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.
Friendship And Hope
Steel Girls On The Home Front by Michelle Rawlins is a fabulous historical novel and the third book in The Steel Girls series. It can be read as a stand-alone but I recommend reading the previous two books first.
Once more we rejoin the Sheffield steel girls in 1940. It is lovely to catch up with familiar faces. The women continue to do their bit for the war effort – whether it’s operating machinery, serving tea or knitting for the troops, the women always give one hundred per cent of themselves.
There is a wonderful community atmosphere as the characters support each other. There are tears and fears, joy and laughter, love and support. Through all the seasons, none of the women battle alone as those around them offer love and care – whether it’s a listening ear, a drink in the pub, or that old favourite, a cup of tea.
Michelle Rawlins has captured the fears perfectly – there is the fear in the air raids, and also a fear that their menfolk will be killed. Some still remember the after effects of World War I and the devastated lives. The reader’s heart breaks for the young girl who misses her daddy.
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.
Playing Their Part
The Steel Girls by Michelle Rawlins is a wonderful historical novel celebrating the brave women who did their bit in Sheffield’s steelworks during World War II.
The novel is set in 1939 as Britain enters the war. It is an unsettling time as young men go off to war leaving their families behind. Life was hard but everyone wanted to help the war effort. For some women this meant entering the world of traditional men’s jobs. For others it was providing childcare. The women did whatever they could.
War brings out the very best and the very worst of humanity. In this novel we witness the indomitable bulldog spirit of those left behind.