Christmas With The Surplus Girls
After the sorrows of war, can Christmas wishes come true?
Manchester, 1922: Nancy Pike is out of her depth at Miss Hesketh’s school for surplus girls, blundering through her lessons and her job placements. Her only joy is getting to know the children at St Anthony’s orphanage. And working for Mr Zachary Milner twice a week.
Alone in the world since the death of his brother, Nancy’s presence has brought a little sunshine back into Zachary’s life. But when she makes a terrible mistake that puts his livelihood in jeopardy, he has no choice but to let her go.
As she battles the prejudices around her, and her own fear, Nancy is determined to bring some Christmas cheer to the orphanage – and maybe even to Zachary Milner…
The third in a quartet of sagas set during the early 1920s, following three Surplus Girls – those women whose dreams of marriage perished in the Great War, after the deaths of millions of young men – and the new lives they forged for themselves.
It is always a pleasure to catch up with the wonderful Surplus Girls and I was excited to read the third instalment in this series.
Surplus Girls is a term given to the many young women who were left unmarried or widowed after so many men lost their lives in the First World War. These women needed to obtain skills to support themselves and lead independent lives. Some were lucky enough to attend the business school ran by Prudence and Patience Hesketh to learn clerical duties and gain improved employment opportunities . The sisters are familiar characters to the series and I was eager to see how their lives (and secrets) evolved.
The main character Nancy Pike attends the college but struggles with concentration and tends to make mistakes. However, her training leads to a position helping out at the local orphanage and helping a fledgling fire safety business managed by Zachary Milner. Nancy’s happy and caring nature shines throughout the book and what she lacks in office skills she makes up for with a huge, warm, heart.
The author seamlessly integrates the differing class divides into the storyline and as always the content is researched down to the tiniest detail. Polly Heron likes to depict strong minded women and Nancy is no exception.
I loved the character based story with a refreshing mix of familiar and new personalities. The plot runs smoothly from the first page with plenty of drama throughout.The festive season takes place at the end of the book with just the right amount of romance and Christmas magic. I enjoyed reading about the old traditions and the true spirit of Christmas which is sometimes lacking in modern day novels.
I would recommend this series to lovers of wartime sagas, however this edition works well as a standalone.This is an engaging read from a talented author who can always be relied upon to deliver top quality fiction.
Thank you to the author for a copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly.