Gunner Girls and Fighter Boys by Mary Gibson

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Gunner Girls and Fighter Boys by Mary Gibson

Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Louise Jones
Reviewed by Louise Jones
Summary: World War II hits Bermondsey, changing the landscape and residents forever. Home-bird May decides to leave the comfort of home to join the war effort and discovers that she is capable of more than she ever dreamed possible.
Buy? yes Borrow? yes
Pages: 448 Date: January 2016
Publisher: Head of Zeus
External links: [marygibsonauthor.co.uk Author's website]
ISBN: 9781781855966

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Gunner Girls and Fighter Boys is the third book in Mary Gibson's Bermondsey series. This time, the Lloyd family take centre stage: Mum, Dad, son Jack and daughters May and Peggy. War is raging in Europe and Bermondsey is not immune from daily onslaught of bombs. A tragic event one night changes everything and home-bird May decides to fly the nest in order to participate in the war effort. The war will leave no-one unscathed; the strongest hearts can be paralysed by fear and the unlikeliest of people can emerge as heroes.

The story alternates between Peggy's story and May's story. They both end up very different people over the course of the book, as the war carves out an unexpected path for them both. May is shy and loves to be at home with her parents. Motivated by grief, she decides to join the WVS as a gunner girl. Though initially out of her comfort zone, May finds an inner strength that she never knew she had and soon begins to shine in her new role. Peggy on the other hand, has a very different, but equally compelling story to tell. Trapped in a suffocating marriage to a local criminal, she suddenly gets a taste of freedom and loves it. No longer restricted by her husband's demands, Peggy is determined to enjoy every minute of her new-found liberty. Consequences have a way of catching up with people though, and soon Peggy is having to face the harsh aftermath of her actions.

As always, Gibson's thorough research shines through and the little details help to build an authentic setting for the story, whether it is a bombed-out street in Bermondsey, a charming Cotswold village or an exotic Far-Eastern location. Her clever and poetic use of words transports readers to each location and immerses them in a sensory delight of sights, sounds smells and flavours. Her characters, likewise, are well written and easy to relate to. We feel an emotional connection to May and her family and hope that they can survive the war in one piece. Heroes and villains alike have their time in the spotlight and each character is memorable in their own way. Fans of Gibson's books will enjoy finding out what happened to the Gilbie family, in a war-scarred Bermondsey very different to the vibrant town depicted in Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts.

Gunner Girls is an engaging story with plenty of excitement, action and emotion. Every time I read a chapter, I was spurred on to read just one more to find out the fate of the characters. Gibson manages to finish most chapters on a cliffhanger, making it very hard to put the book down.

The other books in the Bermondsey series are also a great read. Bookbag loved Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts the story of factory worker Nellie Clark, a girl torn between two very different men in 1911 Bermondsey.

Buy Gunner Girls and Fighter Boys by Mary Gibson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Gunner Girls and Fighter Boys by Mary Gibson at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Gunner Girls and Fighter Boys by Mary Gibson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Gunner Girls and Fighter Boys by Mary Gibson at Amazon.com.


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