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Thursday, 2 January 2020

#BookReview THE SURPLUS GIRLS by POLLY HERON @CorvusBooks #PublicationDay


After the loss of war, can there be hope for the future?

Manchester, 1922.

Belinda Layton is a surplus girl. One of the many women whose dreams of marriage perished in the Great War, with the death of her beloved fiancé, Ben. After four years of mourning, she's ready to face the future, even though Ben's family is not happy to see her move on, and her own only cares about getting hold of her meagre factory wages.
Then, Belinda joins a secretarial class and a whole new world opens up to her as she quickly finds herself drawn to beguiling bookshop owner Richard Carson. But after all the loss and devastation she has experienced, can she really trust him with her heart?

This is the first in a trio of sagas set in the 1920's and what a way to start! Full of inspiring female characters and a great way to look back at a time in history when women were being written off as 'surplus girls' as they'd lost their husbands or fiancees in the Great War.

Belinda is the surplus girl, who is in her 4th year of grieving for her beloved Ben. As she reaches her 21st birthday she is finding life tough working at the mill, under the extremely creepy and vile Mr Butterfield, and starts to want a little more from life. All her plans for life with Ben are gone, so she wants to start taking care of herself and signs up for a secretarial course which promises to give her more of a future and won't need to rely on anyone else.

Running the secretarial course are Patience and Prudence, 2 more wonderful characters, who come up with the brilliant idea of training young girls, in a way to ensure they don't lose their house. They've seen how things are difficult for these young women and I just loved how smart/devious (!) they were in getting their plans put into action!

As Belinda begins a work placement in a local bookshop, she gains so much confidence in herself and is beginning to see there might be a life after Ben, although she is still very much beholden to people around her - her own family rely on her financially, and she never shirks from that responsibility, and Ben's family are still very much grieving and expect her to keep doing the same without realising that she cannot grieve forever.

I really enjoyed the issues within this story - the pressures and expectations women were having to deal with at the time in history and how difficult times led people to desperate measures. The women in this story were some really impressive characters who were very hardworking and didn't let situations get on top of them.


My thanks to the author and publisher for the advanced reading copy in return for a fair and honest review.


  1. I love this era. Sounds good, but I almost never read series. Still... I'll keep it in mind.

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