Wartime at Woolworths is the third story in Elaine Everest’s Woolworths series … in the second, Christmas at Woolworths, I realised that these characters had sneaked right into my heart (don’t you just love that!). Today I have an extract and I’m sharing my thoughts on Wartime at Woolworths.
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Pan (3 May 2018)
The Woolworths girls have come a long way together . . .
Fun loving Maisie, is devoted to her young family and her work at Woolworths. But her happy life with her RAF officer husband, their baby daughter leads her to think of the family she left behind . . . With the war now into its fourth year, what will she find when she sets about searching for them?
Sarah and her husband, Alan, are blissfully happy and long for a sibling for their daughter. But dark days lay ahead for this close family.
Freda heads home to Birmingham, to go in search of her family, back to the life she fled – far from the safety of Woolworths and her new friends.
With families’ separated by war, will the Woolworths girls be able to pull together?
‘Maisie, have you seen the state of my uniform jacket? It has sticky marks on the sleeves and I need to be off in a few minutes,’ David Carlisle huffed as he walked into the small kitchen of the rooms they rented in a large house in Avenue Road. He wrinkled his nose at the sight that met his eyes. ‘I hope that’s not our dinner?’
Maisie turned and grinned. Wrapped up in a voluminous pinafore with a scarf covering her hair, she wiped the steam from her face with her hand before tucking away a stray curl that had escaped the hair covering. ‘Anymore of yer lip and you will get this on a plate along wiv a few spuds and carrots. If I don’t get Ruby’s nappies boiled and on the line, she’ll have run out by teatime. Now, what did I hear you moaning about?’ she asked, hands on hips and looking her handsome RAF husband up and down.
David felt slightly ashamed. ‘The sleeve of my jacket appears to be a little sticky.’
Maisie laughed and reached for the dishcloth and gave the offending mark a good scrub. ‘There you are. Now go off and try to win the war without getting grubby,’ she snorted with laughter.
‘I love you, Maisie Carlisle,’ he said, sweeping his wife up in his arms and swinging
her around the room before gently kissing her lips.
‘I think you’re a bit of all right too,’ she replied and was about to return his kiss when two little girls could be heard giggling in the doorway. Maisie shrugged her shoulders and tidied the scarf on her head. ‘What are you two up ter? I bet it’s a bit of no good or you’d not be laughing like that.’
‘Just you and David kissing each other; it’s a bit soppy, ain’t it?’ Bessie grinned.
Wartime at Woolworths by Elaine Everest is published on 3rd May by Pan Mac (available in paperback and ebook, price £6.99)
I have to say I do enjoy Elaine Everest’s prologues. They always end on a cliffhanger and in the back of my mind this time I was wondering well were they? Or weren’t they? Surely Elaine wouldn’t do that to those characters …
In Wartime at Woolworths there’s a re-emergence of an unsavoury character, a new couple on the street with something to hide, the return of a family member and an escape that although was tense, had me chuckling. Good old Ruby and her ideas 🙂 And of course there’s the hardship and stress for Betty managing Woolworths during the war.
The Woolworths novels are like stepping back into a circle of friends and family who are the community that hold you up when you need it and are authentic when they celebrate your successes with you. And I can tell you there are plenty of moments for our characters on both ends of the emotional spectrum. You can imagine for yourself the type of conflict there might be for a community during WWII, add into the mix how easily it is to invest emotionally in these characters and bam! you’re tense and anxious, waiting to hear, or a jumble of nerves as you’re at the event yourself (there are a few poignant scenes – hand up, I sobbed a couple of times). There’s a good balance of celebrations too though. Times to laugh together, milestones to celebrate together and excitement with the expectation of what’s to come.
There was some nostalgia for me this time – the songs that are sung are the ones I remember my dad singing and I could hear him so clearly. He was an East End lad too.
The story ends on Christmas Eve 1944 – a day that will be remembered in this community with a mixture of feelings … sadness but also a sign that brings happiness and a message of the hope that’s to come. I can’t wait to see what Elaine Everest has in store for us next!
You don’t have to read the other novels in the series to enjoy Wartime at Woolworths as there is enough backstory for you to follow the storylines however, your experience would be so much the richer if you do.
Elaine Everest, author of Bestselling novel The Woolworths Girls and The Butlins Girls was born and brought up in North West Kent, where many of her books are set. She has been a freelance writer for twenty years and has written widely for women’s magazines and national newspapers, with both short stories and features. Her non-fiction books for dog owners have been very popular and led to broadcasting on radio about our four legged friends. Elaine has been heard discussing many topics on radio from canine subjects to living with a husband under her feet when redundancy loomed.
When she isn’t writing, Elaine runs The Write Place creative writing school at The Howard Venue in Hextable, Kent and has a long list of published students.
Elaine lives with her husband, Michael, and their Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, in Swanley, Kent and is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Crime Writers Association, The Society of Women Writers & Journalists and The Society of Authors as well as Slimming World where she can be seen sitting in the naughty corner.
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