Triumph of the Shipyard Girls by Nancy Revell #BookReview #BlogTour

Sunderland, 1943: With the future of Britain uncertain, the shipyard girls fight to keep their lives on an even keel. Head-welder Rosie is just about managing to keep her double life hidden from little sister Charlotte’s prying eyes. But Charlotte senses something is up and, with a secret this big, the truth is bound to come out. After a whirlwind wedding, Polly must bid farewell to her sweetheart as he returns to the front line. And there is something odd about yard manager Helen’s newest recruit Bel. But in resolving to uncover the truth, Helen might discover more than she bargained for…

It's my pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for Triumph of the Shipyard Girls today. Many thanks to Nancy Revell and Rachel Kennedy from Arrow for inviting me and for my copy of the novel.

The previous book in the always engaging Shipyard Girls series, Christmas with the Shipyard Girls ended on a bittersweet note with Polly and Tommy finally married before Arthur sadly passes away in his sleep. However, before we rejoin the characters in 1943, the prologue takes readers back to 1936 and it's a really hard-hitting opening.
Throughout the novel there are flashback scenes which reveal more about Rosie's troubled past; how she came to the decision to place her sister, Charlotte in a boarding school, her early days as a welder in the shipyard and how she also found work in Lily's bordello. It's fascinating to learn more about the choices this strong woman made in order to keep Charlotte safe but the prologue is incredibly hard to read and is a reminder that although this is a heartwarming series, it never shies away from featuring difficult subjects, especially those that faced women.
One of the main storylines in Triumph of the Shipyard Girls revolves around Charlotte's growing curiosity about Lily and Rosie's fear that her sister will discover that she used to be a prostitute. I love that women from all walks of life are featured without judgement here - and that includes those who work for Lily. Although Rosie's circumstances meant she had little choice other than to become a sex worker, Maisie and Vivian don't seem like victims at all and are women in charge of their own lives.
Helen has changed more than any other character in the series and has become one of my favourites - unlike her dreadful mother, Miriam who is as awful as ever here. However, one of her terrible actions at least puts Helen in touch with somebody who may be able to satisfy her own questions about Bel. Those who have read the previous novels will know the truth in advance but newcomers needn't worry because they will find out alongside Helen. Although she gets her answers, there is obviously much more to come from this storyline and I'm really looking forward to finding out what it will mean for the women involved. Helen also has romantic troubles to contend with as her will-they-won't-they relationship with Dr Parker continues. I'm not going to give anything away here but I'm sure I won't be the only reader who wants to shout at the pair at times!
Triumph of the Shipyard Girls may seem to be an odd choice of title given that the book is set in 1943 and so the war is far from drawing to a close. Indeed, the town is still suffering the devastating bombing raids at this point in time and victory over the Nazis is far from assured. However, this is about a different sort of triumph; it's about the strength and fortitude of these women who each face their own battles and keep going even when things may seem hopeless. I couldn't put this engrossing novel down, having become so invested in the lives of each of the characters. It's obvious that Nancy Revell's research for these books is a real labour of love and she writes with such warmth and empathy, it means I can't help but be captivated by each new addition to the series. I can't wait to read the next, A Christmas Wish for the Shipyard Girls later this year.

Triumph of the Shipyard Girls will be published by Arrow on 19th March 2020, purchasing links can be found here.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author

Nancy Revell is the pen name of writer and journalist Amanda Revell Walton, who has worked for the national press for the past 25 years, providing them with hard-hitting news stories and in-depth features. She has also worked for just about every woman’s magazine, writing amazing and inspirational true life stories.