The Railway Girls
The first novel in the wonderful new Railway Girls series, perfect for fans of Nancy Revell and Ellie Dean.
In February, 1922, at the western-most entrance to Victoria Station in Manchester, a massive plaque was unveiled. Beneath a vast tiled map showing the lines of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway network, a series of seven bronze panels recorded the names of the men of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway who gave their lives for King and Country in the Great War – a total of 1,460 names.
In March, 1940, a group of women of varying ages and backgrounds, stand in front of the memorial, ready to do their bit in this new World War…
Mabel is determined to make a fresh start as a railway girl where no one will know the terrible thing she did and she can put her guilt behind her… Or is she just running away?
Meanwhile Joan will never be as good as her sister, or so her Gran keeps telling her. A new job as a station clerk could be just the thing she needs to forget her troubles at home.
And Dot is further into her forties than she cares to admit. Her beloved sons are away fighting and her husband – well, the less said about him the better. Ratty old sod. She is anxious to become a railway girl just like her dear mam – anything to feel she is supporting the sons she prays for every night.
The three women start off as strangers, but soon form an unbreakable bond that will get them through the toughest of times…
I loved reading everything about The Railway Girls because my dad was a railway enthusiast and much of my early childhood involved standing on platforms and inspecting the trains as they arrived and departed. I was far too young to understand how the railway network operated and the importance of keeping the trains moving, especially in wartime.
So, I was excited to learn much more about railways through the eyes of three women who volunteered to work during World War II. Mabel, Joan, and Dot are very different women but they share a desire to contribute to the war effort and are given positions helping to keep the essential railway network operating at its best.
Maisie Thomas is an expert in developing warm, relatable characters with interesting backstories. However, she really excels at bringing intensely strong women to life. There was never a time when women were depended upon more than 1940 when the men were away fighting for their country. They experienced prejudice on every level but remained determined that they would roll up their sleeves and do the work as well as the men.
Dot had to be my favorite character. She was so kind-hearted but downtrodden by her family and her immense strength cried out to be put to better use. The book is well researched and every tiny detail feels authentic, in fact, some of the events actually took place.
I’m sure this series will be amazing and I can’t wait to see what the Railway Girls do next.
About The Author
Maisie Thomas was born and brought up in Manchester, which provides the location for her Railway Girls novels. She loves writing stories with strong female characters, set in times when women needed determination and vision to make their mark. The Railway Girls series is inspired by her great aunt Jessie, who worked as a railway clerk during the First World War.
Maisie lives on the beautiful North Wales coast with her husband and their two rescue cats. They have enjoyed many holidays chugging up and down the UK’s heritage steam railways and their favourite is the Severn Valley Railway.
Thank you to the author and publisher for a copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly.