It feels strange to be sitting at a desk again, typing up a blog post… and yet here we are! Elaine Everest is back with A Gift From Woolworths, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts on it with you all.
When Faye reached out to me about the book tour for Everest’s latest book in The Woolworths Girls series, I couldn’t say no. Woolworths plus Christmas, never mind a chance to revisit the characters from Christmas at Woolworths? There was no way I would be turning this down! So a quick thanks to Faye for sending me today’s book to read and review, and a big thank you to Elaine for writing another in the series for me to read and review!
A Gift from Woolworths brings us back to our friends – Freda, Maisie and Sarah – and we continue their story as the war continues. Now personally I don’t think you need to have read any of the 3 previous books to follow the story, however with Everest’s writing style, it’s hard not to love these novels. We also have some other familiar names, as the stories and side plots continue on, but A Gift from Woolworths acknowledges that it may be your first time reading The Woolworths Girls series. But before I ramble on any more, I’d better give you a rundown of the plot line for this – the 4th instalment in the series.
As the war moves into 1945, the lives of the women of Woolworths continues. When store manager Betty Billington announces she is expecting Douglas’s baby, her life is about to change more than she expects.
Freda has fallen in love with a handsome Scottish engineer, but will it end happily?
Maisie loves being a mother and also caring for her two nieces, although she still has her own dreams. When her brother appears on the scene, he brings unexpected danger to the family.
Meanwhile Sarah dreams of her husband’s return and a cottage with roses around the door, but Woolworths beckons.
Will our girls sail into times of peace, or will they experience more heartache and sorrow? With a wedding on the horizon, surely only happiness lies ahead – or does it?
Well all I can say is I read A Gift from Woolworths in the space of two nights – I simply couldn’t put it down! I loved how easy it was to fall into the pace of the story again, and immediately picked up the plot line. Everest’s style of writing made it really easy to think “just one more chapter, then I’ll sleep”, and the three women the story centres around are so relatable even now, 70 odd years after this latest instalment is set.
I still love Maisie, as a character, the most, and her storyline. However I would have to say that Freda came a close second this time around! As the story finished, I felt emotionally drawn. You know that feeling when you get really attached to the characters you’re reading about, and then the book ends before you’re ready to? So you’re left wondering what to do next? Well, that’s exactly how I felt when I finished reading A Gift from Woolworths.
For anyone over a certain age, the thought of Woolworths will bring back nostalgic happy memories of a time and place you would love to go back to. Elaine manages to capture that feeling, and helps you to relive it through the characters in her books as they create their own memories thanks to Woolworths. As George put it, “… we have Woolworths to thank for making friends…”, because that’s how you’re left feeling at the end – these women and their families are your friends. It’s as if you’ve known them all your life.
Overall, I would have to say that this is one book I will be recommending to anyone who asks about it- again! I’m already setting it to one side for my Granny as she just loved Christmas at Woolworths. I do genuinely think anyone could read it. Imagine your favourite Soap on TV, or the likes of The Royal or Heartbeat, and I can tell you that reading A Gift from Woolworths is like settling down to watch your favourite soaps.
Want to get your hands on a copy? A Gift from Woolworths is to be published on Thursday 1st November and can be purchased at a price of £6.99 in either paperback or ebook form.