I was very lucky to be invited to join in my very first book tour last year for the latest book in the Woolworth's Girls series, and it was a lot of fun to send in my questions, and read everyone else's posts. You can read my stop on the blog tour HERE. I was also kindly gifted the book to review as well, and have finally got around to putting my pen to paper and writing a review.
One of the first things that struck me about this novel, having read the other books in the series, was the marked change in tone and mood within the characters. They are no longer fearful of war, they are fearful of life when the war ends, and the changes that will bring. It's quite an intense piece of writing that really brings home how the female characters adjusted to life in wartime, and their new found independence, and work home/life.
What's also interesting, is the contrast between the characters that seem to embrace change and look forward to moving on, and those who are fearful, or are very used to their current roles, and don't know how to adjust. There's Betty who faces new challenges as a mother, but can't imagine life without the store, while George faces a family tragedy, yet is positive, ready to move on, and looks to the future.
One of the best additions to this story has to be the addition of Mr Porter. Having felt the changing tones in the novel and read the previous stories, I think he was a breath of fresh air. All the scenes featuring his character as he tries to rule the roost at Woolworths were very visual and amusing, and it was quite satisfying as a reader to picture the Woolworth's girls causing some mischief and standing up to him. I was a bit sceptical beforehand as to what else you could add to this story, in wartime, which hadn't already been covered, but this was the perfect way to add some light relief.
I've not written any stories since I studied English at school, so it always surprises me to read and notice all the little details Elaine includes in her novels, things as a reader I may not have thought of; such as putting the brake on a pram so it doesn't roll down the hill, or placing a plate in a bowl pouring hot water from the kettle on top. Very little detail is missed in the scene setting, and that helps keep things interesting.
I think the book, and perhaps the series came to a natural conclusion with all the characters looking forward to life without war, and although I've loved reading the books, I'm not sure how you'd continue on from that point and keep the same quality of writing. I'm ready for a change, which is maybe just as well, as the next release from Elaine Everest is brand new, shiny, and coming out in May. Keep an eye out for The Teashop Girls, but after you've caught up with the Woolworth's Girls series of course!
And Elaine, I'm still holding out for a sequel to The Butlins Girls!
This book was gifted to me for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are my own. Many thanks to Elaine Everest, Pan Macmillan and ED PR for continuing to support my blog through these opportunities.