I made a huge mistake with The Surplus Girls; I got into bed, picked it up and thought “I’ll just read the first few pages”. The next thing I know it’s way beyond my bedtime and I still don’t want to put it down.
It has everything you could want; a gripping story, interesting characters and it is set in an absolutely fascinating period in history.
I’ll admit I thought I had the plot pretty well sussed at first but it took several surprising turns, which had me giving the author silent (Freya was asleep) applause.
It was a proper page turner for me and I’m delighted to have it as my first book review of 2020 (also, happy new year to you).
Here’s the blurb:
Belinda Layton is a surplus girl. One of the many women whose dreams of marriage perished in the Great War, with the death of her beloved fiancé, Ben.
After four years of mourning, she’s ready to face the future, even though Ben’s family is not happy to see her move on, and her own only cares about getting hold of her meagre factory wages.
Then, Belinda joins a secretarial class and a whole new world opens up to her as she quickly finds herself drawn to beguiling bookshop owner Richard Carson.
But after all the loss and devastation she has experienced, can she really trust him with her heart?
I’d never heard of the term ‘Surplus Girls’ before but the more I read of this book, the more it made me think about how hard it must have been for women following the First World War.
Belinda’s story really tugged at my heartstrings but all of the women in this tale, while different ages and levels of society, are struggling in one way or another.
At points it seems like a pretty bleak time but underlying everything is the hope that things will get better and the strength of the women involved to make it happen.
I’m sure you know – at least if you’ve been reading my blog for a while – that Polly Heron is the pen name of Susanna Bavin, an author who is already a firm favourite of mine. The odd thing is, I did find her writing voice different in this book. I’m not sure if that’s just because of the name change or whether it’s a genuine thing. Not that it matters, I enjoyed it just as much.
I’ve already quizzed her about the next book in this series and I can’t wait to read it.
Price: £7.03 (from Amazon).
My rating: Five stars.
With thanks to Polly and her publishers, Corvus, for the ARC of this book in return for my honest review.