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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the sugar girls
I really loved this book as I worked for Tate and Lyle for 45 years and grew up in the area set around this story. Its a must for any one who grew up in the east end in the 50's and 60's and it took me back to my early years in both Lyle's and Tate's refineries.
Published on 18 April 2012 by micky

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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THE SUGAR GIRLS
This is set in the East End of London in the 1950's when young women some only fifteen years of age would go off to work at Tate and Lyle's sugar factory. An honest and factual look at the lives these women experienced, the personal hardships that they and their families endured, and the good times too. Though working in the factory was very hard they built up a great...
Published on 30 Mar 2012 by Amanda


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the sugar girls, 18 April 2012
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This review is from: The Sugar Girls: Tales of Hardship, Love and Happiness in Tate & Lyle's East End (Kindle Edition)
I really loved this book as I worked for Tate and Lyle for 45 years and grew up in the area set around this story. Its a must for any one who grew up in the east end in the 50's and 60's and it took me back to my early years in both Lyle's and Tate's refineries.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 30 Mar 2012
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This review is from: The Sugar Girls: Tales of Hardship, Love and Happiness in Tate & Lyle's East End (Kindle Edition)
The Sugar Girls: Tales of Hardship, Love and Happiness in Tate & Lyle's East EndK

A great read which I really enjoyed .It was a wonderful insight into life in the fifties and held my attention until I finished it .
The lives of these women proved to be complex and intriguing .This is a wonderful social history of life in London before, during and after the war.Many thanks to both the authors.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little gem of a book about a fast disappearing generation!!, 18 April 2012
By 
Roger Cole (Kent UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Sugar Girls (Paperback)
There are few accolades I can add about this book that has not already been noted. It was for me a well written and absorbing account of social history in that part of the East End of London towards the final months of the Second World War and the early years beyond.

All the girls worked at Tate & Lyle who for many years was not only the biggest but the most generous employer in the area which is why jobs there were so sort after. Having been employed there for over 30 years I was able to happily identify with many of the work related themes and some of the characters mentioned.

My only real small criticism is that the girls' stories follow a time line with the opening chapter devoted to Ethel's early memories then Lilian followed by Gladys. By the time you reach chapter 4 the story reverts back to Ethel and so on. Joan's arrival in chapter 14 adds to the complicated mix so unless you have an outstanding memory you find yourself referring to previous chapters to refresh yourself on what happened to whom, where and when. Therefore I would suggest that this book be consumed in one or two sittings which will help to maintain the thread of the individual stories and personalities. The Kindle edition allows you to download their stories individually and it might suit some to read the book in the same manner. However, that is just a personal opinion.

The authors notes at the end admit to using their own research and imagination to fill in gaps where old memories are incomplete and that is apparent in some of the writing and the style of language used but it does not detract from a very fine, honest book that tugs at every emotion in equal measure and generates a warm admiration for some very special ladies!! Just read it!!
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, Insightful Read, 7 April 2012
This review is from: The Sugar Girls (Paperback)
I loved this book. It was a brilliant glimpse into this period of history. Reading almost as a novel or piece of fiction, the women's stories are compelling and, by the end of it, you just want to meet them and ask them more about their experiences. What I found especially interesting was the sense of community and support that working at the factory seemed to inspire. These women are still friends today, 60 years on. There is, as the subtitle suggests though, a harsher, darker side with illness, loss and poverty suffered by most of the women at some point. It is to the book's great credit however that these aspects are not dealt with in an all-consuming way. Indeed, the feeling you come away with is a positive one and a sense that, in spite of their hardships, these women enjoyed their time working at Tate & Lyle. They had fun and I think it's wonderful to see a memoir such as this that touches upon the positive as well as the negative aspects of life in 1950s East End London. Recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sugar Girls: Tales of Hardship, Love and Happiness in Tate & Lyle's East End, 11 April 2012
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This review is from: The Sugar Girls (Paperback)
This is a wonderfully well written book about the lives and times of people who worked for a major employer in the east end before, during and after the second world war. In particular it focuses on the lives of four girls and gives a superb overview of the social history of those times. The girls' lives were hard and sometimes difficult, but the sunny nature of the east enders shines through. This isn't a novel but a true story and will take the reader back to a time that some will recall with nostalgia and for others a look at how life used to be. It's funny and poignant at the same time.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight into the 'sugar girls' lives, 1 April 2012
By 
Shazjera - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Sugar Girls (Paperback)
The preface gives the reader a brief background of the two refineries. The employment conditions of the times and also the changes in modern Silvertown are also briefly touched on.

The reader is then introduced to Ethel, Lilian and Gladys whose families all have similar social backgrounds ... and later on we get to meet Joan whose family have a different perspective of finances.

Their stories are narrated in chapters of their own and the language is such that you can imagine the women themselves sharing their experiences as opposed to an author re-telling their memories. I felt their personalities really came through which gave me the human element I needed to identify with them and helped me imagine how they felt. This makes something that could have been `dry and factual' into a very enjoyable read.

Although there are plenty of facts about the Tate & Lyle refineries, they are woven in amongst the women's lives. The reader follows them from their first days in the factory but also we're with them on a day-to-day basis experiencing the life they lived outside of the factory. Alongside the women we get to meet their families and their co-workers and eventually their boyfriends and husbands. The reader learns about social history as well and `natural' disasters ie The Great Smog in 1952 and the storm tide in 1953. As well as the `good times' - WW2, war romances, evacuation, infant mortality, poverty, pregnancies outside marriage, adoption, domestic violence and politics are all a part of The Sugar Girls lives.

Tate & Lyle were such impressive employers with the way they looked after their employees (convalescent home, factory surgery, pensions etc) and rewarded them with bonuses and promotions. I must admit to having a giggle at the bidets ... It was such a way of life for The Sugar Girls including the friends that they made at work, it was no wonder they didn't want to leave when they got married!

A lovely touch for me is the epilogue - where we find out where the `girls' are now in their lives.

From a family history/genealogy perspective, although there are many names mentioned, some names have been changed to protect identities so I'm not sure how useful it will be for someone trying to trace a specific ancestor/relative. If you have a family member who worked at Tate & Lyle then it's invaluable for finding out many things about the company and the lifestyle.

I would like to thank the authors for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the sugar girls, 14 April 2012
By 
Aegutteridge (england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sugar Girls: Tales of Hardship, Love and Happiness in Tate & Lyle's East End (Kindle Edition)
What a fantastic book i read it over a couple of days because i found it to be addictive , have also purchased the rest of the stories , althou i have only read a couple of pages as i found they were just repeating chapter and verse from the main book , however i will continue just to see if bringing up to speed of main book and then will carry on , defiantly recommend thou
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The sugar girls, 21 April 2012
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This review is from: The Sugar Girls: Tales of Hardship, Love and Happiness in Tate & Lyle's East End (Kindle Edition)
My wife just loved this book and once started found it difficult to put down.She is now 81 and can understand the rigours of working class life of that period.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THE SUGAR GIRLS, 30 Mar 2012
By 
Amanda "sac" (uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: The Sugar Girls: Tales of Hardship, Love and Happiness in Tate & Lyle's East End (Kindle Edition)
This is set in the East End of London in the 1950's when young women some only fifteen years of age would go off to work at Tate and Lyle's sugar factory. An honest and factual look at the lives these women experienced, the personal hardships that they and their families endured, and the good times too. Though working in the factory was very hard they built up a great camaraderie amongst themselves as Tate and Lyle offered not just a job but a social life as well.
My only observation would be that the writing was quite dull in parts, but worth a read as of good historical interest.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sugar Girls, 20 April 2012
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This review is from: The Sugar Girls: Tales of Hardship, Love and Happiness in Tate & Lyle's East End (Kindle Edition)
This book was a very enlightening and enjoyable book. I loved the intertwined historical East End story with real people. Obviously a lot of research on the company and people took place to make this a truly engaging read. Highly recommended.
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