I'm always excited when I hear that Mary Wood has a new book coming out and knowing that it's the first in a new series makes it even better!
It's 1911 and Elsie is juggling caring for her siblings and her alcoholic mother, as well as her job at Swift's Jam Factory. The work there is backbreaking but having her best friend Dot beside her makes it easier to bear. The girls have known each other all of their lives as their mother's were once close but something in the past has caused a rift between them and the pair no longer speak.
Elsie and Dot are out in the park one day when they have a chance meeting with Millie, the daughter of the owner of the jam factory and an unlikey friendship blossoms between the three girls. This is a friendship which they will all come to rely on in the future.
I love Mary's books so much because I'm always immediately drawn in by her charming characters and this one was no exception! My heart went out to Elsie right from the start, not only was she struggling to look after her siblings, she had the added worry of the safety of her mum when she was out 'working' the streets to bring in money and then there was the appalling work conditions at the jam factory. I learned a lot about the social history of the time and found it truly fascinating, it was almost as if I was experiencing it first hand.
The Jam Factory Girls is a book that had me smiling one minute and crying the next. It's a genuinely heart- warming tale with friendship at it's core and a magnificent start to another trilogy from this hugely talented author. I honestly can't wait for the next one!
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With kind thanks to Mary Wood and Philippa McEwan at Pan Macmillan for my review copy and stop on the blog tour.