Shipyard Girls at War: (Shipyard Girls 2) by Nancy Revell

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Shipyard Girls at War: (Shipyard Girls 2) by Nancy Revell

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Ani Johnson
Reviewed by Ani Johnson
Summary: Part 2 of this hist-fiction tribute to Wearside's wartime women shipbuilders picks up a pace as or heroines are touched by more gritty reality. A deceptively deep light read that's totally riveting. (Pun intended!)
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 464 Date: March 2017
Publisher: Arrow
ISBN: 978-1784754648

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Warning: This review contains spoilers for Book 1 in the series from the beginning. The war bites deeper and the shipyard girls at Thompsons have more to contend with than a heavier workload. The Elliott household is in mourning now Teddy has been killed in Africa, muting the celebrations when his twin, Joe, comes home, albeit injured. Rosie is getting over her horrendous episode with her murderous uncle but she's still not back to full health. Working shifts at the yard during the day and secretly by night as a brothel manager to afford her little sister's school fees is a bit of a strain at times but the worst seems to be over. The complications in Rosie's life aren't over yet though. A complication of the heart is on the horizon: can she afford to fall in love with a police detective? Meanwhile Gloria attempts to move on from her abusive husband aren't that easy. The war is taking more than its share of casualties but then so is life.

Author and journalist Nancy Revell certainly knows how to turn up the heat, taking suspense levels in this second-in-series from exciting to cliff edge. In fact Nancy proves to us that fiction can reflect life in all its unexpected consequences.

For instance we all finished The Shipyard Girls wanting Rosie to have some happiness in her life but who would have expected it to come in the form of DS Miller, the investigating officer on her uncle's case? This is a turn up that scares and thrills simultaneously. He's a lovely bloke yet we all know police are never off duty. How long will Rosie's illegal night job as, effectively, assistant madam stay secret? Not only that, since Rosie and the girls as good as murdered her uncle… yes quite! DS Miller may be lovely but…

Once again Nancy also proves herself more than capable of introducing and probing deeper issues than in traditional easy read historical fiction. This novel is definitely an easy read while allowing us to witness deceptive depths. To demonstrate, in just one of the story's wonderful complexities the author explores the effects of war time loss and bereavement on a household of diverse relationships.

Teddy's mother Agnes has to come to terms with a nightmare's fruition. For his sister Polly it brings not only grief but a greater layer of fear for her fiancé Tommy, still at the front. Bel, Teddy's widow, has to face Teddy's image on the face of his twin Joe on a daily basis. She thinks she can escape by returning to work but…

Then there's Teddy, missing a part of him that's been there since before birth while harbouring feelings he's had since childhood, complicating matters further.

That's just one example without even glancing at Gloria and her fight to evade her brutal ex-husband while working at the same place as the vicious Helen, daughter of Gloria's new bloke. Yes, the Helen who had it in for Polly because of Tommy. Oh and Martha… Dear Martha; we all have our fingers crossed for her this time out.

This is a wonderful novel for cosy time alone but it makes even better reading as a group choice. Why? Nancy's characters demand to be discussed, raising issues that resonate down through the decades.

This second book builds on the first, ensuring that we're shown more of the lives we're becoming embroiled in while loving every second. If that's not enough, there's a really satisfying ending with a little thread that promises a dramatic unravel, possibly in Book 3. There's further joy in that we don’t have long to wait: Secrets of the Shipyard Girls is due out in September 2017

(Our enthusiastic thanks to Arrow for providing us with a copy for review.)

Further Reading: Please don't read this second book till you've treated yourself to The Shipyard Girls. If you're already a fan and looking for other good fiction with a feminine leaning, we also heartily suggest Our Tiny, Useless Hearts by Toni Jordan or if you'd like to continue the historical fiction vibe, Before the Rains by Dinah Jefferies and The Sisters of St Croix by Diney Costeloe come just as well-recommended.

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Buy Shipyard Girls at War: (Shipyard Girls 2) by Nancy Revell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Shipyard Girls at War: (Shipyard Girls 2) by Nancy Revell at


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