Christmas Hope For The Steel Girls by Michelle Rawlins is a marvellous historical novel about community. It is the second book in the Steel Girls series but can be read as a stand-alone. I would recommend reading book one first.
It was a pure delight to rejoin the steel girls as Christmas 1939 approaches. They are a feisty group of women with hearts of pure gold. They are filling the labour gap as the men have gone to war. Sheffield’s steel industry was of vital importance to the war effort.
This is a book about community. Needs are identified and they are met as everyone pulls together. “What they didn’t have in money, they had in kindness.” Kindness, along with hope and love can inspire others to keep going and to help where it is needed. The love leaps from the pages.
We witness life on the home front and how difficult it is at times to keep going. With their men away at war, women needed to lift each other up as there was the constant fear of receiving bad news.
The bulldog spirit was alive. “He [Hitler] might be able to destroy bricks and mortar, but he really had an enormous challenge… attempting to extinguish the ingrained and determined British bulldog spirit of sticking together and carrying on.” Britain keeps calm, carries on and fuels its people with tea. In times of worry, anguish or celebration, people put the kettle on for a nice cup of tea.
Life continues despite the war. New love is budding and the winter is harsh. The steel girls come up with a wonderful way to keep a nation warm – and yes, it does involve cups of tea! We see “sometimes it’s the smallest of gestures that can make the biggest of differences.”
I love the steel girls. They are diamonds in the rough with hearts for all. I cannot wait to read more books in the series.
I received a free copy from Harper Collins via Net Galley. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.