‘Secrets Of The Railway Girls’ by Maisie Thomas


Manchester, November 1940

As the war continues and secrets threaten the railway girls, they will discover the true meaning of friendship.

For Dot, her job on the railways is everything. Transporting parcels around the country gives her pride that she is doing her bit for the war effort, but a growing friendship causes problems when home and work collide.

Joan loves her boyfriend Bob dearly, but when tragedy strikes, her heart is torn apart, and she is forced to make a decision that could hurt those she loves most.

Meanwhile Mabel has finally found a place to call home and her relationship seems to be going from strength to strength. However, the relentless bombing in the Christmas blitz is about to destroy everything she holds dear, and she will need her friends’ courage and generosity now more than ever.

Brought together by their work on Manchester’s railways, the three women find that with the support and encouragement of each other, they can get through even the most challenging of times.

My Review

I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing the first book in the series , ‘The Railway Girls’ earlier this year.  Since then I have been (im)patiently waiting for the second book in the series to be released.  Well ladies and gents, the wait is finally over because ‘Secrets Of The Railway Girls’ is due for release on 17th September 2020.  I was fortunate enough to have early access to the book so I could review it for my stop on the blog tour.  I absolutely ADORED reading ‘Secrets Of The Railway Girls’ but more about that in a bit.

It seems kind of unfair to single one character out for special attention as I like all of the Railway Girls.  I must admit that I have a soft spot for Dot.  Dot is a motherly figure who has a heck of a lot to put up with.  She runs around looking after the welfare of her husband, the not so delightful Reg, her daughters in law and her beloved grandchildren.  Not only that but Dot is determined to do her bit for the war effort, which is what leads her to volunteer as a Railway Girl.  The woman never stops and she often doesn’t have a moment to herself.  There were numerous times when I wanted to jump inside the pages of the book to slap Reg and her daughters-in-law across the face with a wet fish a few dozen times as they needed a reality check and they needed to look after Dot rather than treat her as a slave.  I kept willing Dot to lead a walk out.  Dot looks after everybody and at times I wondered who is looking after Dot?  She is the sort of lady I would love as a friend- she is kind, considerate, compassionate, fiercely protective of those she cares about, hard working, determined and at times stubborn.  I could easily imagine putting the world to rights over a cup of tea with Dot.

Oh my word, I was drawn into this book from the synopsis alone and I was like a child on Christmas morning with this book in that I was desperate to open it but I didn’t want to finish the book too quickly.  The book seemed to develop a hold over me and it was a hold that I didn’t want to break.  To say that reading ‘Secrets Of The Railway Girls’ became addictive seems a bit of an understatement to say the least.  I made the fatal mistake of starting the book shortly before I went to bed.  Let’s just say that I became that wrapped up in the story that I read into the wee small hours of the morning and I ended up with a ‘lack of sleep’ hangover but it was so worth it.  I seemed to race through the book because I had a desperate need to find out how the story panned out and what implications that had for my favourite characters.  I soon got to the end of the story and I had to say a little farewell to Dot and the gang.

‘Secrets Of The Railway Girls’ is superbly written but then I think that was true of Maisie’s first book too.  She has a way of grabbing your attention and drawing you into the story from the beginning.  She has created some adorable characters who are described so realistically that they seem just as real as you and I.  That’s how I felt at any rate.  The author brings the 1940s alive and she describes that time so well that I felt as though I had borrowed the Tardis from Dr. Who and I had travelled back in time.  I must admit that in that sense I am a history nerd too.  This book certainly took me through a whole range of emotions- at times I wanted to laugh, at times I wanted to cry and at times I wanted to scream.  In that way I felt as though I had been on an emotional rollercoaster ride.  Everything the characters went through, I went through.  ‘Secrets Of The Railway Girls’ was a gripping read, which had me on the edge of my seat throughout.

‘Secrets Of The Railway Girls’ is a brilliant addition to ‘The Railway Girls’ series.  I thought that the first book was good but this book is even better.  I would have no hesitation in recommending this series to other readers.  I will certainly be reading more of Maisie’s work in the future.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.

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