Christmas with the Surplus Girls

After the sorrows of war, can Christmas wishes come true?

Manchester, 1922: Nancy Pike is out of her depth at Miss Hesketh’s school for surplus girls, blundering through her lessons and her job placements. Her only joy is getting to know the children at St Anthony’s orphanage. And working for Mr Zachary Milner twice a week.

Alone in the world since the death of his brother, Nancy’s presence has brought a little sunshine back into Zachary’s life. But when she makes a terrible mistake that puts his livelihood in jeopardy, he has no choice but to let her go.

As she battles the prejudices around her, and her own fear, Nancy is determined to bring some Christmas cheer to the orphanage – and maybe even to Zachary Milner…

The third in a quartet of sagas set during the early 1920s, following three Surplus Girls – those women whose dreams of marriage perished in the Great War, after the deaths of millions of young men – and the new lives they forged for themselves.

A Ration Book Daughter

Cathy was a happy, blushing bride when Britain went to war with Germany three years ago. But her youthful dreams were crushed by her violent husband Stanley’s involvement with the fascist black-shirts, and even when he’s conscripted to fight she knows it’s only a brief respite – divorce is not an option. Cathy, a true Brogan daughter, stays strong for her beloved little son Peter.

When a telegram arrives declaring that her husband is missing in action, Cathy can finally allow herself to hope – she only has to wait 6 months before she is legally a widow and can move on with her life. In the meantime, she has to keep Peter safe and fed. So she advertises for a lodger, and Sergeant Archie McIntosh of the Royal Engineers’ Bomb Disposal Squad turns up. He is kind, clever and thoughtful; their mutual attraction is instant. But with Stanley’s fate still unclear, and the Blitz raging on over London’s East End, will Cathy ever have the love she deserves?

Edie’s Home for Strays

On the Home Front, one girl is determined to make a difference.

But Edie’s hopes of serving overseas are dashed when she’s sent to be a Land Girl in a sleepy Cumbrian village.

Prue has shut the world out since her son went away to fight. Yet when she’s asked to take in a Land Girl and two little evacuees from London, she has no choice.

Edie’s heart breaks, seeing the children’s cold welcome. But when the evacuees take in a stray puppy, even Prue can’t say no.

Edie realises Applefield Manor could become a sanctuary. But can she persuade Prue to open her heart, and her home?