The Surplus Girls

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 20 Dec 2019

Member Reviews

What a fantastic plot this story has and brilliant characters could not put the book down . Would definitely recommend to others.
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Fantastic characters and a fascinating plot. I love a good historical saga and this one ticks all of the boxes. I really enjoyed the range of characters and the depth that went into the writing. I've not read anything about the surplus girls before and it was a great angle to focus on. HIghly recommended!
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Set in Manchester, 1922 The Surplus Girls features Belinda Layton who sadly lost her fiance Ben during the war. She lives with Ben’s mother and grandmother but still financially supports her parents and siblings who live close by. She works long hours in a mill and longs to improve her situation by changing her career to an office worker. First, she must study and start right at the bottom but she has the foresight to see that long term her circumstances would greatly improve.

Belinda is a ‘Surplus Girl’ a term given to women who lost partners in the war. With millions of men losing their lives, there was a surplus of young women who had to support themselves. In the lower social classes any woman wanting to ‘better herself’ was frowned upon. Bereaved women felt obliged to remain in mourning attire and were discouraged from moving on with their lives out of respect for their loved ones.

Polly Heron demonstrates the plight of these women and how difficult it was for them to restart their lives after bereavement. Belinda is a likeable, hard-working girl and you just want things to turn out well for her. I loved her ambition and dedication to educate herself and secure a career to give her independence.

All the characters are multidimensional and the story features different social classes which added interest to the plot. This is an informative and heartwarming read featuring women who show great courage against adversity.

The Surplus Girls is highly recommended for lovers of historical family saga’s set around wartime Britain. It is the first book of a trilogy and I am really looking forward to the next installment in the series.
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With so many men killed at the front there are many girls who are mourning their lost loves. This novel tells us the story of Belinda and how four years after the war, having grieved deeply for her lost fiancé, she is ready to try and inject a bit of colour back into her life. 
We see how she is determined to undertake an education which will allow her to progress from factory to clerical work but is burdened by her family who are dependent upon her financially, as well as by the expectations of her fiancé’s family who expect her to only live a life of grief, a burden made heavier by the support they have given her over the years.
The novel is beautifully written, the historical accuracy adds extra depth to this story with domestic and workplace details, societal norms and expectations creating a most realistic setting. 
Polly Heron draws her characters beautifully, a wide range of good and bad from all strata of society. They really pull readers into the story and keep them there as you root for Belinda’s success. Chock-full of potential romance and real jeopardy, I thoroughly enjoyed this beautifully told tale.
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This is a great read, and in preparing for this review post I've discovered it's first in a trilogy so now I'm really excited!

Belinda Layton was looking forward to a rosy future with her fiance, Ben, until the horrors of the first World War put paid to their plans. Bel finds herself living with Ben's mother and grandmother who have more than most .. but life is hard. Four years after the war has finished and they are still in deepest mourning and expect Bel to follow suit, but she's young and wants a better future for herself - is that so wrong?

As you probably know by now, I have a fondness for domestic fiction set around both world wars, and this is an excellent example of something that little bit different. Polly Heron spins a fine tale, showing an understanding of the hardships of the working classes and how hard it was for anyone, but especially women, to better themselves. Society was very different almost a century ago, and the author demonstrates this perfectly in a wonderful story of a young woman who wants just that little bit more, aiming for a better life than her mother before her. This is a well written, enthralling read which captivated my attention from first to last. I found myself rooting for Bel and, despite the setbacks she faces, desperately wanted her to succeed. A riveting read, fully worth four shining stars and recommended by me as a series well worth following.

My thanks to publisher Corvus for my copy via NetGalley; this is - naturally - my honest and unbiased review.
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The surplus girls is the name that was given to the young women left behind without partners after WW1. This particular story tells the life of Belinda Layton. After losing her fiancé Ben she is struggling to find a place in the world where she can do better then working at the Mill. Her father is a lazy work shy man who drinks away any money the family work so hard for. Belinda’s mother is so down trodden she’s all but given up. Disappointed that her father had refused her permission to finish her education she was happy in the knowledge that after the war she would be a married woman and hopefully have a family of her own to look after. This dream crumbled the day she heard of Ben’s untimely death. The story tells of the emotional rollercoaster ride Belinda has trying to improve her life without upsetting her family. The way Polly writes draws you right into the book and you can’t help but feel for Belinda as she struggles to make her dreams of a better life happen. I recommend this book it’s a great read.
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Set in Manchester, 1922.

The surplus girls were whom after World War I has either, lost their loved ones during the war or there weren't enough single men left to marry. Belinda had lost her fiance , Ben, in the war and four years later she is still in mourning for him. She works for Mr Butterfield in the mill yard. She decides to try and better herself so she starts taking secretarial classes at night. Her Saturday job helps to pay for them.  But when she meets the owners nephew,  Richard Carson, her life is a out to change.

Belinda has had to struggle since the death of her fiance, Ben. She has to provide for both Ben's family and her own. The detail of the era seemed true to the time. The characters are true to life and well rounded. I really felt for Belinda.and her daily struggles  trying to make ends meet and trying to keep everyone happy. I really enjoyed this story and I will be reading more from the author in future. 

I would like to thank NetGalley, Atlantic Books and the author Polly Heron for my ARC in exchange for an honest review
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A poignant and interesting book with a great cast of characters.
I liked the engrossing and enjoyable plot, the well researched historical background and was moved by the story of these women.
It's the first book I read by this author and won't surely be the last.
Recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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A beautiful, bittersweet book. The story about the women who have been left behind after World War 1. They have either lost loved ones during the war or run the risk of being left on the shelf because many of the eligible men tragically lost their lives in the war! It is based on a woman called Belinda who has lost her fiance Ben. She joins a small business school in the evenings. But she also has to support her family and Ben's mother and grandmother who she lives with. She faces lots of challenges. I would highly recommend it. Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for allowing me to read this Arc.
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Thanks to netgalley for an early copy in return for an honest review 
First time reading this Author and  was  okay felt it was rather disjointed  and had to keep going back to read bits
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This is a sad story of the girls left behind after ww1 with no men to marry,i have enjoyed reading about Belinda and the struggle she had after losing her fiance Ben in the war she not only has to support his family but also her own and that is not easy as all her family do is argue and cause trouble.Belinda wants to come out of her widow clothes but has a fight with bens mother and grandmother but she wants to wear colour and to rejoin the living not to live in black.I can recommend this book 5*
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