A Christmas Wish for the Shipyard Girls by Nancy Revell – A story of women on the Home Front in 1943
A Christmas Wish for the Shipyard Girls
This a book that, like many of its type, finishes with Christmas celebrations, but is mainly about the rest of the year.This is a challenging year for the women who work in a shipyard in Sunderland, it being 1943 the Second World War is still has not yet been decided. Bombing raids still take place, there is a desperate need for the ships they are making and repairing, and some characters are away from home and in some danger. Not all the women are welders,though that was the focus of the earlier books in the series; some of the other women work in the office, look after the children and have other occupations. The range of relationships between them is part of the attraction of these books, and the closeness of most of the women is their strength. Not that they always agree, or find their relationships always easy. Past hurts, secrets and some evasions from the truth are challenges that must be coped with by everyone at some point. Helen is a great success at running the shipyard, but is suspicious of her family. Bel is still in love with Joe and adores her daughter, but is sad that she has not got the big family she so longs for so long after her second marriage. Polly is married and hopes for an addition so, but, her husband is still at risk and away from home. Other people in this book are planning changes, but can they all survive at this dangerous time?
The book begins in part of one the local hospitals, where Helen has come to find her friend Dr Parker, now convinced of her true feelings for him. She is surprised and upset to find him in an apparently compromising situation with Dr Claire Eris, who has her own agenda for the handsome doctor. Pearl has also arrived with her daughter Bel in search of her friend Bill, but has wandered into a different room and made a significant discovery. Charlotte is still causing problems and asking questions trying to find out about the various women as well as Rosie, and has established a firm relationship with Lily. Polly is struggling with advice from all quarters, as she struggles to hold on to hope for a happy reunion with her husband. Meanwhile,Bel and Pearl share a huge secret, but will they keep silent?
This book describes wonderful and memorable characters in a way that draws the reader in. I meant to take my time reading this book, but once I started to read the book I was hooked, and as I read through the book I was so keen to discover what would happen with each character in their particular storylines which are cleverly blended together. The dialogue is rich and varied, as they range between Angie’s local accent and the educated tones of Helen. Revell has a keen ear for the timing, the sense and the pace of speech of the people in all their varied occupations, and it is this that helps bring the story alive. I really enjoyed this really readable book, and recommend it to everyone who enjoys an involving story featuring strong women in challenging times.