Member Reviews

Peggy Sparks and Marigold Cecily could not be more different. Thrown together by the war to work at the Ministry of Information, in the publishing department, their backgrounds and personalities are worlds apart.

Peggy is smart, down to earth and determined to do her bit to bring the war to an end and ensure her Brother Joe returns home in one piece.

Marigold is a Lady, persistently late to work, always has somewhere more important to be, and seems more interested in dancing at Cafe de Paris than doing her bit for the War.

But she has a keen eye for photography, and after a bit of a shaky start Peggy realises that there is much more to Marigold than meets the eye.

Peggy is kind hearted, but has a determined streak, no doubt inherited from her Grandmother whose sharp tongue and quick wit provides some genuine laugh out loud moments in this novel.

At first, we feel a little detached from the War as reader, which I assume is deliberate as this is how the characters themselves must have felt at times.

Then the Blitz bombings start, and the novel takes a different direction, as do some of its characters, and we are right there in the heart of it all...

This is a wonderful historical fiction novel, and I look forward to this author's next.

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3.5 stars

I am a huge fan of this author and have read almost all of her books. I did enjoy this one very much, but it did feel a bit slow for me in several places. It features a cast of characters you can’t help but root for and a setting that is both heartbreaking and hopeful.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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A charming and warm hearted story set in WW2, featuring Peggy Sparks who lives in SE London with her extended family, and Lady Marigold Cecily who comes from quite a privileged background. As events unfold, we see how the war, working in the Ministry of Information and the other characters help both women grow and develop. If you love stories of strong women and history, you’ll enjoy this very much.

I received a free ARC copy of this via NetGalley and the publishers in return for an unbiased review.

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1940. Peggy Sparks is a librarian and she’s determined to make sure her twin brother Joe makes it home to Edenham, London. Peggy lives with her mum Alice, granny Emily, pregnant sister-in-law Flo and her niece Nancy. When Peggy is offered a job working at The Ministry of Information and in the Publications Department as a proof-reader, and she feels like this is her big chance.

Peggy works alongside Lady Marigold Cecily, every morning she’s late because Marigold has been out having a good time and at first Peggy doesn't know what to make of her and the other toffs in the office. Peggy feels a bit like a fish out of water, she continues writing down accounts of her days, when their accidentally published and Marigold comes to her defence and they become unlikely friends and confidantes.

The story focuses on during the war, women were taking on roles and doing jobs once done only by men, drivers, land girls and worked in factories, air raid wardens and fire watchers and they did what needed to be done and had a conscience and wanted to do their bit.

I received a copy of A Girls’ Guide to Winning the War by Annie Lyons from Headline and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. What an inspirational and enlightening story, characters make a narrative come to life and they worm their way into your heart and this one is full of delightful and realistic ones like Peggy, Alice, Emily, Flo and Nancy, Marigold, Mr. Beecher and Mrs Pyecroft, Frank and Rosa Bauman.

I adored this book and it highlights the importance of friendship, family, and resilience, comradery and sticking together, the significance of the public being informed and how it boosted morale, diplomacy and Penny going from being a shrinking wallflower to a towering oak. Five stars from me, I laughed, cheered and cried and I highly recommend A Girls’ Guide to Winning the War and Ms. Lyons previous book Air Raid Book Club.

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Last year I read and enjoyed this author’s The Air Raid Book Club. With her latest novel, Lyons again sets a story during WWII.

Lyons has a gift for writing about characters with warmth and caring. Readers will be hoping for the best for many of those that they meet in these pages.

I loved how the book’s protagonist Peggy believed in libraries and stories. The author also makes literary references that I enjoyed.

Peggy is trying her best in all ways to help the war effort while working for the Ministry of Information. At the same time, her twin brother sees active service and Peggy hopes that her work will somehow end the war sooner and bring him home.

In contrast, when readers meet Lady Marigold Cecily, Peggy’s nominal boss, she is more of a socialite than a worker. Will she change and make a contribution? What about the others in Peggy’s unit? Some are irascible; all have personalities.

Readers also get to know generations of Peggy’s family. They are an endearing group.

This is a book that is very easy to like. I recommend it.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Headline for this title. All opinions are my own.

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I really enjoyed this book which opens a window onto a different world and time. The girl of the title is Peggy, a young librarian who desperately wants to do something proactive to help win the war and more importantly end all of the fighting. She is offered a job with the Ministry of Information and soon finds herself fighting for her right to be recognised as a working woman.
The characters within the book show us the world of women, left at home to literally 'keep calm and carry on'. I loved the way the author shares the women's thoughts and struggles, highlighting what it was truly like during this time ; and these characters really spring to life on the page. A thoroughly enjoyable read!

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When Peggy Sparks' twin, Joe, is called up, she knows she has to help him come home safely. She joins The Ministry of Information which is tasked with providing a flow of information to those at war and those left at home to boost morale. All is not plain sailing. She forms an unlikely friendship with Lady Marigold, who also works in the office and sparks begin to fly as Peggy enjoys her new found freedom in the workplace and fights to play a small part in bringing her brother home safely.
If you loved 'Dear Mrs Bird' then you will love this wartime romp. This is a story of hope, of friendship and has a sprinkling of romance.

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This was my first book from this author. I loved every page of it.

No spoiler alerts but the main character Peggy, was someone I would want on my side if ever an injustice had occurred. To see her grow into a strong, determined female, was heart warming. The book flowed well and I found myself just wanting to get back to read it. I do like stories set during WW2 and this was one of those that I would encourage others to read. Well explained and thought out. I Iove, love, loved it.

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I was so happy to get an ARC of this book from Net Galley. Annie Lyons writes such great stories, and this one was right up my WWII set in England historical fiction alley. This is the story of Peggy Sparks, her family, the family she creates at work and how they make it through the war. Peggy lives with her grandmother, her mother (her father was killed in WWI), her sister-in-law (also her best friend from childhood), her niece and nephew. Her twin brother, Joe is off fighting the war in Africa. Peggy is given the opportunity to work in the Ministry of Information. The main objective is to write pamphlets (books) starting out with various branches of the military, but leading to the war ‘at home’. One of the objectives is to share this information with the U.S. in order to get them involved in winning the war. There are quite a few characters in her office which makes the story very entertaining., while keeping the mood and struggles of the time. I think my favorite thing about Annie Lyons books is the way a tight community (family) is formed throughout the story, and they always include strong female characters both young and old. Peggy gains the respect of both her family and colleagues by the work she does. Did I mention there are libraries? This book will be out July 25th, and I highly recommend it!

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Annie Lyon’s writes amazing historical fiction so I can never pass them by when I see a new one is released! And this one, coupled with the name and the cover, had no problem drawing me in. Just reading the Prologue I knew it was going to be another winner.

It was so endearing and the characters were very easy to love. And I also never thought Lady Marigold would rapidly become a favourite!

Peg finds herself landing a job in the Ministry of Information and she wants nothing more than to bring about the end the war and bring her twin brother, Joe, home. And if that’s proofreading leaflets and keeping the nations morale in good spirits, then so be it! It was great to see her expand in her role, make new friendships and do her bit for the war effort.

Following Peg and her work days, and getting to know her lovely family, Alice, Nancy, Emily and Flo was so nice to read and it was impossible not to feel homely with this lovely book.

The whole story was great and it was as amazing as I thought it would be. So many emotions, fabulous writing and a thoroughly enjoyable read!

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It's 1940, and Peggy Sparks has jumped at the opportunity to participate in the war effort in her determination to bring her brother Joe safely home. But the former librarian is deeply disappointed by what she sees, after encountering those most privileged at closer quarters...

Still, things are not always as they seem, and a catastrophic error sees Peggy seeking help from a most unexpected source. Can this unusual alliance really make a difference in such challenging times?

This is a charming historical novel with some substance. It will have great appeal for those interested in the changing roles of women during the WW II period. It gets 3.5 stars.

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