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Sunday, 1 May 2016

The Woolworths Girls by Elaine Everest

It's 1938 and as the threat of war hangs over the country, Sarah Caselton is preparing for her new job at Woolworths. Before long, she forms a tight bond with two of her colleagues: the glamorous Maisie and shy Freda. The trio couldn't be more different, but they immediately form a close-knit friendship, sharing their hopes and dreams for the future.
Sarah soon falls into the rhythm of her new position, enjoying the social events hosted by Woolies and her blossoming romance with young assistant manager, Alan. But with the threat of war clouding the horizon, the young men and women of Woolworths realize that there are bigger battles ahead. It's a dangerous time for the nation, and an even more perilous time to fall in love . . .

Title:        The Woolworth Girls
Author:    Elaine Everest
Published By: Pan Macmillan
Date:        May 5th 2016
Link:        UK: Amazon  US: Amazon

My Review

As soon as I saw the title of this book I knew I had to read it. Woolies has always had a special place in my heart and as the book arrived with a bag of pic'n'mix the nostalgia kicked in straight away as that was one of my favourite things as a child.
The book starts with three young girls who meet at an interview for Woolworth's in Erith; Sarah had moved from Devon to live with her nan Ruby, Freda had left her home in search of her brother who was in trouble and Maisie was married and wanted a job to keep herself busy.
Sarah is courted by young assistant manager Alan but rather than taking things slowly their relationship is rushed along due to the impending and eventual breakout of war.
This is a very good insight into what it must have been like to live through the war and the devastating effect it had on people's lives. I didn't know what an Anderson shelter was but I do now and I could vividly picture them all huddled together in there listening for the bombs landing, how scary that must have been.
I liked all the characters apart from nosy neighbour Vera but my favourite character was Ruby, Sarah's nan, as she was the stalwart of the family and was so welcoming to Sarah's friends, she always had a bed, a hot meal and a cuppa to offer and she was pretty fearless.
Sarah's relationship was hard and I really felt for her throughout the book especially when everything seemed to be going wrong.
Maisie had such an awful time and an especially awful mother in law.
Freda was young but strong and knew what she wanted and how to get it.
I loved how the girls started off nervously waiting for their interviews and then over a year later Sarah has to take some nervous new girls under her wing so she had gone full circle.
I don't normally go for historical novels but the fact that this story was built around such an iconic and well loved shop meant that I really enjoyed it. I could see this working as a TV drama and feel it could fill a Mr Selfridge shaped void in my life.
A beautiful story of friendship, loyalty, love and heartbreak set during the Second World War.

Thank you to Pan Macmillan for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

To find out more about Elaine and The Woolworths Girls please click here to read our Q & A.

Book Angel x

About the Author

Elaine Everest
Hello, welcome to my author page. I was born and brought up in the North West of Kent and love to write stories set around Erith and Slade Green - places I know so well. It is heartwarming to know that many people look back with fondness to the town, the people and a life long gone.

Twenty years ago I moved a few miles away from Erith and now live in Swanley with my husband, Michael, and Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, where I write nostalgic stories set in and around the county.

Follow me:
Facebook: Elaine Everest Author page
Twitter: @elaineeverest
My writing school:


  1. Thank you so much for your lovely review.
    Elaine xxx

    1. You are more than welcome Elaine it's a brilliant book x x

  2. There was always a 'Vera' wasn't there? A lovely book which I enjoyed very much

    1. Yes, it makes it more realistic to have an unlikeable character and it was a very real friendship she had with Ruby x