The Tobacco Girls by Lizzie Lane

Bristol 1939.School leaver Maisie Miles suspects her father, a small-time crook, has an ulterior motive for insisting she gets a job at the W. D. & H. O. Wills tobacco factory but keeps it to herself.

She’s befriended by effervescent Phyllis Mason and kind-hearted Bridget Milligan who take pity on her and take Maisie under their wing.

But beneath their happy go lucky exteriors they all harbour dreams and worries about what the future holds.

Engaged to be married Phyllis dreams of romance and passion but when it comes there are dire consequences.

Bridget seemingly the level headed one harbours a horror of something unspeakable that she cannot easily come to terms with.

There’s great comradeship at the tobacco factory, and with the advent of war everything is about to change and even the closest friendships are likely to be strained.

‘A gripping saga and a storyline that will keep you hooked.’ Rosie Goodwin

The start of a thrilling new series, from bestselling author Lizzie Lane which follows three friends through thick and thin.

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My Thoughts

I was so excited to be given the opportunity to review this book, as it is based in Bristol where I was born and have lived my whole life, and I currently teach at a school 5 minutes away from the tobbaco factory buildings in Bristol (although they are not used as a factory anymore). The buildings are certainly impressive to look at. Because of all this I instantly loved the book as I can walk along the same roads that are mentioned in the story- it made the whole world so much more real.

I adored the friendships between Maisie, Phyllis and Bridget. They all individually have their own vulnerabilities but I loved seeing the strength they found within themselves as the story developed. I kept swapping between which character was my favourite, however I think little Maisie will always hold a special place as she went on the biggest journey. Even the more minor characters were written in such an effective way that I was rooting for them all.

The impending start of World War 2 provided the ultimate backdrop for the book and the suddenness of the men having to stop work at the tobacco factory and go off to war was so real and authentic that it made the characters even more personable.

I loved every single part of this book. There were heartbreaking moments interspersed with happier times and it is not a book I am going to easily forget – it is one I am going to recommend to everyone I know that has connections to Bristol, and it is certainly one I would recommend to read if you like historical fiction, with well thought out characters who very much feel like friends. I’m so pleased that this is the first book in a series and I can’t wait to read the rest of them when they are published!

A definite 5 stars from me.

Author Bio of The Tobacco Girls – Lizzie Lane is the author of over 50 books, a number of which have been bestsellers. She was born and bred in Bristol where many of her family worked in the cigarette and cigar factories. This has inspired her new saga series for Boldwood The Tobacco Girls, the first part of which will be published in January 2021.

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