I’m delighted to be joining Nancy Revell and her latest novel, Christmas with the Shipyard Girls, on tour today.
Christmas with The Shipyard Girls is the seventh instalment of the Sunday Times bestselling series, The Shipyard Girls. The series was inspired by Nancy Revell’s own close family links to the Sunderland shipyards and her campaign to get the brave women who worked there during WWII recognised for their service.
It will be published on October 31st with Arrow publishing, who have kindly given me an extract to share with you all today.
[ About the Book ]
Christmas is fast approaching and with it comes a flurry of snow and surprises… Against all odds, Polly’s fiancé has finally returned home from the front line. If they can keep things on an even keel, she might get the winter wedding she’s always dreamed of.
Meanwhile shipyard manager Helen is determined to move on after a turbulent year. Her sights are set on breaking the yard’s production record and no one, not even the handsome Dr Parker, is going to get in her way.
And head welder Rosie’s little sister Charlotte has turned up unannounced. Why is she back and so set on staying? Join the shipyard girls as they navigate through life, love and war this Christmas.
[ Extract – Christmas with the Shipyard Girls ]
21 June 1942
Tommy looked up at the darkening sky. Its palette of yellow and orange mixed with an array of blues reminded him of the huge oil paintings that Arthur had taken him to see as a child in the town’s museum. His grandda had told him that a person could learn a lot about the world simply by looking at these depictions of days gone by, but all Tommy had wanted to do was run out of the musty-smelling exhibition room and look up at the real skies and stare out at the real sea.
‘Here you are.’ A woman’s soft voice drew his eyes away from the oil-painted sky. ‘Let’s get this around you.’ Tommy looked at the pretty face of the nurse as she bent over his stretcher and tucked a blanket tightly around his body. She nearly lost her balance a few times as the lifeboat bobbed about in the choppy waters.
‘Help’s on its way,’ she reassured. Tommy felt her palm on his forehead. Her hands were icy cold, cooling his own hot brow.
‘You’re cold,’ Tommy mumbled.
The nurse smiled but didn’t say anything. Tommy looked at her familiar white pinafore emblazoned with the distinctive emblem of the Red Cross and he suddenly realised that he didn’t know her name. Hers was the only face he had seen during his spells of consciousness. He’d heard the living and the dying since he’d been hauled on board the hospital ship, but hers was the only face he’d seen, or at least remembered.
Turning his head to the side, Tommy looked out at the Atlantic Ocean, which was now covered in a layer of black oil from the ship’s fractured fuel tank. He could just make out the ship itself, its white flank slowly disappearing beneath the surface.
‘Here! Over here!’ Tommy felt the lifeboat sway as two dark figures got to their feet and started shouting and waving their hands. He craned his neck.
‘See, I told you.’ The nurse put her cold hand on his forehead again before easing a thermometer into his mouth. ‘They’ve come to get us.’ Tommy heard the Yorkshire Dales in her accent.
There was lots of movement, shouts, cries of jubilation as a ship’s grey bow ploughed towards them, a sense of euphoria spreading through the packed lifeboat as salvation approached. Tommy watched as the nurse took the thermometer out of his mouth and looked at it. Her face was sombre.
‘And not a moment too soon,’ she muttered, grabbing the side of the boat, unsteadied by the swell created by the approach of their rescuers. ‘Come on.’ She put her arm around Tommy’s shoulders and helped him to sit up. ‘I want you to be one of the first off.’
Tommy’s body was shaking but he didn’t feel at all cold.
‘Listen!’ a man’s voice next to him suddenly shouted out. The excitement died down. And that’s when they all heard it – an ominous drone above them.
Looking up, they saw a lone bomber thudding its way across the sky. Its target was obvious. There were no ships within sight other than the one coming to their rescue.
‘Please, God, no!’ Tommy saw panic and alarm on the young nurse’s face as she made the sign of the cross.
[ Bio ]
Nancy Revell is the pen name of writer and journalist Amanda Revell Walton, who has worked for the national press for the past 25 years, providing them with hard-hitting news stories and in-depth features.
She has also worked for just about every woman’s magazine, writing amazing and inspirational true life stories.
Twitter – @arevellwalton