#BookClub Secrets of the Singer Girls by Kate Thompson*
Secrets of the Singer Girls is the story of London’s East End home front women who worked during World War 2 stitching bandages and repairing uniforms for troops on the front line. Getting their nickname, the Singer Girls, from the brand of sewing machines in the factory where they work and their fondness for singing wartime classics while they stitch, this is the story of camaraderie amongst four friends, each with their own story and secrets.
Poppy, Vera, Daisy and Sal couldn’t be more different but their hearts of gold, their hard working nature and their thicker-than-water unites them. The book has everything from domestic violence to forbidden relationships and a fair amount of scandal and all the characters feel really easy to relate to and likeable. The only one I found it difficult to warm to was Poppy. As I’ve mentioned before, I love strong female characters (that must say something about my personality!) and she is a little wet. However, I did forgive her as she is only 16 and fresh from a sheltered countryside life.
I find it really interested to read about what life was like in a time and place that is so different to the one where I live and this story feels really authentic – I could imagine myself visiting Poppy in her rented room or popping round to Vera and Daisy’s for a cuppa.
The story sympathetically details the Bethnal Green Tube Disaster, a real life event which happened in 1943, just after London was recovering from the Blitz, and the book is really well researched with mentions of bombings and life at the time.
There are plenty of twists and turns in the plot when the secrets start to be revealed (I don’t want to give too much away!) but no matter what happens, the four main women are there for each other and it is a really heart warming story of friendship, family and East London life. The book isn’t too heavy and it would make a great beach read – it’s a little deeper than the usual chick lit that can be found lying round the pool.
All in all, I found Secrets of the Singer Girls a really great read which I greedily gobbled up in just a few sittings.