11 November 2021
My thanks to the author for my copy of this book
Christmas is the season for family and friends, and this year the railway girls will need each other more than ever.
Cordelia appears to have the perfect life. When her daughter Emily arrives home unexpectedly, she can't wait to introduce her to her friends. But when things don't go to plan, Cordelia must decide where her loyalty lies.
Things aren't going too smoothly for Alison either. Her beloved boyfriend has yet to propose, but there's a charity fundraiser dance and she's dressed up specially. Surely, tonight must be the night.
Colette's friends are envious of her devoted husband; he meets her after every shift on the railway, and accompanies her around town. But Colette has a secret, one that will change her life—if only she knew who to confide in.
With the festive season fast approaching, the railway girls are hoping for some Christmas magic..
It's such a treat to join the railway girls as they quietly, and confidently, go about their collective war work, on the northern rail network, during WW2. For those who have read the previous books in this lovely series this is the welcome return of old friends and we pick up the story pretty much where The Railway Girls in Love finished.
It's been interesting to see the development of these characters over time and whilst this story focuses the attention on Cordelia, Alison and Colette, it's always so good to see the gang reunited as they set the world to rights in their regular meet ups in the railway buffet. There's a warmth to these stories which really captures the imagination and whilst this book tackles some sensitive issues about relationships, it does so with an uncanny knack of seeing right into the heart and soul of the matter. I'm being deliberately vague as to the ins and outs of the story as this is one of those books which you want to sink into without any spoilers from me!
Beautifully written with a strong sense of time and place and a wonderful supporting cast I found Christmas with the Railway Girls to be quite an emotional roller-coaster of a read, and with my thoughts firmly fixed on one character in particular I really hoped that everything would work out well. There's such strong authenticity to the stories that it really makes the war time era come alive in the imagination, from making do and mending, to always being there for one another in times of crisis. I found myself smiling at the thought of the railway girls reusing Christmas wrapping paper, time and again, as that's something that my own mother, herself a young woman during WW2, frequently did, much to the amusement of the rest of us. Years after the war ended, my mother would never scrunch pretty paper and throw it away !
As a northerner what makes these lovely stories so special for me is the sense of making the best of a situation which is so much a part of our genetic makeup. It is really lovely to see the same traits coming through in the Railway Girls who, infinitely kind, always make the best of what they have and share, regardless of their social class, a deep and abiding friendship with each other. Whilst there is an undeniable nod towards Christmas, this is a story which can be read comfortably at any time of the year. My only advise is to read the books in the order they were published as that way you will grow to love these characters just as much as the rest of us do.
Reading Christmas with the Railway Girls is the perfect antidote to festive stress.
About the Author
Maisie Thomas was born and brought up in Manchester, which provides the location for her Railway Girls novels. She loves writing stories with strong female characters, set in times when women needed determination and vision to make their mark. The Railway Girls series is inspired by her great aunt Jessie, who worked as a railway clerk during the First World War. Maisie now lives on the beautiful North Wales coast with her railway enthusiast husband, Kevin, and their two rescue cats. They often enjoy holidays chugging up and down the UK’s heritage steam railways.
Twitter @MaisieThomas99 #ChristmasWithTheRailwayGirls