It's 1938 and as the threat of war hangs over the country, Sarah Caselton is preparing for her new job at Woolworths. Before long, she forms a tight bond with two of her colleagues: the glamorous Maisie and shy Freda. The trio couldn't be more different, but they immediately form a close-knit friendship, sharing their hopes and dreams for the future.
Sarah soon falls into the rhythm of her new position, enjoying the social events hosted by Woolies and her blossoming romance with young assistant manager, Alan. But with the threat of war clouding the horizon, the young men and women of Woolworths realize that there are bigger battles ahead. It's a dangerous time for the nation, and an even more perilous time to fall in love . . .
It's been a while since I've read a book in this genre and I absolutely loved it. A gentle, beautifully narrated story of love and friendship in wartime England - along with the much loved and greatly missed institution that was Woolworths.
Sarah, Maisie and Freda: three girls from different walks of life all in their own way escaping from some aspect of their lives and hoping to find solace in the camaraderie of the working life of being a Woolies Girl. Firstly, their boss, 'Bossy Billington' seems a fierce and unlikeable character, looking down somewhat on brassier yet glamorous character, Maisie, but during the story reveals a much softer and vulnerable side, making her I think my favourite character in the book. Ruby Castelton - Sarah's nan is another wonderful character - the epitome of family matriarch in this troubled time in history and someone you would most definitely want on your side in a crisis.
I loved the vivid descriptions of this time period and often felt I was reading more of a memoir, it felt very realistic. I followed the ups and downs of life with the girls avidly, rooting for all to end well for them, and I thoroughly enjoyed the ending where slightly predictable, was satisfying and in no way disappointing.
This is a wonderful nostalgic read from start to end that evoked memories of my childhood (albeit not in the time period which the book is set...!) taking my pocket money to Woolies on a Saturday morning to buy sweets and records!
Well worth reading...
Many thanks to Sophie at EDPR for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review
I am giving away a paperback copy of Elaine Everest's The Woolworths Girls - just comment below (or on my Facebook page) and tell me your fondest memories of Woolworths!
UK only please...