THREE GIRLS GO THE EXTRA MILE TO DO THEIR BIT FOR THE WAR EFFORT.
1943: three very different girls are longing to do their bit for the war effort.
Frances – her life of seeming privilege has been a lonely one. Brave and strong, stifled by her traditional upbringing, she falls for a most unsuitable man. Prudence – timid and conventional, her horizons have never strayed beyond her job as a bank clerk in Croydon until the war brings her new experiences.
Rosalind – a beautiful, flame-haired actress who catches the eye of Frances’s stuffy elder brother, the heir to an ancestral mansion.
The three become friends when they join the band of women working the canal boats, delivering goods and doing a man’s job while the men are away fighting. A tough, unglamorous task – but one which brings them all unexpected rewards…
I received a copy of this book from Transworld Publishers via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Told from three young women’s points of view The Boat Girls highlights the largely unsung contribution this female workforce made to the second world war effort. The three women are from diverse backgrounds in terms of social class and life experience. They form strong friendships as they train and work on the inland waterway ferrying essential supplies from the docks to the factories in the Midlands.
The characters are relatable and easy to empathise, their experiences are interesting as they try to gain acceptance from the traditional boating communities. There’s friendship, laughter, poignancy and romance for the three women who mature and emerge independent and stronger than before.
There are some interesting historical details, in this character driven historical saga which add depth to an enjoyable story.
Margaret Mayhew was born in London and her earliest childhood memories were of the London Blitz. She began writing in her mid-thirties and had her first novel published in 1976. She is married to American aviation author, Philip Kaplan, and lives in Gloucestershire.