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World War Two is still raging across Europe. But for the Lavender Girls, the workers at the Yardley cosmetics factory in East London, there are even more challenges on the home front.
Esther, newly married, is learning to juggle life as a working woman with her duties as a wife and homemaker. And she must find a way to help her adopted family on the Shoot, who are battling their own hidden demons . . .
Headstrong Patsy, a new recruit at the Yardley factory, has a double life that takes her from the East End lipstick belt by day to the stage in the West End at night. But will she be able to keep her secrets hidden from her controlling mother, Queenie?
For bubbly Lou, a forbidden love forces her to choose between family loyalty and a chance at true happiness. Can she be brave enough to forge her own path in the chaos of a war?
One thing is certain: the Lavender Girls need one another more than ever if they are going to survive . . .
The unsung and remarkable stories of the women who held London's East End together during not one, but two world wars.
'Inspiring tales of courage in the face of hardship' Mail on Sunday
'Inspiring . . . Takes you back to a time of community and helping one another' 5***** Reader Review
'It made me laugh and gasp in equal measure' 5***** Reader Review
Meet Minksy, Gladys, Beatty, Joan and Girl Walker . . .
While the men were at war, these women ruled the streets of the East End. Struggling against poverty to survive, and fighting for their community in our country's darkest hours.
But there was also joy to be found. Across the East End the streets were alive - you need only walk a few steps for a smile from a neighbour or a strong cup of tea.
From taking over the London Underground, standing up to the Kray twins and crawling out of bombsites, The Stepney Doorstep Society tells the vivid and moving stories of the matriarchs who remain the backbone of the East End to this day.
'Kate Thompson's study of five working-class women who lived through the blitz shows how informal collectives can provide lasting support and inspiration . . . [a] fascinating account' Guardian
'An important glimpse into a vanishing world' Sunday Express
'One of the best books I have read in recent years' 5***** Reader Review
'Crammed full of fascinating stories' BBC 2 Steve Wright
'Fascinating . . . It was fascinating to hear how these women kept going' 5***** Reader Review
'Astonishing' Radio 5 Live
Secrets of the Singer Girls is Kate Thompson's heartwarming and moving novel about the brave, hardworking women who kept the homefires burning in the East End of London during World War Two.
1942. Sixteen-year-old Poppy Percival turns up at the gates of Trout's clothing factory in Bethnal Green with no idea what her new life might have in store. There to start work as a seamstress and struggling to get to grips with the noise, dirt and devastation of East London, Poppy can't help but miss the quiet countryside of home. But Poppy harbours a dark secret – one that wrenched her away from all she knew and from which she is still suffering . . .
And Poppy's not the only one with a secret. Each of her new friends at the factory is hiding something painful. Vera Shadwell, the forelady, has had a hard life with scars both visible and concealed; her sister Daisy has romantic notions that could get her in trouble; and Sal Fowler, a hardworking mother who worries about her two evacuated boys for good reason. Bound by ties of friendship, loyalty and family, the devastating events of the war will throw each of their lives into turmoil but also bring these women closer to each other than they could ever have imagined.
Secrets of the Sewing Bee tells the story of the defiant and courageous women on the home front, from Kate Thompson, author of Secrets of the Singer Girls.
Orphan Flossy Brown arrives at Trout's garment factory in Bethnal Green amidst the uncertainty of the Second World War. In 1940s London, each cobbled street is strewn with ghosts of soldiers past, all struggling to make ends meet. For the women of the East End, their battles are on the home front.
Flossy is quickly embraced by the colourful mix of characters working at Trout's, who have turned their sewing expertise to vital war work. They fast become the family that Flossy has always longed for.
Things aren't so easy for Peggy Piper, another new recruit at the factory. She's used to the high life working as a nippie in the West End, and is not best pleased to find herself bent over a sewing machine.
Dolly Doolaney, darling of the East End, sets up a sewing circle and the ladies at Trout's play their part in defending the frontline as they arm themselves with their needles and set about stitching their way to victory. But as the full force of the Blitz hits London, the sewing bee are forced to shelter in the underground tube stations on a nightly basis.
In such close quarters, can Dolly manage to contain the secret that binds them all? And how will Peggy and Flossy cope as their lives are shaped and moved by forces outside of their control?
The Wedding Girls is a heartwarming story of love and friendship in the East End, by Kate Thompson, the bestselling author of Secrets of the Singer Girls.
If a wedding marks the first day of the rest of your life, then the story starts with the dress.
It's 1936 and the streets of London's East End are grimy and brutal, but in one corner of Bethnal Green it is forever Hollywood . . .
Herbie Taylor's photography studio is nestled in the heart of bustling Green Street. Tomboy Stella and troubled Winnie work in Herbie's studio; their best friend and hopeless romantic Kitty works next door as an apprentice dressmaker. All life passes through the studio, wishing to capture that perfect moment in time.
Kitty works tirelessly to create magical bridal gowns, but with each stitch she wonders if she'll ever get a chance to wear a white dress. Stella and Winnie sprinkle a dusting of Hollywood glamour over happy newly-weds, but secretly dream of escaping the East End . . .
Community is strong on Green Street, but can it stand the ultimate test? As clouds of war brew on the horizon, danger looms over the East End. Will the Wedding Girls find their happy ever afters, before it's too late?
The Allotment Girls is an inspiring and heartwarming novel of wartime hardship, friendship and fortitude from Kate Thompson, author of the Secrets of the Sewing Bee.
During the Second World War, life in the iconic Bryant & May match factory is grimy and tough. Annie, Rose, Pearl and Millie carry on making matches for the British Army, with bombs raining down around them.
Inspired by the Dig for Victory campaign, Annie persuades the owners to start Bryant & May allotment in the factory grounds. With plenty of sweat and toil, the girls eventually carve out a corner of the yard into a green plot full of life and colour.
In the darkest of times, the girls find their allotment a tranquil, happy escape. Using pierced dustbin lids to sieve through the shrapnel and debris, they bring about a powerful change, not just in the factory, but their own lives.
As the war rages on, the garden becomes a place of community, friendship – and deceit. As the garden thrives and grows, so do the girls' secrets . . .