Sheffield, 1939. With war declared, these brave women will step up and do their bit for their country
Housewife Nancy never dreamed that she’d end up in Vickers steelworks factory but when husband Bert is called up to serve, she needs to put food on the table for her two young children.
Betty’s sweetheart William has joined the RAF Reserves so she can’t sit around and do nothing – even if it means giving up her ambitions to study law at night school.
Young Patty is relishing the excitement the war brings. But this shop-girl is going to have to grow up quickly, especially now she’s undertaking such back-breaking and dangerous work in the factory.
The Steel Girls start off as strangers but quickly forge an unbreakable bond of friendship as these feisty factory sisters vow to keep the foundry fires burning during wartime.
I’ve always been fascinated by the hundreds of women who took on “men’s work” during the war. My great aunt, Auntie Doll, became a bus driver in London, even though she’d originally been hired to clean them! She was something of a character. There’s something very powerful about women, many of them teenagers or housewives, stepping into the roles society previously told them weren’t suitable.
The camaraderie and friendship between Betty, Nancy and Patty gets them through tough shifts in a Sheffield steelworks, driving the cranes that lift huge pieces of steel through the factory. They have to put up with male colleagues who don’t want women in their workplace and ones who need to learn to keep their hands to themselves. Nancy and Betty also have men away in the war, Nancy’s husband Bert is in the army and Betty’s boyfriend in the RAF.
A heartwarming, enjoyable story about friendship and women finding their place in troubled times.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.