Hello, Sunshines, I have the massive pleasure to be today’s stop on the blog tour for wonderful; The Steel Girls by Michelle Rawlins. I can’t wait to share my review of this heart-warming and inspiring book with your all.
Firstly, I want to say thank you to the HQ for the invite to this tour.
About the Book
The Steel Girls by Michelle Rawlins
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance
Release Date: 15th April 2021
When war breaks out, friendship will see them through
‘A heart-warming story perfect for saga lovers’, Nancy Revell,Sunday Times bestselling author of The Shipyard Girls series
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.
Purchase Link: The Steel Girls
As soon as I saw this book I knew that I had to read it, I have read and absolutely loved Rawlins previous book; The Women of Steel (I really need to write my review for that one too) but it wasn’t just loving her amazingly in-depth look into the amazing women who dropped everything to jump into the roles of men, walking into an industry which is incredibly hard and dangerous – I am in absolute awe of those incredible women but one of the reasons I was taken with this story is far more personal I have steelworks running through my veins thanks to my dad’s side of the family, and not to mention I was born a stone’s throw from Sheffield I have walked past the women of steel statue so many times. It felt to me that this was a book which I needed to read and have in my life and it didn’t disappoint; The Steel Girls was everything and more I came to expect.
The story follows Nancy, Betty and Patty; three women who because of the war drop their old lives pick up the leather squabs, boots and heavy gauntlets and goggles and head into the furnace. I liked each of the women, each was so different but they all share that same determination and steel-like grit t keeps them pushing through the work and the day.
I particularly liked Nancy, she reminded me of my grandmother and great-grandmother, who both had to look after the family by going to work while their husbands were at war. Nancy watches her husband Bert walk away after being called up and she has no choice but to go into the factory to feed her children. I enjoyed Betty’s tale, she has waved off her RAF sweetheart; William and finds that she can’t just sit and nothing, she has big dreams but in times of war when all must pull together those dreams of studying Law must be put on hold when she becomes a Steel girl. And then we have cute as a button Patty she is rather sheltered and even though she has previously worked as a shop girl is a little like a dear in headlights once she walks into Vickers. Thank goodness for the other women!
I loved watching as each of the women found their way, how their confidence grows and their friendships blossomed, and the sense of community and family within the factory is wonderful. All three women go through so much during the book, as you would expect from a WW2 story there is so much uncertainty will they ever see their loved ones again? And even worse will they have that dreaded telegram? The unknown feeling of what’s to come is a constant lurking beneath the hard work, beneath those jovial times but above all, this is a story of women supporting women and doing their bit for the war.
I have heard many stories from my own family about the hard work which goes on in a steel factory my dad has a horrendous scar where a steel rod flew out of the furnace and caught him in the leg, so I am pleased to say Rawlins has written the factory and the work with realism and clarity.
I am not at all surprised that this is incredible rich accurate detail, anyone who has read the women of steel will know how much time and research has gone into this book. Rawlins brings to life what these inspirational women did day in and day out for six years, you can almost feel the burning of the furnaces, the heat which is thrown out of those fires the toxins of the ammunition which is thrown into the air, you can feel the grime on your skin and the debris in your hair. I also love the overriding sense of comradeship between the women, the friendship and the sister-like bond which will last a lifetime, it’s heart-warming and magical.
The Steel Girls is a wonderful mix of fiction that is perfectly entwined with real life, after reading this I am even more in awe of these women; Nancy, Betty and Patty are wonderful characters you can’t help but like them and I instantly felt as though I had known them for years. This is an inspiring, emotional, authentic, heart-warming and gorgeously written saga all about friendship, love and overriding determination to care for their families and to do their bit. I was completely captured by the story and I can’t wait to read more from the steel women.
Finally, I have to give a massive thumbs up for the perfect Yorkshire-ism, my accent may be a little stronger (I am a bit common 😉 ) but I could hear my native beloved Yorkshire in my head every time the women spoke – “Oh, aye, it was al’reet“
About the Author
Michelle Rawlins is an award-winning freelance journalist with over 20 years’ experience working in print and digital media. After learning her trade, Michelle began her freelance career writing for national newspapers and women’s magazines, concentrating on real-life stories – living by the mantra: ‘it’s always the most ordinary people who have the most extraordinary stories’.