‘Love is in the air, and together the railway girls can overcome even the hardest of times.‘
– The Railway Girls in Love
The Railway Girls in Love by Maisie Thomas is out today with Arrow Publishing and I am delighted to be joining the blog tour with an extract from the book. The Railway Girls in Love is the third book in this series and is set in Manchester during WWII.
[ About the Book ]
Mabel has finally put the past behind her, and her relationship with the dashing Harry is stronger than ever. That is, until an old flame shows up, leaving Mabel questioning her future.
Meanwhile Joan has made amends with Bob – if only she could do the same with Gran. And there’s still that family mystery she wants answer to, isn’t there?
As a mother and grandmother, Dot Green has always put her family first. Her job as a parcels porter has brought new purpose to her life, so is it finally time to start following her heart . . .
Life as a railway girl is busy but as war rages on and air raids disrupt daily life, the women realise they need each other more than ever, especially when there might be wedding bells on the horizon.
[ Extract ]
With her gloved hands thrust into the big patch pockets of her rust-coloured wool coat, and her scarf wound snugly around her neck and tucked in beneath the wide lapels, Mabel Bradshaw tramped along, lifting her feet clear of the thick snow so as not to let it spill over the tops of her calf-high galoshes. The benefit of wearing two pairs of thick socks over her stockings wouldn’t last long if they got wet.
Beside her, Althea, her best friend, matched her pace.
‘Your cheeks are glowing,’ said Mabel.
‘Which is a polite way of saying they’re bright red,’ said Althea, ‘and so’s my nose.’
‘What would your mother say?’ teased Althea.
Mabel laughed. Mumsy lived and breathed etiquette.
‘But just think how pale and interesting I’ll look when I’ve thawed out.’ She snuggled her hands deeper inside her pockets; only up here on the tops could she get away with such slovenly behaviour.
The two of them crunched through the snow to the edge of the steep hill above Mabel’s home and looked down into the long valley below. Behind them stretched the Lancashire moors. Usually the breeze here was so full of brisk smells that Mabel could practically taste them as a rich, earthy, green concoction, but not today. Today, as for the past month, the moors had been coated in snow and the air was as fresh as peppermint.
Below lay the town of Annerby. It was still called a market town, but it had its share of factories too, as well as a railway station. Mabel’s gaze was drawn to the building that housed Bradshaw’s Ball Bearings and Other Small Components, the factory that represented her father’s life’s work. The son of a railway worker, he had made good – and more than good. He had prospered to the extent of purchasing – note, purchasing, not renting – Kirkland House, one of the town’s poshest properties, high up on the side of the hill. It was here that Mabel had grown up.
Now she looked down at Bradshaw’s Ball Bearings. Would their factory still be producing small components this time next year? Pops said that when the war came – when, not if, and Mabel had trembled inwardly – factories up and down the country would be called upon to turn over production to whatever they were told to make to help win the war. Mabel had longed to ask a dozen questions, but couldn’t, because Pops hadn’t been talking to her. It was something she had overheard.
‘Here comes a train,’ said Althea.
Mabel felt a burst of pleasure. She liked trains. They made her think of Grandad. He might be gone, but he definitely wasn’t forgotten, especially not by her. His son might have risen in the world, but Grandad had stayed put in his cottage near the railway tracks and had never for a single moment considered leaving his job as a wheeltapper, using a long-handled hammer to tap train wheels, the quality of the ring that was produced telling his experienced ear whether or not the wheel was in good order.
[ Bio ]
Maisie Thomas was born and brought up in Manchester, which provides the location for her Railway Girls novels. She loves writing stories with strong female characters, set in times when women needed determination and vision to make their mark. The Railway Girls series is inspired by her great aunt Jessie, who worked as a railway clerk during the First World War. Maisie now lives on the beautiful North Wales coast with her railway enthusiast husband, Kevin, and their two rescue cats. They often enjoy holidays chugging up and down the UK’s heritage steam railways.