🎄Delighted to join in with this festive blog tour today🎄
29 October 2021
My thanks to the publishers for my ecopy of this book
and to Random Things Tours for the invitation to the blog tour
For Lily Collins and her fellow shop girls at Marlow’s Department store, another Christmas with ration books, shortages of goods and staff – not to mention a store coping with war damage – will be a real challenge.
But the girls rally round and put their worries aside to make this, the hardest wartime Christmas yet, one that their families, and their town, will never forget.
Marlow’s department store is a family run business and attracts as much local custom as rationing and the effects of WW2 will allow. This entertaining story features those who work at the store and takes us deep into their lives and loves.
Throughout this lovely story there’s a great sense of atmosphere and an awareness of the strength of a community which looked out for everyone. This is evident whether it be organising a fashion show at the store and everyone stepping in to help, planning a wartime wedding with all the uncertainty of finding the right wedding and bridesmaid dresses, or playing in a local cricket match.
I particularly enjoyed getting to know shop assistant, Lily Collins and her friends, Gladys and Beryl, who are all doing their utmost to make the best of whatever life throws at them and I think that’s what’s so lovely about Christmas for the Shop Girls, it allows the spotlight to shine on a great set of characters and shares the minutiae of their lives with warmth, love and understanding.
The author writes well and has captured the essence of this close knit community who were both working and living side by side. There's a nice sense of history, which brings to life not just the camaraderie and stoicism of the war years, but also highlights the importance of these family run stores where the workers became more like family members than employees,
Although I am new to this wartime series, this is book four of five, I was able to pick up the story quickly and enjoyed how the author fed us snippets of information which give some background for new readers like me. Whilst the story is very much about life in this small Midlands town, there is a little focus on what’s happening with the war effort, and with their loved ones currently involved in the war effort, the story mentions briefly the events in the North Africa campaign which was, of course, coming to its conclusion in May 1943.
Christmas for the Shop Girls is a lovely story from start to finish and I am sure that followers of series will love it too.
About the Author
Joanna Toye joined the production team of THE ARCHERS after reading English at Cambridge University, and became a scriptwriter for the programme for over twenty years. She has also written a number of spin-off books about the long-running radio drama. On television, she has written for CROSSROADS, DOCTORS and EASTENDERS.
Twitter @JoannaToye #ChristmasfortheShopGirls