Gestapo boss Reinhard Heydrich. Sara is a treasure-trove of knowledge about the Nazi hierarchy in a city of lies, spies and secrets. Does she hold the key to thwarting Hitler or is Macrae just being manipulated by her, while his wife romantically pursues his most important German military contact, Florian Koenig?
MacManus’s absorbing new novel evokes a time and place when the personal and political stakes could not be higher, and where the urge for peaceful compromise conflicts with higher ideals and a vicious regime bent on war. As loyalties are stretched to the limit and Europe slides towards another war, could just one act of great courage and sacrifice change everything?

My review:

This novel is ww2 fiction at its finest! It is rich in its content and character depth. I also think it would suit the reader who may lack the factual ww2 knowledge. As it is fully expanded upon. The factual and historical accuracy is superb! The central allied characters are likable and the Nazi characters are portrayed very much, on point with what we have come to know now, post ww2.

Colonel Noel Macrae and wife Primrose arrive at the British embassy in Berlin, to a new posting and new life. Only neither of them can predict how much, their time in Berlin will ultimately change who they are……

Macrae will begin work alongside Roger Halliday and David Buckland. They work for the ambassador Sir Nevile Henderson. The ambassador is a weak man, having spent far too long in Germany, cosying up to the Nazi elite. Nevile believes Germany and Hitler, do not want another war and that this is mere speculation. An evening meal is organised and they are warned to stay away from hotel Adlon. Where the journalist and racketeers thrive.
But what kind of diplomat, heeds every word of their bosses?

“There is always a price to pay for Peace” Nevile

The novel explores Macrae’s background and marriage. We learn that he is an experienced soldier in ww1 and is sniper trained. We also learn he has significant marital problems, with his wife stating they should each embark on affairs.
It isn’t long until Macrae is drawn to the Adlon.

At the Adlon, Macrae makes an acquaintance of Shirer an American journalist with CBS. He explores Berlin and the surrounding governmental buildings. I found that pre-war Berlin was brought alive on the page and that it felt very atmospheric, if not eerie to read. Through conversations with Halliday and Macrae’s old friend German Colonel Koening. We learn that Hitler is planning a military coup, to establish complete control of the military. Hitler is planning a purge.
But why would Hitler plan a purge, if he is not really to go to war?

Across town in Berlin, Joachim Bonner, Herdrich’s #2 is partly running the salon Kitty. A brothel disguised as a restaurant, where the sole attraction is Sara Sternschein. Sara was a university law student, until Hitler took power and ended her life as she knew it. She is now forced to be a prostitute at the salon. The Nazi’s coerced her into the role, with threats against her brother (Joseph being held at Buchenwald) and her mother. They use Sara, to literally turn ‘tricks’ on Nazi Elite. Enabling Heydrich to always stay one step ahead, of any competition. The chapters with her in, are sinister and eerie, the fact that she is so unemotional in her response to her plight, broke my heart!

“You know I always obey orders” Sara

When the military coup, becomes fact, Macrae is faced with informing the UK government. Nevile still persistent in his beliefs that this is not necessarily an act of war. I found Nevile very frustrating, but is this because I have the forth sight Nevile never could have had?

The history around this particular year, is fully detailed within the novel. We witness the effects of Hitler’s actions on all of the staff at the British embassy.
It isn’t long until Macrae, Halliday and Koening are plotting………

“I don’t want to be here. I can’t stand the place. It’s evil” Macrae

Bonner decides to have Sara turn her ‘trick’ on Macrae. But he hasn’t taken into account Sara’s own plotting. Life faced with ‘servicing’ the Nazi elite, must have been daily physical and emotional torture. Then Macrae and Sara finally meet………..

This novel really is an education on the ww2 era. The secrecy, lies and desperation for information, flows from the page.
This novel brings Berlin to life!
4.5*

JM
James MacManus
Authors links:
Website: http://www.jamesmacmanus.com/
Twitter: @jamesmac1x
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1250590.James_MacManus
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesMacManusAuthor/

 

 

#BlogTour #TheWaitingHours by #EllieDean #Review @arrowpublishing #Cliffehaven

The Waiting Hours Jacket
The waiting Hours by Ellie Dean
Synopsis:

Slapton Sands, 1943

War has not been kind to Carol Porter. It took her husband and baby, and with them her heart. At last she’s found some peace, working as a land girl at Coombe Farm. But Carol’s sanctuary, the whole local area in fact, is about to be disrupted.

When Pauline Reilly hears Carol’s news she’s worried for her little sister. But as rumours about Slapton Sands reach Cliffehaven, Pauline can’t help be more concerned for her only surviving son. And despite her sister-in-law Peggy’s best efforts, nothing soothes Pauline’s fears.

As Carol prepares to face the impending upheaval alone her beloved mother, Dolly, swoops in to Slapton, and packing up Carol’s life presents unexpected opportunities for them both: Carol looks to her future while Dolly confronts a ghost from her past, and they both have a chance to mend their broken hearts.

thewaitinghoursasset1 thewaitinghoursasset3

My review:

An engaging WW2 saga, about love, loss and family! The year is 1943, with the novel actually building up to the events of Christmas 1943 and right through to D-Day invasions. Although not a Christmas novel, the fact that it covers the Christmas period in-depth means, it would make for the perfect Christmas gift!

Carol Porter knows the pain and hardships WW2 can bring to innocent civilians, having lost both her husband and baby. She is alone in her grief and sets out to become a land girl, in an effort to channel her pain. Carol starts work at the Coombe farm, ran by the Burnley family. Cantankerous yet loveable Jack Burnley and his battle-axe wife Millicent. The work is hard and makes for long days of manual labour. The other land girls Maisie, Pru and Ida at only 21yrs old, have fled London after their homes were destroyed in the bombings. Carol is a lonely character, that you often pity and admire in equal measure. But carol has family and they make for quite the multitude of characters themselves…..

Carol’s mother Dolly, is quite an unusual woman. Known for her fur coats, high heels and glamourous lifestyle. But what Dolly’s daughters don’t know, is that she secretly works for the SOE and is involved in missions relating to operation overlord. Upon hearing of the requisition of Slapton Sands and knowing Carol’s house stands to be taken over by American forces. Dolly descends upon Slapton Sands.
But there is a mysterious American who means both betrayal and love to Dolly that she wishes to avoid at all costs!

Carol’s sister Peggy lives locally at Cliffehaven with her husband Jim, daughters Daisy, Cissy and Anne, sons Bob and Charlie. She is a family orientated woman, who is a ray of sunshine bring love and warmth to everyone she meets. She is often the closest protector of her sister-in-law Pauline. Pauline having experienced the loss of two of her sons in the war and with a husband and surviving son still serving, is awash with nerves and worry!

American General Felix Addmington and his British Sgt Cornwallis arrive in Slapton Sands to a very cool/uneasy welcoming. The locals don’t want to be forced out of their homes and cannot gather the importance at the mission being created around them due to its top secret nature.
Can Felix win over the locals?
Why does Dolly avoid Felix like the plague?

At times the novel felt overly descriptive and I felt it needed some tweaks on historical accuracy. But it is a saga and therefore, to be told from the character’s point of view. Which it does incredibly well.

There is a wealth of characters from all ages, that resonate with the reader. The relationships and the impact of the war is always at the forefront of the story. The Devonshire setting adds to the location, giving of a ‘local’ feel to the way the characters interact with one another. The moment when Pauline waves off her surviving son Brendon to war, I felt tears sting my eyes. It reminded me of my grandmother (90yrs old) telling me “that every mother on her street, lost a son in the war”.
The characters feel real and authentic, you root for them and the various troubles the face! 4*

Ellie Dean
Ellie Dean
To find out more about the author and her novels visit her website:
http://www.ellie-dean.co.uk/index.htm

thewaitinghoursasset2
*If you follow @arrowpublishing via Twitter, tomorrow they are hosting a #Giveaway for the novel!

#Review 5* #DeadToMe by @LesleyPearse @MichaelJBooks

Cover
Dead To Me by Lesley Pearse
Synopsis:

Two very different women, one unlikely friendship. In the chaos of war-torn Britain, can any relationship survive?

Dead to Me is a story about loyalty, love and the strength of friendship in the face of adversity, from international number one bestselling author Lesley Pearse.

Spring 1935.
On London’s Hampstead Heath two girls meet by chance: well-mannered and smartly dressed Verity and dishevelled and grubby Ruby. Yet the mismatched pair form an instant friendship strong enough to survive their parent’s disapproval.

When war engulfs the country – sending Ruby to Devon while Verity struggles to find a new beginning under a shadow from her past – the girls are convinced they will always be there for each other.

Until the day one breaks the other’s heart . . .

Can Verity and Ruby find a way back to each other before it’s too late?

My Review:

I have been a fan of Lesley Pearse’s for many, many years! With my favourite novel of hers being, Remember Me. I am also a huge WW2 geek and love WW2 non-fiction and Fiction books. I have a very impressive collection!
So this novel was an obvious choice for me.

Spring 1935

The novel is ultimately a story of friendship and the strength of the bonds we make, with those whom, we share no blood. The friendship is between Ruby and Verity, who meet by accident one day in their childhood on Hampstead Heath. The girls come from very different walks of life one from exceptional wealth and one from abject poverty. As they witness a dead drunk being pulled from a pool Ruby remarks “no one cares why poor people die”. This intrigues Verity, on how the other half life and so begins a friendship. But neither girl has any idea what fate has in store for them and how their lives are about to change……………

Ruby (14yrs) agrees to show Verity (13yrs) the sides of London she has never seen before and in turn Verity will teach Ruby some manners of the middle class. This unlikely friendship mixed with the ‘coming of age’ of the girls age, really adds to the story. The divide between wealth and poor, clear to see in such young children. Ruby’s mum is a renowned local prostitute, who cares very little for Ruby’s safety and well-being. Verity has grown up in wealth at Daleham Gradens, with a distant mother but a loving housekeeper.
Their worlds couldn’t be further apart!

The novel moves through the years and features the trials and tribulations the girls endeavour as they bloom into young women. But when a tragedy occurs and one girl blames the other. A letter is sent containing only the words “YOU ARE DEAD TO ME”. With both girls no left feeling alone in the world, who will they seek out for comfort? What trouble lurks in the darkness, waiting to strike?

This novel has many dark themes within it, but it is displays how friendship may encounter great struggles but can last a lifetime. The WW2 setting adds to the emotions within the story and creates a fantastic backdrop to the novel. There are characters you will love, like Wilby (Mrs Wilbeforce) she reminded me very lovingly of my granny Winnie. Also characters you will despise more and more with the building of the novel, namely Archie (Verity’s father).
This novel touches upon a wide-range of emotion.
A thoroughly good read 5*

LP
Lesley Pearse
Authors Links:
Via Penguin: https://www.penguin.co.uk/authors/lesley-pearse/21763/
Twitter: @LesleyPearse