The Jam Factory Girls by Mary Wood @Authormary @panmacmillan #hist/fic #saga #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for The Jam Factory Girls by Mary Wood. I was so surprised and absolutely delighted when a copy of this book landed on my doormat, so my huge thanks to Pan Macmillan for my amazing book post.

Any regular visitors to my blog may be aware that I am a big fan of Mary’s work, she also writes under the pseudonym Maggie Mason. This author definitely knows how to write a saga, so if you love your historical fiction then you need to check out some of her books.

Let’s look at the first in this new trilogy by Mary…

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The Jam Factory Girls is an uplifting and emotional novel of friendship set in the heart of pre-WWI London from bestselling author, Mary Wood.

Life for Elsie is difficult as she struggles to cope with her alcoholic mother. Caring for her siblings and working long hours at Swift’s Jam Factory in London’s Bermondsey is exhausting. Thankfully her lifelong friendship with Dot helps to smooth over life’s rough edges.

When Elsie and Dot meet Millie Swift, they are nervous to be in the presence of the bosses’ daughter. Over time, they are surprised to feel so drawn to her, but should two East End girls be socializing in such circles?

When disaster strikes, it binds the women in ways they could never imagine. Long-held secrets are revealed that could change all their lives…

Purchase from Amazon UK – Mary’s book are very accessible and you usually see them in the supermarket and you can of course order them from your local book seller.

My Review…

It is always an absolute treat to read a book by this author, especially when I get to read the first book in a new trilogy. The Jam Factory Girls is the first in this new trilogy and it is a wonderful book from start to finish.

This book introduces two Eastend girls Elsie and Dot, and also the Jam factory owners daughter Millie. An unlikely friendship blooms between these girls, they just get on so well. Millie’s friendship would be looked down upon by her parents just as the girls’ friendship with Millies would be. In an era when social classes are still very evident, and classes should not mix it is an unusual relationship, to say the least.

For me, Elsie was the main character of the three and her story is told more so than the others, but the author knows how to weave a tale that involves the three. Hardship, poor working conditions and living conditions are described and show that even when times are tough, there are always those that are in a worse condition.

The over-riding feeling through this book is one of friendship, loyalty and wanting to do the right thing. Not always easy when a good deed can be seen as charity and pride is a priority. The story tells of not just the friendship between the girls but also includes the going on in the factory, the rise of women calling for their own rights in the workforce.

This is an absolutely fabulous book and one that I adored. The author has once again transported me back in time and delivered such a heartbreaking at times story, but one that also injects hope for the future into it. If you are a fan of sagas and historical fiction then this is a book that is definitely one that should be on your list. If you have read any of this author’s books then you know you are going to be in for a wonderful read. The Jam Factory Girls is a book I would definitely recommend. 

About the Author…

Mary Wood

Born in Maidstone, Kent, in 1945, the thirteenth child of fifteen children, Mary’s family settled in Leicestershire after the war ended.

Mary married young and now, after 54 years of happy marriage, four children, 12 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren, Mary and her husband live in Blackpool during the summer and Spain during the winter – a place that Mary calls, ‘her writing retreat’.

After many jobs from cleaning to catering, all chosen to fit in with bringing up her family, and boost the family money-pot, Mary ended her 9 – 5 working days as a Probation Service Officer, a job that showed her another side to life, and which influences her writing, bringing a realism and grittiness to her novels

Mary first put pen to paper, in 1989, but it wasn’t until 2010 that she finally found some success by self-publishing on kindle.

Being spotted by an editor at Pan Macmillan in 2013, finally saw Mary reach her publishing dream.

When not writing, Mary enjoys family time, reading, eating out, and gardening. One of her favourite pastimes is interacting with her readers on her Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/HistoricalNovels
And on her web page: http://www.authormarywood.com
She is also on Twitter: @Authormary

Mary welcomes all contact with her readers and feedback on her work.

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Taking a Chance on Love by Erin Green #contemporaryfiction #womensfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Taking a Chance on Love by Erin Green. I read this a couple of weeks ago and I am desperately trying to catch up with some of my reviews.

Let me show you about this book…

Synopsis…

One question can change everything.

Meet Carmen, Polly and Dana – all happy and successful women, with very different views on relationships.

Carmen has made a life with Elliot for the past eight years. She’s ready for the next step but a proposal seems to be as far away as ever.

Polly is devoted to her family. But after her parents’ bitter divorce, she’s wary of marriage – even after sharing twenty years and one son with Fraser.

Single mother Dana longs for companionship, despite her dedication to raising her son Luke. Finding the right person to bring into their lives feels impossible – until a unique way to select a potential Mr Right comes along.

With 29th February fast approaching, will they each take the chance this Leap Year to take control of their fates?

My Review…

What a gorgeous book this was to read. A first for me by this author and I am so glad to see there are some earlier books that I can read.

This is the story of three women. Polly Dana and Carmen. One has been with her boyfriend for 8 years with no sign of a marriage proposal from him, which is a shame as she owns a bridal shop so knows exactly what she wants. The other a single mum with a home floristry business that caters for weddings, bouquets, buttonholes, table displays and the like. She has just signed up for a show about finding love. The final woman is a Mum, in a stable long term relationship and works in travel agents and is juggling her time between her divorced parents and trying to organise a last-minute birthday party.

Each of them is busy, they have their own priorities and appear very stable but looking for a little something else. The story flits between each of the women in several subchapters. This is great as it gives the reader a chance to get to know the women and what is going on in each of their lives.

While this is a romance, it is not heavily romantic more contemporary fiction with a dash of romance later on in the story. I really enjoyed getting to know women and also their families. It was a gentle introduction that gathered momentum the further the story went.

There are connections that are made, brief pasts mentioned and always the look towards the future and what it may hold. The latter section of the book had me absolutely riveted to every word, I was already pretty addicted in the earlier stages as well. But the ending was just… well I will let you find out for yourselves.

This is a fabulous read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I liked the way the author tackled various subjects through her story. This is such a lovely read and one that readers of contemporary fiction, family life and romance will enjoy. I would definitely recommend it.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The 24-Hour Cafe by Libby Page @LibbyPAgeWrites @orionbooks #CompulsiveReaders @Tr4cyF3nt0n #24HourCafe #BookReview

I am delighted to share my review for The 24 Hour Cafe by Libby Page. I am joining with Tracy at Compulsive Readers as part of the Blog Tour. I read it way back in November and I can now finally share my thoughts…

Let me show you what this book is all about…

Welcome to the café that never sleeps. Day and night Stella’s Café opens its doors for the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It is many things to many people but most of all it is a place where life can wait at the door. A place of small kindnesses. A place where anyone can be whoever they want, where everyone is always welcome.

Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They work at Stella’s but they dream of more, of leaving the café behind and making their own way in life.

Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella’s Café; a day when Hannah and Mona’s friendship will be tested, when the community will come together and when lives will be changed…

I read this book over a couple of sittings and found it such a relaxing book. This book is about the people who visit or work in the 24-hour cafe called Stella’s. It is told in 24 chapters as the clock marks each hour.

There are two main characters, Mona and Hannah. They are friends and also work as waitresses in Stella’s, each works a 12-hour shift and so I got to see the customers that they met of their shift. I really liked how the book was laid out because not only did I get to read about each of the main customers for each hour of the story, I also got details into the lives of Hannah and Mona.

Their backgrounds are told through a series of memories and go through their backstories up until they work at the cafe. It delves into their hopes, dreams, disappointments and frustrations. I did really like both of these characters and their stories. As I said there is a focus on a customer for each hour. Now, this is what I really liked because it was like people watching from the perspective of either Mona or Hannah, and also you get the story from the customer themselves. For me, this worked really well and though it is only a snapshot into a persons life, it is very representative of the cafe life.

So with the customers’ stories, this is almost like a story of short stories that intersperse the main story of Mona and Hannah. Their stories come across as more like short stories as they are not told in chunks instead they are interrupted as customers take priority.

This is a slower read and I liked the quietness of the story, there is drama and emotion throughout the story, it is not overwhelming, it is more subtle than that. The whole book was just one of those books that you can quite happily lose yourself in as I did over two sittings.

A lovely read that I thoroughly enjoyed and was a delight to read. The 24-Hour Cafe is a book I would definitely recommend.

Libby Page wrote The Lido while working in marketing and moonlighting as a writer. The Lido has sold in over twenty territories around the world and film rights have been sold to Catalyst Global Media. Libby lives in London where she enjoys finding pockets of community within the city. Follow Libby on Twitter

See what other Book Bloggers think by checking out their stops on this Tour…