Five women and one city in a heartwarming story of life, love and war. Belfast 1939: Martha Goulding's world is shattered by a sudden death and the outbreak of war that leaves her family facing an uncertain future. Her daughters are talented singers who join a troupe of entertainers led by Goldstein, a Polish Jew, who is determined to raise morale and money for the war effort. But Martha is torn between allowing her girls to perform and keeping them safe from men, both in and out of uniform, and their own headstrong personalities. Irene is drawn to Sean, but the relationship leads her into danger. Peggy is charmed by the enigmatic Harry. Pat doesn't realise she's fallen in love at all until it's too late. Sheila longs to sing with her older sisters. The rise in the girls' success as the renamed Golden Sisters is played out against a backdrop of Belfast life - from elegant Royal Avenue, into the mills, aircraft factory, concert and dance halls to the heart of the Stormont government. Apathy and lack of resources have left the city unprepared and vulnerable, its people unaware of the horror about to befall them, and Martha's family will need all their strength and courage to survive.
Alrene Hughes was born in Enniskillen, grew up in Belfast and now lives in Manchester. She is a member of the Manchester Irish Writers and her short stories and poetry have been published in anthologies and broadcast on radio. She was an English teacher for twenty years and now writes full time.
Her first novel 'Martha's Girls' was inspired by a family scrapbook of concert programmes and newspaper cuttings about The Golden Sisters - her mother and aunts.The book was originally self published and is now published by Blackstaff Press, the leading Northern Ireland publisher.