A Store at War

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 11 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

A Store at War by Joanna Toye takes us back in time to June of 1941.  Lily Collins is now fourteen years old and able to leave school to begin work.  She would love to continue with her education, but her family needs the additional income since her mother is raising three children on her own.  Lily gets a job at Marlow’s, a posh department store, as a junior in the Children’s Department.  On Lily’s first day, she manages to get in a scrape that puts her new position in jeopardy.  Thankfully, the situation works out for Lily.  She is taught her job by the sophisticated, Eileen Frobisher and makes friends with fellow Children’s junior, Gladys.  Lily also becomes friends with Jim Goodridge who is a salesman in Furniture and Household.  One day Jim stumbles upon a scheme being carried out by workers in the store and he shares the secret with Lily.  They know if they are to report what is happening, they need solid intel.  If word gets out what it is taking place at Marlow’s, the store would lose its reputation and possibly be shut down.  Lily is not about to let that happen.  In between air raids, bombings, work, and chores at home, Lily digs to get details on the illicit operation.  Will Lily and Jim succeed?  Join Lily on the new chapter of her life in A Store at War.  

A Store at War is a charming historical novel.  Lily Collins is fortunate to secure a position as a junior at Marlow’s, but it is a different type of environment for her.  She needs to think before she acts (that is going to be a challenge).  Lily also tends to speak her mind and is headstrong.  She makes friends with Gladys and Jim.  Jim stumbles upon a scheme and confides in Lily.  They want to find a way to stop the enterprise before it ruins Marlow’s.  I liked the various characters in the story, and we see that people put on appearances.  We do not know what is going on in their lives until we take the time to get to know an individual.  I thought A Store at War was nicely written and it proceeded at a gentle pace.  It was interesting to learn what happened when an air raid siren went off while one is shopping in a department store.  There were also a number of rules for shop assistants to follow (including appearance and proper etiquette).  They had to know their merchandise and where it was located.  We get a glimpse of what life was like during World War II in England (rationing, air raids, blackouts, bombings).  During and after the war, they had to make do and mend (new and used clothing were hard to come by).  We see at the end of the book that there is more to come.  I wonder what will happen in Wartime for the Shop Girls.
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I enjoyed this but found it a bit thin - it didn’t really get to grips with what life must have been like under the threats of war. However, a gentle undemanding read.
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I really enjoyed reading this book. It was an easy read, had good, likeable characters and an interesting setting. Recommended.
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A lovely light hearted romance with plenty going on to keep you want to keep turning the pages. I am hoping there will be another book to follow on as I want to see what happens to Lily and Jim.
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I enjoyed reading this book and would definitely recommend it to those readers interested in this era.
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I was hooked from page one, no settling in with this book. It felt comfortable and friendly from the start.. It was interesting to learn about good shortages and how people made do and refurbished. I felt a bit cheated when the book ended as it could have gone further but then I found out there was a follow up book. Thank goodness... Can't wait.
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A sweet comforting read. This book is no challenge and not really memorable but if you want a rather innocent easy story to fill a few hours, this is for you. Not the best writing style, more like a longer version of a magazine serial. However having said all that, I did enjoy it. It was what I needed having read a few darker thrillers and complex novels. Thanks for the opportunity.
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Such a good read! I do enjoy domestic tales set at the time of WWII, and this is right up there with the best of them .. and there's more to come!

Lily Collins, at fourteen, is now old enough to leave school and we first encounter her in a very nervous state on her way to interview for a prestigious local department store. Gaining the job brings with it her mother's warnings to watch what she says and does and make sure she does nothing to jeopardise her position. But will friendly Lily, with her strong moral compass, manage that?

This is a lovely, heartwarming story which gives a real flavour of the frugality of war and the strain on the ordinary family. With well-drawn characters and a good solid storyline, the author's experience shines through in this, her debut novel. The best news is that it's the first in a series of four books, and I for one am really looking forward to catching up with the lives of the Collins family in future. A superb read, and one I highly recommend!
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This is quite an old fashioned book in its subject matter (poor girl does well) but has some sympathetic characters.  There were times when I thought that the younger characters were behaving beyond their years but that may be what it was like in the 1940s.  This was a cosy story which was easy to read.
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Lovely easy to read book, set in wartime. Lily the main character is such a like able girl, who always tries to do the right thing.
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A nice warm Story set in a department store in WW2. Our Heroine, Lily, is a Young Girl starting at the store and is set to make an large Impact. The Story is not about the store, but about the various characters who are all quite different, that come together through working at the store. No great surprises, but nicely written with easy to like characters and a real feel of the times.
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I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book at a time when high street stores are struggling this relates to it through a different time and situation. I enjoyed the characters and I was disappointed with the ending until I saw a book that continues with  Lily’s family  and other characters,I will look forward to reading the next instalment.Good characters easy to relate too and an interesting storyline.
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An enjoyable read set in World War 2 London. This is such an easy read, the sort of thing you could easily consume on the sofa on a sunday afternoon with a cuppa. Due to the festive season I've been reading it on and off for a month now but it's such a sweet and lovely story you really can pick it up and put it down and not get confused.
Lily Collins is the main character. She is a young girl just trying to make the best of things during war time. This book really showed the sacrifices people had to make in terms of rationing etc.
The only downside for me is that nothing bad ever really happened to any of the characters and in war time London you would at least expect a little bit of destruction and death. Nevertheless its a firm 4 out of 5 stars for me. Thank Netgalley for letting me read this book.
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Lovely feel good family story. It is a cut above the rest with good characters and a heart warming wartime story. Loved it and it’s not my usual read.
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I really enjoyed this book. Set in WW2 it’s the story of Lily Collins and her family and friends. Lily has to leave school at 14 as unfortunately her family can’t afford her to carry on her education. One of her teachers puts in a good word for her so that she manages to get a job in a large local department store Marlow’s. From day one things seem to happen to Lily that bring her attention to her bosses. Will Lily lose her job before it’s even begun. There are lots of ups and downs for the family in this book. I look forward to the next book to see how the Collins family are surviving this difficult time.
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Stories from WW2 are my escape from psychological thrillers & police procedurals. This one, centred around a large department store during the war is a slightly different take on it, but it does provide some interesting characters with their stories.

I really liked Lily with her headstrong nature & her desire to do the right thing- even if it did get her into a few scrapes. Her whole family came across as real 'salt of the earth' folk put into a situation they couldn't have imagined.

I'm already looking forward to the next one in the series. Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me red & review this book.
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Loved this book! Great story, nice characters and very well written. Can't wait to read more from the author!
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Lily gets a job in the town's large department store and we follow her first very eventful few months. A wonderful book that you do not want to end as the characters become so loved. Just sit back and totally immerse yourself.
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Excellent book!  Loved the characters and it was a great storyline.  I would highly recommend this book.
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A lovely book to read with a great story and lovely charactors i will be recommending A Store at War as a book that draws the reader in.Well worth 5*
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