Shipyard Girls Under the Mistletoe by Nancy Revell
Many Thanks to Penguin Random House for my copy of Shipyard Girls Under the Mistletoe which I received in exchange for an honest review.
I am very excited to tell you that today is my stop on the #ShipyardGirlsUndertheMistletoe blog tour. This is the first blog tour I have done, so bear with me folks!
I am unbelievably chuffed that I'm starting with one of my favourite authors, Nancy Revell, author of The Shipyard Girls series. Shipyard Girls Under the Mistletoe is the 11th book in the Shipyard Girls series and was released yesterday (28th October). I thought it would be good fun to put the house packing aside and read the novel in a day, which I did, buoyed up by coffee, cake and my first mince pie of the season. And folks it is a good one (the book, not the mince pie!). So let's get to it shall we?
The Plot (from the Back of the Book)
As the promise of victory draws closer, this Christmas will surely be one to remember.
It should be a magical time for Dorothy, who has just been proposed to by her sweetheart, Toby. But with each day that passes, Dorothy's feelings for someone else are growing stronger. Now she has an impossible choice to make.
Gloria is thrilled that her sweetheart Jack is finally home after more than two years away. But his past is continuing to catch up with them both - creating untold heartache for Gloria and everyone she holds dear.
Meanwhile Helen must contend with the fall-out of a shocking family secret that has repercussions for all the Shipyard Girls, while holding out hope for her own happy ending....
Can a little festive magic help them win the day?
The Shipyard Girls series are a set of books very close to my heart. After my lovely mother-in-law gifted me a signed copy of the first book in the series, we enjoyed them so much, we set up our own Shipyard Girls mini-reading group consisting of me, my lovely mother-in-law and the other half of Team Yorkshire (Hi Jenny!).
Shipyard Girls Under the Mistletoe is the 11th book in the Shipyard Girls series. Nancy Revell does a great job in bringing you up to speed in the previous 10 books. But I would heartily recommend reading them in order, starting with the Shipyard Girls. As well as being very enjoyable it is truly fascinating to watch the character arcs of the main players.
Set in the city of Sunderland the novels are set during World War 2, and follow a group of women welders, who are undertaking the back-breaking work building ships for the war effort. Work that was previously undertaken by the men of Sunderland who are now fighting overseas. Over the 11 novels, we have followed each of the women, as they negotiate their personal lives and found out what it was like to be such a huge and valuable part of the war effort.
At the end of the novel, Nancy Revell has penned a letter to her readers and talks about the main themes in the novel being the different forms of love that we all have for each other; romantic love, love for a relative and love for our friends. These all feature beautifully in Shipyard Girls Under the Mistletoe. We witness Dorothy's feelings for Bobby grow, whilst considering a proposal from another man. We see the personal sacrifice that Helen will make for her grandmother, Henrietta.
Underpinning all of this, is the friendship and love the women have for each other which has seen them through some very tough times over the course of the 11 novels. I love how, at times of trouble, the women are all there for each other in a heartbeat. Whether it is a cuppa and a chat, or just to be physically there with each other to provide support. It's gently and sensitively written.
Each book focuses on 3 of the main characters from the group of women. This time it is the turn of Helen, Gloria and Dorothy. Helen has definitely seen the biggest character arc, and I have gone from absolutely hating her in the first few novels to understanding her and now rooting for her. She has been accepted by the group of women and always seems surprised and touched by their friendship and support. I very much want her and Dr Parker to get together! As I say I am rooting for those two.
As Nancy Revell, has explored these characters beautifully she also writes a great baddie too. Miriam and her father Charles Havelock are absolutely ghastly human beings! Charles, in particular, is a wicked, wicked man and I fear what is going to happen to the group of women as he attempts to exact his revenge in the next book.
It is extremely fascinating learning about the experiences of the women during the war. The research is great and throughout the novel are markers of key events that took place during the war, that you cannot find in a history book. The War is coming to a close and the women's thoughts are turning as to what will happen when the men return from the war and what will happen to them. Will attitudes return to the beliefs that women are there for 'baking and breeding' or will Dorothy's idea that there has to be and should be more opportunities for women start to emerge?
It's also a Christmas book. *does a happy dance. If I had not been a part of the blog tour, this would definitely have made it onto my #12booksofchristmas list. There is a beautiful message throughout about helping others and it all takes place against a backdrop of snow.
In conclusion, I loved it. And have happily awarded this 5 Stars. The Shipyard Girls are a comforting and heartwarming set of novels with some characters who will stay with you long after you have finished the final page. This is beautifully Christmassy, with the most marvellous celebration at the end to mark the season and a reminder about peace and goodwill to all, especially those less fortunate. An involving story with some wonderful characters.
I cannot wait to read the next in the series which is published in March 2022, but I am gutted that it will also be the last. I have questions! What will happen to Helen and Dr Parker? Will Charles Havelock get his comeuppance? Will Hannah find out about her family? Will Gloria and Jack get married? What about Lily? Will all the men make it home safe? I am invested!
Thank you again to Penguin Random House for the opportunity to be part of the blog tour. It's been brilliant.
I will be back on Sunday, yes Sunday with a Halloween read for you all. I will also be blogging Monday and Friday next week as WE ARE MOVING HOUSE!!!!!!!. Yay!