The Girl From The Workhouse by Lynn Johnson
Today I am thrilled to take part in the blog tour for The Girl From The Workhouse by Lynn Johnson.
Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources, Hera Books and the author for a copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly.
Even in the darkest of times, she never gave up hope
Staffordshire, 1911. Ginnie Jones’s childhood is spent in the shadow of the famous Potteries, living with her mother, father and older sister Mabel. But with Father’s eyesight failing, money is in short supply, and too often the family find their bellies aching with hunger. With no hope in sight, Ginnie is sent to Haddon Workhouse.
Separated from everything she has known, Ginnie has to grow up fast, earning her keep by looking after the other children with no families of their own. When she meets Clara and Sam, she hopes that she has made friends for life… until tragedy strikes, snatching away her newfound happiness.
Leaving Haddon three years later, Ginnie finds work as a mouldrunner at the Potteries, but never stops thinking about her friends in the workhouse – especially Sam, now a caring, handsome young man. When Sam and Ginnie are reunited, their bond is as strong as ever – until Sam is sent to fight in WW1. Faced with uncertainty, can Ginnie find the joy that she’s never had? Or will her heart be broken once again?
An emotional, uplifting and nostalgic family saga that will make you smile, while tugging on your heart-strings. Fans of Sheila Newbury, Kitty Neale and Sheila Riley will love this beautiful read.
I live close to The Potteries and have worked in Burslem so I was really excited to read Ginnie’s story and find out what life would have been like in the early 1900s.
My heart went out to Ginnie when she is sent to Haddon Workhouse at just eleven and separated from her family. The book portrays just how hard the conditions in the workhouse were and Ginny has to grow up fast. She adapts to the harsh lifestyle quickly and makes lifelong bonds with people, trusted friendships that stay with her far into her adult life.
After three years Ginny is collected from the workhouse by her sister Mabel who is now married and expecting her first child. Ginny soon finds out that her sister not only wants a helping hand around the house, but an extra wage coming in. She starts to work in a nearby pottery factory working as a mouldrunner, a job no-one wants to do.
The book is heartbreaking, emotive and well researched. I really felt for Ginny who was obviously intelligent but never given the chance to learn to read and write. The character has an amazing spirit, always finding the positives in a harsh and sometimes cruel existence. This is an easy, enjoyable and informative read, recommended for lovers of historical fiction.
Author Bio –
Lynn Johnson was born in the Staffordshire Potteries and went to school in Burslem, where the novel is set. She left school with no qualifications and got a job as a dental nurse (and lasted a day), a nursery assistant, and a library assistant before her ambition grew and she enrolled at the Elms Technical College, Stoke-on-Trent and obtained six O’levels. She obtained a Diploma in Management Studies and a BA Hons in Humanities with Literature from the Open University while working full-time.
Most of her working life was spent in Local Government in England and Scotland, and ultimately became a Human Resources Manager with a large county council.
She started to write after taking early retirement and moving to the north of Scotland with her husband where she did relief work in the famous Orkney Library and Archives, and voluntary work with Orkney’s Learning Link. Voluntary work with Cats Protection resulted in them sharing their home with six cats.
She joined Stromness Writing Group and, three months after moving to Orkney, wrote a short story which would become the Prologue to The Girl From the Workhouse.