The Steel Girls At War by Michelle Rawlins

Warms My Heart

Steel Girls At War by Michelle Rawlins is a powerful historical novel that I became totally engrossed in. It is the fourth book in the Steel Girls series but can be read as a stand-alone. I recommend reading the previous books first in order to get to know the characters and to see their development and progression.

The book is set over the summer of 1940 in Sheffield. We return to the familiar faces who work in the steel industry. The camaraderie, love and support grow ever stronger. It is the women who pick up the slack left behind by the men going to war.

Women stepped up and into the jobs vacated by men. They still had homes to run and children to look after. They developed a network of support and love.

This book focuses in on one particular family. They are the microcosm for the macrocosm of what was happening in homes up and down Britain. We follow a young mother and her children as they wait for news on the whereabouts of a husband and father. We can understand the conflicting emotions of worry and despair needing to be balanced with remaining upbeat for the sake of the children. It is important to hold on to hope. “Without hope you haven’t got anything.”

June 1940 saw the evacuation of Dunkirk. Lives were left on hold as they wait for news.

Returning soldiers came home with more than injured bodies, minds were damaged too. PTSD moved in, altering personalities. We witness how hard it is for wives and children. Our hearts go out to them.

Sheffield, with its steel industry, became a target for the Luftwaffe. Lives were disturbed by nightly raids but the brave people of Sheffield still went to work on very little sleep.

All the characters were well drawn, realistic and likable. Their support, camaraderie and interactions are wonderful to witness. Lives that were threatening to crumble were lifted up and supported by those with more strength. No one was left to suffer alone.

Steel Girls at War was a powerful read as we witnessed lives on the homefront. I love the Steel Girls series. The love and support warms my heart.

I received a free copy from the publishers. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.


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