A Christmas Wish for the Shipyard Girls by Nancy Revell #BookReview #BlogTour


Sunderland, 1943: As Christmas approaches in the shipyards, everyone is hoping for a little magic...

Helen would love to find the courage to tell the dashing Dr Parker of her true feelings for him. But how can she when he clearly has eyes for someone else?

More than a year has passed since Bel's wedding to sweetheart Joe. She knows she has much to feel thankful for and yet there is still one burning desire which she cannot ignore.

And as Polly grows with child, she hopes against hope for a safe delivery - and that her husband Tommy can soon return from the front line to meet their new arrival.

There will be storms to weather, but guided by their strength and friendship there is still hope for each of the shipyard girls that their Christmas wishes will come true.

It is such a pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for A Christmas Wish for the Shipyard Girls, particularly as today is its publication day. Congratulations and many thanks to Nancy Revell and to Rachel Kennedy from Arrow for inviting me and for sending me a copy of the novel.

The previous novel, Triumph of the Shipyard Girls saw Helen finally discover the truth about Bel and the prologue here reveals another surprise connected to the Havelock family's dark past. As the ninth book in this riveting series, returning readers will obviously have an advantage over newcomers but Nancy Revell seamlessly includes enough of the back story for new readers to soon fall in love with this wonderful group of characters.
Although the title of the book is A Christmas Wish for the Shipyard Girls, this isn't a Christmas story as such and much of the action takes place in the preceding months, starting from May 1943. Invariably meticulously researched, the earlier chapters continue to illustrate the devastating impact of the Blitz on Sunderland. It means the Shipyard Girls work even harder as the ships they have already repaired are damaged once again but as always Nancy Revell beautifully describes the collective stoicism of the community and the way in which they pulled together to support each other.
It feels that we've reached an important point in the series with one particular storyline coming to a head. The consequences of what happens here will undoubtedly continue to feature in the future but there are less secrets between the characters now and a real sense of moving forward. One of my favourite aspects of this series is the way in which the characters are allowed to change; Helen has already become a much different person but this time around we see a different, softer side to Bel's mother, Pearl. Bel herself is going through a difficult time and I really felt for her as she tries to cope with her understandable anger and desire for retribution while also dealing with her continued longing for another baby. 
Meanwhile, Helen and Dr Parker's relationship falters due to their own reticence and the presence of two keen rivals. I'm sure I won't be the only reader who keeps their fingers crossed, hoping they eventually find the courage to reveal their true feelings for one another. They aren't the only hesitant potential lovers though and Angie and Quentin's sweet would-be romance really made me smile. Although the various romances bring moments of joy and heartbreak, it's the relationships between the women which are the real highlight of the series. They are mothers and daughters, colleagues and friends who consistently and selflessly offer love and support through the highs and lows of life. Whether they are separated from their loved ones or adjusting to changes in their families, their storylines are always guaranteed to pull on my heartstrings.
 A Christmas Wish for the Shipyard Girls is possibly the most emotional book of the series so far - and quite probably my favourite to date. There are so many tear-jerking moments and although Nancy Revell never avoids showing the darker sides of humanity, it's the strength, courage and love of people which is really the focus of this captivating novel. As secrets are revealed and some wishes come true in unexpected ways, A Christmas Wish for the Shipyard Girls is the perfect uplifting, heartwarming book to curl up with as the days grow colder!

A Christmas Wish for the Shipyard Girls is published by Arrow, purchasing links can be found here but please support independent bookstores whenever possible.

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.

Nancy Revell is spearheading a campaign to honour the real women of the Sunderland shipyards in her home town with a new public statue that will be displayed within the historic Sunderland Shipyards. Nancy has worked closely with the Sunderland City Council and the Sunderland Soroptimists, a worldwide volunteer service organization for women, and after putting out a call on her own social media channels, Nancy was approached by local artist Rosanne Robertson who has been commissioned to create the statue that will be unveiled later this year.

Sunderland boasted the largest shipyard in Europe during WWII, and produced a quarter of Britain's merchant shipping at the time. When the men went away to war, the courageous Shipyard Girls took up the back breaking work building ships for the British Navy. Due to its size, the Sunderland Shipyards were a key target of Hitler’s Blitzkreig, making the work not only backbreaking but incredibly dangerous. Historians have estimated that without the courageous women working in Sunderlands’ shipyards during the war, WWII could very likely have been lost due to lack of ability to transport troops, provisions and ammunition.